PBS NewsHour / YouTube WATCH LIVE FBI Director James Comey...
PBS NewsHour / YouTube

Yesterday James Comey testified in a closed session before Chairman (not much longer) Gowdy of the House and his band of email-obssessed cohorts.  I read the entire 235 pages of testimony.  Much has been made of the fact that the GOPutins were interested mainly in (you guessed it) HER EMAILS!

Not much new in the testimony, and the GOP are going to take another crack at finding nothing there again on December 17.  However, to my mind the most important testimony was not about the emails.

It was a not so secret shoutout by Comey to the DEMOCRATS AND THE MEDIA to stop using the Trump/GOP/Guiliani framing, and start using the words that MUELLER and the Special Counsel’s Office are using:  CONSPIRACY and OBSTRUCTION.

I’ll let Comey’s testimony speak for itself:

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Yesterday Comey also said what we have all been thinking . . . Trump conducts himself like a “mob boss” not like a president.

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Why is the framing important?  because for two years the GOP having been setting the groundwork by arguing constantly that there was “no collusion.”  Every time they say “collusion” and we accept that term we are forced to “argue” their issue.  Is there “collusion?” What is “collusion”?  “Is there even a crime called collusion”?

THERE’S NO COLLUSION say Trump and the GOPutins . . . And even if there were “collusion” it’s not a “crime.”    Or if it is a crime it’s a “process crime” (whatever that means but it doesn’t sound serious.)

Every moment we spend arguing “yes there is collusion” and what it means or doesn’t mean is time we AND THE MEDIA are NOT focused on  the actual crimes that Mueller and the SCO are investigating: CONSPIRACY and OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE.  Why isn’t the media talking about Conspiracy and obstruction?  Because they’re all busy discussion collusion and how many trump tweets “no collusion”.

Don’t you think Guiliani and his cohorts know that obstruction and conspiracy are crimes?  Of course they do.  That’s why they don’t want anyone to use those words. Because EVERYONE KNOWS CONSPIRACY AND OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE ARE CRIMES.  SERIOUS CRIMES. NOT “PROCESS CRIMES” (whatever that means).

Mueller will eventually issue more indictments or a report or some other document.  It will NOT say Trump has “colluded” with Russia.  It may not even use the term “collusion”.  And the Trump base that gets its news from F&F and believes all the lies that issue from those mouths will say:  “See Mueller looked for two years and found NO COLLUSION,  so Mueller and the “Deep State” made up two new crimes no one has talked about for two years,.  It’s obviously a Democratic and “deep state”  CONSPIRACY TO OBSTRUCT AND DELEGITIMIZE THE TRUMP PRESIDENCY.”  We’re not the criminals — the Democrats and the “deep state” are the criminals.  

The fact that we all know the difference won’t matter.  The media discussion and the FRAMING MATTERS. We don’t want to waste valuable time and media focus on the GOPutin’s chosen framing.

“Whoever frames the issue, wins.”

Comey knows this. Every attorney worth his or her salt knows this.  The GOPutins know this — they’re masters at framing.  Why do you think they’ve drummed the word “collusion” into the national consciousness?

Apparently only the media and the Democrats are the ones who don’t understand the importance of words, especially in a legal context.

SO NO MORE ARTICLES ARGUING ABOUT “COLLUSION”.  TALK ABOUT OBSTRUCTION AND CONSPIRACY.  THAT’S HOW WE CAN “HELP” MUELLER BY MAKING HIS JOB EASIER.  COMEY MADE A PRETTY BIG STATEMENT THAT HELPS US UNDERSTAND.  LET’S TAKE IT SERIOUSLY AND START USING THE CORRECT FRAMING AND INSIST THAT THE MEDIA DO THE SAME WHENEVER WE CAN.

IT’S NOT THAT HARD.  THE GOP ARE VERY DISCIPLINED ON USING THEIR FRAMING. SURELY WE CAN DO IT TOO.

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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.

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