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Thu Apr 18, 2019, 07:31 PM

Jonathan Chait, NYmag: Trump Beat the Rap, but Mueller Uncovered a Historic Scandal

http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2019/04/mueller-report-russia-scandal-trump-putin-collusion-obstruction.html


Perhaps the most haunting passage in the special counsel’s report on Russian election interference is a fragment of a sentence, most of which is hidden behind black redaction lines. Some figure, whose name is hidden, writes to Kirill Dmitriev, a Russian regime crony, “Putin has won.”

The Mueller report is the story of a crime that succeeded and a cover-up that quite possibly did too.

Trump has repeatedly claimed, and his attorney general has repeated, that the Mueller report proved (as William Barr put it Thursday morning) “there was in fact no collusion.” Mueller’s report shows this claim of exoneration is at best highly misleading and at worst outright false.

The standard of proof used by Mueller is “establish,” which essentially means “to prove.” Mueller established both that Russia set out to help Trump’s campaign, in part by breaking American laws, and that the campaign expected to benefit from those actions, criminal and otherwise. The report states that it failed to establish “coordination,” which it defines as “more than the two parties taking actions that were informed by or responsive to the other’s actions or interests.”

-snip-

The report describes four major avenues of potential collusion. Flynn’s attempt to secure the stolen emails failed. The famous Trump Tower meeting did not yield the dirt its participants sought. That leaves two more unresolved channels: Manafort, who passed polling data on to Kilimnik for reasons unknown, and Stone, who dealt with WikiLeaks and is largely blacked out of the report due to an upcoming trial.

What Stone and Manafort have in common, in addition to a long history as partners, is that they both refused to cooperate with Mueller. And here the evidence is overwhelming that Trump not only attempted to obstruct the probe but succeeded.

-snip-

It is famously difficult to prosecute the leaders of tight-knit criminal syndicates, which is why known mob bosses can walk the streets as celebrities for years or decades. This is the case even though there are specific laws designed to target the Mafia. Now imagine a mob boss who commands the loyalty of a national party and can hand out get-out-of-jail-free cards to his underlings when they get pinched, and you’re beginning to see the difficulty of establishing the kinds of criminal-conspiracy charges Mueller was after.

Trump’s defenders have muddled the distinction between the standard of proof required to convict a defendant in court — the standard Mueller was operating under — and the standard of proof in the court of public opinion. When you’re a charged with murder, you might beat the rap if the key witnesses recant or mysteriously die right before the trial. You would then be legally entitled to walk free, but your fellow citizens are not required to accept your boasts of exoneration. And they are certainly not required to disavow news reports that described you as a murderer.

Trump beat the rap. But Mueller’s report shows in excruciating detail the moral culpability that oozed out of the candidate and covered everybody beneath him. Pending the outcome of a couple of outstanding trials, the Russia investigation is no longer a question of law. It is a question of corruption, of ethics, of politics.

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Reply Jonathan Chait, NYmag: Trump Beat the Rap, but Mueller Uncovered a Historic Scandal (Original post)
highplainsdem Apr 2019 OP
cilla4progress Apr 2019 #1
Iliyah Apr 2019 #2

Response to highplainsdem (Original post)

Thu Apr 18, 2019, 07:33 PM

1. I feel like our demcracy

sucks

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Response to highplainsdem (Original post)

Thu Apr 18, 2019, 07:45 PM

2. t-rump have not beat the rap, not by a long shot.

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