The Jury Talks Back

11/30/2018

There Is No Collusion! OK, Maybe a Bit

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 8:13 am

This column by Michael Gerson, highlighted by Allahpundit on Twitter, has a nice summary of some of the latest collusion evidence:

In the investigation by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, there are at least three offenses that could lead to indictment or impeachment. There is obstruction of justice — which Trump seems to attempt persistently, publicly and shamelessly. There is possible financial corruption concerning Russia on the part of Trump and the imperial family — about which the recent plea deal with Michael Cohen hints. This is likely to be interesting reading in Mueller’s report. And there is the initial matter of collusion with a hostile foreign power to influence a presidential election. This is hardly a fanciful charge, given that Trump, while a candidate, publicly invited Russia to hack into Hillary Clinton’s emails as a way to influence a presidential election.

What else do we know related to this charge? We know that Trump adviser Roger Stone allegedly told associates he was in contact with WikiLeaks, the conduit for emails hacked by Russian intelligence. (Stone denies this.) We know that Stone contacted conservative author and conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi, encouraging him to gather information on hacked Clinton emails. We know that Corsi responded to Stone: “Word is friend in embassy plans 2 more dumps . . . Impact planned to be very damaging.” (The “friend” in this email — amazingly and disgustingly — appears to be the anti-American cybercriminal Julian Assange.) We know that Stone issued the tweet, “Trust me, it will soon the Podesta’s time in the barrel,” six weeks before WikiLeaks began releasing 50,000 emails that Russian agents had reportedly stolen from Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta. And we know, from Corsi himself, that he and Stone conspired to lie about the motivation of this tweet.

Trump is left to claim — which he has now apparently done in written testimony — that he never discussed these matters with Stone or Corsi. This would have required candidate Trump to adopt a strategy of plausible deniability — in this case, encouraging Russian hacking in public but carefully avoiding the topic in private conversations with Stone.

Gerson goes on to discuss how unlikely the prospect is that Trump avoided personal involvement in this matter, given how personally involved he was in the Stormy Daniels payoff, and given that he publicly called for Russia to “find” missing Hillary Clinton emails (I never agreed that he invited Russia to “hack” Hillary, but he did invite them to meddle in the election). Why would he stay personally removed from this nasty work, when he personally involved himself in the Stormy Daniels nasty work? Answer: he wouldn’t.

A disinterested observer, initially inclined to dismiss accusations of collusion, increasingly finds them plausible.

10 Comments »

  1. What else do we know related to this charge?

    A question that we need to answer.

    We know that Trump adviser Roger Stone allegedly told associates he was in contact with WikiLeaks, the conduit for emails hacked by Russian intelligence. (Stone denies this.)

    OK, so we don’t actually know anything about whether Roger Stone was in contact with WikiLeaks, besides “he said – she said”.

    We know that Stone contacted conservative author and conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi, encouraging him to gather information on hacked Clinton emails.

    We do know that one of Trump’s advisors encouraged an author to look for dirt on his opponent in the election.

    We know that Corsi responded to Stone: “Word is friend in embassy plans 2 more dumps . . . Impact planned to be very damaging.” (The “friend” in this email — amazingly and disgustingly — appears to be the anti-American cybercriminal Julian Assange.)

    We know that the author who was in contact with one of Trump’s advisors told the advisor that an unnamed “friend in embassy” (who couldn’t be anybody but Assange) planned “dumps” that would be “very damaging”.

    We know that Stone issued the tweet, “Trust me, it will soon the Podesta’s time in the barrel,” six weeks before WikiLeaks began releasing 50,000 emails that Russian agents had reportedly stolen from Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta. And we know, from Corsi himself, that he and Stone conspired to lie about the motivation of this tweet.

    If one is to assert that one knows the motivations of a person based on the accusations of a third party, one will need more evidence than a link to an article hidden behind a paywall — especially after dismissing the “third party” as a “conspiracy theorist”.

    On a related topic:

    Why would he stay personally removed from this nasty work, when he personally involved himself in the Stormy Daniels nasty work?

    Why would Trump stay personally removed from opposition research, when he personally involved himself in covering up an affair? Answer: Affairs are personal, oppo research is business. Or, perhaps, Trump had so many feelers out for dirt on Clinton that he couldn’t take the time to investigate them all, whereas there was only one (at the moment) person saying he used her to cheat on his wife. Or, perhaps, he was bored by research, but sex is interesting.

    Answer: he wouldn’t.

    Would you care to be a bit more explicit on how you reached this conclusion?

    Comment by CayleyGraph — 11/30/2018 @ 9:48 am

  2. Anyone who parrots the claim that “Trump publicly invited Russia to hack into Hillary Clinton’s emails” has massive credibility issues, so I’m not inclined to take anything else Gerson says seriously, not without actual evidence.

    For those not aware, when Trump said that, the email server in question had already been destroyed and wiped by Clinton (an actual crime, BTW), and this was known at the time. Also, it is beyond ludicrous to claim on one hand that Trump was conspiring with the Russians in secret, and then on the other claim that he made a serious illegal request of them in a public forum.

    Further, it’s stated as a fact that Russia hacked the emails and gave them to Wikileaks. That’s far from a fact, given that we don’t know who, if anyone, hacked them, or how they got to Wikileaks. Indeed, what we do know is that the Democrats refused to let the FBI have a look to see who did, and everything thus relies on the Democrats’ tech contractor, Crowdstrike, say-so. And even then, the metadata they released (assuming it has any veracity and is not fake) indicates a download speed of 22.6 mbps. Seeing as how you can’t do that on the type of internet connection they had, but you certainly can with a USB 2.0 thumb drive, there is little to support any “hack” occurring, and plenty to support a cover-up. The only factual claim that can be made here is “we don’t know”.

    This (Gerson’s piece) is a downright pathetic excuse for journalism.

    Comment by Arizona CJ — 11/30/2018 @ 7:03 pm

  3. https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/justice-department/mueller-has-emails-stone-pal-corsi-about-wikileaks-dem-email-n940611

    http://media1.s-nbcnews.com/i/today/z_creative/MUELLERDraftStatementofOffenseCorsi11142018.pdf

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/jerome-corsi-says-roger-stone-sought-to-cover-up-podesta-tweet-1543363107

    Comment by Patterico — 11/30/2018 @ 7:51 pm

  4. The .pdf does a good job proving me wrong when I guessed that Roger Stone being unaware of Corsi’s contact with WikiLeaks was just wishful thinking on the part of Gerson.

    Comment by CayleyGraph — 11/30/2018 @ 8:25 pm

  5. I, like most Americans, stopped paying attention to this 2 year investigation long ago. Until someone has evidence that Trump should be in handcuffs or Mueller finally releases something relating to Russian collusion I’m going to keep on not caring. This has zero impact on my life, and honestly with the way the Hillary investigation was handled (not to mention the lack of urgency to prosecute the liars in the Kavanaugh dust up) I have zero confidence that anything other than a lot of money being spent or low level idiots being caught on silly non-related perjury charges will occur.

    Comment by Sean — 12/1/2018 @ 8:15 am

  6. The .pdf does a good job proving me wrong when I guessed that Roger Stone being unaware of Corsi’s contact with WikiLeaks was just wishful thinking on the part of Gerson.

    All these things were linked in Gerson’s piece. It didn’t occur to me that it’s behind a paywall and people might not be able to access it. (Now it has.)

    Comment by Patterico — 12/1/2018 @ 11:42 am

  7. The .pdf does a good job proving me wrong when I guessed that Roger Stone being unaware of Corsi’s contact with WikiLeaks was just wishful thinking on the part of Gerson.

    All these things were linked in Gerson’s piece. It didn’t occur to me that it’s behind a paywall and people might not be able to access it. (Now it has.)

    Wait, the .pdf was linked by Gerson’s piece? I only saw links to other articles.
    Gerson’s piece wasn’t behind a paywall; it was the WSJ article he cited to assert that Corsi & Stone conspired to lie about the motivation of the tweet.

    Comment by CayleyGraph — 12/1/2018 @ 4:39 pm

  8. You’re right: the .pdf was not directly linked by Gerson, but it was linked by the NBC piece linked by Gerson. That’s how I found it.

    Comment by Patterico — 12/1/2018 @ 10:38 pm

  9. The column was originally paywalled to me, so I was going off what was quoted.

    The column is not paywalled to me now, though.

    Comment by Arizona CJ — 12/4/2018 @ 9:25 pm

  10. We don’t know who fed Wikileaks the alleged Clinton documents. Wikileaks had previously released other sets of documents. One could reasonably infer from the effects of the other document releases, and Snowden ending up in Russia, that an intelligence agency was feeding them to Wikileaks as a way to harm our ability to interdict Islamic terrorism. I think it plausible that the same or different enemy agency was behind the Clinton document set. If that isn’t the case, the root cause is almost certainly the apparently massively screwed up counter intelligence situation, and said screw ups may be of political origin.

    If a foreign intelligence agency had been behind wikileaks, they might have been able to break into Democrat IT again, or release other documents damaging to Clinton. Intelligence bureaucrats seem to be very prone to paranoia, rumor, and forming conclusions from very tiny details. It isn’t crazy to think that Trump making that statement could have been among many things damaging his ability to later say “undo all that Obama administration crap” where intelligence is concerned.

    Comment by BobtheRegisterredFool — 12/6/2018 @ 6:31 pm

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