Wednesday, May 9, 2018

A Collusion Collision

In case you missed it, Stormy Daniel's lawyer tweeted a document that links Cohen to Russian pay-offs through his shell company. We know at least some of this--and probably all of it--is true (AT&T fessed up). This is a pretty good explainer with picture.
Even more interestingly, this treasure trove of possibly incriminating data may have come from Suspicious Activity Reports filed by banks! If true this is a go-to-jail leak--but the observation that the structuring of the document (beginning with KYC--Know Your Customer--data and then gets to specific dollar amounts seems incredibly on-target).

This looks like a good idea to the examine the "Mueller Found Nothing" explanations that underlie the "WITCH HUNT" theory of the investigation (or just the "Mueller obviously found nothing so he's winding it down" theory which is more charitable--but equally questionable). Let's take a look.

The Rationales For Saying Mueller "Found Nothing"

Both Trumpaloos (those irrationally committed to Trump) and actual experts (former prosecutor Andrew McCarthy of the NRO have submitted theories about why Mueller "obviously" hasn't found anything and is either (a) viciously expanding his mandate to search for unpaid parking tickets and the like or (b) is going to resort to an "Obstruction of Justice Charge for which no crime exists" or (c) is going to return a Not-Guilty verdict and disappear back into private life. In order of expertise the ones The Omnivore is aware of are:

  • Mueller's Charging Flynn, et. all with lying to the FBI. This was McCarthy's note: when you try to nail someone on conspiracy you don't start by charging them with lying--you start by charging them with the crime. If you start with the lying the jury is gonna say "well, I don't see a crime and anyway, this guy is already obviously a liar" (when your guy impunes the crime boss).
  • If there was evidence, it would have leaked. Mueller is a leaker (?) and, anyway, the Intelligence Community would've leaked it.
  • It's been A YEAR and nothing has surfaced. Clearly there's nothing there.
  • Why hasn't Mueller interviewed Ivanka, Jared, Don Jr., etc.?? If he was serious about making a case, he'd have talked to them already, no? (We can throw in the stupid conspiracy Julian Assange--who knows who leaked the DNC stuff if we want to go into wild conspiracy theory)
  • If there was kompromat, Russia would have dropped it! Trump has harmed Russia!!
  • The Omnivore's own question: Mueller will release two reports. The first is about Obstruction. The second will be about Collusion. Doesn't that seem reversed? If Mueller comes out and says "Definitely Obstruction" wouldn't the obvious question be "Of what?" If he did it the other way--or even the same time--wouldn't that make more sense?
Charges and Liars (and Interviews)

McCarthy's observation is undoubtedly correct for a normal conspiracy case--but this isn't a normal conspiracy case along any axis. If Team Trump (especially his kids) did "collude" (yes, collusion isn't a crime--The Omnivore knows--go soak your head) then the 'Crime Boss' in this case can issue pardons. POTUS can wield enormous legal power. If he is guilty then you don't give him warning.

Mueller's indictments, to date, have been carefully structured so that they don't give anything away while still pressuring potential witnesses to turn over. This, The Omnivore thinks, makes it slightly more likely that Mueller has a target at the top in mind. If he was just going to sweep up the garbage and leave, he could be freer with charges.

The same goes for interviews: if Mueller sits down with Don Jr.every word of the conversation will go directly to Trump and Trump's lawyers. If Mueller is getting "too close" that triggers Trump-a-geddon (a flurry of pardons, calling out the national guard, firing the entire DoJ, whatever).

Thus, Mueller can't run this like a normal case if POTUS is guilty--so he's not. Now, he'd probably do that from the start whether POTUS was guilty or not--but the fact that this practice has continued is . . . interesting.


This excuse is more in the category of "stories we tell ourselves so we can sleep." Mueller is running a super-pro all-star operation out of a small building with a dream team. No: they are not leaking. There is zero evidence they are leaking--and lots of reason to think they are not (such as not releasing the Rodenstein memos when it would have helped shut down the Over-Stating-Their-Mandate charge).

Additionally, the IC wouldn't "release the data" because they can't. Raw intelligence is not usable as a leak, generally speaking. Either you expose "sources and methods" (the crown jewels of intel agency) or you provide "facts" without context. If you release "Someone said Trump Did It On A Phone Call To The Kremlin" that won't convince anyone. If you release transcripts of "Boris Badguy" on an encrypted sat-phone to Putin on August 19th at 10:30 PM Eastern or something then Russia knows exactly how to plug the leak and no one will believe it anyway.

So--no. This isn't a given at all. If you are claiming it is, you might be a trumpaloo.


 Considering that we just got the Cohen drop last fucking night this should be enough to shut everyone up--but you can't shut up a trumpaloo. The fact is that all of this stuff takes years. Watergate took years. Despite what Law and Order has taught you, these investigations have not somehow gotten faster. So--no, the timeline isn't out of joint yet.

The Pee Tape Would Have Dropped!

In this theory--also advanced by McCarthy at one point--Russia, if they had blackmail data, would obviously have used it. He expelled 60 diplomats. He imposed sanctions. He sent WEAPONS to Ukraine. HE BOMBED SYRIA!! He's tougher on Russia than Obama EVER WASS!!

While, in fact, the last part might be true of the administration (Obama should've, clearly, been tougher on Russia) the first parts don't hold up. Why? Because POTUS did everything he could to avoid doing them (he vetoed the sanctions--then slow-walked their implementation, he was lied to by staff about how many diplomats he was gonna expel and then threw a fit when it turned out it was more than our "allies," he bombed Syria where Putin told him he could, he pretty much had to send weapons to Ukraine, etc.)

There is no one friendlier to Russia than Trump with the possible exception of Dana Robacher or, maybe Devin Nunes. Neither are in line to be president.

No--Russia still has, by far, the best they can get. Look at how Russian bots line up with the presidential agenda.

Reverse Psychology--Why Do Obstruction First?

The Omnivore hasn't seen this one in the wild--but it occurred to him when the release was done. Why would Mueller do the Obstruction report before the actual crime report? The Omnivore has a theory. An obvious thought would be that it's easier to prove obstruction (we have lies, cover ups, firings with shifting rationales, a secret meeting in Trump Tower with a lawyer who now says she's a Putin informant--sorry GPS Fusion Sting Theorists) so Mueller gets that out the door first.

Maybe. But The Omnivore has another theory.

The "playbook" says that Mueller doesn't charge POTUS directly. He produces a report with recommendations, gives it to the DoJ and then the DoJ waits for Congress to impeach. What happens if Congress doesn't impeach? Well, POTUS stays on, presumably.

If Mueller (correctly) judges that Republicans will never impeach POTUS no matter what he is accused of then Mueller has another option: spark a Constitutional Crisis by charging POTUS directly. This will, at least, go to SCOTUS and will throw everything in to chaos.

In this scenario, Mueller drops a recommendation to try/impeach over Obstruction (what did Nixon in) and then, if Congress decides not to act, he breaks the glass and accuses POTUS of the crime of Conspiracy.

In that event? Duck and cover--the dogs of war are unleashed everywhere.

So What's It Gonna Be?

The Omnivore really sucks at predictions and is not "a betting man" (if The Omnivore offers to bet you money, be assured that The Omnivore knows he will win). So, no real prediction--BUT--The Omnivore thinks that it is becoming more and more likely that there was sufficient bad behavior that someone Not-A-POTUS would be in real trouble--and it is appearing more and more likely that POTUS or, at least, his people, would be aware of Russian help and efforts which would make them complicit.

This doesn't mean Trump will be accused of anything. It doesn't mean he will be impeached--and he probably, under any event, cannot be removed--but the rationales people are using to say the current state bears this out don't hold up.

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