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Ignore the spin still no evidence of Trump collusion
The Hill ^ | 07/13/18 | Jonathan Turley

Posted on 07/13/2018 2:29:31 PM PDT by yesthatjallen

“They caught the witches.” Those were the celebratory words of John Podesta, chairman of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, in response to the indictment Friday of 12 Russian military intelligence officers for hacking efforts linked to the 2016 election. Only hours before, President Donald Trump repeated his favorite mantra, calling the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller a “rigged witch hunt.”

Trump always has been wrong about the Mueller investigation, which many supported after he fired then-FBI Director James Comey. As this investigation once again proves, there be witches in those woods. The question, however, is the type of witches we were hunting.

The problem with hunting witches is that you can quickly forget what sent you on the hunt, or gradually view most everyone as a witch. In Salem, Mass., in 1763, Mary Easty was convicted by deranged girls yelling “O Goody Easty, O Goody Easty, you are the woman.” That was it. Witch.

The problem in the Russian investigation is that we have plenty of crimes but not necessarily plenty of colluders.

The demonic Internet character Guccifer 2.0 was a carefully constructed false identity of a hacker, who turned out to be Russian intelligence officers. Before we all shout “O Goody Ruskies,” we should keep in mind the distinction between criminals and colluders. Trump is correct that none of these indictments have established any crime linked to collusion by himself or his key aides. That does not mean that the investigation is rigged or improper.

After 14 months of investigation (and for the second time in a formal indictment), the Justice Department has stated that it is not alleging any knowing collusion between Trump campaign officials or associates and the Russians. Back in February, Mueller handed down his major indictment of 13 Russians for actively interfering with the 2016 election by spreading false information. Both Mueller and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein expressly noted that the evidence involved “unwitting” communications with Russians adopting false identities. This indictment shows that same pattern of clearly concealed identities in seeking to hack and distribute email information from the Democratic campaign and its associates.

When I noted at the time of the February indictment that it was strikingly silent on evidence of collusion, some insisted that the indictment did not cover the hacking operation and that Mueller was likely waiting to indict Trump officials colluding on the theft and distribution of the emails. We are still waiting. While the indictment speaks of both a reporter and a Trump campaign associate unwittingly communicating with the Russians, the indictment does not allege knowing collusion. That does not mean that no one colluded on some level, but after 14 months we have yet to see compelling evidence of collusion by Trump or his campaign.

There are some individuals who, according to media reports, may have sought hacked material from WikiLeaks. There also is an unnamed journalist who sought such information, and even an unnamed candidate for Congress. That does not mean, however, that it is a crime for reporters or academics or political activists to review such information if they did not play a role in illegal removal. Indeed, numerous journalists, including at least one reporter for The Hill, sought access to Guccifer 2.0’s information.

Moreover, the efforts of the Russian operations detailed in these indictments do not establish a particularly significant impact on the election. When the Russians began this operation in 2016, we were already irreconcilably divided as a nation between the two least popular candidates ever to run for the White House. Thirteen trolls in St. Petersburg, or 12 military hackers in Moscow, certainly could spit into that raging ocean, but it remains highly unlikely to have had a material impact on the election.

As for the information shared by the Russian units, it is was rather underwhelming even to the recipients. For example, Guccifer 2.0 sends a Trump associate what is described as “the turnout model for the democrats entire presidential campaign.” The Russians were eager to help, even saying in similarly stilted language, “please tell me if i can help u anyhow … it would be a great pleasure to me.” However, the recipient simply responds that the information is “pretty standard.”

Indeed, much of this effort may have been much too “standard” for some of us to admit. The continued shock and revulsion expressed by many leaders at the thought of such interference is a tad forced. The United States has intervened in foreign elections for decades, including leaking stolen documents. Not long ago, our hacking of our own allies, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, was revealed. Many nations regularly try to influence elections and this is nothing new for the United States, either as the culprit or as the target of such efforts.

In other words, if there were a real hunt for election witches, we would find ourselves at the head of the line to the pillory.

Does that mean that the Mueller investigation is somehow invalid? Of course not. This remains an attack on our system, there is still work to be done, and we should all want the FBI to continue that work unimpeded.

With minutes of its release, the latest indictment was unrecognizable after being put through the centrifuge of the Washington spin machine. The fact is that the indictment largely confirmed what we knew. It shows an effort by the Russians to undermine Clinton and influence the election; it also shows no evidence of knowing collusion and, indeed, very limited evidence of unknowing collusion.

So, ignore the exclamations of “O Goody Ruskies.” We can be outraged by the Russian operation without being hypocrites as to our own history. Likewise, we can support the Mueller investigation without ignoring the fact that no credible evidence has thus far arisen against Trump on collusion.

In other words, if you want to find witches, start by not being chumps.


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: jamescomey; lisabarsoomian; lisapage; michaelcohen; mueller; peterstrzok; robertmueller; rodrosenstein; russia; trump; trumprussia; turley
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Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University. You can follow him on Twitter @JonathanTurley.
1 posted on 07/13/2018 2:29:31 PM PDT by yesthatjallen
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b.s.noting but smoke n mirrors from mueller….none of the ‘indictments’ have any proof...no one will be in court, there are no arrests....this is kabuki theater to distract from the hearing from PS.


2 posted on 07/13/2018 2:34:50 PM PDT by raygunfan
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To: yesthatjallen

Since the DNC server was NEVER examined, how does Muller or anyone else, know that it was hacked at all? It may have been an inside job. Will the Russians get the right to discovery if they submit themselves for trial, or will Mueller find a judge who will deny them that right?


3 posted on 07/13/2018 2:34:50 PM PDT by euram
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To: yesthatjallen

They still aren’t interested in who actually took money from Russians, and actually returned favors.


4 posted on 07/13/2018 2:35:57 PM PDT by marron
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To: euram

All the crimes that were committed were under O’Idiot’s watch.


5 posted on 07/13/2018 2:36:10 PM PDT by mplc51
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To: yesthatjallen
Lets face it...

Where do you think the Energizer Bunny got it from?

6 posted on 07/13/2018 2:37:25 PM PDT by DoughtyOne (Take a look out there folks. Can you see evidence of a Left Wing Hate Group, perhaps fascist too?)
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To: yesthatjallen

And, as for the 33,000 emails they scrubbed rather than answer a subpoena, no one to this day seems interested in the actual collusion they hid when they erased them and smashed their hardware.


7 posted on 07/13/2018 2:38:07 PM PDT by marron
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To: yesthatjallen
Likewise, we can support the Mueller investigation

No. As Andrew McCarthy's been saying, you don't need a special counsel for this.

8 posted on 07/13/2018 2:39:56 PM PDT by MUDDOG
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To: euram

Yes, an indictment, not a conviction. We still don’t know the truth of this.


9 posted on 07/13/2018 2:40:47 PM PDT by Ouchthatonehurt
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To: yesthatjallen

Bottom line ... still NO proof that Trump did anything thing wrong, or tried to ... yet a full-blown Special Council investigation, with 50 lawyers on staff and millions of dollars in budget, keeps plowing on ...

meanwhile, with Hillary Clinton there IS ample evidence available that she committed real crimes, serious crimes ... yet nothing happens to her or her cronies ... no charges, no investigations, no media saturation, nothing ...


10 posted on 07/13/2018 2:41:54 PM PDT by canuck_conservative
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To: yesthatjallen; xzins
After 14 months of investigation (and for the second time in a formal indictment), the Justice Department has stated that it is not alleging any knowing collusion between Trump campaign officials or associates and the Russians

Nothing in the indictment suggests any “collusion” by any member of the Trump team. In fact the indictment provides an iron clad defense to any such specious allegation.

The indictment shows that the Russians were credibly presenting themselves to be American citizens and that any Trump member that had any contact with the Ruskies were convinced they were conversing with Americans.

Mueller has indicted his paper witches and exonerated Trump in the same 29 page document. Mueller has his scalps. It’s time to shut him down. He’s done. Stick a fork in him.

11 posted on 07/13/2018 2:45:12 PM PDT by P-Marlowe (Freep mail me if you want to be on my Fingerstyle Acoustic Guitar Ping List)
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To: All

Again Trumps decision not to fire Rosenweasel has come back to bite him. Yes, during the little pricks show today he mumbled there was nothing to tie Trump to Russia’s election tampering. Ok Great, but the point was he reinvigorated the meme that the Russians helped Trump. Now it’s almost impossible to fire him without appearing to go after him because he indicted the Russians. So he can continue his coup unabated. Meanwhile he has 93 FBI prosecutors looking for dirt on Kavanaugh. He is also trying t0 destroy Jordon -bank it. I just despise the guy but he seems untouchable.


12 posted on 07/13/2018 2:49:10 PM PDT by gibsonguy
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To: P-Marlowe

Mueller’s job is to be an open investigation preventing access to proof of a deep state coup attempting to overthrow the US president.

Mueller will be there til Trump is gone or issues a blanket pardon


13 posted on 07/13/2018 2:49:37 PM PDT by xzins (Retired US Army chaplain. Support our troops by praying for their victory.)
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To: yesthatjallen

It’s actually the perfect way for Rosenstein and Mueller to never have to either prove anything, or release what evidence or lack of it they have. They know Putin will never turn over these people (if they are even real), therefore it will never go to trial. Meanwhile they can hold everything back as part of an “ongoing investigation”, one that will be forever in limbo.


14 posted on 07/13/2018 2:50:53 PM PDT by Hugin (Conservatism without Nationalism is a fraud.)
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To: yesthatjallen

“They caught the witches.” Those were the celebratory words of John Podesta, a creepy little queer whose rise to any sort of power is an example of exactly what is wrong with our culture ...

Fixed it.


15 posted on 07/13/2018 3:19:29 PM PDT by cdcdawg
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To: canuck_conservative
Bottom line ... still NO proof that Trump did anything thing wrong, or tried to

Hence they have to keep injecting life into the collusion 'narrative'.

16 posted on 07/13/2018 3:23:02 PM PDT by yesthatjallen
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To: yesthatjallen

The “elephant in the room” is still the supposed motive for Russian meddling - namely, to help Trump win the presidency.

But no one can explain why on earth Russia would prefer to have Trump be president over Hillary Clinton.

Trump ran on an America First platform and has spent his entire life demonstrating that he is nobody’s fool. Trump is the very last person the Russians would ever wish for as the US president.

Clinton ran on globalism and made a career out of selling America’s interests out to the highest bidder. She fits the bill perfectly as a president the Russians could use to their advantage.


17 posted on 07/13/2018 3:23:47 PM PDT by enumerated
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To: yesthatjallen
The problem in the Russian investigation is that we have plenty of crimes but not necessarily plenty of colluders.

Collusion or not, isn't what the Russians have been indicted for worthy of comment by the White House?

18 posted on 07/13/2018 3:25:27 PM PDT by DoodleDawg
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To: yesthatjallen
The fact is that the indictment largely confirmed what we knew. It shows an effort by the Russians to undermine Clinton and influence the election...

The bias in Turley's report is his failure to mention that the Russians also tried to hack into Republican systems, but were unable to.

Instead, Turley leaves the reader with the impression that the sole objective of the Russians was to "undermine Clinton."

The truth is that the Russians tried to play each against the other, but were unable to penetrate the Republican systems. They were left with only the Clinton hacks to work with.

-PJ

19 posted on 07/13/2018 3:29:35 PM PDT by Political Junkie Too (The 1st Amendment gives the People the right to a free press, not CNN the right to the 1st question.)
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To: yesthatjallen

If it can be proved that the Russkies helped Trump beat Hillary than they deserve a special reward. Not indictments.

Not that Trump needed any help.


20 posted on 07/13/2018 3:39:25 PM PDT by proudpapa (This is not the tagline you are looking for.)
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