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May 18, 2017

Democrats and NeverTrumpers Worry: What If There's No Scandal for the FBI to Find, After We've Staked What Remains of Our Credibility on Suggesting There are High Crimes in Play?


Bluffed called, assholes.

Eli Lake is right: The DOJ's appointment of widely-respected former prosecutor Robert Mueller to lead the special inquiry into the Trump campaign's potential collusion with Russia is a reprieve for a Trump Administration in crisis--a reprieve that it will almost certainly squander, but a reprieve nonetheless.

How do we know? Because the responses from Trumpís most dogged critics on the Russia question betray a kind of anxiety about the Mueller appointment--an anxiety that the no-nonsense law enforcement wise man will lower the temperature in Washington without actually uncovering enough damaging material to bring down the President.

Take, for example, Josh Marshall declaring that while he has confidence in Mueller to identify and expose any criminal activities undertaken by Trump or his associates, he wonít be able to prosecute the real Trump-Russia wrongdoing: a labyrinthian "conspiracy" which may not even involve any illegal behavior.

It is critical to understand that the most important details we need to know about the Russian disruption campaign and the Trump campaignís possible collusion with it may not be crimes. Indeed, I would say that the crimes weíre likely to discover will likely be incidental or secondary to the broader actions and activities we're trying to uncover. Just hypothetically, what if Russia had a disruption campaign, Trump campaign officials gave winks and nods to nudge it forward but violated no laws? Thatís hard to figure but by no means impossible. (Our criminal laws are not really designed for this set of facts.)...

And hereís David Frum in the Atlantic making a similar objection:

The special counsel will investigate whether people in the Trump campaign violated any laws when they gleefully leveraged the fruits of Russian espionage to advance their campaign.

By contrast, what happened in plain sight --cheering rather than condemning a Russian attack on American democracy--will be treated as a non-issue, because it was not criminal, merely anti-democratic and disloyal.

Since the summer before the election, Trump's critics have been suggesting or sometimes stating outright that Russia is involved with a criminal conspiracy that reaches to the highest levels of Trumpís inner circle. But now that an unimpeachable bulldog prosecutor has been named to probe these very allegations, the critics seem to be trying to move the goalposts, saying that the real problem isn't criminality, but the sleaze and outlandish behavior of the Trump campaign more generally...

Indeed. One question I keep asking -- and which I encourage people to ask of these assholes -- is this: "What specific crime, including what specific acts, are you accusing Trump of?"

Note that in Hillary's case, critics were quite specific about what crimes she had committed: She violated the Espionage Act by transferring classified information to non-authorized users. She also set up this system precisely to avoid her FOIA obligations -- repeatedly telling people there were no responsive documents, when she was deliberately not searching for such documents on the secret serve she knew they were on.

I don't know if that last one is a crime, but I can definitely make that specific description of the bad conduct I'm alleging.

What similar specifics can these assholes offer re: Trump? They keep citing "contacts" -- but it's not a crime to have a "contact" with anybody. Literally, there is no person in the world, not even Osama bin Ladin's Satan-raped ghost, that it's illegal to have a "contact" with.

They also use the very vague word "collusion" to mask the fact they have no idea what Trump and Putin "colluded" about, or how. What quid pro quo are they alleging? How was this contract formed? Who negotiated this contract?

They have no idea, because they don't even really believe such a thing happened.

If they really believed such things happened, they would specifically say "Trump Aide X, with Trump's knowledge and permission, negotiated to trade American policy Y to Russia in exchange for Russian act Z."

They don't ever say that, because this is all bullshit. They just keep talking about the non-crime "contacts" and the deliberately vague, purposefully elusive word "collusion."

digg this
posted by Ace at 06:15 PM

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