FBI Is Examining Possible Coordination with Russia, Not Collusion

Jim Comey’s statement confirming an investigation including the Trump campaign on Monday said the following:

I have been authorized by the Department of Justice to confirm that the FBI, as part of our counterintelligence mission, is investigating the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election, and that includes investigating the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia’s efforts. As with any counterintelligence investigation, this will also include an assessment of whether any crimes were committed. [my emphasis]

In spite of that careful, pre-approved word choice, “coordination,” members of Congress in the hearing, as well as the press both before and after the hearing, have used the term “collusion.”

But Comey made it clear much later in the hearing that the term coordination was deliberate. Mike Quigley asked for more details about how the FBI might find collusion with a foreign power. Comey corrected him, stating that he was investigating whether there had been coordination.

Collusion is not a legal term. It is not one I have used today. I said we are investigating to see if there is any coordination between people associated with the campaign–

I think — though the lawyers should correct me if I’m wrong — this suggests the FBI is thinking in terms of conspiracy.

That, along with Comey’s focus on knowing coordination, may put things like Roger Stone’s interactions in the limelight — though the case that Guccifer 2.0 is a Russian cut-out is and always has been one of the weakest parts of the public case against Russia, and even top intelligence community people stop short of calling Wikileaks a Russian cut-out (meaning Stone would be able to deny knowingly working with Russians).

It does, however, put the events surrounding the release of Podesta’s emails on October 7 in interesting light, though the lefty case on that is neither the best case for that period, nor does it account for all the details that would be of interest.

9 replies
  1. Charles says:

    IANAL, but: collusion implies contact between parties. Coordination can occur without contact. It is difficult to prove.

    As I mentioned in a previous thread, the goal of investigating this matter is to determine the truth. If the charges of interaction between the Trump campaign and any foreign power are proven in the public’s mind, the immediate results are political. Trump’s ability to influence events is reduced and Republicans are exposed to losses in the elections.

    But a pretty high threshold of proof has to be reached before legal consequences start reaching Trump’s inner circle. Manafort does look like he’s potentially in trouble, as does Flynn.  The White House has already thrown them under the bus. Pretty soon, Sean Spicer will be denying he’s heard their names.  Unless those two flip, it’s hard to go up the chain to other members of the Administration. Unless, of course, the NSA obliges, which seems doubtful. It would take a lot of computer and human resources, not to mention a lot of luck to track the path by which information was exfiltrated from the DNC.


    And impeachment? Unless a video of Vladimir Putin handing Trump a stack of hundred dollar bills, it’s inconceivable in a Republican Congress.


    Unfortunately, I think the political system is incapable of dealing with Trump. This man is very corrupt. He should never have gotten near the White House. Now that he is there, and controls all sorts of levers, he can doubtless stall any serious investigation for a very long time. And in the meantime,  as benefits are cut and wealth concentrates even further, public confidence in institutions is headed for the cellar. I suspect that the mismatch between Trump and the needs of the people for functional government can only get resolved in one of two ways: by outright seizure of power and repression or by a general strike which brings down the economy and threatens concentrated wealth in a existential way.


    This is a tragedy. Let’s hope that the legal and political system can function to resolve it in a better way. It really should be beyond ideology that we don’t allow people with Mafia connections, who have swindled customers and workers, and who have been the beneficiaries of enormous sweetheart deals to be in high office.

    • J2 says:

      Now who could be more emblematic of “beneficiaries of enormous of sweetheart deals” than the Clintons.

      All those millions for all those prepaid promises – flushed.

    • Evangelista says:



      You suggest:  “It really should be beyond ideology that we don’t allow people with Mafia connections, who have swindled customers and workers, and who have been the beneficiaries of enormous sweetheart deals to be in high office.”

      Considering that Israel is a ‘mafia’ state, and controls the government of the current United States through ‘mafia’ methods, benefiting, with United States operatives and politicians, through, among other ways, legalizing loan-sharking (payday lending) gambling (lotteries, casinos, Wall Street, the stock market) grifting (‘legalized’ Ponzi investment schemes, CDO multiplexing, and CDS ‘debt-swap’ insurance fraud and pension fund investment-pool scam bilking) and shake-downs (required, against penalties, insurance purchasing, e.g., auto liability and Obama Care insurance purchase coercions), and that all of these means involve ‘customer’ and ‘worker’, as well as employer, swindling, and that all ‘for-value-received’ political contributions are ‘sweetheart deals’ for the ‘beneficiaries’ contributing (and the politicians repaying, and being repaid, often with cushy future, and family member, employments, investment opportunities, etc.), what you are suggesting is that the entire current United States government system should be turned out of, and not allowed back into, ‘high office’.

      I agree with you that we should chuck this whole corrupt government out and emplace means to prevent them re-polluting the resulting cleansed government environment.


  2. maybe ryan says:

    What to make of the National Enquirer article?

    White House sources say Trump “caught a Russian spy in the White House” with photos suggesting they’re talking about Flynn.

    Yes, it’s the Enquirer.  But it seems unlikely the Enquirer would publish this unless it was a message Trump wanted out.

    And it seems unlikely any sane adult would have told Trump this was a wise move.  Can you imagine when he brought it to Bannon? And Bannon said it was so batshit that he wouldn’t even pitch it to Breitbart for him.

    So Trump went rogue again and pitched to his friend the N.E. publisher on his own.

    But now that Trump has truly jettisoned Flynn, it seems about 1,000% more likely that Flynn will talk.

    • PeasantParty says:

      I hope Flynn does talk.  I hope he spills the beans, and calls in Denny Craine for the Legal maneuvers.   I hope he also tells all about the crazies pushing for war with China, Russia, Iran, and every other country that is not currently controlled, or under occupation of the US military, Intell Agencies, or Banksters.


  3. Jwright says:

    I don’t think Flynn will flip any more than Ollie North did. In his circle, talking can take years off one’s life expectancy.

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