We have New York State Attorney Eric Schneiderman to thank for the genesis of the sealed indictment against Donald Trump currently being held in the Eastern District of Virginia, which has formed the basis of the case of impeachment already begun against him. This is how that happened:
AG Schneiderman began a case of Enterprise Corruption, the state name for RICO, against Donald Trump. The case was based on the activities of Russian mobsters like Semion Moglievich who lived in Trump Tower, Russian oligarchs, and others.
Upon his own judgement and belief, Scheiderman decided that his case touched both Federal issues, and issues of National Security. He took his case to the Federal authorities. While the appropriate Federal District can often be location-based, if a federal case is to start on the same factual basis, the court chosen can also be based on subject matter. Because National Security is involved, Schneiderman brought his case to FISC to be heard.
FISC does not empanel Grand Juries. Per procedure, Schneiderman dismissed his case, which as a state AG he can do without a judge’s ruling; he had the right to dispose of it. The case was then restarted Federal Court on the facts offered by Schneiderman, as a RICO case. FISC provided evidence under seal to a Grand Jury, drawn from the Eastern District of Virginia, who read the evidence in a SCIF, a secure facility in the building sealed away from the public.
Sources report FISC retained some jurisdiction over this case, although jurors were empaneled from EDVA. Separate sources report this: it was unclear to me if the FISC power over the case was solely related to sealing the matter, or if perhaps there was more evidence heard at FISC than was shared with the Grand Jury. But that ‘some jurisdiction’ was retained was told me by several sources.
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Earlier this month, Claude Taylor and I reported exclusively that the indictment was granted. We were pulled up on use of the term “granted”, but it is the correct term when, as in this case, no prosecution is yet possible, since a sitting President has immunity; but he can be indicted, and he has been.
We reported as fact that the case was intended by prosecutors to form the basis of impeachment. This too was absolutely correct. Following the granting of the indictment on Trump, DAG Rosenstein took the matter to the Senate and presented it to lawmakers including Lindsey Graham in closed session. That is why Senator Graham came out and said ‘this investigation is now very clearly a criminal one.’ He had to say that; there was an existing criminal indictment and he had been shown it.
The following day, Rep. Green called for impeachment on the floor of the House. Contrary to what some ignoramuses are pushing on social media, a case of impeachment was begun against Trump at that moment:
Impeachment proceedings may be commenced in the House of Representatives by a Member declaring a charge of impeachment on his or her own initiative
Per procedure in the case of impeachment of individuals, the matter then went to the House Judiciary Committee.
Trump was then notified by both the other branches that a case of impeachment was commenced against him. I can report as fact that the Sergeant At Arms of the Senate, Frank Larkin (correction sorry needed tea), went to the White House on that Wednesday night. We did not report that the Marshal of the SCOTUS did so – only that she spoke to him before he left the country, on the matter of preserving evidence and complying with the orders of the courts. Sources linked to the enforcement arm of the judicial branch report Donald Trump was also told that he had not followed procedure to declassify evidence to the Russians; and that it would constitute an offense were he to share intelligence without declassifying it in the legal way on this trip. These sources do not report the location of that warning nor who delivered it to Trump, but it happened after the case of impeachment was begun and prior to his departure on Air Force One.
Sources report that AG Schneiderman, whose evidence was used to form the basis of a criminal indictment of the President, has been placed under an even heavier armed guard than usual for his protection.