After Mueller: An Off-Ramp on Russia for the Venal Fucks

We don’t know what the Mueller report says, though given William Barr’s promise to brief the Judiciary Committee leaders this weekend and follow it with a public summary, it’s not likely to be that damning to Trump. But I can think of five mutually non-exclusive possibilities for the report:

  • Mueller ultimately found there was little fire behind the considerable amounts of smoke generated by Trump’s paranoia
  • The report will be very damning — showing a great deal of corruption — which nevertheless doesn’t amount to criminal behavior
  • Evidence that Manafort and Stone conspired with Russia to affect the election, but Mueller decided not to prosecute conspiracy itself because they’re both on the hook for the same prison sentence a conspiracy would net anyway, with far less evidentiary exposure
  • There’s evidence that others entered into a conspiracy with Russia to affect the election, but that couldn’t be charged because of evidentiary reasons that include classification concerns and presidential prerogatives over foreign policy, pardons, and firing employees
  • Mueller found strong evidence of a conspiracy with Russia, but Corsi, Manafort, and Stone’s lies (and Trump’s limited cooperation) prevented charging it

As many people have pointed out, this doesn’t mean Trump and his kin are out of jeopardy. This NYT piece summarizes a breathtaking number of known investigations, spanning at least four US Attorneys offices plus New York state, but I believe even it is not comprehensive.

All that said, we can anticipate a great deal of what the Mueller report will say by unpacking the lies Trump’s aides told to hide various ties to Russia: The report will show:

  • Trump pursued a ridiculously lucrative $300 million real estate deal even though the deal would use sanctioned banks, involve a former GRU officer as a broker, and require Putin’s personal involvement at least through July 2016.
  • The Russians chose to alert the campaign that they planned to dump Hillary emails, again packaging it with the promise of a meeting with Putin.
  • After the Russians had offered those emails and at a time when the family was pursuing that $300 million real estate deal, Don Jr took a meeting offering dirt on Hillary Clinton as “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.” At the end (per the sworn testimony of four people at the meeting) he said his father would revisit Magnitsky sanctions relief if he won. Contrary to the claim made in a statement authored by Trump, there was some effort to follow up on Jr’s assurances after the election.
  • The campaign asked rat-fucker Roger Stone to optimize the WikiLeaks releases and according to Jerome Corsi he had some success doing so.
  • In what Andrew Weissmann called a win-win (presumably meaning it could help Trump’s campaign or lead to a future business gig for him), Manafort provided Konstantin Kilimnik with polling data that got shared with Ukrainian and Russian oligarchs. At the same meeting, he discussed a “peace” plan for Ukraine that would amount to sanctions relief.
  • Trump undercut Obama’s response to the Russian hacks in December 2016, in part because he believed retaliation for the hacks devalued his victory. Either for that reason, to pay off Russia, and/or to pursue his preferred policy, Trump tried to mitigate any sanctions, an attempt that has (with the notable exception of those targeting Oleg Deripaska) been thwarted by Congress.

We know all of these things — save the Stone optimization detail, which will be litigated at trial unless Trump pardons him first — to be true, either because Trump’s aides and others have already sworn they are true, and/or because we’ve seen documentary evidence proving it.

That’s a great deal of evidence of a quid pro quo — of Trump trading campaign assistance for sanctions relief. All the reasons above may explain why Mueller didn’t charge it, with the added important detail that Trump has long been a fan of Putin. Trump ran openly on sanctions relief and Presidents get broad authority to set their own foreign policy, and that may be why all this coziness didn’t amount to criminal behavior: because a majority of the electoral college voted (with Russia’s involvement) to support those policies.

Whatever reason this didn’t get charged as a crime (it may well have been for several involved, including Trump), several things are clear.

First, consider all this from the perspective of Russia: over and over, they exploited Trump’s epic narcissism and venality. Particularly with regards to the Trump Tower deal, they did so in a way that would be especially damaging, particularly given that even while a former GRU officer was brokering the deal, the GRU was hacking Trump’s opponent. They often did so in ways that would be readily discovered, once the FBI decided to check Kilimnik’s Gmail account. Russia did this in ways that would make it especially difficult for Trump to come clean about it, even if he were an upstanding honest person.

Partly as a result, partly because he’s a narcissist who wanted to deny that he had illicit help to win, and partly because he’s a compulsive liar, Trump and his aides all lied about what they’ve now sworn to be true. Over and over again.

And that raised the stakes of the Russian investigation, which in turn further polarized the country.

As I noted here, that only added to the value of Russia’s intervention. Not only did Trump’s defensiveness make him prefer what Putin told him to what American Russian experts and his intelligence community would tell him, but he set about destroying the FBI in an effort to deny the facts that his aides ultimately swore were true. Sure, Russia hasn’t gotten its sanctions relief, yet. But it has gotten the President himself to attack the American justice system, something Putin loves to do.

We don’t know what the Mueller report will say about Trump’s role in all this, and how that will affect the rest of his presidency. We do know he remains under investigation for his cheating (as an unindicted co-conspirator in the ongoing hush money investigation) and his venality (in the inauguration investigation, at a minimum).

We do know, however, that whatever is in that report is what Mueller wants in it; none of the (Acting) Attorneys General supervising him thwarted his work, though Trump’s refusal to be interviewed may have.

But we also know that Russia succeeded wildly with its attack in 2016 and since.

Democrats and Republicans are going to continue being at each other’s throats over Trump’s policies and judges. Trump will continue to be a venal narcissist who obstructs legitimate oversight into his mismanagement of government.

Both sides, however, would do well to take this report — whatever it says — as the final word on this part of the Russian attack in 2016, and set about protecting the country from the next attack it will launch.

An unbelievable swath of this country — including the denialists who say all those things that Trump’s own aides swore to doesn’t amount to evidence of wrongdoing — have chosen for tribal reasons (and sometimes venal ones) to side with kleptocratic Russians over the protection of America. Now that the report is done, it’s time to focus on protecting the United States again.

As I disclosed last July, I provided information to the FBI on issues related to the Mueller investigation, so I’m going to include disclosure statements on Mueller investigation posts from here on out. I will include the disclosure whether or not the stuff I shared with the FBI pertains to the subject of the post. 

281 replies
    • Colonel Alexsay Potemkin says:

      Dear me, that certainly can’t be very pleasant.

      Of course from my perspective, it’s time to party like its August 1944 and the incomparable Marshall Konstantin Rokossovsky has just smashed Army Group Center.

      Still, if there is one thing Russians are good at, it is understanding those who find themselves stranded on the wrong side of history.

      This is for all those suffering Russiagate true believers

    • apotropaic says:

      I can’t get over no subpoena of Trump himself. Not only that but the lack of Supreme Court involvement in general on such a big issue makes me feel like punches were pulled.

      If Trump was a target. Then I suppose policy says you don’t put him in front of the grand jury, but this is not a normal case. If you’re not allowed to indict or subpoena, what is left?

      And now they may say we can’t hear anything because you can’t talk about declinations to indict?

      Ok, more optimistically, maybe Barr actually would like to go into the books a hero instead of a knave.

      • P J Evans says:

        I’d be much more surprised if there was a subpoena for Tr*mp. He’d be a target, and they know he can’t tell the truth even under oath. Hell, he can’t even tell the same story two minutes running.

      • jcrit says:

        I can see the case being made that SCOTUS has been AWOL at least since the gov’t shutdown, and is responsible for guidance for its officers. I just wonder, mind you, how much of the Report content was left out, thanks to the Court’s guidance. In a functional government, the Mueller Report would now officially be on the ToDoToday list of the Court. What else is left to see except whether the Chief Justice will start barking out orders demanding Justice American-style, or join the Republican senatorial freedom-from-nothing caucus.

  1. Leu2500 says:

    I’m the least upset about Trump not being interviewed by Mueller’s team. Even an incompetent lawyer knows that you can’t let Trump be interviewed. Just look at everything he has said about the Stormy Daniels hush money. Let your client do that same sort of thing to the FBI/DoJ investigators? Don’t think so.

      • av says:

        “I kind of wanted him to be forced into taking the 5th”.
        I wonder what would they have said and done if he would have declared he was taking the 4th.

      • orionATL says:

        why not plead the 25th and get back to what he really enjoys – driving his jag around the city.

      • anaphoristand says:

        Not only did I want him to be forced into taking the 5th, I think Mueller does a disservice to DOJ precedent vis-a-vis investigations of the Executive in not fighting for an interview. I simply don’t understand the procedural decision to get the investigation to this point, and then not have that court battle. It shouldn’t preclude any of what will need to occur from this point forward within various arms of DOJ, but allowing the levels of non-cooperation offered by this WH to set a future-facing standard seems short-sighted.

  2. randal m sexton says:

    So many details needed to tie together the bits and pieces. The role of Cambridge Analytica, and the Facebook/Twitter manipulation campaign, and how that was coordinated- will that come out ever ?

    • orionATL says:

      read the guardian, especially ace reporter carol cadwalladr. they (and she edpecially) have been covering this like the dew covers dixie. just this week another fine article.

      • bjet says:

        Brittany Kaiser (Cambridge Analytica) was the Mueller Team’s last subpoena (that I know of -made public), not even a month ago.

  3. DennisA says:

    Print and post this blog on every telephone pole and every high school current events website in the country.

    • Democritus says:

      Don’t joke. That is something people can do to fight back. If Russian trolls can, why can’t we?

  4. orionATL says:

    now that the embers are dying and the smoke has cleared on the pursuit of the trump-putin deal, e.w. has brought us back to the underlying reality of that deal (and of trump’s autocratic fantasies and admiration for putin, orban, duturte, et al) whch is a threat to the economic and military power of this nation and its european allies and alliances. these are very serious matters that need the attention of the entirety of the nation’s leadership.

    standing yet further behind these is an impending economic and military challenge from autocratic china that will lastt gor decades (or until china breaks upin revolt). we cannot afford to be weakened by a profoundly ignorant, pathologically self-serving, politically incompetent president cooperatively engaging with clever russian generals and presidential kgb operatives to our nation’s long-term national security harm.

        • P J Evans says:

          They still can’t get a working version of the “Do What I Mean” (DWIM) subroutine. They’ve been trying to get it working for decades.

      • Democritus says:

        Dont worry about it, what you meant is clear and that is the primary purpose of communication. I speak as someone who used to be a perfectionist with that stuff who had to let it go when my hands went to crap😊

        Oh man, I’m glad I double checked, my typos this time changed the first two words to “Do worry” which, yikes!

  5. General Sternwood says:

    >have chosen for tribal reasons (and sometimes venal ones) to side with kleptocratic Russians over the protection of America

    This is exactly the problem: over the period of the investigation, the 30-40% of the country that are hardcore Trump supporters have been transformed into Russian intervention denialists. It is doubtful that many of them, after the White House’s triumphal claims of exoneration, will be persuaded by the content of the report, and so they will mostly resist the kind of protective measures you describe, just as they resist measures to address climate change. As long as the Mueller investigation was going on, it was possible to hold out the hope that the root of their denialism might be undermined. While there are many investigations still going on, it is harder to imagine them producing a broad shift in opinion, so I worry that we are stuck with this situation for quite a while longer.

    • klynn says:

      I’m not sure the words “Russian intervention denialists” are the best description. I’ve met T believers who have said, “I rather have a GOP president who got into office by cheating with the Russians than a Dem elected with a clean vote” Not even realizing their vision is a violation of the Constitution.

      • P J Evans says:

        I’ve seen pics of some wearing shirts that say “Better Red than” – but I can’t remember if the last word was “Dead” or “Dem”. Their sentiment was pretty clear though.

        • Tom says:

          If you check out the Snopes website, you’ll see a photo of two men at a Trump rally wearing t-shirts that say “I’d rather be a Russian than a Democrat”. Maybe it’s time for Hollywood to do another remake of that movie “Red Dawn”, except this time the storyline would take place a few years in the future and the plot would centre around a Russian attempt to take the next step after the 2016 election hacking by invading the U.S. (maybe by way of the Bering Strait?) in order to provoke an armed insurgency among Americans and tear the country apart with a new civil war. The Russians would be assisted by a compromised U.S. President, abetted by his party cronies, who would reassure the people that they had nothing to worry about and that the Russians were just here to help restore order. An AOC-type figure would arise to thwart the Russians’ fiendish plans and lead the American people against the invaders. Just an idea, but maybe it would be a partial corrective to some folks’ warm and fuzzy feelings about the current gang in the Kremlin.

        • e.a.f. says:

          Don’t give them any ideas would you. Invading Alaska means they’ll use Canada to get to the rest of the U.S.A. Let them just invade the U.S.A. via New York, the usual style.

          The Republicans would most likely have a slogan like, better dead than Obama Care.

          The t-shirts might be thought humorous by some, however it is reflective of how divided the U.S.A. is. A two party system simply hasn’t worked in more modern times. The parties have had to be too inclusive of groups the founders of these parties never had in mind to join. In Canada we have the federal Conservative Party, the federal Liberal Party, to the left of the Conservative Party, but still centre; New Democratic Party–a tad left of the Liberals; the Green Party–focusing in on environmental issues but has taken stands on international matters such as Israel and Palestine–further left than the NDP. The newest party, in the past 12 months, the People’s Party of Canada which is right of the traditional Conservative Party and where our racist, anti immigrant citizens will gather. My point is, had the American political system had more parties, the country might not be in the mess it is today. American politics are very polarizing and its simply ground to a halt.

          I’m sure the Russians would want the wealth of the U.S.A., but at another level they know the wealth will be gone instantly leaving behind a country looking much more like there own. Expect for a better climate than Russia, what really would they want with the U.S.A. in that condition. it might also simply encourage some of these gun rights idiots to stock more guns.

          It isn’t Russia or the Trumps who ruined the U.S.A., it the corporate system, the money, and the voters who did this to America. Its a shame. The country did have potential.

      • Tim says:

        They realize it. They are fine with it. When a sitting Congressman retweets a bit about one side “having 3 trillion bullets” they are not supporting democracy anymore. So minor help from a friendly fascist regime is nothing.

      • TheraP says:

        They probably didn’t know it either. And that’s enabled them to connect up more and magnify their MAGA unpatriotism all the more. :-(

      • Doug R says:

        “Strongly support” tends to be 23%, which is close to what you get with 87% of 31%.
        Way more than I’d like, but we do outnumber them.

    • Molly Pitcher says:

      General Sternwood, I am in complete agreement with you. It is the ‘where do we go from here’ part that keeps me from sleeping at night.

      I am repulsed by the Electoral College President and have been for many years. In the midst of an East Coast college tour with my children years ago, I took them by the ECP’s eponymous building to laugh at the gaucheness. Low and behold, who appears sauntering thru but himself and his, then new girlfriend, now wife. Oh, hahaha, how trite. Creepy, self-important old man with bought and paid for ‘model’ girlfriend. I knew what we were in for with him.

      What I have been shocked by, what I cannot come to grips with, is that 30-40% of the electorate who have no understanding of nor respect for the Constitution. They wrap themselves in the flag while defecating on all that it represents.

      How did so many of us become so afraid? The 30-40% are afraid of science, education based in fact, the success of others, people who don’t look like them or who come from somewhere else. They are afraid of the possibilities of the future. When did we become such cowards?

      I have felt for a long time that things were better when the Soviet Union existed, because it gave these frightened 30-40% a bogeyman to obsess over. It gave them an ‘us against them’ that was a simple concept to deal with. With the end of the Soviet Union, we have turned against ourselves. I wish I could see a path forward that felt more promising.

      Here ends the diatribe.

        • klynn says:

          I would have to look at data to conclude the effective ess of his high level framing against maskirovka.

        • Rayne says:

          The biggest challenge is social media. Facebook in particular must be changed — it allows access to every individual in an incredibly intimate fashion. Lakoff’s work hasn’t the reach to shape attitudes at scale; I doubt there will be data. But he understands how Trump uses/has been used in concert with social media, and we need to break that loop.

        • dimmsdale says:

          I’m going to suggest that Lakoff might respond that his framing techniques haven’t been adopted universally enough for there to BE data. If I may, I’ll add a link here to an interview he did with Robert Reich that will be clearer than anything I would say further. (Apologies if I screw up the link….after all Rayne’s lectures about bad links you’d think I know how to fix it by now. sorry!)

        • dimmsdale says:

          Thanks for mentioning Lakoff, Rayne. What I’ve read of his theories makes everything we’re going through with the persistent 30% completely understandable, right down to the way T (and r’s in general) are able, repeatedly, to capture the 30% on an identity level; I think the kind of progressive messaging Lakoff advocates has been too often ignored and untried. (To our detriment.)

        • Rayne says:

          Lakoff is a good start. I think it’s equally important to read Bob Altemeyer’s work on authoritarian personalities. The 25-30% of Americans who stubbornly cling to Trump are authoritarians, the percentage nearly matching Altemeyer’s figures. It’s not enough to understand them and reframe per Lakoff. A wholly new authority must be constructed to undermine their perception of who their authority figures are.

          Trump’s +13 year reality TV stint as a manufactured boss figure is difficult to overcome because he was invited into American’s homes every week, portrayed as effective and well meaning. It’s this Potemkin village of a persona which must be supplanted at the same time negative messages must be battled with better frames in social media.

        • P J Evans says:

          Some of us didn’t bite because we don’t watch TV, especially “unreality TV” like Tr*mp’s crap or Fox “News”. (I don’t even have a TV. It really throws the cable-connection sales guys.)

        • Democritus says:

          Any other suggested reading?

          I think if read around the edges of these topics and thought a lot about it, but I haven’t read these and really didn’t know where to start. (I worry about buying and reading some bs and not realizing it until later)

          Any other suggestions on that or topics the Cambridge Anylitica story is just, yikes.

          Now these people have detailed profiles from social media and all the fun pop quizzes that they are using to shape narratives and manipulate people.

          Are we in the dystopian future already?

          I wonder why groups like move on don’t try to start a twitter truth squad or something along those lines? Something to combat it, and to start making the general population realize they are NOT helpless

          Yes the GOP will yell, but they do anyway.

        • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

          John Dean’s “Conservatives Without Conscience” is a combination of his own experience, plus learning a great deal from Robert Altmeyer (a social psychologist).
          It’s a tremendous book; I’ve never parted with my hard copy.

          Also, more recently, Jonathon Haidt’s “The Righteous Mind” is also well worth a read. It’s on my re-read list, it’s that relevant.

        • harpie says:

          Here’s an article by John Dean, author of Conservative’s Without Conscience from July 2017, [with links]:
          Altemeyer on Trump’s Supporters 7 JUL 2017 JOHN DEAN […]
          [quote] […] Authoritarians do remain a minority, but with non-voters and anti-Hillary Clinton voters, Trump pulled off a historic upset. It appears his core supporters remain faithful—regardless of what he does or doesn’t do. So, I asked Bob Altemeyer, what if anything would get through to the Trump supporters, given the fact Trump has shown himself, so far, totally incompetent as President of the United States. Set forth below in italics is material from Bob, who is now enjoying his retirement. [..] [end quote]
          wrt: “with non-voters and anti-Hillary Clinton voters, Trump pulled off a historic upset.”—Manafort and his polling data; Cambridge Analytica, Facebook, Guccifer 2.0, etc…
          CONFRAUD on US

        • harpie says:

          Also, Bob Altemeyer from 8/23/18:
          Why Do Trump’s Supporters Stand by Him, No Matter What?
          The paragraph that begins:
          [quote] […] In another sense, however, the fidelity of Trump’s base remains astounding. He has made so many unforced errors because of his lack of understanding and low problem-solving intelligence, [….] [end quote]
          is REALLY something!

        • harpie says:

          This sounds like a pretty good description of Roger Stone:
          [quote] […] The very sizeable number of authoritarian followers in the United States have, in my view, joined together three times in recent history to endanger our democracy. They supported the war in Vietnam as it tore the country apart long after it was clearly lost. They supported Richard Nixon to the very end of Watergate and beyond. They will support Donald Trump long after it becomes indisputable that he is a felon and should be removed from office. […] [end quote]

        • Rayne says:

          I don’t think Stone is an authoritarian. Look at his entire life — he’s only followed his own rules. He’s an opportunist who can’t create a following on his own merits, only the merits of what he does for bigger personalities. In some ways this makes him far more dangerous than a predictable authoritarian soldat.

        • Rayne says:

          “Look at me! No? Well, look at my Nixon tattoo!” That (yuck-shudder). Not an authoritarian. Just needy and greedy. And now the authoritarians in the GOP believe Stone would do anything and EVERYTHING for the GOP because look at how dedicated he is.

          (I have Gary Oldman’s performance echoing in my head, substituting EVERYTHING! for EVERYONE!)

      • General Sternwood says:

        Ha! The time I saw Trump Tower was on a college tour with my daughter. By that time he was president* and so it had barricades in front of it, but it still stood out as garish and faux, with the same louche appeal that he projects in his Filene’s Basement Nuremberg rallies.

        Tom: The alternative future plot would of course involve the Trump movement, after being partly discredited in 2020, morphing into an explicitly pro-Russian White Nationalist party functioning like Hamas. It becomes a broker that trades its influence in elections to the two major parties for advancing an anti-progressive domestic agenda and a pro-Russia foreign policy. Which I’ve always suspected was Steve Bannon’s wet dream.

      • e.a.f. says:

        The problem as I see it is they let Texas decide what text books the school system would use.

        There has never been an equitable education in the U.S.A. and hence we see the results today. Just because you can read and write doesn’t make you educated.

    • Katherine M Williams says:

      Why is this country at the mercy of a minority, and a stupid minority at that? I’m not talking the 1%, but about the 18%-40% who chose “belief” over factual knowledge, who adore the con-man even as he steals everything they own from him. Why is their opinion more important than the 69%-75% of Americans who are horrified and terrified by Trump and the GOP, who watch in despair as our country is ripped apart and stomped into the mud.

      I really don’t understand. Is it that the DOJ, including Mueller, is also a tribal republican entity? Do they fear the Fox/MSM boogyman of the “baby killing liberal” so much they’d rather allow Russia to destroy our country while China ascends to most powerful World Leader?

      God, I am so depressed. Its like Fitzmass all over again. Remember Cheney & Rove outed an important CIA agent, one who was protecting the world from loose nuclear bombs? And they’re still free when they should both should be rotting in prison. Now all we can to is yakyakyak as Trump/GOP/Putin ruin us and Europe.

    • bjet says:

      “just as they resist measures to address climate change”

      Good time to reflect on the probability that Putin was more invested in putting that minority in power for that specific reason, or at least equally desperate to do so for that specific reason.

  6. pseudonymous in nc says:

    “we also know that Russia succeeded wildly with its attack in 2016 and since.”

    The extent of that is the big unknown for me. It’s clear that the IRA and GRU speaking indictments had areas where the narrative was deliberately terse. Was that because the evidence ran thin, because it veered into counterintelligence territory, or something else? It may not fit the format of the mandated report — prosecution or declination — but Rosenstein’s appointment letter made clear that the investigation was primarily of the “Russian govemment’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.”

    In short, King Idiot may be most nervous about what Mueller has discovered about Putin’s role. Can’t claim executive privilege on that. Can’t easily call it a partisan witch hunt against Moscow. (He might try, I suppose.)

    • BobCon says:

      One thing I’d like to see clarified is how Mueller handled the split between the Russian government and private entities affiliated with the Russian government. I suspect that drawing a connection between the two may have been one of those areas where CI concerns popped up.

      Concord is one we know about, but I assume there were others, and we don’t know much about the issues that came up.

      I’d also love to know the extent to which investigating 2016 ran into ongoing CI investigations of election interference.

    • emptywheel says:

      Part of the reason I say Russia succeeded wildly is bc we’re all at each others’ throat.

      • Jonathan says:

        Are you suggesting that hasn’t been the whole purpose and point of domestic politics since day one? Madison loved him some divide-et-impera, you know.

      • Democritus says:

        Yes, which is enough reason to remind everyone that while it might feel great to demean the other side and write them off, that should not be the goal. Persuasion should be the goal, and one should never discount the intelligence of one opposition as I see far to many doing.

        I’d love to see some of the Dem candidate point out that if hostile nations are working so hard to divide us, isn’t that enough reason to try to reach out?

        • Democritus says:

          🧐And because I don’t want some jackass making crakes about illiteracy that “ to”should be “too”. I know the difference.

          Which I would have just ignored, but I wanted to also clarify that when I was saying I see far too many discounting the intelligence of the opposition, I did not mean here. I’m pretty new and I don’t want to start off by insulting everyone. Didn’t seem the best idea 😉

          Also, thank you Marcy again for all the hard work you do, and for having the bravery to actually put it out there. You are a true patriot imo, but I’ll leave it there so I don’t feel like I was sucking up or anything. But I admire your work and ethics. Rayne, Ed and bmaz too.

      • Bill Smith says:

        “Part of the reason I say Russia succeeded wildly is bc we’re all at each others’ throat.”

        Yeah, but some of that is our own fault.

        I wouldn’t be surprised if once the KGB knew the story had legs they worked at pumping it up in places they could. Take the Russian bot tracking stuff. if true, now that the Russians know there are groups tracking that stuff they may well act in ways bring it back into the headlines.

      • cinnawhee says:

        Just like in the UK with Brexit, where Putin’s operation redirected reasonable anger against austerity towards foreigners and the EU. And exacerbated the refugee crisis in Europe with Russian intervention in the Middle East. Parallels with “Build the Wall” and the caravan, and I’m worried about underlying motives for intervention in Venezuela.

        • e.a.f. says:

          Yes, but the Conservatives idea of “austerity” was to cut health care, education, and housing for the working class, at the lower end of the economic scale. Once that has been done, its easy to turn a country’s citizens and divide them.

          Then of course there still is the question of where all the money came from for the pro Brexit side…….Russia’s interests are to break up strong countries which oppose them. They’ve done a good job in G.B. and the U.S.A.

      • gorby says:

        “Part of the reason I say Russia succeeded wildly is bc we’re all at each others’ throat”

        So Russia caused the DNC/Dems to whip up mindless hysteria for 3 years? Very clever, those guys!

  7. JMNY says:

    So if “no collusion” is the ultimate outcome, does that mean Flynn’s cooperation, which possibly gets him zero jail time for a litany of serious crimes, was all about nothing? Did he really get a free pass just so Mueller could hit Stone and Manafort with mostly pardonable charges? Maybe the judge in Flynn’s case will throw the book at him, or not, but this whole scenario makes no sense to me. Wouldn’t he have needed to give up other, more serious crimes to get a sweetheart deal like that?

    • emptywheel says:

      Manafort’s breach discussion made it clear that Mueller was giving prosecutorial consideration for CI issues, as well as criminal ones, and I suspect that’s part of it.

      • JMNY says:

        That makes sense. Thank you for the clarification, and thank you for introducing the term “venal fucks” into my Trump/Russia lexicon :-)

  8. Tony Cincy says:

    Well, what we have here is a nice comprehensive analysis with a conclusion that many will reject—just what I am expecting about the Mueller report.

    The denialist deny because it is all so visceral, composed of core values. I’m new to this blog and perhaps it gets said all the time, but just in case it doesn’t—MAGA, Trump, the deplorables, the whole mess stems from the tribal realization that their white bread and white led country is being swept away from them by an inexorable brown tide. They must fight if they want their self-image to survive. Thus they will throw their lot in with anything that looks white, whether it’s Putin or Netanyahu or probably worse to come. This is a struggle that will last until mid-century. It’s much bigger than one blow hard Prez, or two parties. It’s survival. They reach for a life jacket from anyone, and they won’t cooperate with us—we are the enemy because we have thrown in our lot with all the colors and all the castes.

    I wish it weren’t so. But it is.

    • James says:

      Tony C – I think you’re right that race is a huge factor. But on the other hand, I know many people who are not racists, but who chose Trump in 2016, and still back him today, for one and only one reason – abortion. The tribal lines drawn between abortion supporters and abortion opponents is just as rigid and emotional as the lines drawn up around race. I think it was a huge factor in defining the Trump base in 2016, and still is today. And there doesn’t really seem to be any compromise position to resolve this divide.

      • hilumsa says:

        …only things that matter to most in the power:
        – no black man in white house
        – freehand to do whatever they like to nature and reap all they want
        – they can make all the money they want and not pay that much any restitutiton
        – chance of abortion ban
        – courts are packed to gills for the foreseeable future with like minded

        • P J Evans says:

          People who aren’t white male conservatives (and the “right kind” of Christian) get put back in their places, which are all powerless and some invisible.

      • Tony Cincy says:

        James, I can’t disagree with you—abortion is one of the great dividers here. I would say (although I have no real knowledge to back me up) that the anti-abortionists tend to be white bible thumpers, hard shell Christians and uneducated Catholics. So I think there is a strong racial component, but you are correct that it’s another way to slice and dice it.

        • HAROLD says:

          Abortion issue is a scam. We moved to San Antonio in 07′ went to a big white evangelical church.
          Made lots of close friends. Great people, highly educated,sincere, volunteered their time,money and were willing to listen and evolve their thinking through debate.
          EXCEPT when you walk them through the abortion issue, not even bothering to disagree with them just using their own argument. When it came to voting republican on the issue or excusing horrid republican policies that they had to admit were bad because you know, THEY weren’t racist,fire and brimstone. When it came to complicating their lives, like say for instance buying things made in China where they have a forced abortion policy and I show them an article of government officials hauling pregnant women away because it’s an unauthorized baby. YEAH BUT well that’s not where the spirit is leading me or I’m called to the fight here at home.
          BLACK MAN AS PRESIDENT leading by example. YEAH BUT, I don’t care if he’s black, it’s just that……fill in the blank excuse. YEAH BUT, He says he’s christian but I don’t know what’s in his heart.
          I had one guy who was Ivey leave educated Mensa IQ tell me Obama might be the antichrist? Like seriously,
          THE antichrist:)
          An actual orange incarnation of evil personified? I kid you not, Godly ordained to lead America!
          Needles to say, these have been lonely years for us here.
          Sorry for the rant

        • Mooser says:

          The Republicans decided it’s easier and more profitable to tear America to pieces and sell off the pieces rather than fulfill the promise (and laws and principles) of inclusion.

      • harpie says:

        How do you know those “many people” “are not racists”? Because they said so?
        The “line[s] between abortion supporters and abortion opponents” is a red herring.
        The line is between
        1] those who support a woman’s RIGHT to determine FOR herself what is right FOR herself, and
        2] those who do NOT support that RIGHT.
        …and, yes, there can be no compromise.

        • P J Evans says:

          A lot of them are racist – they see it as “white folks aren’t having enough children” – and many will never admit it. But they’re all male supremacists.

        • Liska Langdon says:

          I’ve had people tell me they were absolutely not racist but… were afraid of white genocode!! Little old ladies.. in fairly rural Arizona…

        • Eureka says:

          THANK. YOU. HARPIE.

          Note also that harpie’s delineation is consistent with commenter HAROLD’s experience above: the “anti-abortion” folks were ‘fine’ with (China’s) state-sponsored abortions. The common denominator: state control of women’s bodies.

      • Chetan Murthy says:

        I believe there’s been some study on this. Abortion was an issue chosen by segregationists because they needed one to enlarge their coalition. Originally Evangelicals didn’t care about abortion (I’m talking before the Civil Rights movement) but when they realized they were losing those battles, they signed-up for anti-abortion, in order to get Catholics on-side.

        I forget where I read this history, but it’s been written-up carefully at least a couple of times by different folks.

        It always comes back to race. Well, that, and keeping the wimminz down. But mostly race.

        • cinnawhee says:

          I read that too. Need to find that. It was an actual conscious selection of another topic to rally the religious vote after it was clear they had lost moral standing for opposition to civil rights. And Roe v Wade was not nearly as controversial until after this intentional re-alignment. Obviously many many true believers on this side of the argument, but there is pretty clear evidence of political weaponization.

          Also, Samantha Bee did an interesting episode on the history of the abortion fight that led me to look up sources

        • P J Evans says:

          Slacktivist (Fred Clark) did one on that change of views also, called “Younger than the Happy Meal”. He dates the change to the late 1970s.

        • Eureka says:

          For all in this thread: Here is one long twitter thread on these topics by the historian Heather Cox Richardson on Feb 5, 2019, with some outlinks and additional sources. Because it was written to address a disinfo campaign re: abortion, that is more the focus, though dovetails with racism are addressed in the thread and replies (indeed the whole history of Movement Conservatism depends upon it, as was addressed here). It’s worth the click for accompanying images/article cards, besides the whole text:

          Heather Cox Richardson: “The recent disinformation campaign against New York’s new abortion law reflects the takeover of the GOP by radical Movement Conservatives in the 1970s. It’s a story not about principle, but about power. Let’s take a look at the modern political history of abortion, shall we? /1”

          “In 1971, even the evangelical Southern Baptist Convention agreed that abortion should be legal in some cases, and vowed to work for modernization. /5…

          “By 1972, Gallup pollsters reported that 64% of Americans agreed that abortion was between a woman and her doctor. 68% of Republicans, who had always liked family planning, agreed; 59% of Democrats (who had more Catholics) agreed. /6”

          “Wait. Republicans liked Roe v. Wade? What happened?! The common story is that Roe sparked a backlash. But legal scholars Linda Greenhouse and Reva Siegel found something interesting. (The statistics so far have been from their 2011 article in the Yale Law Journal.) /8”

          “Remember that fewer Democrats than Republicans supported abortion rights in 1972? There was something else going on in that year. Nixon was up for reelection, and he and his people were paranoid that he would lose. /9…

          “Nixon’s handler Pat Buchanan was a Goldwater man who wanted to destroy the popular New Deal state that regulated the economy and protected social welfare and civil rights. To that end, he believed Ds and traditional Rs must be kept from power and Nixon must win reelection. /10…

          “Although Nixon and Democratic nominee George McGovern had similar stances on abortion, Nixon and Buchanan framed McGovern as the candidate of “Acid, Amnesty, and Abortion,” a radical framing designed to alienate traditionalists. (McGovern had a PhD in History, btw.) /13…”

          As Nixon split the US in two to rally voters, his supporters used abortion to stand in for women’s rights in general. Railing against the Equal Rights Amendment, in her first statement on abortion in 1972, activist Phyllis Schlafly did not talk about fetuses; she said /14…

          “Movement Conservatives harped on traditional roles, and in 1974, the TV show Little House on the Prairie started its 9 year run and helped, showing white women as wives and mothers in the West protected by their menfolk. /16

          Thread continues, hopscotches to present day.

    • Doug R says:

      Most of trump’s supporters grew up when racism was still widely practiced and tacitly promoted. Note the huge furor over taking down the ultimate participation trophies, statutes of traitors in the civil war.
      There are a few younger ones, but they are higher income exploiter types with a few other sociopaths.
      Time will help.

      • InfiniteLoop says:

        Why are you talking about this like it’s a problem of a bygone era? Racism is “widely practiced and tacitly promoted” today, including by young people.

  9. Veronica says:

    Thanks for your very common-sense article – it made me feel better. I’ve been a full-throated hater of trump for many years, long before he ran for prez, and now that I hope the full truth comes out, maybe we can at last all get rid of the constant horror of what MIGHT have been going on behind our backs. We know he’s is a despicable criminal in his private life, but if he didn’t actually do anything with the ‘russia thing’ they can arrest him for, then we have to accept that & just wait for whatever they decide needs doing once he’s out of office. This makes no difference at all to the craziness we see every single day, and the wonder of what on earth is wrong with Repubs that they can put up with the sh** he puts out constantly. They should be completely ashamed !!!

  10. James says:

    Looks like Manafort was the key. In order to take his case farther, Mueller needed Manafort to crack. He didn’t. So, I assume he will be rewarded with a pardon at some point. Either soon, or right after the election.

    • MK says:

      You’re right, Manafort was key to nailing Trump campaign collusion and he didn’t crack. But Manafort faces charges from New York State which Trump can’t pardon. Manafort is probably going to be in prison for awhile.

        • dimmsdale says:

          Delibrerately sloppy, do you think? I have zero faith in Vance at this point; would it have been that hard, I’m wondering, to draw up an indictment that would have been unambiguously double-jeopardy proof?

        • bmaz says:

          Well they clearly could have done better, and have had time time to do a better job. Deliberate or not, I have no idea. Am inclined to think it was more of a political PR stunt that was just ill conceived, but who knows with Vance.

        • Marinela says:

          This is the one single case when I was hoping the opposite.
          Can you explain why you think is sloppy?
          Is it because of the double jeopardy? Or because of the actual charges?
          If Trump pardons Manaford, would double jeopardy disappear since he was pardoned?

        • Marinela says:

          So as soon as Manaford gets pardoned, House congress should subpoena his ass and get him in content of congress or something if he pleads the 5th.
          Hoping democrats are researching what they need to ask Manaford by now to make sure they get to the bottom of the stuff he is hiding, protecting.

        • Frank Probst says:

          How much does it matter that the state charges were sloppy? Assume Trump pardons Manafort. He’s been charged by the state of New York. He may be able to beat those charges, but that’ll have to be litigated, which takes time, and I can’t see any way that Manafort gets out on bail while that’s happening. He’s admitted to witness tampering the last time he was out on bail. So he stays in jail/prison, and other jurisdictions have the opportunity to charge him in the meantime. He’s going to be be in jail/prison for years.

        • bmaz says:

          He is in federal custody, if he were pardoned he would indeed be released and presumptively entitled to bail in state court. And many of the state counts may never get anywhere close to trial, my guess is his lawyers are already drafting motions. We shall see.

    • Tony Cincy says:

      James, Once again I agree with your obvious brilliance. I did see Rick Gates strolling into the courthouse the other day—so, just another loose thread that needs to be tied up?

      I’m amazed at how much is still swimming around.

      My paranoia tells me that Mueller pushed things as far as he calculated he could without having the whole thing blow up. It’s up to Schiff and Nadler and the less subservient US Attorneys to bring it all home.

    • cinnawhee says:

      Manafort. Agree. Really curious how much Mueller needed Manafort to actually piece the story together, or did he just need Manafort’s testimony and documentary evidence to parallel construct it so they can prosecute without revealing CI methods and sources.

  11. CaliLawyer says:

    The sell out to Putin of American foreign policy/allies across the globe should be equally scandalous imo – it’s staggering and ongoing.

    • cinnawhee says:

      Putin has definitely gained leverage/power on the global stage. Really curious if the Russia – Brexit – Trump connection will ever be acknowledged in the mainstream. The Cambridge Analytica – Bannon – Mercer playbook was successfully executed for Brexit and then replicated for Trump. Putin first got the UK at each other’s throats, then did it to us. They also set up the right wing racist/nationalist backlash by jumping into Syria and exacerbating the refugee crisis in Europe. I’m worried that may be one of the underlying goals in Venezuela.

      I don’t think it was all for sanctions. I think it’s also for money laundering and deregulation to grease the skids for Russia’s oligarchs. They park all their money over here and in London. Trump weakening all the regs and slow walking enforcement is a huge win for them. The UK pulling out of the EU means much less financial regulation there too. I think there is a big EU law to fight tax havens that UK will avoid with Brexit.

      Also, Russia’s (and the Middle East) economy is all oil & gas, so installing Trump and sabotaging any action on climate change is in their interest. Slow the change in global economy to renewables. The faster the arctic melts, the more drilling and trade routes open up for Russia too. And military ports.

      Anyhoo. Putin played this all very well it seems.

  12. Julie Witz says:

    Just one question, Marcy – how do we know this?

    “We do know, however, that whatever is in that report is what Mueller wants in it; none of the (Acting) Attorneys General supervising him thwarted his work, though Trump’s refusal to be interviewed may have.”

    • bmaz says:

      Because they have consistently stated that Mueller was fully funded and never denied permission or direction in his investigation. So, yes, this appears to be what Mueller thought appropriate.

        • madhaus says:

          No, we need not take Barr at his word. Mueller will be called before Congress, and he will be asked if what Barr claimed (no interference with the investigation) is true.

        • Bill Smith says:

          Barr and Mueller are very old friends. So it is unlikely Barr will hose Mueller. In addition Mueller didn’t think Barr was being straight with what he was saying Mueller could call a press conference.

    • CenterCut says:

      As Marcy said yesterday on Twitter, Corsi made a big bet that he could play for time. Corsi won.

      OSC just ran out of time to indict. Could a US Attorney still go after him? Legally, yes. Likely, no.

      • P J Evans says:

        They have funding through September, and a GJ through June. That’s months of time yet. Clearly time isn’t the problem.

  13. Badger Robert says:

    The technical information of what they did, where they did it, and how they did it is critical.
    Only those few Dem campaigns with the IT sophistication to understand it are a real factor now. Registration lists, voter discouragement, fake information spreading out through domestic actors, hacked voting machines, all matter now. Texas and Florida are the main battle grounds, but Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania are involved. The policy disputes are an easy to displacement to avoid the widespread weakening of commitment to democracy.
    Whatever the Democratic ticket is, it has to be strong enough to get out of the cheating margin of deflection.

    • viget says:


      Also, and I hate to say this, but we need to be wary of third party candidates. A nearly undetectable way to swing the vote in purple states like WI, PA, NC and others is to influence folks to vote for a 3rd party candidate instead of the Dem (or not at all).

      If that still isn’t enough, then some vote manipulation in some key precincts to flip Dem votes to 3rd party will finish it off. We don’t have good polling of 3rd party candidates, so we have no expectation of what their vote tallies “should” be, and whether exit polls are at variance with the official tallies.

      My own gut hunch is that this is exactly what happened in 2016.

      • P J Evans says:

        Don’t need to actually flip a lot of voters, if some states can block Dems from voting by changing or losing their registration information.

      • gorby says:

        Are you suggesting that 3rd/4th party voters would really, really have voted for Clinton/Trump? No proof of that at all. You want manipulation of the voter pool – just not yours? You don’t want 3rd party voters to be able to support their candidates? You don’t want them voting at all? You don’t want anything but the 1% funded/serving “major” parties?

        80,000 people voted for Nader in Florida in 2000, but 300,000 DEMS voted for Bush.

  14. Kevin Finnerty says:

    Some things to note based on how bureaucracies work. Barr and Rosenstein have known what will be in the report (in the case of Rosenstein, for some time). So this report is not hitting DOJ in a vaccuum. There will be no surprises to the people supervising Mueller’s office.

    Which means their impressions matter. Marcy dismissed it, but I’m inclined to think the abc report from a few days ago is worth heeding. It has been proven correct that no more indictments are coming. And it seems to have sourcing familiar with Rosenstein’s thinking. Critically, the article said the report will not offer much detail on those who were not charged. This makes sense given that Rosenstein has supervised not only the investigation, but likely the drafting of the report as well. And critically Rosenstein is involved personally in this mess by providing a justification for firing Comey based on his improper airing of information after DOJ declined to bring a case against HRC. Why would Rosenstein now turn around sanction Mueller doing the same thing? My hunch is the report will have very very little information other than Mueller declined to bring charges.

      • Kevin Finnerty says:

        Yes, I saw that characterization too. It’s possible the report is “comprehensive” with respect to those who were charged, and largely silent on those who were not. Of course it’s all speculation right now.

        But my larger point is that the demands of bureaucracy mean that the form and substance of this report have been known for some time. Bureaucracies do not operate by surprise. Rosenstein, Barr, and Whittaker (and by extension, probably their staff too) have known this is the outcome. And that means others likely have some sense of the contours. Ken Dillanian obviously has sources within DOJ leadership. Adam Schiff seems to know that specific investigative steps were not taken. It wouldn’t even be a surprise that Trump’s team has known this is the outcome for some time, which could explain why Karl knew there were no more indictments. I just think more people know what has happened than is commonly understood.

        • Kevin Finnerty says:

          Also, Rosenstein himself made some oblique comments at a recent public event that those who are not charged with a crime should not have derogatory information published for the world to see:

          “The man who long oversaw special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation said Monday that it is not always appropriate for the government to be transparent about its work as he argued that prosecutors should not level public allegations against people they do not charge.”

          This seems entirely consistent with Karl’s report. I think everyone should seriously consider that this will be the end game.

  15. DJrrRunpf says:

    President Trump will be sipping cocktails of loser-tears for the remainder of this term and into the next. Any investigations following Mr. Murller’s will look like sour grapes.

    • Hug h says:

      “An empty head is not really empty; it is stuffed with rubbish. Hence the difficulty of forcing anything into an empty head.”
      ― Eric Hoffer

  16. cwd says:

    I really can’t get my head around a legal system where, when someone says, “will you take a meeting to discuss this new part of the Russian Goverment’s effort to help your Dad get elected, dirt the Russian Government has uncovered about your opponent?”, and then you take the meeting, how that’s not CONFRAUDUS?

    I’m not at all a lawyer, but it seems obvious to me, even if you go to that meeting and it’s a nothingburger, that is textbook conspiracy. “Conspiracy for Dummies”. I can’t believe our justice system considers that fine. What gives?

    • Nick says:

      Republicans investigating Republicans, apparently.

      I wish I had an answer. It is baffling, UTTERLY BAFFLING that no more indictments are coming, based *only on the public evidence ALREADY.*

      The only explanation I have is that they were all in on it, which EW already “refuted.”

      It makes no damn sense. None.

      • Marinela says:

        Mueller team prosecuted few republicans so I don’t believe is as simple as republicans investigating republicans, something else is going on.

        If Mueller team for instance discovered conspiracy that goes up to the republican congress, and related to other countries, like Israel, not just Rusia.
        Barr is probably inclined to protect republicans, Mueller would be inclined to stay in within the SC lanes.

  17. Jenny says:

    A bit off topic; however all in the grifter family.
    Democracy Now interviewed author Vicky Ward, “Kushner, Inc.”
    Most telling was at the end when an unnamed source said to the author, “Wait until they are out of power. I’ll tell you the real story then.”

  18. Leila512 says:

    bmaz & Rayne
    Thanks for working diligently to moderate during this time of high emotions and activity…

  19. Oldguy says:

    I am sure someone else has made this observation, but the Trump menagerie seems quite possibly to have been dumb enough to conspire but too dumb to form a conspiracy.

    • Bill Smith says:


      A Russian newspaper had an article some months ago that said Trump’s attention span was too short to be bought. He could be only borrowed.

      But what did the Russians do in the 2016 election that needed someone to conspire with?

  20. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Superb summary and excellent example of why your Hillman should be en route.

    I might have emphasized more Trump’s greed, which helped make him vulnerable and open to blackmail, but you capture it nicely. Your final paragraph is the best advice one could give this country: it captures what the Democrats are up against – and challenges them to confront their own internal divisions – and it defines precisely what Trump, and his patrons and closest supporters are incapable of doing:

    An unbelievable swath of this country — including the denialists who say all those things that Trump’s own aides swore to doesn’t amount to evidence of wrongdoing — have chosen for tribal reasons (and sometimes venal ones) to side with kleptocratic Russians over the protection of America. Now that the report is done, it’s time to start focus on protecting the United States again.

  21. David Karson says:

    First, Thank you Marcy for all of your excellent work. Second, if the report is “very damning” (bullet point two) showing Trump’s corruption (venality), will impeachment be back on the table? Best, Dave

  22. TimmyB says:

    How about this? No American will be prosecuted for Russia-Trump collusion because, after a years’ long investigation using the resources of the entire federal government, there is no evidence such a thing ever existed.

    Sucks right? But that’s what happened. Trump’s a liar and a crook, but Hillary lost the election on her own. Instead of the Democratic Party looking at the reasons why it lost the presidency (along with 1,000 other elected government positions after Obama was elected) it suited those in power to blame the Russians. As if the Russians are to blame for US life expectancy dropping.

    This whole Russia thing was very helpful for those who want to maintain the awful status quo. “Keep things the way they are, but with less Russia.” But, as Mueller’s report will show, it’s was all really a hoax.

    • bmaz says:

      That is complete bullshit. First off, use of the word “collusion” marks you as a dope that does not understand conspiracy law. Secondly, there is abundant evidence of conspiracy already in the public record if one actually has a grasp of the facts, which you clearly do not have. There can be any number of reasons why Mueller himself is not doing further prosecutions. Lastly, you do not know jack shit about what is in “the report”, and nobody else does yet either, so making claims such as you have is ludicrous.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        The bridges are emptying and the trolls are showing up here. Thanks for the clean-up.

        • Peacerme says:

          Livin’ the good life in Nebraska. Surrounded by republicans. And catastrophic flooding. Water everywhere. We had this kind of 500 year flood in 1993, 2009, 2013, and 2019. I don’t know the total cost of all these floods but people’s farms flooded this time that have not flood in 120 years ever…until now. Dems need to get a solid plan. “United we stand. Divided we fall.” From this vantage point in Nebraska where are infrastructure is crumbling due to massive historic flooding 3-4 times in 20 years, is frightening. The bread basket is mud soup. We don’t have much time. These catastrophic weather events will get worse. We are spending billions and we can’t fix it or stop it because the changes are too fast and unpredictable. Thanks EW!! And everyone here.

        • Eureka says:

          Take care, Peacerme- I’m thinking about the warm sun shining upon you amidst all that dampness.

      • TimmyB says:

        I used the word “collusion” because that’s what Mueller was charged with looking for.

        Truth is, there is no evidence of a criminal conspiracy either. If you think there is, list some of that “abundant” evidence and we can discuss it.

        • bmaz says:

          First off, use of the word “collusion” seriously does prove you a Fox News like idiot. I am not your research assistant, do your own. There is abundant evidence of a conspiracy, whether it was chargeable or not.

          Secondly, here is the original memo appointing the Special Counsel. Find the word “collusion” in it. You will not find it. So, no that was NOT what Mueller was “charged with looking for”. Collusion does not exist in criminal law, and it never has. It is a term for simpleton idiots. I think we have identified your lot in life via your insistence on falsely using it.

    • Dcom says:

      Would be funny if Mueller doesn’t have the +85% goods to indict conspiracy, but his entire report spells out the many unindictable collusion stories.

      • orionATL says:

        and i think that is exactly the case.

        there was unambiguously collusion right from the top, from t and p on down. but as bmaz tells us, collusion is not a crime. it is nonetheless very important to make clear to the nation that trump and the trump campaign colluded with the russian government and with its “private” agents like deripaksa and torshin. hyperrich guys like mercer and banks and private corporations like cambridge analytica, the nra, and facebook fit in the picture somewhere.

        • orionATL says:

          yes it does, after all. just not as a response to timmyb.

          it is a response to dcom’s comment which is indeed what i expect the mueller report will support, and what the print media including the emptywheel blog have proved, yes proved, to any reasonable person’s expectations for proof.

    • MsInformed (@MsInformed) says:

      The campaign finance violations of which the hush money ‘Individual 1’ authorized and paid was illegal cheating.
      The work that Cambridge Analytica did way below cost was more campaign finance cheating. I am sure more of the same will come out via Elliot Broidy & Tom Barack.
      So it is just not true to say Clinton lost fair and square, is it?

    • Marinela says:

      Not the lesson conveyed from what we know and see.
      So obvious you are misleading…
      Not the place for these points. Really.

  23. AA Bender says:

    1. “Sure, Russia hasn’t gotten its sanctions relief, yet.”
    True, but Oleg V. Deripaska’s companies have gotten sanctions relief. On the brighter side, Deripaska personally hasn’t been taken off the OFAC list. (Deripaska sued the US Treasury last week claiming his net worth has dropped $7.5 billion or 81% because of US sanctions according to news reports.)
    2. R. Giuliani quoting Yogi Berra is yet another indication that we have been living in a parallel universe, and
    3. Let’s see how long Trump waits to play the pardon card…that might tell us how much heat he is getting from those other investigations…

  24. Dcom says:

    Reposting this. Didn’t see this new post.

    Here’s what I don’t get. If Mueller is as honorable and the true patriot I think he is, he’s got to know Trump and this gang of criminals are not only guilty of many crimes, but a real danger to this country. I can’t imagine, with all we know, he could possibly come to a “conclusion” of this investigation without more than what we see now. Kilimnik. Stone. Jr. Individual 1 directed….. There is simply too much evidence to conclude this investigation without waiting to turn over more stones (subpoenaing trump, Andrew Miller, mystery appellant).

    There’s strategy behind this. There has to be.

    Mueller is reporting “findings.” Those findings will have to include what we already know, in greater context. I suspect the report will give the American people the whole ugly story and it will be devastating.

    I don’t understand the lack of more indictments, but there’s a lot more to this story to come. It’s also very possible any additional indictments are being held for greater purposes, like a Trump exit strategy.

    One thing is for certain. Trump’s current silence is truly deafening.

    • DMZ says:

      Conspiracy can’t be ruled out until the Roger Stone case reaches a conclusion. Federal Court papers say that a Senior Trump Campaign Official directed another Trump Campaign official to get Stone to communicate to Wikileaks/Guccifer 2.0. Conspiracy Charges could still be coming.
      It’s very possible that Mueller wanted the Framework of SDNY, EDNY, EDVA and DC to do the real heavy lifting from this point forward.

  25. OldTulsaDude says:

    What Mikey said:

    “Everybody’s job at the Trump Organization is to protect Mr. Trump. Every day most of us knew we were coming in and we were going to lie for him on something and that became the norm. And that’s exactly what’s happening right now in this country and it’s exactly what’s happening here in government.”

    Sometimes, the liars win.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Trump destroys everything he touches. He has turned the USG into the Trump Organization.

      Fortunately, there are more than a few people devoted to countering his corruption.

      • OldTulsaDude says:

        But with what power? Investigate and what then? Our esteemed Congress in order to create total immunity from the electoral consequences of having to take a position has created an imperial presidency who has veto power over truth, justice, and the American Way – a pseudo-Superman Joker whose smile announces that he is an agent of chaos.

  26. A different Jenny says:

    Thank you, EW. This post makes me sad, but the overall characterization of where we’ve been and where we’re at seems accurate. Maybe truth and justice and honor only win in fiction. Jumping on the kleptocracy bandwagon seems to be paying off, outweighing any minor consequences that might eventually come

  27. Observiter says:

    I’d like to know the reason behind the July 4, 2018 visit to Moscow by Freedom Caucus members (Appropriation Committee members), and other similar visits.

      • Observiter says:

        Rayne, If I’m not mistaken, the GOP senators met with Russian legislators. The Democrats on the Appropriations Committee were not invited. This occurred during July 4 (holiday that celebrates our independence), and before a visit from Trump. I’m unclear what the GOP senators visit would have to do with reelection.

        • Rayne says:

          Yup. All GOP. No Dems. Come on now, think harder about this. Especially after Russia dumped millions into the NRA after Citizens United in 2010 to launder donations to GOP congress members exclusively — and now the NRA is nearing bankruptcy. What happens between now and 2022? How does the 2022 class of GOP senators replace the NRA’s donations?

  28. DJ says:

    Perhaps someone has mentioned this… but, I fear a “clean” Mueller report on Russia will be the pretext for a Manafort pardon; even though Manafort is in the slammer for other things.

    Also, what about the flood of sealed indictments going back to last year?

    • bmaz says:

      There has never been a bunch of “sealed indictments”. It was always bullshit, and it still is. There are none.

  29. Tom says:

    Although we’ve been told there will be no more indictments arising from the Mueller investigation, it may be that the totality of the Mueller Report will be greater than the sum of its parts. For months we’ve been given dribbles and dollops of information about the doings of the Trumpsheviks during the 2016 campaign as well as before and after. Each story has caused a temporary stir and then been absorbed into the general black hole of chaos that is the World of Trump. If the Mueller Report is as comprehensive as has been claimed, then having all the gathered information, evidence, and testimony between two covers may have a greater impact on the public that we have imagined. If the report is that comprehensive–i.e., lengthy–someone may decide to produce a Coles Notes version, if that would be permitted.

  30. Amanda says:

    I don’t understand how Mueller can be done with the Miller appeal out there as well as the unidentified country court battle. What about the draft plea deal for Corsi? He was never indicted. Seems there are lots of loose ends.

    • Bill Smith says:

      Looks like Mueller walked away from Corsi. Possibly at one point he thought it worthwhile to go after him but didn’t Stone have like a zillion terabytes of information seized? Maybe that information led them to decide the Corsi wasn’t going to be able to produce anything worthwhile.

      Same for Miller?

  31. Willis Warren says:

    So, the USA, despite its billions spent on defense, has no way to stop a foreign asset from becoming president and destroying the country and no one with the guts to say so that matters.

    We’re fucked

    • Rayne says:

      No, we’ve *been* fucked. It’s time to get your war face on and unfuck ourselves.

      You’ve been dumping your anger and frustration in the last two threads. Believe me, I get it. But there’s a limit to this — it can become very counterproductive if you’re just going to fill up threads with it.

      Try using what you’re feeling now as a though experiment until you can gear up for the Great Unfucking. This feeling of disappointment and low level rage? That’s what it feels like for women and persons of color in this country, to know that the law often as written and more often as executed will fuck us over, unable to obtain birth control or drive unharassed while brown. That’s how it feels to our children forced to participate in mass shooting drills in school, knowing adults in elected leadership positions care nothing for their lives over the donations they receive from the gun lobby (and more recently by extension, Russia). Most of that predated Trump — he’s only the next level of fucked-up-edness for women/POC/LGBTQ/children.

      Ponder what it feels like to be really marginalized and then realize you are not. Think then upon what’s in your power to do to unfuck yourself and others.

      • Willis Warren says:

        You know, a funny aside… I grew up basically believing that the CIA had killed Kennedy. A lot of people do believe that. At some point, I grew up and started wondering what really happened, beyond the silly hysteria. I decided, ultimately, that there’s no reason to believe it was anyone other than Oswald… The front seat of the limo had been lowered so people could see Kennedy and Connelly wouldn’t be in the way, so the “magic bullet” nonsense was just nonsense, however you explained it. He could have gotten the shots off in time, because a guy did it on the History channel. All the theories (Jim Marrs, Jim Garrison, Morly, Prouty, etc) were dumb.

        Then last year, president dumbass released a bunch of classified stuff that basically show evidence that Oswald went to mexico and got training in the Russian embassy from an assassin sharp shooter. Hell, Woolsey was on a talk show discussing it and virtually no one has mentioned it since

        Wow. So, what if for a moment we look at the Russians/KGB as a rabid group (think a Russian Federalist Society only really smart) that’s always hated us and always will. There’s no detente, only a bunch of rich guys who stole the country and centralized power. They don’t have the goods to attack us straight on, only using proxies to weaken us and probably nuke us (North Korea).

        That’s ultimately a bigger issue than anything we’ve faced as a nation. And no one is prepared for it. The Republicans are the biggest problem. Hell, they’ve already sold out to the Kochs, the fuck they care if Putin outbids them. I don’t expect change to come easy. But imagine our worst case scenario of how much Putin hates us, what if that’s not even close to reality? How do you unfuck that, Rayne?

        • P J Evans says:

          The theory I ran into – and it makes a lot of sense – is that Oswald was after Connally, who had been Secretary of the Navy when Oswald was in the Marines. Remember that one of the shots hit Connally in the wrist, then hit Kennedy.

        • Rayne says:

          You go into it with your eyes open and you work at ground level. You work with local groups to make sure state and local voting infrastructure allows and encourages every citizen participate in a transparent, auditable vote. You work to root out corruption at the same level by encouraging local news and participating in public forums.

          What is it that Putin et al want? They want the US to be as unfocused and easily corrupted as Russia, and they will encourage the worst elements in our society to that end — anarchic, greedy, xenophobia — and only exposing and ending that will unfuck us.

          This is just another day for some of us. It’s why I’ve been here for over a decade. They shot MLK Jr. when I was seven; they’re slowly assassinating Ferguson protesters now. They wiped out My Lai’s women and children when I was in early grade school; they’re detaining 9-year-old Latina American girls now. The unfucking continues — do it on your knees or on your feet.

        • Democritus says:

          You fucking rock. THIS should get this own post, seriously and the world at mother fucking large needs that wake up call.

          I am sick to fucking death of people yelling we are doomed and not doing shit. Good god, yes! I wish I had your way with words, and glad your are on the side of good.

        • Rayne says:

          Enough. If you’re going to continue to pull this Eeyore routine as you have for three days running, you’re going to be treated like whiny child and put in time out until you can converse constructively with others.

      • Valley girl says:

        Rayne, thanks for you statement, above. You directed it at WW, but I’m guessing that he was writing in his usual unthinking way. But your statement could well to be directed to all those white men who don’t realize the extent of privilege they have. Okay, I’m white. So I can’t speak from personal experience about being a female and a POC. But as an XX, I can attest to the experience of being profoundly marginalized by XYs (most but not all) during the whole of my professional career. It was a hard and wearing battle.

        I hope my reply makes sense.

        • Rayne says:

          Yeah, we’re on the same page. You and I both know your career was directly and negatively affected by systemic bias which is part and parcel of the white supremacist patriarchy.

  32. Sandwichman says:

    A syllogism:
    premise 1: “No collusion!”
    premise 2: “You can’t prove collusion!”
    premise 3: “You can’t prove collusion beyond a reasonable doubt!”
    premise 4 “You can’t indict a sitting President!”
    premise 5: “You can’t say bad things about someone you don’t indict!”
    premise 6: “This report (which I haven’t read and never will) says no bad things!”
    CONCLUSION: “Proof beyond a reasonable doubt there was ever any basis to suspect collusion or anything else bad!”

  33. foggycoast says:

    not a lawyer so apologies in advance if these are off point. a few random thoughts:

    1. Will we see the details of obstruction of justice case that we might assume exceeded the 85% chance of winning threshold but was not charged because of the DOJ sitting president policy? Which begs the question, can Trump be prosecuted for it once he is not President assuming the statute of limitations has not run out.

    2. Will we see Trump’s questions and answers?

    3. The DOJ (and so the special counsel) is toothless regarding the president so long as it 1) maintains the policy of not indicting the president or person based on their position and status 2) serves strictly as at the pleasure of the president.

    4. The 85% chance of conviction rule seems arbitrary and too high a threshold when the stakes are this high. It appears to be a face-saving defensive mechanism to not pursue cases that deserve a higher risk of losing. This is not a case where success rate should matter as it does with many justice departments raison d’être.

    • Tom says:

      One way the decision not to indict based on a less than 85% chance of conviction makes sense is the boost it would give to Trump & Co. to be found not guilty in a court of law. Perhaps better to have the evidence of wrongdoing left hanging over Trump’s head than to run the risk of allowing him to claim a judge had declared him innocent.

  34. Anvil Leucippus says:

    Apparently there is nothing in the American Constitution that says what to do if it is discovered that someone has been elected president in an illegitimate election. Nor is there any guidance on if a president, whether knowingly participating in that fraud or not, is considered “unfit” for the duties of office from the results of said election.

    At the risk of rubbing salt in the wounds, holy shit does that seem like a bit of an oversight!

  35. greengiant says:

    Conservatives have a difficult task in recapturing the GOP from Russian money and blackmail. Perhaps there are other investigations related to Butina, the NRA, and the 2015 trips of the likes of David Clarke to Russia. The old racist, nativist, and Shia muslims are evil, Sunni muslims are good narratives are gospel for a large wedge of the GOP base, who can read the demographic trends in the US and Europe. The same policies of Netanyahu , Putin, MSB and other puppet masters have used to help regime change in Europe and elsewhere.

    It is not tribalism to demand that these bribe takers are prosecuted and if not prosecuted to publicly demean them until they are no longer in office.

    It is not just Trump, it is not just the GOP, it is the entire political system in the US that is following the free market appeal to most depraved fears and highest bidder form of government.

    • P J Evans says:

      Most of Tr*mp’s base can’t tell Shia from Sunni, and don’t care: they’re all bad, except for when they’re doing what we want (that it’s us doing what the Saudis want isn’t being mentioned on their “news” sources).

  36. Rusharuse says:

    The report is in good hands . .

    “The most significant single act of Barr’s career in the Department of Justice was to advise President George H.W. Bush to pardon six officials from Ronald Reagan’s administration, including Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger, for crimes associated with the Iran-Contra affair. At the time, Barr was — you guessed it — attorney general. His recommendation gave Bush the cover he needed to issue the pardons.”

    • bmaz says:

      He is full of shit and can shove his regards. Just another cluck taking ignorant victory laps in spite of the massive amount of information in the existing indictments and public record and doing so before he has any clue whatsoever is in the Mueller report.

  37. x174 says:

    someone should do a diagnostic analysis of who these 30-40% that consistently support trump are. demographically, i would hazard to guess that 15-20% of them are people who remember the evils perpetuated by the cheney-bush mal-administration. the breakdown of that other 15-20% probably span the range from the mentally unfit (most of the outspoken pro-trumpers seems mentally unstable to me) to those individuals directly profiting financially or personally in some way (i’ve met pro-trump people who feel that it’s perfectly normal to verbally harass women in public).

    part of our problem is historical (rampant government criminality) and part media induced (fox news inspired tea partiers and self-promoting wannabes).

    should be interesting to see what the squabble over the mueller report will lead to–assuming that it has something with a bite in it.

    if it turns out that the mueller report has no significant impact, i guess we’re stuck with this demented criminal enterprise system as our federal government.

    • bmaz says:

      Think it is going to be quite a while for we really know the full extent of the report. There is a lot that will be omitted or redacted initially, and despite Trump’s disingenuous claim to want transparency, he and DOJ will block a LOT of material, and it will likely get down to a court argument.

      • Marinela says:

        If DOJ will block report material for a while, why start the SC investigations and make them public in the first place? At the time they did the special counsel appointment and rules, they knew there is public interest in the outcome.

        One question, the reason they picked Mueller was that they really wanted to make sure the scope stays in the outlines they decided initially?

  38. harpie says:

    Yesterday in unfathomable chutzpah.
    2] [links to:] Mueller Cannot Seek an Indictment. And He Must Remain Silent. The unusual situation facing Robert Mueller does not justify a repeal of well-established traditions of confidentiality. MAR 22, 2019
    From the man who deputized Brett Kavanaugh to leak grand jury information to the press.

  39. Report counselor says:

    I give Mueller the benefit of the doubt whatever his conclusions are considering his past efforts. However would Mueller have made public if he felt he was stretched thin on resources and they did the best they could with what they had. I wonder if they wish if only they were “fully” staffed that they could fully track down all these individual leads. Instead they had to pick and choose how far and how broad they would go considering the resource constraints. I wonder how his resourcing compared to similar investigations with the number of individuals, across multiple countries over a diverse scope of crimes (financial, hacking, conspiracy, etc.)

    • Marinela says:

      Some good points you make.

      My understanding Mueller investigation took shorter time to finish compared to others, while the amount of investigation crimes was far greater.
      Noting that he charged republican lobbyists which to me says a lot about the investigation integrity, considering he a probably a republican.

  40. Bob's Mont Blanc says:

    It fascinates me that absolutely no one seems to grasp that Chris Steele outright claims that Trump is a Russian agent, and served as one for a period of eight years.

    And the Helsinki summit???

    You want to talk about the safety of future elections, then you need to look at what Brad Parscale is up to on Trump’s 2020 campaign. One of Brad’s best is currently (or was a few months ago) in the Netherlands working on image fingerprinting. My guess would be for a future misinformation campaign to play out in social media where pics are slightly altered to create bots and dummy profiles that won’t trigger detection.

    And if you are tasked with working on a U.S. general election, what are you doing in the Netherlands?

  41. Honeybee says:

    Sorry I can’t remember my moniker. No puppetry intended. Could anyone talk about the Midwest? Like South Dakota land of gun-totin’ Russian gals and their religious boyfriends. Also just noticed that DarkMatter helped their employees shift state residencies to … South Dakota for tax reasons before leaving like stealthy falcons for the Middle East. Viktor kouznetsov an estimable mobile security senior v.p. at McAfee had lots of interesting mobile patents and was a recruiter for folks to fly over that direction. What about Barr’s enabler being from Iowa by way of Minnesota?Feel free to spike this. I just think people should be looking in the Middle. There’s some there there.

  42. cat herder says:

    So a President can’t be charged with breaking the law to win the office of the Presidency which he only got because he broke the law? That seems like a problem.

    But a whole lot of people for a wide range of reasons are OK with it. That seems like an even bigger problem.

  43. MattyG says:

    I’m wondering. It has always seemed strange that none of DTs family have been dragged in on conspiracy changes given what is publicly known of their behavior. Mueller adhering to the DOJ “can’t indict a sitting president” guideline might help explain this: how prudent or expedient would it be to charge a gang but not the leader – if you had what you needed to nail them all? Could it be the Mueller report contains the solid 85%+ evidence of conspiracy we feel morally confident must be there, but with the jaw dropping recomendation to prosecute when DT is out of office? This would be a clear invitation to a Constitutional remedy now.

    • MattyG says:

      ooof, that’s “charges” and “recommendations”. And I had benefit of the elusive Edit button too…

    • MattyG says:

      I guess what I’m getting at is that it would be too bizarre a spectacle to indict the family with Individual-1 as unindicted co-conspirator sitting in the oval office. So the odd situation of no DT family members yet charged may be a hint that the report is (among other things) a roadmap to nabbing the gang en mass.

  44. notjonathon says:

    Some of us are old enough to remember the 1950’s–those halcyon days of American freedom:
    Duck and cover
    Sorry, this pier for “whites” only
    Dwight Eisenhower, puissant war hero, was afraid of Joe McCarthy
    Herman Talmadge
    Strom Thurmond
    and so much more…
    The battle is not new, nor will it soon be over.

  45. notjonathon says:

    And I forgot to mention:
    eeny, meeny, miney, mo
    Catch a Russian by the toe
    If he hollers, make him say,
    I surrender, USA
    (I actually remember when “Russian” replaced “German”)

  46. A Haji says:

    I cannot understand why nobody talks about the possibility that Trump’s attacks on the investigation, and his backdoor efforts to scuttle it have worked. I cannot understand why, for instance, Don. Jr was not indicted considering everything that we know and that he lied to Congress under oath. Political pressure and obstruction of justice works, and in this case sadly, has succeeded spectacularly.

    • Nick says:

      The Don Jr issue is the one that is just completely confounding. I am utterly at a loss.

      Didn’t the members of the House Intel Committee do everything except explicitly say that Don Jr lied to Congress?

      How is he getting away scot-free from that? Just because of “political pressure?” That’s such unbelievable BS. That cannot stand.

  47. Thomas Paine says:

    Very well said, Marcy. Your perspective in this has been invaluable. Both Brexit and the US 2016 POTUS Election have been spectacularly successful information warfare campaigns by Putin against two of the strongest Western democracies. He has found our weak points and masterfully exploited them. Interestingly, this comes full circle starting with Reagan and Thatcher’s undermining of their respective governments in the 1980’s – Putin skillfully played on the lack of respect and trust in government instigated by the GOP and the Tories for narrow political interests. Mr. Reagan and Ms. Thatcher legacies must now bear the stench of Russian exploitation of their own policies and rhetoric to undermine our very form of government and the notion of self-determination.

    The question now is what We the People should to do about it. Conservatives in both countries have been, at best, unwitting accomplices in both sordid affairs. They cannot claim Patriotism in their defenses of what has happened. It is up to the other parties in both countries, the Democrats in the US, and Labour in the UK to clean up the mess and restore, as Rep. Cummings has asked, some semblance of normality. Whether that is even possible at this late date is an open question.

    • viget says:

      I would even question as to whether Reagan and Thatcher were bugs rather than features for the Russian kleptocrats. I have come to believe that both the US and UK have become so thoroughly pwned by Russian intelligence as payback for the Cold War and the early aftermath of the breakup of the USSR. We just haven’t realized how compromised we’ve been until now. And the UK is probably worse.

      • Thomas Paine says:

        Amen, Viget. It strikes me as ironic that Hillary Clinton’s clear-eyed view of what Putin was and how threatening he was to our democracy and to the Free World is what probably cost her the 2016 election. Whatever faults she had, she had a much better view into the threat Putin continues to pose for us all than anybody in the GOP.

        “When it comes time to hang the capitalists, they will sell us the rope.” – Joseph Stalin

  48. e.a.f. says:

    after approx. 2 years it all comes down to a couple of dozen paragraphs and they just about cover it all.

    Read your article, and could have wept. However, after so long, so much, nothing will help. No point in expending energy.

    Do not know what will happen to the U.S.A. or if the country will operate as a democracy. However, given Ethiopia sent the black boxes to Germany, in my opinion this is the beginning of the end of the U.S.A. as we have known it. Putin is happy. Trump doesn’t care. American citizens, its hard to say how they will feel.

    Thank you for a thoughtful article.

    • bmaz says:

      Well, no idea where you get “it’s down to a couple of dozen paragraphs”. The “report” is reportedly quite comprehensive, which I would suspect means hundreds of pages. And the regulations and process demand some of it being covered up initially because of Rule 6 grand jury secrecy obligations and concerns over classified information. So far, Barr and Rosenstein are doing exactly what they are supposed to do. That’s okay. The fuller report will take some time to get released, but it can, and likely will be. Patience, none of this is really over.

      • e.a.f. says:

        bmaz, sorry about that, I meant it was down to…..because this post is about that many paras. That is what I meant. In my opinion, this article condenses it nicely to a …………….

        I understand Barr’s letter is 4 pages and the Report is much, much longer.

    • Tom says:

      Too early to write the obituary of the U.S.A. as we have known it just yet. Don’t be defeatist. Just look at the field of Democratic candidates for 2020. The worst doesn’t always happen. Keep calm and carry on. Be a happy warrior. Eat your Wheaties!

      • e.a.f. says:

        Eat my Wheaties. I’d prefer a shot of B & B. tastes better.

        I do look at the field of Democratic candidates and know that it may well divide the party, by the time process is over.

        I’m not a defeatist, but I am a realist. Its true, the country can come back. However, given the divide it may not be possible. a divided country, state/province, city, etc. can come back, but when the population is 350M or there about, it becomes much more difficult. On the upside Canada did get rid of Harper! In my opinion, he was a mysoginistic, oil loving, environmental hating politician. However, in a country with only 35/6 millions its easier to turn things around.

        • Rayne says:

          You are forgetting attrition’s work along with the backsliding mortality rate in the U.S., combined with changing demographics across the youngest percentiles of voters.

          Change is coming — a key, possibly major reason why this country is so divided is that the right-wing resists the idea it is dying from attrition as well as the gross failures of its policies.

          The challenge is whether the youngest deciles can pull off political change fast enough to minimize climate change’s toll. But not too fast — I want to see Mar-a-Lago slide into the rising Atlantic after a Category 6 hurricane.

  49. Jonathan D. Emerona says:

    Are there really any citizens who want to protect America? Everyone is too ignorant to see what all this corruption is doing. Some would say that the military is sincere in its goal to do so. But, they are always in some other country busy killing foreigners under the mantra: “fighting for our freedom.”

  50. David Byron says:

    This is like watching the people who pretended Iraq had WMDs after the war had started and …. surprise! no WMDs.

    I suppose it’s a little rude to gloat so soon when you’re all still in denial.

    • artappraiser says:

      How strange to see a user name that had 15 minutes of internet fame in the distant past making nonsensical analogies with the distant past. NOT.

    • bmaz says:

      Hey David Byron, get yer twatwaffle trollery out of here. Nobody here is in “denial” there is sober analysis going on by people that actually understand the law and facts. You do not. Next time you show up with your continued allegation that we are “conspiracy theorists” I will make sure the door hits you in the ass.

      And, by the way, the real David Byron was a fantastic vocalist with Uriah Heap. You disgrace the name.

      • bmaz says:

        Can’t say I did not warn you David. Your most recent comment is more trolly garbage and has been placed in the trash bin. That’s gonna be the new normal for you. Buh bye!

      • AtticusFlinched says:

        TWATWAFFLE !!

        Sorry. It was my intention to remain a long-time lurker for the foreseeable future, but now I’m a first-time poster. Just spit cold beverage clear over my laptop (so, yeah, coulda been worse, much worse, ie: self-electrocution).

        I’m totally distraught by the past 36 hours of news/analysis/argument slow-washing over me, confirming some of my darkest suspicions — then the waffle-related burst of mirth shocked me out of the funk, so I had to break my wall of silence.

        I pledge that any future outburst(s) from me will be less juvenile, but honestly I needed to laugh. out. loud. Thanks, bmaz.

        And, to EW, Rayne, yourself and all the truth warriors here, thanks for the UNflinching work you do. It’s an oasis in a desert of stupid and corruption.


  51. Badger Robert says:

    The two great efforts to disenfranchise people, the Republican effort to disenfranchise working class immigrants, and the Dem effort to strip suffrage from black men, while thwarting women’s suffrage, have now rightfully merged into one anti-democratic effort.
    Its hardly shocking that they have linked with one of largest anti-democratic countries in the world.
    Its hardly shocking that someone like Ocasio-Cortez drives them crazy. What if working class people actually united and voted?

    • Bill Smith says:

      What did Cambridge Analytica do that would warrant an indictment by Mueller? Someone else said they under charged Trump for what they did. Seems pretty weak as there were stories at the time that they were trying to break into the US market. What else?

      Also, remember that Mueller had a limited amount of things he could charge. If he found something outside his remit he had to turn it over to others.

      • P J Evans says:

        Funneling information between FB and the campaign and, maybe, the Russians. Remember, they’ve also been doing this in other elections *cough* Brexit *cough* so they have a pretty well-tuned operation, under whatever name they’re using this month.

  52. postmaudlin says:

    I’m a newbie, lurker, interloper maybe but IANATroll, so go easy. I was going to quip that this feels like finishing ‘Infinite Jest’ but I actually read that book and none of us has read the report yet. However I do have a couple of questions that are posed in all sincerity and with a genuine interest in the opinion of others here.

    – Didn’t the indictments of Russians for hack&leak and disinformation mention there were U.S. persons who were involved in the conspiracy but not named? Or did I imagine/extrapolate/infer that? Or were they just talking about the hapless dude who sold them fake IDs?

    – Isn’t it extremely weird that we’ve gone 24 hours without Trump Twagging his Twongue about this? He might be able to follow his lawyers advice at the macro level, but it seems that no one has ever been able to prevent his impulsive responses to this sort of stuff. It just seems extraordinary and odd that he has had no response.

    • Sandwichman says:

      Trump’s twitter silence makes a lot of sense right now. Up to now he has been complaining that Mueller is a bad man & that the investigation is corrupt. With the report complete but not public his allies and surrogates are promoting the spin that it exonerates him. But they don’t know. More importantly, HE doesn’t know (or shouldn’t). He can’t risk endorsing a report he hasn’t seen yet but on the other hand he can’t risk attacking a report that at least nominally absolves him.

  53. Michael Keenan says:

    Dear Marcy,
    Will you now be able to reveal what your part was in this? “As I disclosed last July, I provided information to the FBI on issues related to the Mueller investigation, so I’m going to include disclosure statements on Mueller investigation posts from here on out. I will include the disclosure whether or not the stuff I shared with the FBI pertains to the subject of the post.”
    Thanks for helping me even keep up.
    Michael Keenan

  54. Eureka says:

    bmaz quote-tweeted a great Village Voice thread and archives article (with a new intro) on Rudy & Trump’s long entanglement back to the 80s:

    bmaz: “25 years later, this still excellent”

    The Village Voice: “”The endorsement of Giuliani by Trump yielded dividends that went far beyond the dollars he raised and attracted headlines in every tabloid.” In 1993, Wayne Barrett explored the tangled ties between Rudy Giuliani and Donald Trump #fromthearchives (links to the below)”

    Rudy’s Long History of Quashing Trump Probes | Village Voice
    The Case of the Missing Case: How a Trump Probe Died in Rudy’s Office– October 12, 1993

    • Eureka says:

      Reading the article cued a variety of Trump tangents, e.g. Mike Tyson’s early-career fights at one of his now-defunct casinos; more recently, cancelled Trump Towers Everywhere. Noting this because it is ALL SO complicated to this day, the (unknown) business entanglements. Also, I saw that magic “$ 300 million” figure pop-up again, in a wiki which is flagged as being written like an advertisement, among other shortcomings:

      Trump Tower was designed to be a 45-story skyscraper in Philadelphia (…) The $300 million tower was cancelled due to the crash of 2007–2008. It was designed by (…) and was initially scheduled to be completed in 2009.

      • Eureka says:

        A source for the $300 mil. figure (as it went uncited in wiki), which begins with a most Philadelphian outcome, from Sept. 2018:

        Developer Carlos Herrera, who came the United States from Venezuela as a teen, is under contract to buy the pier on the Delaware River waterfront where a Trump Tower Philadelphia had been planned before the last economic downturn.


        When it was proposed, the 45-story Trump Tower condo-and-hotel project — with 263 units, a landscaped garden, and a high-end spa — was to be completed by mid-2008.

        “Trump Tower Philadelphia is going to create a mark the likes of which Philadelphia has never seen before. It’s going to bring it into world class,” Trump said of the $300 million project in a promotional online video at the time. “Everybody is going to try and catch up with us. They won’t be able to do it.”

        (…) By 2013, the corporate entity formed to develop the tower had filed for bankruptcy.

        Two years later, the property was acquired by a group…

        *internal link to “promotional online video” goes to: [], which might provoke a case of wtf??? lolz.

  55. klynn says:

    Questions: (IANAL)
    Any insight as to whether Mueller was pushed to wrap up sooner than later? There is a fair amount of chatter that he was pushed. Are there any strategies or clues to look for to confirm this concern? How much can CI do with Manafort while in prison?

    • klynn says:

      At some point the Aaron Banks ( investigation in the UK needs to be overlayed on the Mueller investigation. Interesting that London based boozy lunches with highly connected Russians happens in both concerns. Appreciated the link to the investigative piece from Germany you posted on Twitter a few days ago.

    • Vicks says:

      Common sense would say he was pushed
      This isn’t a mafia case. This is a case where the leaders of our country, the media and once decent citizens have been willing to sell thier souls to defend their position. There are fools/trolls online talking about a “civil war”
      My (biased) theory is Mueller discovered we have monsters in Trumps circle and the amount of time and resources required to go after them all without being able to tell the country what was going on was unacceptable politically.
      Perhaps unlike most complicated investigations that aren’t over until every rabbit hole has been dug up, Mueller deliberately over- compartmentalized“ and any puzzle pieces that did not directly relate to the election OR produced evidence of collusion but also could possibly point to another crime would be set aside for others to investigate and NOT be made part of Mueller’s report.

      • bmaz says:

        Your “common sense” may tell you that, but I do not see any actual evidence of that at all. Please, wait and see before making such proclamations.

        • Vicks says:

          I sincerely wish that I had the skills to articulate my thoughts as well as so many others on this site however I am going to defend my comment anyway and ask for useful feedback rather than anothet troll-like diss.
          I used the words “theory” and admitted I was “biased” making your description of a “proclamation” unreasonable
          As a defensive strategy the “save the trump” team has been trashing everyone and everything involved in this investigation. As long as Mueller’s investigation goes on people will be forced to stand by helpless watching the tools of democracy being tested to their limits.
          Rather than PROCLAIMING” there is no evidence, Please explain why you don’t think once the scope of what Mueller stepped in was clear, he could have been motivated to wrap the election section up quickly?(quickly being relative of course)
          If the primary INTENT of the bad behavior wasn’t clearly part of a team effort to get the Trump elected, but simply criminals doing what criminals do when an opportunity like an election campaign presents itself, it could take years to conclude any additional investigations triggered by Mueller’s “investigation into Russian interference” I don’t think our current political climate will allow for that.
          For example at first glance Manafort passing on polling data seemed clear evidence of “collusion” but once you step back and recall his e-mail that talked about wanting to “get whole” or the evidence of Manafort being broke you realize how muddy the waters are and similar to “HILLARY!!” and her emails; if proof of intent is needed yet lacking for collusion, its time to call this one move on.

  56. Willis Warren says:

    In other good news, someone is leaking offshore accounts to Ken Silverstein again… and apparently, he’s got one for Glenn Greenwald.

    Ken cracks me up

  57. Bay State Librul says:

    Sitting at a bar on a Sunday afternoon
    Waiting for the Mueller typhoon
    Laugh about it shout about when you’ve got to weigh-in
    Every way you look at it you win

  58. Dcom says:

    Just reading Marcy’s tweet about what Mueller was tasked to do…

    “I think Rosenstein made a mistake in his mandate to Mueller, if he wanted to argue the report should not be made public. That’s bc he didn’t ask Mueller, primarily, to see if a crime was committed. He asked him if there were links (there were) or coordination (sort of was).”

    I’ve been wondering about this too. Is it implied that Mueller was supposed to investigate AND bring charges? Seems to me that the “findings” Mueller is about to report are not the same as the task of “prosecuting” wrongdoing. All the other indictments were about getting to the truth via the pressure to get cooperation or contribute to a final findings report (such as investigating Russia’s part in the intervention into our elections). A conspiracy indictment, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to have the same function. A conspiracy charge, which might include an unindictable Trump, would be the remedy, or the result of findings, which I wonder is in Mueller’s directive.

    But I’m not a lawyer. Curious to know if I’m just grasping for straws.

    • bmaz says:

      I’ll say two things about that:

      1) Think the initial assignment scope and tasking delegation was done hurriedly and on the fly, and intended to be simple and as non-controversial as possible;

      2) There have been written and/or oral modifications thereto that we really may not know or understand.

      In short, think this is still a hard area to plumb without more knowledge (that we do not yet have).

  59. daisyb says:

    We are all still here.

    I am sustained by bmaz, in this post’s comments, (and others too) who remind us that there is yet work to be done, for us, as citizens.

    A pause for gratitude to all at EW helps me find my spirit.

    On the chewing-gum-for-the-eyes box this AM James Fallows said this:

    “. . . A year after Dean’s testimony, Nixon was still in office. He held on for 14 months after the hearing. It took half a year for the Senate to censure McCarthy. The Pentagon Papers came out amid intense legal drama in 1971. Nearly four years later, U.S. troops were still leaving Vietnam. Public life does not work at the speed of a movie. Wherever this process leads, it is likely nearer its beginning than its end.”

    He went on to speak of the importance of public information. Which brings me back around to EW, where we find the expertise of some truly gifted analysts of information. They wear many hats, but today, I think of them as quartermasters. And we are all still here.

    In a “Beyond the Fringe” kind of moment, (and at the risk of sounding like the completion of the Muller investigation is not a serious moment), I ask Punaise to fix this for me so I can take a pause and laugh:

    (with apologies to Mrs Leary):

    Five nights ago,
    When we were all in bed,
    Devin Nunes’s milk cow kicked him in the head
    and when Nunes woke up
    he jumped up quick and said
    If I sue a cow, Trump will surely pull ahead . . .

  60. OldTulsaDude says:

    That there are no further indictments from the SCO means to me that the SC could not develop Manafort into a Sammy “The Bull” Gravano. I am speculating that the findings of the SC will show not enough evidence to prosecute or that prosecution would involve unmasking classified methods deemed too essential to the security of the U.S. to be revealed. I doubt seriously that the counter-intelligence aspect gives Individual-1 complete vindication.

    • P J Evans says:

      I’ll go with “unmasking classified methods” – along with sources, or at least revealing enough information for sources to be endangered. (I have the impression that they haven’t found a way to indict that doesn’t involve revealing information they don’t want to reveal.)

  61. OldTulsaDude says:

    And finally, with I hope apt apologies to the memory of Tom Petty, who has gone into the great wide open, his family, friends, and fans:

    The investigation is over
    so why am I so blue?
    They say there are no indictments
    I thought there’d be a few

  62. Kick the darkness says:

    “Now that the report is done, it’s time to focus on protecting the United States again.”

    So very true. But the problem is, once a tribal venal fuck, always a tribal venal fuck. I guess I feel the stuff online right now about a play in three acts sounds about right. Act I is complete. Act II gets even uglier, with Kavenaugh quaffing lots of beer. And then Act III leads us into 2020. We fight with one hand staving 2016 wounds, and the other for whatever champion we place on a modern day Bosworth Field.

    Dylan’s “steal a little and they throw you in jail…” line seems apropos. Which likely comes from O’Neill’s “Emperor Jones”: “Now look here, Smithers. There’s two kind’s of stealing. There’s the small kind, like what you do, and the big kind, like I do. For the small stealing they put you in jail sooner or later. But for the big stealing they put your picture in the paper and your statue in the Hall of Fame. If there’s one thing I learned in ten years on Pullman cars, listening to white quality talk, it’s that same fact. And when I get a chance to use it . . . from stowaway to emperor in two years.”

  63. Thomas says:

    The Omerta.
    Basically, it is a corrupt organization of the RICO type. Charging that organization (the JDA), the way an organized crime family would be charged, is the only way to counter the political disinformation campaign by Trump and his associates, and the only way to prosecute the underlying criminal conspiracy with Russia.
    I don’t think there is ANY way that information is going to remain a secret. Tick tock.
    Barr has now joined the conspiracy and it isn’t a good career choice.

Comments are closed.