Tuesday, December 03, 2019

For Fun And Profit

Will the real Tucker Carlson stand up? Better yet, go away. In his bid to defend Donald Trump and the modern, authoritative Russian state, Tucker Carlson on Monday night (beginning at 2:40 of the video below) maintained

We now know it's not really a story. There was no Russia collusion. Russia didn't "hack our democracy." The whole thing was a talking point, a ludicrous talking point invented by the Hillary Clinton campaign on or about November 9, 2016 to explain the unexpected defeat in the last presidential election.

"We lost and we shouldn't have lost." From the start that has been the only argument that underpins the Russia conspiracy theory. And now, thanks to a multi-million dollar investigation that extended over a period of years that the rest of us had to endure inclusive of everything else. This was everything , that conspiracy theory had to die; it was killed, in fact, by Robert Mueller.

This is awfully slick. Carlson states "there was no Russia collusion," though the investigation by the Special Counsel did not evaluate whether there was collusion, instead whether there was a criminal conspiracy, for which burden of proof is considerably and significantly higher. In April, lawyers and scholars posting at Lawfare explained

As the report is careful to explain, “collusion” is neither a criminal offense nor a legal term of art with a clear definition, despite its frequent use in discussions of the special counsel’s mandate. Mueller and his team instead examined the relationships between members of the Trump campaign and the Russian government through the far narrower lens of criminal conspiracy. To establish a criminal conspiracy, a prosecutor must show, among other elements, that two or more persons agreed to either violate a federal criminal law or defraud the United States.

Cagily, Carlson switched to claiming "that conspiracy theory had to die; it was killed, in fact, by Robert Mueller." Although Mueller did probe whether there was a conspiracy, Lawfare continued

This “meeting of the minds” is ultimately the piece the Mueller team felt it could not prove, leading it not to pursue any conspiracy charges against members of the Trump campaign, even as it pursued them against Russian agents.

This conclusion is far from the full vindication that chants of “no collusion” imply, a fact driven home by the detailed factual record the Mueller report puts forward. In some cases, there was indeed a meeting of the minds between Trump campaign officials and Russia, just not in pursuit of a criminal objective. In others, members of the Trump campaign acted criminally—as evidenced by the guilty pleas and indictments that the Mueller team secured—but did so on their own. At times, these efforts even worked toward the same objective as the Russian government, but on seemingly parallel tracks as opposed to in coordination. None of this amounted to a criminal conspiracy that the Mueller team believed it could prove beyond a reasonable doubt. But the dense network of interactions, missed opportunities, and shared objectives between the Trump campaign and the Russian government remains profoundly disturbing.

Mueller did not "kill" anything. Investigations are not adept at finding what they're looking for or, in the case of the one conducted by the Special Counsel's office, what they're eager to overlook. "Mueller," Elie Mystal wrote after release of the Special Counsel's report "declined to seek subpoenas to compel testimony from Donald Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump, or Eric Trump," among them the individuals best situated to know of any conspiracy.

Mueller was, as Steve Bannon suggested, a Marine sent to do a hitman's job, which was in part to determine whether there was a conspiracy to install as President an individual from the same political party as the investigator. Shockingly, the ex-Marine couldn't, or wouldn't,  find the evidence sufficient to convince a jury beyond a reasonable doubt that a political campaign and a foreign nation had knowingly colluded to manipulate an American presidential election.

Tucker Carlson is not ignorant nor a useful idiot.  Naveed Jamali seems to have figured him out:

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