Patterico's Pontifications

7/13/2018

Rosenstein Presser and Indictments

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:37 pm



There should probably be a separate thread for this. It seemed like what Mueller should be doing, and I thought Rosenstein’s statement about putting partisanship aside was compelling.

Your thoughts below.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

Stop Overselling the Importance of the Strzok Texts

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:37 am



I did not watch the Strzok partisan shoutfest. But Phillip Bump at the #FAKENEWS Bezos Post has a point about the evil Peter Strzok:

In a written statement offered before he testified before the House Oversight Committee on Thursday, Strzok pointedly noted that there was no effort on his part to keep Trump from winning the White House — and, further, that he was one of only a few people who could have potentially leaked details from the investigation in an effort to block Trump’s victory.

“In the summer of 2016,” Strzok wrote, “I was one of a handful of people who knew the details of Russian election interference and its possible connections with members of the Trump campaign. This information had the potential to derail, and quite possibly, defeat Mr. Trump. But the thought of exposing that information never crossed my mind.”

This is a nearly impossible point to rebut.

Before Election Day, there were rumblings that Russia was engaged in the campaign in nefarious ways and that Russian President Vladimir Putin sought to see Trump win. There were rumors — theories, really — that Trump was more than happy to have Russia’s help or even might be aiding that effort. In the closing days of the campaign though, the two most important stories about the Clinton and Trump investigations were ones that solely worked to the eventual winner’s advantage.

On Halloween 2016, the New York Times detailed what was known about the investigation into Russian interference (an effort addressed earlier that month in an unusual public statement from the government). The headline, though, summarized the good news for Trump’s effort: “Investigating Donald Trump, F.B.I. Sees No Clear Link to Russia.”

“None of the investigations so far have found any conclusive or direct link between Mr. Trump and the Russian government,” the article read. Since Trump was inaugurated, of course, we’ve learned much more about links between the campaign and Russia — involving even members of Trump’s family. The effect of the story, though, was to quash those rumors about Trump’s motivations.

Paul Waldman expands on this concept:

This is the core of what makes the Republican effort to discredit the Russia investigation so utterly insane. They want us to believe there was an FBI conspiracy to prevent Trump from being elected president, and what did that conspiracy do? First, it mounted a cautious investigation of what nearly everyone now acknowledges was a comprehensive effort by Russia to help Trump get elected, an effort that people on the Trump campaign and even in Trump’s own family tried to cooperate with. But then it kept that investigation completely secret from the public, lest news of it affect the outcome of the investigation in any way.

You will notice that Republicans have not been able to produce any evidence that Strzok or anyone else took any official action that was biased, unfair or inappropriate in their investigation of Russian interference and the Trump campaign.

The view of the FBI as a hotbed of partisan leakers is indeed difficult to reconcile with the fact that this stuff was not leaked at the most critical time. Also, these were private messages, and nobody would like having their private messages aired to the country.

That said, unlike the #Resistance, I’m not ready to canonize Strzok. The messages were written on government devices. He is an adulterer. While the conclusions he came to about Trump’s personality are similar to the conclusions many of us came to, having a guy this openly and emotionally partisan involved in these investigations feels very inappropriate and disturbing.

But it’s not enough for me to decide that the FBI and Mueller are involved in a #WitchHunt. That’s what Donald Trump wants me to think, but no sale.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]


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