Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Last Call For Russian To Judgement, Con't

Republicans are busy pretending that Trump has been exonerated already and that there was never any evidence at all of collusion, going so far as to compare the "liberal nutjob conspiracy" of Russian collusion to birtherism or 9/11 truther stuff, rather hysterically rich stuff considering Trump was a major proponent of pushing the Obama was born in Kenya story himself.

Millions of American believe the worst about their current president, claims every bit as toxic in their own way as “truther” smears against George Bush or “birther” smears against Barack Obama. The Trump collusion narrative has gotten a far wider and more respectable hearing than either of the two conspiracy theories that plagued the Bush and Obama administrations. Truth is truth, and it’s important for responsible people to not just understand and respond to actual evidence — no matter where it leads — but also acknowledge its absence. And so far the absence of evidence points to Trump’s innocence of some of the worst allegations ever leveled against an American president or his senior team.

The right is convinced that the collusion story is over and done and that "nobody cares about Russia anymore, there's no evidence."  The problem is that the Trump regime has done a pretty lousy job of hiding the fact they've gone to great lengths to stop the investigation to determine if there's collusion or not, and that leads us to the old Nixonian adage "The cover-up is worse than the crime".

The special counsel overseeing the investigation into Russia’s role in the 2016 election is interviewing senior intelligence officials as part of a widening probe that now includes an examination of whether President Trump attempted to obstruct justice, officials said.

The move by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III to investigate Trump’s conduct marks a major turning point in the nearly year-old FBI investigation, which until recently focused on Russian meddling during the presidential campaign and on whether there was any coordination between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin. Investigators have also been looking for any evidence of possible financial crimes among Trump associates, officials said.

Trump had received private assurances from then-FBI Director James B. Comey starting in January that he was not personally under investigation. Officials say that changed shortly after Comey’s firing.

Five people briefed on the requests, speaking on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly, said that Daniel Coats, the current director of national intelligence, Mike Rogers, head of the National Security Agency, and Rogers’s recently departed deputy, Richard Ledgett, agreed to be interviewed by Mueller’s investigators as early as this week. The investigation has been cloaked in secrecy, and it is unclear how many others have been questioned by the FBI.

So there's now three components to Mueller's investigation:  Possible Russian collusion with Trump to help throw the election, Trump's possible money laundering through Russian connections, and the possible obstruction of justice.  Republicans are trying to convince you that while the first has no solid evidence yet, that the money laundering and obstruction must be FAKE NEWS too.  Hence the pressure on Mueller to resign or to be fired by Trump.

That's not how this actually works, of course.

The NSA said in a statement that it will “fully cooperate with the special counsel” and declined to comment further. The office of the director of national intelligence and Ledgett declined to comment.

The White House now refers all questions about the Russia investigation to Trump’s personal attorney, Marc Kasowitz.

“The FBI leak of information regarding the president is outrageous, inexcusable and illegal,” said Mark Corallo, a spokesman for Kasowitz.

The officials said Coats, Rogers and Ledgett would appear voluntarily, though it remains unclear whether they will describe in full their conversations with Trump and other top officials or will be directed by the White House to invoke executive privilege. It is doubtful that the White House could ultimately use executive privilege to try to block them from speaking to Mueller’s investigators. Experts point out that the Supreme Court ruled during the Watergate scandal that officials cannot use privilege to withhold evidence in criminal prosecutions.

The obstruction-of-justice investigation of the president began days after Comey was fired on May 9, according to people familiar with the matter. Mueller’s office has taken up that work, and the preliminary interviews scheduled with intelligence officials indicate that his team is actively pursuing potential witnesses inside and outside the government.

Again, the Republicans are trying to do everything they can to shift the investigation away from Trump and towards the FBI, NSA, CIA and the free press.  It's a concerted effort, but judging from the opinion polls it's failing miserably.

The larger point is that obstruction of justice has been part of Mueller's investigation since the beginning. 

And Trump is terrified.

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