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Those Rats Didn’t Fuck Themselves

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Another excellent post by Marcy Wheeler about the brief memo Trump’s designated lackey and man with a decades-long track record of covering up Republican malfeasance Bill Bar released about the Mueller Report:

The exoneration for coordination in Mueller’s language, at least, extends only to the Trump campaign, not to rat-fuckers working on the side (one of the things Mueller reportedly asked a lot of witnesses was precisely when and why Stone left the campaign). And at least according to this language, Mueller’s assessment of coordination extended only to coordination with the Russian government. So even if Mueller and the US government are getting close to labeling WikiLeaks a Russian entity, it still wouldn’t count for this assessment. Unsurprisingly, Barr relies on that language to give the Trump campaign a clean bill of health on the hack-and-leak side.

Most cynically, though, even after Barr acknowledges that the Russians used WikiLeaks to disseminate the stolen emails, the very next sentence doesn’t mention the charges Mueller brought against Stone for hiding his own (and through him, the campaign’s, including Donald Trump’s) coordination of the releases “for purposes of influencing the election.”

But we know Stone’s indictment has to be in the report. That’s because the report, by regulation, must list all Mueller’s prosecutorial decisions. So not only would Mueller describe that he indicted Stone, but he probably also explains why he didn’t include a conspiracy charge in Stone’s indictment (which probably relates primarily to First Amendment concerns, and not any illusions about WikiLeaks’ willing service for Russia on this operation). So it must be in the report. But Barr doesn’t mention that, indeed, the Trump campaign, through their associated rat-fucker, did actually coordinate on the hack-and-leak and did actually influence the election by doing so, they just didn’t coordinate directly with the Russian government.

On this matter, it’s crystal clear that Barr cynically limited his discussion of the report to obscure that Mueller had, indeed, found that the campaign “coordinated” on the hack-and-leak for purposes of influencing the election.

Will Saletan had an excellent piece on the more general point here — basically, all Barr’s memo tells us is that “if you define ‘collusion’ narrowly enough then there was no collusion,” i.e. it tells us almost nothing. And the weaselly way he frames the report among with the disinclination of either his office or congressional Republicans to let the public see it makes it pretty clear that the actual report is far more damning than his summary tries to imply.

Relatedly, I’d like to highlight this excellent comment by rewenzo:

A lot of people are talking about the “fraud” perpetrated by the Democrats and the media and I think it’s worth asking what the fraud is supposed to be?

What we suspected after the election was that the Russians had hacked the DNC and given the information to Wikileaks with the goal of helping to elect Trump, and also engaged in a massive fake news generating scheme, again, to help Trump. This is Category 1. There was also a second suspicion, that Trump had known about the Russian effort, and had supported or even coordinated with the Russians. This is Category 2.

The reaction of the Republicans was that this was all transparently, ridiculously false. Crazy conspiracy theories. They denied that anyone with the campaign had ever had contact with any Russians. They denied the Russians had hacked anything or engaged in any effort to help Trump.

Now, it turns out, even according to Bill Barr’s spin of the Mueller Report, that all of the suspicions in Category 1 were correct. The Russians had indeed worked to help Trump win the election, by hacking, and by spreading disinformation.

Not only that, but Barr confirms that the Russians repeatedly attempted to coordinate with the Trump campaign. The Trump campaign reported none of this to law enforcement, and indeed, lied repeatedly to the media, Congress, and the FBI about their contacts with the Russians.

But it turns out, there is not enough evidence to conclude that anyone from the Trump campaign actually coordinated with the Russian government. So Category 2 didn’t make it all the way. Let’s go further and state that categorically, Mueller ruled out not just conspiracy, not just coordination, but also actually collusion. Not a single Trump campaign representative colluded with any Russian. (This is not what the Report has been represented to say, but let’s say that it does, for argument’s sake.)

Where is the fraud here from Democrats? They obviously didn’t *know* there was no collusion. How could they? The most you can say is that they were wrong. But even if they were wrong, their suspicions were certainly well founded.

The extent to which “skeptics” have just silently thrown the goalposts right past Category 1 is what you might call a tell.

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