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Mueller Investigation - Common Misconceptions (1-10) (1 Viewer)



I see these points come up a lot unchecked, and so it seems important to disabuse some who may be unintentionally oblivious to the worst and most pernicious of these misnomers. There has been a lot of disinformation (not the least from Trump himself, recently alleged to have said Hitler did "very good things"). 

1) Mueller exonerated Trump.

He actually said the complete opposite.

2) By not finding Trump guilty of collusion, this in some way constitutes "proof" he did nothing wrong. 

This is wrong a few different ways, mainly highlighting here, Mueller specifically noted he felt bound by DOJ GUIDELINES, precedent to not indict a sitting president, therefore there was no point in even beginning the process of making that determination. Mueller bent over backwards to not make an accusation in his Report (later said in Congressional testimony Trump could be indicted after leaving office for criminal obstruction), but did engage in a kind of double negative Yoda speak, Trump is not not a criminal, which was clearly too subtle for most. He also said his job was made more difficult by widespread obstruction from the campaign. 

3) Mueller said *no collusion*.

Again, he said the the complete opposite, so it does kind of beg the question why Trump and Barr lied so brazenly and pathologically about this? 

First, Mueller specifically said he was not looking for it, criminal collusion not a thing. Second, there was PLENTY of collusion, many instances were cited in 1st Report. Third, collusion could involve a constellation of crimes. 

4) By not being convicted of any crimes (and again, this is just posed wrongly, Mueller lays out why he felt he COULDN'T), there couldn't have been any coordination between Trump, campaign and Russia. 

Wrong again. But admittedly conflating criminality and national security threat is a frequent error even among journalists. Trump could emerge unscathed from all this without so much as a traffic ticket, but still remain a national security NIGHTMARE if he is aligned with hostile foreign power Russia in a way that harmed/harms our interests domestically and abroad (for the record, Mueller did find that Jr. committed election finance crime/s, but was not prosecuted because he was too stupid to understand his crimes were crimes, and while a disappointing finding, not hard to see how he could find that, at all). This is a key point, some salient, germane articles below.

John Sipher - Was Trump Colluding With Russia or Just Converging? - The Atlantic

Sipher, Asha Rangappa, Alex Finley - Collusion Doesn’t Have to be Criminal to be an Ongoing Threat - Just Security      

David Frum -  Trump-Russia Collusion Is a National-Security Issue - The Atlantic 

Franklin Foer - Vladimir Putin has a plan for destroying the West, and it looks a lot like Donald Trump - Slate

5) The real scandal was Trump's crimes.

The real scandal was what Trump did that WASN'T a crime.

Foer - Robert Mueller's Probe Was an Unmitigated Success - The Atlantic   

Jonathan Chait - Barr’s Letter Didn’t Exonerate Trump — It Vindicated Him - New York Magazine

6) If its not a crime, it must be OK!

Some of these points are related. House rep and first impeachment manager Adam Schiff summed this up well. Trump ASKED FOR, RECEIVED (minutes later), REWARDED, CONTINUED to ask for help from a hostile foreign power. Then criminally covered it up (innocent people don't say flipping should be illegal, haha).

7) Barr cleared Trump of any wrongdoing, so he must be innocent. 

Barr is a hyper-partisan hack, Republican operative stooge, goon. He probably perjured himself in Congressional testimony, and should at the least be disbarred. He was a staunch defender of disgraced Baylor rape enabling former Chancellor Ken Starr, savaged Bill Clinton, so his so called "unitary executive principle" is strictly for REPUBLICAN presidents only. Barr lied to Congress before, even to the point of the same "summarizing the principal conclusions" verbal prestidigitation.    

Luppe Luppen - What Has Bill Barr Done to Earn the Benefit of the Doubt? - Just Security   

Ryan Goodman - Barr’s Playbook: He Misled Congress When Omitting Parts of Justice Dep’t Memo in 1989 - Just Security

😎 Barr determined there was no conspiracy, so there couldn't have been any obstruction. By definition.

 Again, because Trump and campaign criminally obstructed, that made Mueller's job far more problematic. Barr provided cover later by saying it was OK for Trump to obstruct if he thought it was unfair, or was mad. Uh, no. That isn't even close to a thing, legally, he made it up out of whole cloth. If it were true, then the president would be above the law, a monarch, no matter what illegal things he did, he could just say it was unfair, or it made him angry. I imagine a president Al Capone, John Gotti or OJ Simpson would be very pleased with this contrived, made up excuse for their crimes, ability to obstruct investigations. Not as controversial, but far from consensus, Barr's no conspiracy, no obstruction mantra. By making up a gibberish defense for obstruction, and effectively disappearing THAT, he killed two birds with one stone, at the same time disappearing the obstruction. Pretty slick, like 3 Card Monty. 

9) Then acting AG Rod Rosenstein who appointed Mueller was non partisan. 

I would disagree and submit three pieces of evidence. Last first, RR said you can trust Barr before the Report was released, but AFTER Mueller complained to the DOJ (in a call he was listening in on) Barr had mischaracterized it. He lied, was an accomplice. Also, RR reportedly precluded Mueller from looking at Trump's personal finances because he didn't want the investigation to appear "biased", and it was in the weeds. That's an odd choice for someone who couldn't get an Australian casino license due to his mob ties. Despite a precedent where Bill Clinton's personal finances were investigated. And is there anything more cliche in espionage than bribery. Wouldn't you WANT to know if the most powerful man on Earth was under the thumb of a hostile foreign power? In fact, aren't there few things more important to know? Yet we still don't know (thanks to RR). But what informed conjecture suggests, if a closely linked to Putin oligarch/organized crime leader such as Deripaska or Firtash owns a significant part of Trump's hundreds of millions in Deutsche Bank loans, then they unambiguously own HIM. MASSIVE blind spot and potential vulnerability to Putin leverage. First point last, another KEY point (one of the most important overall in Trump's specious, spurious "exoneration") is that RR circumscribed Mueller to investigating only members of Russian GOVERNMENT. This was again an odd and truly bizarre restriction given that, a) CENTRAL players in the conspiracy such as Assange, Sater, Akhmetshin, Kilimnik, Torshin were, while not technically members of the Russian gov't, thinly veiled intermediaries for Russian Intelligence Services, and b) that is PRECISELY why Putin uses fronts, cutouts, for the barely semi-plausible deniability they afford. By RR doing this, it was almost equivalent to allowing Trump to reframe what happened between the campaign and Russia, drag away from the crime scene the murdered corpse of the 2016 election, hide it somewhere else in plain sight, then berate the homicide detectives for not having a body. 

10) Trump couldn't have committed treason. We weren't at war with Russia. 

Seems straightforward on the surface. Where it could get a little more complicated is how you define war. Now more than ever, we can see how information warfare can be not just harmful, but deadly. There have been estimates that hundreds of thousands of American lives could have been saved without such a monumentally bungling, incompetent, deceptive, psycho killer-y response. There have been times when literally the only people in the world that were spewing Kremlin friendly propaganda (about, say Montenegro starting WW III!) were Trump and... the Kremlin. There is a point in which, if Trump's propaganda and disinformation if so often aligned with hostile foreign power Russia in this information war, it would be like if a blue and red army are facing against each other, and there is a solo orange agent who is encamped with the hostile foreign power red army, and frequently takes shots at the blue army, that he fully deserves hostile status. America has the greatest armed forces in the world, and we have rightly and understandably focused on preparing for EXTERNAL hostiles, clearly we were unprepared with how to deal with INTERNAL hostiles. Is what he did illegal? Honestly not sure, maybe not, but all that means is it should be. We should broaden and redefine *WAR* to include, account for new realities of Active Measures. 

Another possible lens with which to view these matters for Russia sceptics. Let's just say we went back in time, before the election, didn't even know Trump was running, the winner (candidates even) was a black box to us, BUT we could have knowledge of some of the events that transpired in the four years from 2017 - 2021, such as the following: baselessly repeating US elections are "rigged" if he loses (but not if he wins!), undermining trust in one of the most important democratic institutions, refusing to say whether he would concede if he lost or commit to a peaceful transition of power (sound familiar?), would say in Helsinki he believed the Kremlin over our intel services, in the wake of that laughably proposing a "joint cyber mission" with Russia, seriously considered handing over former Obama-era Russian ambo McFaul and Magnitsky Act architect to Putin (presumably to be tortured, murdered?), routinely incited violence at Nazi-like rallies (punch him, they used to go out in stretchers, I'll pay your legal bills), cover up the torture, dismemberment murder of a WaPo journalist (would he have been so cavalier about defense spending it if happened to Axe Murderer Barbie or Hannity?), massive damage to foreign relations posture by sucking up to murderous thug dictators (said "We fell in love" about a monster who tortured Otto Warmbier to the point of brain death) and savaging our natural allies, and pathologically lying about losing the 2020 election, culminating in a deadly insurrection... would we conclude on that basis that Putin would be very pleased with the outcome, and for our purposes, it wouldn't really matter if the mystery president was a willing accomplice or useful idiot? Most of you already know the answer.

* The two best threads I saw on why the FBI would have been crazy to NOT investigate Trump campaign's myriad Russian connections, were by former FBI agent and NatSec analyst Clint Watts (google twitter + Regarding this NYT story from this weekend, 1/13/19) and historian of authoritarianism Tim Snyder (google twitter + Why we do think that Mr. Trump owes a debt to Mr. Putin?, 4/14/19), approximately 40 and 50 tweets, respectively.

Two final examples of the kind of crazy making you get from Trump and his enablers. 

Trump whined, blubbered the FBI should have stopped the campaign if anything they did was criminal. The FBI DID warn him about the threat of being approached by bad actors, and to let them know if approached, so he was being doubly disingenuous and deceptive by pretending he wasn't warned, and failing to note he did it it anyway and kept secret. He then sealed his disingenuousness during an interview with George S. in which he admitted, AFTER being warned and told it was wrong, that he would still do it AGAIN ("I think you do").

The Fox husband wife legal team DiGenova and Toensig shrieking repeatedly NO RUSSIAN COLLUSION, while conspiring with Russian gangster oligarch Firtash, disgraced smear artist Giuliani, Jon Solomon to get dirt on Biden. That's like if Hannity was conducting an interview with a bank manager after a bank robbery, then after hearing the getaway car wheels squealing around the corner, WHILE on camera, interrupting the interview, running to a nearby bush where some bags of money were hidden, running to the car, tossing them into the open, awaiting window, then running back to resume the interview as if nothing had happened. Fox is expert at delivering dumb lies, for dumb people, by dumb people.                              


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