Later today, William Barr, the US Attorney General, will release a redacted version of the Mueller Report.
“Redacted”, of course, is a fancy word that means “censored for public viewing.”
Because the nature of Barr’s redactions will not be known until the full report is released to Congress, what will appear today is akin to a film adaption of a novel that no one but the director has read.
We’ve been down this road before.
On 24 March, Barr released a “summary” of the Mueller Report which contained this dependent clause:
“[T]he investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.”
For all we know, the beginning of that sentence is the single word “although.”
This did not stop the New York Times, the Washington Post, USA Today, and many other outlets from running with some variation of the misleading headline
“Mueller finds no conspiracy”
(Trump himself did one better, claiming “complete and total EXONERATION” on Twitter.)
Only later, when members of Mueller’s famously tight-lipped team leaked their displeasure to the press, did these members of the commentariat begin to walk back their initial assessment.
Barr’s March summary was a weapon used by Trump to gaslight the American people.
There is no reason to expect today’s offering to be any different.
Given that Mueller’s team reportedly prepared its own summary, intended for just this sort of general consumption, Barr’s second attempt will likely be as clumsy as the first,
raising more questions than it answers.
There are good reasons not to release the unredacted report to the public.
The Special Counsel’s investigation relies on confidential sources whose identities must be protected.
However, in order to determine whether Trump’s potentially shady dealings with Russia meet the standard for impeachment — to do its Constitutionally mandated job of
checking the executive branch — Congress must see the full report.
With so much bad information in the ether, it’s especially important to review the facts:
Throughout the campaign, during the transition period, and after inauguration, Donald Trump and his surrogates vehemently denied meeting with Russians of any stripe, for
They all lied.
There were, in fact, many meetings between associates of Donald Trump and agents of Vladimir Putin.
Not two or three.
Not a few.
Donald Trump and his key associates really did meet with Russian ambassador Sergei Kislyak at the Mayflower Hotel on 27 April 2016.
Donald Trump Jr, Jared Kushner, and Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort really did meet with Russian agents at Trump Tower on 9 June 2016;
Trump really did begin tweeting about Hillary Clinton’s “missing” emails for the first time that same afternoon.
Trump foreign policy adviser Carter Page and Jeff Sessions — the first senator to endorse Trump — really did meet with Kislyak at the Republican National Convention in
Cleveland that same month, and they really did change the Republican platform to align the GOP’s position on Ukraine/Crimea with Putin’s.
Sessions really did meet Kislyak in his offices on 8 September 2016.
Kushner and Mike Flynn really did sneak Kislyak into a meeting at Trump Tower in December 2016, and at the time, Kushner really did seek to establish a backchannel to Putin
via the Russian embassy.
Kushner really did meet with the Russian president of a sanctioned bank in mid-December 2016.
Trump surrogates Erik Prince and Elliott Broidy really did meet with a Russian wealth fund manager in the Seychelles in January 2017.
And President Donald Trump really did laugh it up with Kislyak and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in the Oval Office on 9 May 2017, the day after firing FBI director
All of that really happened, despite all the denials, despite all the lies.
Later today, I assume Trump will try to spin Barr’s document to fit his “no collusion, full exoneration” narrative.
Indeed, his legal team has already prepared a rebuttal.
Don’t believe him.
To my mind at least, a document that doesn’t include reference to all of those Trump-Russian liaisons — especially if delivered second-hand by a partisan Attorney General
with a history of misleading Congress — must be viewed as incomplete, and regarded with scepticism.
by Greg Olear
Greg Olear is the author of ‘Dirty Rubles: An Introduction to Trump/Russia’.
…… so you’re told the mark is there……. you know how to spot a mark…..you enter the
room of people…..but you can’t spot the mark ………………….. ? …………golly
…….maybe you’re the mark….. …….w