The House Judiciary Committee has created quite a stir by publishing a list of Trump-related people to whom it has sent requests for documents. This list is basically a who’s who of the Trump world, and it crosses all the lines that Donald Trump drew in the sand at the beginning of the Robert Mueller investigation.
Somewhat puzzlingly, the people on the list are arranged in alphabetical order by first names instead of last names, which gives the dubious honor of being number one to Allan Garten, Executive Vice President and Chief Legal Officer at the Trump Organization. Garten hasn’t been in this position for very long. His predecessor was Jason Greenblatt, who left the Trump Organization in January 2017 when he was appointed as an Assistant to the President and Special Representative for International Negotiations. Greenblatt’s name is not on the list but it doesn’t really need to be, because this is not a list of people who are going to be questioned by the Committee. It’s a list of document requests, and all the documents related to business conducted by the Trump Organization can be obtained from its current legal counsel, Alan Garten.
The second name on the committee’s list of document requests is also quite noteworthy: Alexander Nix, former CEO of Cambridge Analytica and a former director of the Strategic Communication Laboratories (SCL) Group. Cambridge Analytica, the now defunct data company, was enlisted to work on Trump’s 2016 digital campaign by Steve Bannon. Bannon’s name – quite unsurprisingly – is also on the list.
The fact that Nix is a British citizen raises some interesting legal issues regarding the involvement of foreign nationals in an American election campaign. The person most likely to shed some light on the question of Alexander Nix’s involvement is a woman named Brittany Kaiser. She is a former business development director for Cambridge Analytica and she has become a cooperating witness for the Mueller investigation. And, yes, her name shows up on the House Judiciary Committee’s list as well.
Another good person to ask about Cambridge Analytica’s involvement would of course be Jared Kushner, who according to a Forbes article from November 22, 2016, effectively managed the campaign’s online efforts at getting Donald Trump elected to the highest office in the United States. It is quite possible that Trump was also thinking of his son-in-law when he declared his family to be off-limits in the investigation. However, there is no need to speculate about how close the head of the Trump crime family feels to the man who became part of his clan through marriage – his two sons, Eric and Donald Trump Jr., have been awarded their own places on the list.
We can only hope that the man with the short fuse who has access to the nuclear codes will somehow find a non-destructive way to deal with this crossing of the lines he arbitrarily drew once upon a time. It seems that back then, quite astonishingly, Donald Trump was indeed unaware of the fact that – even as president – he was never in a position to draw these lines since he failed to divest himself of his businesses even after he was elected, and since any immunity a sitting president may have clearly does not extend to any or all of his family members.