I think it's now becoming apparent just how completely compromised by the Russians that Donald Trump and the GOP are at this point. Yes, it's true that at this point, no Americans have been indicted yet as far as the Clinton/DNC/DCCC hacks go, and that no evidence or indictments based on Trump campaign collusion with the Russians involved in these hacks has been released.
The operative word here of course is "yet". That part is coming. Whether or not the Trump counterattack against Rosenstein and Mueller will happen before we find that information out, I don't know. I do know that the survival of the republic may depend on which one happens first. The Daily Beast's David Rothkopf:
This is an extraordinary moment. It is without equal not only in American history but in modern history. A hostile foreign power intervened in our election to help elect a man president who has since actively served their interests and has defended them at every turn.
Trump may deny collusion. But given that this the attack continues, denying it is collusion, distracting from it is collusion, obstructing the investigation of it is collusion — because all these things enable it to go on.
That the president is abetted in his aid for the Russians — again, in the midst of this ongoing attack — by the leadership of the Republican Party makes the situation all the more extraordinary and dangerous. As they seek to undermine the investigation, they serve Russia as directly as if they were officers of the GRU. Some now reportedly seek to impeach Rosenstein on trumped up charges. To attack one of the leaders of our national defense as we are being attacked and to do so to benefit our foreign adversary is textbook treason.
That is strong language. But consider this: If we updated our definitions of war to include cyberwar, then aiding a foreign power engaged in such a war against us would certainly meet the Constitutional definition: “Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.”
When only semantics protect our president and our ruling party from the harsh sentences treason demands, we need to recognize the severity of the situation. But more importantly, we need to recognize one of the most important implications of yesterday:
that while we who watch or chat on cable news have lost the plot here, while GOP makes it about personal attacks on FBI officers, while the President makes it about him, while many of us make it about partisan politics, Robert Mueller and Rod Rosenstein have kept their eye on the ball.
They recognize as does Coats and as do the leaders of our intelligence community and as does every law enforcement and national security expert with whom I have spoken that this is, above all and most urgently, is a national security crisis for the United States.
Again, the painstaking details in the indictments prove that Mueller has the goods. This is not a fishing expedition. This is not a witch hunt. This is a crisis, and there is no other objective conclusion to make at this point based on Trump's own actions other than that the leader of the free world is fully compromised by a hostile foreign power, and that foreign power is managing him much like an employee would be managed. Marcy Wheeler:
It is my opinion that Russia manages Trump with both carrots — in the form of election year assistance and promises of graft — and sticks — in this case, in the form of grave damage to US security and to innocent people around the world.
And Trump is poised to head into a meeting with Vladimir Putin on Monday — showing no embarrassment about the proof laid out yesterday that without Putin, Trump wouldn’t have won the election — to discuss (among other things) a deal on Syria.
Meanwhile, Trump’s own Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats, says the lights are blinking red like they were in advance of 9/11.
Rather than doing the things to prepare for an attack, Trump has virtually stood down, firing his very competent cyber czar and providing no order to take more assertive steps to prepare for an attack.
Trump is compromised. The GOP is compromised. As such, America is compromised. We are wide open for a massive attack against our interests. The timing of the release of this info, happening the Friday before a Monday Trump meeting with the man behind the plan to compromise our country, is not an accident. It is absolutely a warning from our law enforcement and intelligence community. The Lawfare team reminds us that the DNC/Clinton/DCCC hacks were the reason James Comey was fired:
This is the investigation Comey confirmed on March 20, 2017, when he told Congress, “I have been authorized by the Department of Justice to confirm that the FBI, as part of our counterintelligence mission, is investigating the Russian government's efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.”
This was also the investigation that multiple congressional committees have spent more than a year seeking to discredit—most recently Thursday, when two House panels hauled the former deputy assistant director of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Department, Peter Strzok, a career FBI agent who worked on the Russia probe, up to Capitol Hill for 10 hours of public, televised, abusive conspiracy theorizing. When the president of the United States derides the Mueller investigation as a “witch hunt,” and when congressional Republicans scream at FBI agents, this is the investigation they are trying to harass out of existence.
It is, therefore, fitting that this indictment comes less than one day after the astonishing display House Republicans put on in the Strzok hearing. If Mueller had been trying to remind the public of what the investigation is really about and what the stakes are in it, if he had been trying to make a public statement in response to the Strzok hearing, he could not have timed this action better.
But, to be clear, Mueller was not trying to make a press statement. We know that not merely because that’s not the way Mueller operates but also because Rosenstein said specifically at his press conference that he had briefed the president on the matter before Trump left town—days before the Strzok hearing yet also mere days before Trump has a scheduled meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The timing of the indictment given the upcoming Helsinki summit is a powerful show of strength by federal law enforcement. Let’s presume that Mueller did not time this indictment to precede the summit by way of embarrassing Trump on the international stage. It is enough to note that he also did not hold off on the indictment for a few days by way of sparing Trump embarrassment—and that Rosenstein did not force him to. Indeed, Rosenstein said at his press conference that it is “important for the president to know what information was uncovered because he has to make very important decisions for the country” and therefore “he needs to know what evidence there is of foreign election interference.” But of course Rosenstein and Mueller did not just let Trump know. They also let the world know, which has the effect—intended or not—of boxing in the president as he meets with an adversary national leader.
Put less delicately: Rosenstein has informed the president, and the world, before Trump talks to Putin one-on-one that his own Justice Department is prepared to prove beyond a reasonable doubt, in public, using admissible evidence, that the president of the Russian Federation has been lying to Trump about Russian non-involvement in the 2016 election hacking.
The White House's response to this is to blame Obama and to insist that the meeting with Putin will go forward anyway. Let that sink in.
Again, Robert Mueller is warning the world that he is ready to make a criminal conspiracy case against a dozen Russian GRU agents. The only real question is who else will be named as co-conspirators in the future.
In other words, which Americans helped the Russians do this to us.