The Bul****: You’ve Gotta Pivot Like There’s Nobody Watching

 

Lest we lose sight of the forest for the trees: It seems to me likely Mueller will find there was collusion between Trump associates and Putin operatives; that Trump knew about it; and that Trump sought to cover it up and obstruct its investigation. What then? Good question. — Bill Kristol, August 9, 2018

Good question, indeed. The complementary question, of course, is: what if Mueller doesn’t find that there was collusion between Trump associates and Putin operatives? What then?

We have an answer: you pivot.

What the Mueller report says, per Attorney General Barr, is this:

[T]he investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.

But pop over to The Bulwark and read Kim Wehle’s piece, Mueller Report: What We Can Learn From Barr’s Initial Letter to Congressional Leaders, and you’ll discover that the Barr letter, per Ms. Wehle,

contains no facts or substantive information—nothing about what Mueller did or did not find with respect to his investigative mandate from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

I’m confused. The letter seems to clearly state that Mueller did not find evidence to establish collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians, which actually was a principal objective of Mueller’s mandate. How does this clear finding become “nothing about what Mueller did or did not find?”

Read the rest of the piece and you won’t come across this seemingly important tidbit of information: that the investigation launched to find evidence of Trump campaign collusion with Russia did not find evidence of Trump campaign collusion with Russia.

Ms. Wehle does, however, instruct us to drop the “witch hunt” talk.

The piece by Charles Sykes, No Collusion. No Exoneration at least mentions that no collusion was found. It mentions it in the title, and in the first paragraph.

That’s it. The rest of the article is about obstruction. See how the pivot works?

Oh, and Mr. Sykes also lays down the law for us: “There was no witch hunt.”

(It almost seems like a Bulwark theme, that last bit.)

As If you read the articles at The Bulwark, you’ll notice two things. First, the pivot, the effortless shift from collusion to obstruction, as if the threat to our democracy was never the intrusion of Russian influence (it wasn’t, but that was the drum they were beating), but rather the danger of the President being critical of an investigation he knew, by virtue of being its object, to be pointless.

Secondly, you’ll see a lot of whataboutism, particularly from Sykes and Last. How exactly one’s attitude about past misdeeds by prominent Democrats factors into the revelation that there was no Trump collusion with the Russians escapes me; it seems to impose a moral standard on a legal question, as if to say that anyone who thinks Hillary Clinton should probably go to jail for her supposed crimes is a hypocrite for acknowledging that there was no Trump collusion with the Russians.

In short, after having beaten the collusion narrative into the ground with the rest of the mainstream media, Sykes and Co. are doing exactly what every left-leaning media organization is going to do: overlook the negative finding on collusion, and pivot instantly to speculation about obstruction in the investigation of collusion that, we now know, didn’t occur.

I will revisit The Bulwark when someone informs me that Charles Sykes has posted a piece acknowledging his mistaken credulity, and pondering, however briefly, how so many fell for what seemed, even two years ago, a preposterous narrative.

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  1. Gary Robbins Member
    Gary Robbins
    @GaryRobbins

    Martha Stewart would beg to differ with you.  She went to prison for obstruction of justice for lying to the FBI about a non-crime.

    • #91
  2. James Gawron Inactive
    James Gawron
    @JamesGawron

    RufusRJones (View Comment):

    The issue is, the FBI, the DOJ, the media, the DNC, Hillary, Perkins Coie and probably Obama are corrupt. It would be nice if someone were interested.

    Ruf,

    Oh, I haven’t forgotten any of that. AG Barr will be moving inexorably forward. Perhaps we will see another ‘special prosecutor’. One that the Democrats won’t like.

    We need a major victory in 2020. I think the first order of business is to kill vote harvesting. Surely it must be unconstitutional. Any ideas?

    Regards,

    Jim 

    • #92
  3. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):
    It’s not a theory but a matter of historical record that Donald Trump publicly welcomed this help: ‘I love WikiLeaks!’”

    Leaking the DNC emails was a great public service. What a bunch of ruling class creeps.

    • #93
  4. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    James Gawron (View Comment):
    I think the first order of business is to kill vote harvesting. Surely it must be unconstitutional. Any ideas?

    Exactly. Stop worrying about crazy witchhunts and worry about important things instead. 

    Everything goes left all of the time. It never stops.

    • #94
  5. DrewInWisconsin Member
    DrewInWisconsin
    @DrewInWisconsin

    If there was no crime committed, then logically, there’s no justice to obstruct. QED.

    • #95
  6. Joshua Bissey Inactive
    Joshua Bissey
    @TheSockMonkey

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):
    I, for one, am thankful to learn that our President did not collude with the Russians and that I no longer have to use the word “kompromat.”

    You enjoyed writing “kompromat.” That’s why you used the word so often.

    • #96
  7. Joshua Bissey Inactive
    Joshua Bissey
    @TheSockMonkey

    RufusRJones (View Comment):

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):
    It’s not a theory but a matter of historical record that Donald Trump publicly welcomed this help: ‘I love WikiLeaks!’”

    Leaking the DNC emails was a great public service.

    Of course. Not sure why we’re still debating this.

    • #97
  8. Henry Racette Member
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    Joshua Bissey (View Comment):

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):
    I, for one, am thankful to learn that our President did not collude with the Russians and that I no longer have to use the word “kompromat.”

    You enjoyed writing “kompromat.” That’s why you used the word so often.

    I am proud to say that not once in my life have I written the word “kompromat.”

    Aw, hell.

    • #98
  9. EDISONPARKS Member
    EDISONPARKS
    @user_54742

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    Martha Stewart would beg to differ with you. She went to prison for obstruction of justice for lying to the FBI about a non-crime.

    While it should be petty obvious I’m not lawyer and therefore not an legal expert I believe Martha Stewart was convicted of the same thing Michael Flynn was convicted:   Making false statements to Federal Investigators

    While it certainly appears to be in the same category as “obstructing justice” and can be used in obstruction of justice cases the making false statements statute is it’s own separate criminal statute the Feds can screw people to the wall with when they choose to pull out their notes 6 months after the original interview to revise their 302’s and “re- remember” the false statements without the benefit of a video of the interview.

    • #99
  10. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    Columbo (View Comment):

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Basil Fawlty (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):
    In fairness to Sykes, I suspect he used the word “exonerate” because the President did, and Sykes was contradicting the President’s statement.

    This is also the term the Special Counsel used, is it not?

    As I recall, though it’s possible I am mistaken, the summary letter did not quote Mueller’s actual words regarding obstruction. The Attorney General may have used the word, but I don’t remember. I don’t think he did.

    The Barr letter states ” The Special Counsel states that ‘while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.’”

    Andrew McCarthy, former Chief Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York and National Review contributor, has a definitive article which specifically addresses the entire Obstruction issue and how Mueller refused to finish the job that he was appointed to do. He chose to abdicate. I humbly encourage you to read it with an open mind … On obstruction, Mueller Abdicates

    Attorney General Barr is undisputably on firm legal ground here.

    Thank you for the hyperlink. While I don’t agree with the conclusion, the article is well written and deserves to be read, just as the articles I cited in Comment #61 deserve to be read.

    Reasonable minds can differ about issues. That does not make one of use “wrong,” we just happen to disagree. Good article again.

    Sorry, but I am going to go with, you know the former Chief Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York over some lawyer in Arizona. 

    No offense, but I think he knows better than you do. 

    • #100
  11. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    Martha Stewart would beg to differ with you. She went to prison for obstruction of justice for lying to the FBI about a non-crime.

    Just the sort of thing you are all for, in the over two years of Muller’s investigation which found on collusion. 

    How many lives did he destroy to find nothing? I know, you are 100% OK with everything he did. 

    • #101
  12. Gary Robbins Member
    Gary Robbins
    @GaryRobbins

    DrewInWisconsin (View Comment):

    If there was no crime committed, then logically, there’s no justice to obstruct. QED.

    See Comment #91.  Martha Stewart would beg to differ with you.

    • #102
  13. Gary Robbins Member
    Gary Robbins
    @GaryRobbins

    Joshua Bissey (View Comment):

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):
    I, for one, am thankful to learn that our President did not collude with the Russians and that I no longer have to use the word “kompromat.”

    You enjoyed writing “kompromat.” That’s why you used the word so often.

    I will miss it.  

    • #103
  14. Gary Robbins Member
    Gary Robbins
    @GaryRobbins

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Joshua Bissey (View Comment):

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):
    I, for one, am thankful to learn that our President did not collude with the Russians and that I no longer have to use the word “kompromat.”

    You enjoyed writing “kompromat.” That’s why you used the word so often.

    I am proud to say that not once in my life have I written the word “kompromat.”

    Aw, hell.

    I sometimes have that effect on people.

    • #104
  15. Jager Coolidge
    Jager
    @Jager

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    She then lists literally 39 reasons for sober minded conservatives to oppose Trump. I agree with a large majority to them. I am not listing them, as most of them have hyperlinks which would automatically cause this comment to not be listed, pending moderation!

    Her final three paragraphs are as follows:

    Yeah. I actually read that piece. She makes sure to note that she would be quite unhappy with a President Pence. So Trump and his version of populism are bad. So is a tradional Republican who is a Social Conservative.

    In order to be conserving conservatism it might be nice to hear what actual  Conservatives I am allowed to like. Cause basically every thing I read there (including Pence would be just as bad) I can also find at Slate or Salon 

    • #105
  16. Gary Robbins Member
    Gary Robbins
    @GaryRobbins

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    Martha Stewart would beg to differ with you. She went to prison for obstruction of justice for lying to the FBI about a non-crime.

    Just the sort of thing you are all for, in the over two years of Muller’s investigation which found on collusion.

    How many lives did he destroy to find nothing? I know, you are 100% OK with everything he did.

    Trump brought this on himself by firing Comey.  We now know that Trump, et.al. are not guilty of collusion, which is a relief that while Trump is many things, he is not a traitor.  As a bonus, Manafort has gotten his just deserts for a lifetime of graft.  

    Hopefully in a matter of weeks we will read the Mueller report itself as to Obstruction of Justice.

    • #106
  17. Annefy Member
    Annefy
    @Annefy

    RufusRJones (View Comment):

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):
    it was indisputable that Russia hacked American emails as part of its activities to work for Donald Trump’s election.

    If he’s talking about WikiLeaks and the DNC I don’t think he’s right to say that. No one has proved its the Russians.

    Like I said before I think it’s debatable that Trump was better for Russia then Clinton. They obviously wanted to sew chaos. They were playing both sides of racial issues on Facebook, for one thing.

    Two things that I think are important –

    If memory serves, the FBI went to the HRC campaign and told them they’d probably been hacked. The campaign took no action. Also, and I am just techie enough to get in trouble, it was a “dump”; not a hack. (Someone who remembers this better than me? Please fill in details )

    Manafort nearly (or briefly) worked for John McCain’s presidential campaign. The FBI warned McCain of Manafort’s  ties to Russia.

    The FBI did not warn Trump about Manafort. Why?

    • #107
  18. Gary Robbins Member
    Gary Robbins
    @GaryRobbins

    Annefy (View Comment):

    RufusRJones (View Comment):

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):
    it was indisputable that Russia hacked American emails as part of its activities to work for Donald Trump’s election.

    If he’s talking about WikiLeaks and the DNC I don’t think he’s right to say that. No one has proved its the Russians.

    Like I said before I think it’s debatable that Trump was better for Russia then Clinton. They obviously wanted to sew chaos. They were playing both sides of racial issues on Facebook, for one thing.

    Two things that I think are important –

    If memory serves, the FBI went to the HRC campaign and told them they’d probably been hacked. The campaign took no action. Also, and I am just techie enough to get in trouble, it was a “dump”; not a hack. (Someone who remembers this better than me? Please fill in details )

    Manafort nearly (or briefly) worked for John McCain’s presidential campaign. The FBI warned McCain of Manafort’s ties to Russia.

    The FBI did not warn Trump about Manafort. Why?

    I don’t know.

    • #108
  19. Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo… Coolidge
    Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo…
    @GumbyMark

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    Annefy (View Comment):

    RufusRJones (View Comment):

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):
    it was indisputable that Russia hacked American emails as part of its activities to work for Donald Trump’s election.

    If he’s talking about WikiLeaks and the DNC I don’t think he’s right to say that. No one has proved its the Russians.

    Like I said before I think it’s debatable that Trump was better for Russia then Clinton. They obviously wanted to sew chaos. They were playing both sides of racial issues on Facebook, for one thing.

    Two things that I think are important –

    If memory serves, the FBI went to the HRC campaign and told them they’d probably been hacked. The campaign took no action. Also, and I am just techie enough to get in trouble, it was a “dump”; not a hack. (Someone who remembers this better than me? Please fill in details )

    Manafort nearly (or briefly) worked for John McCain’s presidential campaign. The FBI warned McCain of Manafort’s ties to Russia.

    The FBI did not warn Trump about Manafort. Why?

    I don’t know.

    When the FBI and CIA found out that one of Senator Diane Feinstein’s most trusted aides for 20 years was a spy for China, they quietly let her know and she let him go.  Oh, and during that time her husband made millions doing deals in China.  But letting Trump know his campaign might be infiltrated – no way!  It’s one of the issues Senator Graham said he will pursue in hearings when he calls DOJ and FBI to account

    • #109
  20. Jager Coolidge
    Jager
    @Jager

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    Martha Stewart would beg to differ with you. She went to prison for obstruction of justice for lying to the FBI about a non-crime.

    Just the sort of thing you are all for, in the over two years of Muller’s investigation which found on collusion.

    How many lives did he destroy to find nothing? I know, you are 100% OK with everything he did.

    Trump brought this on himself by firing Comey. We now know that Trump, et.al. are not guilty of collusion, which is a relief that while Trump is many things, he is not a traitor. As a bonus, Manafort has gotten his just deserts for a lifetime of graft.

    Hopefully in a matter of weeks we will read the Mueller report itself as to Obstruction of Justice.

    Reading the Mueller report on Obstruction does nothing but satisfy idle curiosity. From what we know from the Barr letter, 3 prosecutors looked at this (Mueller, Barr and Rosenstein) none of them recommend charges. Most of the stuff happened “in the public view” so there will unlikely be big surprises. 

    There will not be over 20 Republican Senators who will vote to impeach Trump without clear and convincing evidence of something awful.

    there will be likely zero Republicans voting to impeach if all they have is a suggestion (not an order) to go easy on Flynn and the firing of Comey.

    • #110
  21. Joshua Bissey Inactive
    Joshua Bissey
    @TheSockMonkey

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):
    We now know that Trump, et.al. are not guilty of collusion, which is a relief that while Trump is many things, he is not a traitor.

    We knew that a long time ago. The only people who bought the collusion story were those who hoped our president was a traitor, so all their dire warnings wouldn’t look so stupid.

    • #111
  22. Annefy Member
    Annefy
    @Annefy

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    Annefy (View Comment):

    RufusRJones (View Comment):

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):
    it was indisputable that Russia hacked American emails as part of its activities to work for Donald Trump’s election.

    If he’s talking about WikiLeaks and the DNC I don’t think he’s right to say that. No one has proved its the Russians.

    Like I said before I think it’s debatable that Trump was better for Russia then Clinton. They obviously wanted to sew chaos. They were playing both sides of racial issues on Facebook, for one thing.

    Two things that I think are important –

    If memory serves, the FBI went to the HRC campaign and told them they’d probably been hacked. The campaign took no action. Also, and I am just techie enough to get in trouble, it was a “dump”; not a hack. (Someone who remembers this better than me? Please fill in details )

    Manafort nearly (or briefly) worked for John McCain’s presidential campaign. The FBI warned McCain of Manafort’s ties to Russia.

    The FBI did not warn Trump about Manafort. Why?

    I don’t know.

    It’s a question I’d like to have answered. I have no illusions that the truth will Ever be known. 

    But I think it’s shameful – and a bit terrifying – that lives were destroyed and a President attempted to be removed over a dossier that was laughable on its face. 

    Hats off to Trump, and those that stood by him like Nunes. Some say that any republican could have won in 2016. But not a one would have survived these past two years. 

    • #112
  23. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    Annefy (View Comment):

    RufusRJones (View Comment):

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):
    it was indisputable that Russia hacked American emails as part of its activities to work for Donald Trump’s election.

    If he’s talking about WikiLeaks and the DNC I don’t think he’s right to say that. No one has proved its the Russians.

    Like I said before I think it’s debatable that Trump was better for Russia then Clinton. They obviously wanted to sew chaos. They were playing both sides of racial issues on Facebook, for one thing.

    Two things that I think are important –

    If memory serves, the FBI went to the HRC campaign and told them they’d probably been hacked. The campaign took no action. Also, and I am just techie enough to get in trouble, it was a “dump”; not a hack. (Someone who remembers this better than me? Please fill in details )

    Manafort nearly (or briefly) worked for John McCain’s presidential campaign. The FBI warned McCain of Manafort’s ties to Russia.

    The FBI did not warn Trump about Manafort. Why?

    That is exactly right. Manafort was under all kinds of surveillance in the mid 2000’s, but oh for some reason protect one campaign but not the other. I’m sure this makes sense to somebody.

    And then FBI forensics didn’t get to see the WikiLeaks hack. Like that was legal.

    Move along nothing to see here.

    Be sure to vote.

    • #113
  24. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    Annefy (View Comment):
    But I think it’s shameful – and a bit terrifying – that lives were destroyed and a President attempted to be removed over a dossier that was laughable on its face.

    So many people have no problem with this. It all makes perfect sense to them.

    This stuff costs staggering money to defend. It’s outrageous.

    Corsi, Papodopolus, Page, Flynn didn’t even have a lawyer when they tricked him, Caputo.

    Don jr. testified 27 hours over a meeting that wasn’t even illegal and that didn’t even cover anything about the premise of the meeting. I remember for a couple of months everyone knew he was going to jail. What BS. Remember that secret phone number he supposedly talked to his dad on? They grilled him over and over and over before the government subpoenaed the phone company and it was just a casual acquaintance.

    Clinton, Perkins Coui et. al. should be in jail and everyone involved in lying about that dossier should be in jail.

    Be sure to watch The Death Of Stalin and be sure to vote. Your vote matters. Voting is important. Voting is your duty. Watch The Lives Of Others before and after you vote.

    Also, mises.org is reportedly full of crazy people.

    • #114
  25. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    “Collusion” isn’t a legal term, either. 

    • #115
  26. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    EDISONPARKS (View Comment):

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    Martha Stewart would beg to differ with you. She went to prison for obstruction of justice for lying to the FBI about a non-crime.

    While it should be petty obvious I’m not lawyer and therefore not an legal expert I believe Martha Stewart was convicted for the same thing Michael Flynn was convicted: Making false statements to Federal Investigators

    While it certainly appears to be in the same category as “obstructing justice” and can be used in obstruction of justice cases the making false statements statute is it’s own separate criminal statute the Feds can screw people to the wall with when they choose to pull out their notes 6 months after the original interview to revise their 302’s and “re- remember” the false statements without the benefit of a video of the interview.

    Precisely.

    • #116
  27. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    EDISONPARKS (View Comment):
    the Feds can screw people to the wall with when they choose to pull out their notes 6 months after the original interview to revise their 302’s and “re- remember” the false statements without the benefit of a video of the interview.

    It’s outrageous. 

    Don’t talk to anyone in the government unless Harvey Silvergate is standing right there defending you.

    • #117
  28. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    Gary I found something you will like The Republican Party Should Not Re-Nominate Trump.

     

    • #118
  29. Columbo Member
    Columbo
    @Columbo

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    Columbo (View Comment):

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Basil Fawlty (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):
    In fairness to Sykes, I suspect he used the word “exonerate” because the President did, and Sykes was contradicting the President’s statement.

    This is also the term the Special Counsel used, is it not?

    As I recall, though it’s possible I am mistaken, the summary letter did not quote Mueller’s actual words regarding obstruction. The Attorney General may have used the word, but I don’t remember. I don’t think he did.

    The Barr letter states ” The Special Counsel states that ‘while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.’”

    Andrew McCarthy, former Chief Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York and National Review contributor, has a definitive article which specifically addresses the entire Obstruction issue and how Mueller refused to finish the job that he was appointed to do. He chose to abdicate. I humbly encourage you to read it with an open mind … On obstruction, Mueller Abdicates

    Attorney General Barr is undisputably on firm legal ground here.

    Thank you for the hyperlink. While I don’t agree with the conclusion, the article is well written and deserves to be read, just as the articles I cited in Comment #61 deserve to be read.

    Reasonable minds can differ about issues. That does not make one of use “wrong,” we just happen to disagree. Good article again.

    James Comey: ‘… Mr. Mueller, the special counsel essentially punted on the matter [obstruction], neither recommending that Mr. Trump (sic) be charged nor exonerating him … [he] put the decision in the hands of Attorney General William P. Barr.’

    David Brooks: ‘… Trump is owed an apology.’

    Careful. Remember the analogy about the Japanese soldiers living in caves when the war was over.

    • #119
  30. DrewInWisconsin Member
    DrewInWisconsin
    @DrewInWisconsin

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):
    Trump brought this on himself by firing Comey.

    Rosenstein brought it on Trump by recommending the firing of Comey.

    Good grief, the whole thing was a set-up. Rosenstein recommends the firing of Comey. The President (already frustrated with Comey for his repeated public lies that the President was being investigated) takes Rosenstein’s advice. Comey then uses his firing leaks his memos to the press with the deliberate and stated intention of getting a special investigator named, which Rosenstein does immediately.

    A set-up obvious to everyone.

    • #120
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