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Friday, February 22, 2019


Now that the Mueller report does really seem imminent, the current obsession is whether we will get to see it.  Let me explain why I believe we will, regardless of what it says.

There are three possibilities.  The report could be good for Trump, bad for Trump, or devastating for Trump.  Good for Trump means that Mueller says he has no credible evidence that Trump was aware of or participated in his campaign’s attempts to acquire, or cooperate in the release of, Russian-hacked materials harmful to Clinton.  Bad for Trump means that Mueller details credible evidence of just that.  Devastating for Trump means that Mueller hands up a sweeping RICO-style indictment in which Trump is listed as an unindicted co-conspirator.  [God, I love that phrase!  It is as close to poetry as we ever get in politics.]

If it is Good for Trump, he will proclaim it from the rooftops, including every detail from usually secret Grand Jury testimony.  NO COLLUSION!!!!!!!!!!!

If it is Devastating for Trump, it will be presented in open court, and all hell will break loose.

If it is Bad for Trump, William Barr will bottle up as much of it as he possibly can, several House committees will issue subpoenas for it, the White House will take the case to court, it will go to the Supreme Court, and they will either order it released, or they will allow the Administration to keep it secret, in which case it will be leaked.

How do I know that it will be leaked?  Because everything is leaked these days.  Remember, these are not the good old days when reports were typed up on standard typewriters with numbered carbon copies.  This report will be a computer file, maybe a megabyte of code, existing on a variety of platforms.  It will be easily downloadable and anonymously sent to the NY TIMES and the Washington Post.

There is simply no way that it will remain secret more than a New York minute.

Now it is 8:39 a.m.  Nobody can accuse me of being obsessed, right?


Ed Barreras said...

It will be devastating for T***p, only, for flair, Mueller will have it dropped on a Sunday. That way, in the Netflix mini-series, we will be treated to shots of Mueller (played by Harrison Ford) singing hymns in Church interspersed with scenes of the RICO-style rounding up of T***p and his band of thugs. Just like The Godfather, but with the feds now in the place of the mob.

Chris said...

Up to this point literally no one has been indicted for collusion with Russia to sway the election, which was the entire expected M.O. of this investigation. That Manafort, Stone, et al are sociopathic crooks we knew a priori though.

Danny said...

'Nobody can accuse me of being obsessed, right?'

No more so than Democrats on the Hill, cable television pundits and analysts, social media influencers, voters, your cousin. Trump himself has tweeted about a Mueller report.

As to indications whether there will be an explosive final report (or reports), and whether any report will reach the public, well, I guess that providing the citizenry a complete account of the Trump-Russia scandal is actually the responsibility of Congress.

Danny said...

'Chris said...
Up to this point literally no one has been indicted for collusion with Russia to sway the election, which was the entire expected M.O. of this investigation. That Manafort, Stone, et al are sociopathic crooks we knew a priori though.'

I incline to quibble. After all, at least 34 people and three companies have been charged so far. If we are on the same page about that, then I wonder if we start with Richard Pinedo -- his sentence, six months of prison and six months of home confinement, is the longest sentence Mueller has secured. Pleaded guilty to selling stolen bank account information to Russian internet trolls who allegedly used the credentials to buy internet ads to sow division among Americans during the election. It was a lucrative business. You say 'collusion with Russia', and I don't know, do I parse this as excluding the Russian groups indicted by Mueller, who used social media posts, online ads, and rallies in the US? Pinedo’s charges appear related to that activity. Also, off the cuff, as I recall, the federal grand jury indictment against the Russians notably alleged that they had used the stolen identities of US citizens as part of their election interference campaign. And okay, Richard Pinedo, would open bank accounts in his name and sell them online to shadowy purchasers for cash. But also, in other cases, he served as a middle man, buying accounts in other people’s names and flipping them on the internet. Some of that business, it now appears, was done with a Russian operation that used social media platforms to sow political discord around the 2016 presidential election.

Read the full indictment here

But also, this one charged 13 Russian nationals and three Russian organizations with illegally seeking to disrupt the American political process.

Chris said...

Both aspects of collusion fall under alleged, so again, we don't have indictment for actual collusion, nor is RP an actual member of the Trump campaign.

Quoting Lester Freeman from The Wire:

"You follow drugs, you get drug addicts and drug dealers. But you start to follow the money, and you don't know where the f*** it's gonna take you."

Again, we know a priori that following the money of Trump, Stone, Manafort, et al, is going to take you into all kinds of strange places, many eventually criminal (and without calling all these people moral equivalents I suspect the same is true for MANY Democratic [[and other Republican]] presidents, candidates, etc.).

If after ALL THESE INDICTMENTS, all we have is one nobody allegedly maybe kinda sorta indirectly influencing the election, that's, at least, concerning. Since that was not Mueller's M.O. or directive. As Chomsky points out, if people seriously cared about money, power, and direct campaign influence, they would note that super pacs and pacs empirically and consistently have a remarkably larger impact than anything the Russians did. Putin doesn't have nearly the sway of Soros, the Kochs, Goldman Sachs, etc.

Also, as an aside to your first post, when Americans were polled about what issues they voted for in the 2018 races, literally EVERYTHING BUT the Russia investigation was a priority. So it's true that the media, pundits, and party hacks are making it the limelight of the presidency, but at the working class level, it's honestly a non-issue. [My wife for instance doesn't even know this investigation is going on, whereas she completely understands the ins and outs of how her bosses screw her daily, how her health care sucks, how her social security is being robbed, yadah yadah etc etc - hence why she likes Sanders. Confident she doesn't even know the name Stone, or Manafort, let alone Pinedo]