David Corn reminds us to keep our eyes on the prize. Trump remains treacherous and a danger to US democracy. There are 16 other criminal investigations that will be made even clearer with a full accounting of the Mueller Report.
Barr’s note is clear that Mueller did not uncover evidence Trump and his gang were in direct cahoots with Russia’s covert operation to interfere with the US election and boost Trump’s odds. But the hyper-focus on this sort of collusion—as if Trump instructed Russian hackers on how to penetrate the computer network of the Democratic National Committee—has always diverted attention from a basic and important element of the scandal that was proven long before Mueller drafted his final report: Trump and his lieutenants interacted with Russia while Putin was attacking the 2016 election and provided encouraging signals to the Kremlin as it sought to subvert American democracy. They aided and abetted Moscow’s attempt to cover up its assault on the United States (which aimed to help Trump win the White House). And they lied about all this.
A candidate seeking the job of defending the United States was facilitating an attack on the nation. And after winning the White House, Trump would keep on protecting Putin by dismissing Russian involvement and the significance of the attack.
If neither Trump nor a Trump emissary communicated explicitly with the Russians about the specifics of the operation, that is not the end of this scandal. Trump knew the attack was happening, and he helped. So, too, did Donald Trump Jr. and Manafort—and probably others within the campaign. This is the core of the Trump-Russia scandal.
By asserting that the issue is only whether or not he directly colluded with the Kremlin plot, Trump has diverted attention from the fact that he facilitated an assault on his own country. That may or may not have been illegal. But it was betrayal. It was treachery.
65: Number of words from the Mueller report Barr includes in his 4 page letter
ZERO: Number of complete sentences from the Mueller report Barr includes in his 4 page letter
— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) March 24, 2019
If Mueller does find himself before a Congressional committee, another question for him would be: did you want to indict the president for obstruction? Did the Attorney General tell you not to ask for that? Those questions arise from the strange way that Mueller threw the decision on obstruction over to Barr. Two weeks ago, Cockburn was told there was a fight between Barr and Mueller over whether to indict Trump. If this was really what was happening, it would explain the odd choreography now. It might explain the Attorney General’s statement in his letter that on obstruction, Mueller had ‘not exonerated’ Trump – though a page later, Barr himself does. Yes, Barr had told Congress on Friday that there were ‘no requests’ of Mueller’s that were denied, but perhaps Mueller never made a formal request about obstruction, knowing that it would have to be denied given Barr’s previous public statements. (He wrote a letter to Congress last summer, saying the president couldn’t be charged with obstruction.) Cockburn’s source has some credibility on this issue as he also said – and we reported here – that Mueller’s report ‘would not make the case for collusion’.
It's not that Mueller couldn't make a decision about obstruction. It's that he didn't want to, possibly because he is cautious and understood its potential impact on the nation.
Yet Barr took it upon himself to do, in two days, what Mueller was unwilling to do after two years. https://t.co/4ZieloTi0M
— Renato Mariotti (@renato_mariotti) March 24, 2019
What we know for certain is this: the report does not exonerate @POTUS. The special counsel determined that a foreign adversary interfered in our elections to support the Trump campaign. And @POTUS has taken numerous actions–many in public view–to thwart the investigation.
— Tom Udall (@SenatorTomUdall) March 24, 2019
Dr Keith Suter says the idea that the Russians helped @realDonaldTrump win the 2016 election was 'always a diversion', arguing the real issue is the 'extent to which Trump is in debt to Russian financial interests'.
— Sky News Australia (@SkyNewsAust) March 24, 2019
Remember — Watergate didn’t end with a Special Counsel’s investigation.
It ended because Congress held hearings, which led to new evidence, which led to the threat of impeachment.
So, keep in mind. This isn’t the end.
It’s simply the end of the beginning.
— Nathan H. Rubin (@NathanHRubin) March 24, 2019
Whatever this report says, here’s what I know: when I was at Cambridge Analytica, the company hired known Russian agents, had data researchers in St Petersburg, tested US voter opinion on Putin’s leadership, and hired hackers from Russia – all while Bannon was in charge.
— Christopher Wylie 🏳️🌈 (@chrisinsilico) March 25, 2019