Mueller team investigators have decided that truth does take time, but it shouldn’t wait much longer. That multiple members of Mueller’s investigative team took the step to start leaking about the findings of their investigation – after two years of absolutely zero leaks from their camp – is as exceptional as it is fundamental to uncover the whole Trump/Russia truth and nothing but.
The New York Times reported last night that multiple people in Mueller’s team have told associates that Attorney General William Barr “failed to adequately portray the findings” of their inquiry and that those findings were more troubling for Donald J. Trump than Barr indicated. Cue the “I told you so” chorus from every single person who’s been wise enough not to take Barr’s words at face value.
Even worse was the subsequent report from The Washington Post, in which an official who spoke with members of the Mueller team explained how “summaries were prepared for different sections of the report, with a view that they could make public. The report was prepared so that the front matter from each section could have been released immediately – or very quickly.”
“Mueller’s team assumed the information was going to be made available to the public,” the Washington Post continued, “and so they prepared their summaries to be shared in their own words – and not in the attorney general’s summary of their work, as turned out to be the case.”
This puts Barr’s behavior in a more damning light, and shows his intent in using his own views, rather than Mueller team’s, to present a summary to Congress and the public. Barr, no matter what, very clearly attempted to shape the narrative in a way that was far more favorable to Trump than the Mueller report itself would allow.
Barr has gone out of his way to try and use legal definitions that the public-at-large would for the most part fail to fully grasp, in order to allow leeway for Republicans and Trump to shout “no collusion!” from the rooftops. The problem is that, to those who do have the instruments to analyze that legal jargon, it was immediately clear that the definition of “collusion” (an utterly inadequate word, that should be replaced by “conspiracy”) that Barr used was an extremely narrow one.
The only crimes Barr was referring to when he said that the Mueller team found “no collusion” were conspiring with the Internet Research Agency (a Russian troll farm) and/or conspiring with Russian hackers to influence the election, and specifically trying to help Russia in its intent by conspiring with Russian government officials. One problem with that: no one was specifically referring to these aspects when discussing the now infamous “collusion”.
As Democratic Reps Eric Swalwell and Adam Schiff have said, the evidence for Trump and his team’s collusion with Russia has been in plain sight for two years. A few examples: meeting with literal Russian spies and Russian emissaries at Trump Tower to get “dirt” on Hillary Clinton, receiving illegal donations both for the inauguration fund and for the campaign from Russian oligarchs and people doing their bidding, repeatedly meeting with sanctioned Russian individuals in dozens of instances and keeping it purposely hidden from Congress and from investigators, not to mention repeatedly meeting with Russia’s President himself, Vladimir Putin, and keeping aides out of it, in order not to allow anyone other than an interpreter to know the content of the conversations. Oh, and there’s that Oval office fest with Russian officials straight in there, that would make any self-respecting deceased President roll in his grave.
This type of coordinated effort on part of Trump and his aides is what everybody who followed the Trump/Russia probe has been referring to when they spoke about “collusion”, or rather, conspiracy. Let’s get familiar with this word, because collusion is not listed as a crime anywhere relevant, it’s conspiring with someone against the United States that is a crime. The someone in question can be the representative of a country, someone with their own interests going against the US, a company trying to illegally access US markets… anyone who is involved in a conspiracy against the United States in no matter which fashion. If you conspire with them, you commit a crime.
Putin isn’t stupid, he would never do his bidding in first person. He has oligarchs doing that for him. Oligarchs are not official Russian government representatives (see how Barr’s wording works?), they just do Putin’s bidding while not being Russian officials. These are the same oligarchs who were stopped by Mueller at the airport to have their computers and cell phones confiscated in order to seize relevant material. The same oligarchs who poured money into Trump’s campaign and inauguration fund (matters that, by the way, are being investigated by the Southern District of New York and by the Brooklyn jurisdiction). The same oligarchs, like Dmitry Rybolovlev, who bought a property in Florida from Trump at double the market value, only to tear it down and never live there. These people. I won’t even get into Oleg Deripaska, because it would take a whole other story just for him, his business with Trump’s convicted campaign manager Paul Manafort, and his role with Trump.
Rep. Schiff has already brilliantly given the “you might think it’s OK to, I do not” speech, so that needn’t be repeated. The matter is, members of the Mueller team have reached the breaking point: after years of not-so-veiled insults and defamation on Trump’s part, they’re not going to stand idly by as an Attorney General that Trump appointed tries to turn their damning findings on Trump and Russia’s relationship into a tale of “oh there was no collusion” in favor of Trump.
Truth takes time, but members of Mueller’s team have decided, at last, it shouldn’t take quite this long to surface.