Sunday, March 24, 2019


I shall come out of semi-retirement long enough to comment on IT.

Or at least Barr's summary of it. I've already discussed my problems with Barr.

As most have acknowledged, the Report (says Barr) does not exonerate Trump of the obstruction charge. Trump practiced obstruction out in the open, on Twitter and on teevee, and provably did so in private.

As Marcy points out in her most recent piece, Barr told Congress that a pardon-for-silence scheme would be illegal, and thus ought to be bringing charges against Trump this very day.
We know Trump has repeatedly floated pardons to witnesses who have, in hopes of obtaining a pardon, not incriminated him.

That’s true of Paul Manafort most of all.

So on the basis of what he said to get this job, Barr is already on the record saying that Trump obstructed justice.
This behavior speaks to Trump's underlying guilt: No need to fear justice if one has, in fact, behaved justly.

So everything comes down to these words:
The report further explains that a primary consideration for the Special Counsel's investigation was whether any Americans – including individuals associated with the Trump campaign – joined the Russian conspiracies to influence the election, which would be a federal crime. The Special Counsel's investigation did not find that the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired or coordinated with Russia in its efforts to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election. As the report states: “[T]he investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.”
The public evidence of collusion is mountainous and beyond rational argument. I need only point to the Trump Tower meeting and Trump's provable lie on that score, along with his bald-faced public lie about investments in Russia. There would have been no effort to smear Mueller (remember the attempt to "Me Too" him?) if Trump had committed no crime. At no point did Trump act like an innocent man.

So why does Mueller write that he "did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government"? (Those words are Mueller's, not Barr's.) I think some combination of the following occurred:

1. We need a definition of "The Russian government." All intelligence operations require plausible deniability. People connected with the Trump team can claim that they were dealing with various private individuals, not with Putin. The foremost of Stone's rules: Always use a cut-out.

Only the most naive ever visualized actual, direct communications between Putin and Team Trump. If that is the standard, then the Mueller effort was doomed from the start.

2. We need a definition of "did not establish." This careful wording implies that there were, in fact, reasons to believe that contacts occurred, but that Mueller could not find definitive proof. The investigators saw footprints and heard growls, but could not photograph the monster.

This leads directly to my third point:

3. As I've said in previous posts, Mueller presents us with a classic case of a general fighting the previous war. My heart sank early on when I realized that Mueller intended to go after Trump the way he went after the mob -- by squeezing those lower in the pecking order until they squealed on the Big Boss. Trump is not Gotti; Stone and Manafort are not Sammy the Bull. John Gotti could not dangle pardons.

In short: It appears that Trump's method of insuring omerta worked. Meuller "could not establish" collusion because justice was obstructed.

4. We need more information about other governments/organizations/individuals. A few obvious names come to mind: PSY Group, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Cambridge Analytica, MI6 -- plus any number of actors within what we might call the international fascist movement. I have never discounted the possibility of covert action by a faction within our own spook brotherhood.

This brings us to point five:

5. This day will, I hope, finally kill the "spooks against Trump" narrative which entranced so many liberals, particularly those who still read Louise Mensch. Barr is spookier than the Winchester Mystery House. Cambridge Analytica is a creature of the British and American intelligence services. Michael Flynn was the head of the DIA. Roger Stone, if you look carefully, has had some rather "spooky" associates.

Beyond that, we need to see the report itself, not a summary from Barr. The devil is in the details. Let's wait until we have a long chat with Mr. Scratch.

Update. I'm reminded of one of my favorite Oscar Wilde quotations: "Quotation may be slander/If you gerrymander." If you squint a bit, you can see evidence of gerrymandering in the way Barr quotes Mueller. Look again:
As the report states: “[T]he investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.”
Note the brackets around the capital "T." In the original, the T must be lower-case. In other words, this sentence began with a clause that Barr does not disclose. Perhaps Mueller wrote something along these lines: "Due to interference with our efforts, the investigation did not establish..."


William said...

I am afraid that Nov 2020 will be like Nov 1972.

Joseph Cannon said...

That is my prediction.

Anonymous said...

Just out of curiosity, do you have a source for the claim that Barr represented Southern Air Transport, that isn't Terry Reed?


Stephen Morgan said...

Don't forget that there are states, Jo. All may yet be well.

And there are always other things to be interested in. Who is going to lose to Trump next year, for example. "Lose", that is.

Alessandro Machi said...

You say collusion, I say consulting, explain the difference.

Alessandro Machi said...

Pardon for Silence is just one side of a two sided equation. The other side is a McCarthy Approach to anyone who spoke or interacted with a Russian as having to live in fear that they broke a law.

I seem to recall that a THIRD of Barack Obama's donations were in untraceable gift cards and that many may have come from overseas because the end amount included some weird 20 dollars and 39 cents, or 25 dollars and 77 cents.... the theory was that nobody knew the exact conversion rate until the donation was converted to U.S. Dollars.

Obama's gift card donations were Never Investigated.

Joseph Cannon said...

Alessandro, we are very much on the same page if the argument is that Obama pioneered the election-rigging techniques now commonly associated with Trump. I refuse to forget that Obama's campaign "controlled" the internet with trolls, bots and incessant comment-spam back in 2008, during the primaries. The only differences: Obama did not have aid from foreign nationals, and the spammers mostly used the same Chicago IP address. (VPNs were not so common then.)

I'm also quite suspicious of the untraceable monies that poured into the Bernie Sanders campaign. As I said repeatedly during the 2016 campaign, the low-dollar amounts are the ones that are truly suspicious, truly untraceable. I spoke to the FEC about this and I encourage others to do the same.

Mr Mike said...

Thank you, Cyrus Vance, you had Trump's nuts in a vice but left off when he gave you that big fat campaign donation. You're going after the Trump organization now in hopes you don't get swept up in the state AG investigation.

Alessandro Machi said...

Joseph, but what type of Russian "aid" are we talking about? 60 Minutes revealed that Hillary Clinton refused to use Facebook Targeted Micro Ads to reach voters during the 2016 campaign. Facebook had their people at Trump headquarters a few days every week teaching Trump Campaign workers how to create effective, dollar a day Targeted Ads. Ads could be targeted down to the zip code / street level, Trump's people put the time in to make the Ads. Hillary Clinton could have Facebook targeted States she was not visiting, anything would probably have been better than nothing.

The problem with the mixing of consulting with collusion is it created a barrier in which everyone was afraid to admit to even knowing where Russia was on the Map. This prevented Mueller from really drilling down and finding REAL Collusion, which would have entailed looking for actual vote tampering, vote manipulation, or pretense of false news stories designed to make Democrats look bad.

This is the same overzealousness that occurred during the Clinton / Starr Investigation. "If I can just get them to lie, I win" meme that both Starr and Mueller fixated on, and in the end it almost seems like an intentional tactic designed to keep the masses involved while not really finding anything of note.

This just feels like a McCarthy style of feeding frenzy in which just interacting with a Russian Official is Collusion. and that is a standard that is not applied when Americans "Consult" in Eastern Europe for years without being charged with any wrong doing.