The Dog That Didn’t Bark: Collusion Remains An Implausible But Irresistible Conspiracy Theory

Silv-06Below is my column in the Hill newspaper on my view of the current evidence of collusion in the Russian investigation.  I wrote the column to explain my skepticism over these oft-stated theories.  President Donald Trump included my view in a quote in the Trump tweet which triggered something of a torrent of irate emails.  He did not misrepresent my views.  As explained below, I still do not see the compelling evidence for such a claim.  As discussed yesterday, that is obviously not the view of CNN Legal Analyst and former White House ethics attorney Norm Eisen who declared that the case for collusion is now “devastating” and that Trump is “colluding in plain sight.”  The column is an effort to actually bring some legal content to this debate.   There have been countless hours of broadcast “analysis” but very little of the actual cited evidence and how it could fit with any criminal provision or even credible definitions of collusion.

Here is the column:

In Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s story “Silver Blaze,” about Sherlock Holmes’s investigation of the disappearance of a race horse, the local inspector asked if there was “any point to which you would wish to draw my attention?” Holmes responds, “To the curious incident of the dog in the nighttime.” When the inspector objects, “The dog did nothing in the night-time,” Holmes replies, “That was the curious incident.”

The point drives home the importance of objective, true observation by a detective like Holmes: The absence of a dog’s bark is as significant as any bark would be, albeit, leading to an inverse conclusion from the common assumptions of investigators.

This week, I was live on MSNBC’s program when I was cited in a presidential tweet about collusion. President Trump quoted my previously stated view on Fox News that I remain “skeptical” about the collusion theories advanced by critics and that I find these theories “implausible based on the evidence” currently available.

MSNBC host Ari Melber immediately disagreed and said I was assuming that the absence of evidence means that a case could not be made. Putting aside that I expressly referred only to the known evidence and left open the possibility of new evidence, the exchange reflects a common disconnect in the analysis of collusion theories. Critics of the president seem more than willing to speculate on highly attenuated evidence of some criminal conspiracy but refuse to acknowledge the continued absence of any direct or even plausible evidentiary basis for collusion.

The fact is that the Russians did not have to collude to achieve their purpose of disruption and influence. Russian intelligence is not known to run “colluders” in carrying out secret operations and rarely expose their operations in gratuitous meetings. Collusion theories tying Donald Trump to a Russian conspiracy remain the case of the dog not barking.

After more than a year of intensive investigation by both the special counsel and multiple congressional committees, there is no direct evidence of Trump colluding with Russians. After roughly 100 criminal counts against 19 defendants and five plea deals with cooperating witnesses, there is no direct evidence. After dozens of pages of “speaking indictments” by Robert Mueller describing Russian operatives trying to influence the election and false statements from former Trump aides, there is no direct evidence.

Does that mean that no collusion-based case can be made against Trump or his campaign? Of course not. Mueller is still looking for evidence and perhaps former Trump presidential campaign manager Paul Manafort, who has a long, sleazy history with Russians, could flip and reveal an extensive conspiracy with the Trump campaign. Anything is possible, as critics love to say.

Mueller might have a photo of a shirtless “Putie” bragging of his influence in the Oval Office. Then again, he might not. However, the willingness to wildly speculate on collusion crimes but unwillingness to acknowledge the current lack of compelling evidence is telling. What evidence is known does not constitute even a growl, let alone a bark. Much of the “evidence” cited involves two meetings in an English pub and Trump Tower.

It is clear that Russians were trying to cultivate a Trump campaign adviser, George Papadopoulos, and that in May 2016 he participated in a night of heavy drinking with Alexander Downer, the Australian high commissioner to the United Kingdom, during which he said the Russians had Clinton campaign emails. Moreover, members of Congress like Rep. Adam Schiff(D-Calif.) have cited the infamous Trump Tower meeting with Russians as evidence of collusion.

Those contacts, however, fall far short of any evidence of collusion and can actually be used to counter such allegations. The Papadopoulos contacts are often traced initially to a London-based Maltese professor, Joseph Mifsud, with close ties to Russia. Mifsud introduced Papadopoulos to various Russians who expressed an eagerness to have better relations with the United States in a Trump administration. Papadopoulos would later tell the participants in a large campaign meeting that he had these contacts and that the Russians were eager to reach out to the campaign for better relations.

The available evidence, including the narrative of the special counsel, shows an effort to use Papadopoulos as a conduit to Trump, and while Papadopoulos comes across as something of a village idiot, he did not hide those contacts. The Trump Tower is even weaker as evidence of collusion. According to people like Schiff, this was smoking-gun evidence of a secret Russian conspiracy.

However, the meeting occurred in June 2016 when the hacking was already known publicly. As with the Papadopoulos contacts starting in March 2016, the meeting is rather late for an effort at collusion. Disclosure of the Russians hacking the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign had already been made by the FBI in the prior year and was known at least in September 2015 by the FBI. In June 2016, the Washington Post was reporting on hacking of the emails.

Moreover, the Russians used a British music promoter familiar with Donald Trump Jr. to secure a meeting with the promise of evidence of unlawful contributions made to the Clinton Foundation. There was no effort to limit the participants or hide the meeting. This secret operation supposedly was advanced with a meeting at Trump Tower with an army of reporters outside and no prior knowledge of who would be present. The brief meeting primarily discussed the lifting of a federal ban on Russian adoptions. If anything, the meeting would indicate that, in June 2016, the Russians were still trying to make contact with the Trump campaign.

Does it really track that Russian intelligence was running a disinformation and hacking campaign but sought to collude with Donald Trump Jr.? If so, the meeting was curiously late and public for that purpose. Moreover, critics continue to refuse to recognize the different treatment given these contacts with Russians and the contacts of former British spy Michael Steele, who authored the controversial Trump dossier.

That effort was subsidized by the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign, but the funding was hidden and denied until much later. Steele reportedly received information from Russians with alleged ties to the government to be used against Trump. Yet, it is evidence of collusion to attend a meeting with Russians who said that they had evidence of illegal activities by Clinton, but it is not collusion to pay for a dossier with information from Russians and other foreign sources implicating Trump.

The indictment of the Russians in the election operation states that it began in 2014 and ultimately led to activities targeting both Clinton and Trump. When Clinton was the presumed winner of the election, the Russians ran false Facebook accounts and sought to support protests against her. When Trump won, the Russians organized protests against him. Objectively, the most direct explanation is that the Russians wanted to be disruptive and were seeking any target of opportunity to do so.

That is why I am skeptical. It takes willful blindness not to acknowledge either the lack of direct evidence of collusion or the implausibility of many of the theories abounding on cable news programs. None of this means that people cannot speculate on the existence of entirely undisclosed evidence, but some skepticism with the speculation would be helpful.

Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University. You can follow him on Twitter @JonathanTurley.

144 thoughts on “The Dog That Didn’t Bark: Collusion Remains An Implausible But Irresistible Conspiracy Theory”

  1. It takes willful blindness not to acknowledge either the lack of direct evidence of collusion or the implausibility of many of the theories abounding on cable news programs.

    This entire investigation reminds me of how astronomers try to prove the existence of planets orbiting around distant stars by their wobble. The assumption of course is the planets exist so now they are looking for the evidence. While Mueller and company seem to be fixating on the Trump star with little to no evidence of a wobble, they completely ignore the evidence visible with the naked eye surrounding the Clinton star.

      1. Excerpted from the article linked above:

        Now, thanks to a report in the Dutch newspaper de Volkskrant by Huib Modderkolk, it appears that as early as 2014 Holland’s General Intelligence and Security Service (AIVD) had hacked into Cozy Bear’s innermost workings—including, astonishingly, its internal security cameras. And AIVD spent as long as the next two and half years watching Cozy Bear do its dirty work, including the DNC break-in. “Unbeknownst to the Russians, they could see everything,” reported de Volkskrant.

      2. Another excerpt from the article linked above:

        By hacking into Cozy Bear, AIVD gained enormous amounts of live, real-time intelligence, allowing them to “trace the Russian hackers’ every step.” In the words of de Volkskrant: “That’s how the AIVD becomes witness to the Russian hackers harassing and penetrating the leaders of the Democratic Party, transferring thousands of emails and documents.… And the AIVD hackers have seen it happening before their very eyes.”

  2. One funny thing is that Hillary seems to have negligently failed in her handling of classified materials, in a way that would have got any lowly sailor hauled before the mast and flogged. And yet the FBI guys ruined any possible case against her with the fudge-words that Sztrock her apologist inserted into the Comey memo. Maybe that “conclusion” now looks less like incompetence or partisan apology than the obstruction of justice the american people should get upset about.

    The gap widens, between the DC Swamp and the rest of the population, and the DC Swamp will dig in to protect itself. The DC Swamp may be underestimating the American people they clearly dislike.

    The Russians have done a great job smearing the DC Swamp feces in the face of the American electorate, that’s for sure. Maybe they made up the pee pee dossier disinfo against Trump. But the Russians didn’t create the feces when it comes to Hillary mishandling the classified information nor her screwing Bernie in the primary. It’s the Democrat machine that has ginned up most of the trouble that they are trying to misdirect in this whole drama. So you can call what the Russians did a disinformation campaign or you might actually call it education.

  3. . Moreover, critics continue to refuse to recognize the different treatment given these contacts with Russians and the contacts of former British spy Michael Steele, who authored the controversial Trump dossier.
    That effort was subsidized by the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign, but the funding was hidden and denied until much later. Steele reportedly received information from Russians with alleged ties to the government to be used against Trump. Yet, it is evidence of collusion to attend a meeting with Russians who said that they had evidence of illegal activities by Clinton, but it is not collusion to pay for a dossier with information from Russians and other foreign sources implicating Trump.
    The indictment of the Russians in the election operation states that it began in 2014 and ultimately led to activities targeting both Clinton and Trump. When Clinton was the presumed winner of the election, the Russians ran false Facebook accounts and sought to support protests against her. When Trump won, the Russians organized protests against him. Objectively, the most direct explanation is that the Russians wanted to be disruptive and were seeking any target of opportunity to do so.

    EXACTLY

  4. Mueller and the Dems are selling wolf tickets, is another expression applicable to this. Look it up in the jailhouse lexicon.

      1. Excerpted from the article linked above:

        The phrase “wolf ticket” is the result of a misunderstood African-American slang expression for the practice of verbal intimidation, “sellin’ woof tickets,” that was incorrectly transposed by whites. Over time, the corrupted nomenclature has become accepted terminology.

        “Woofing,” or “woofin’,” like “signifyin'” and “talkin’ trash,” is part of the African-American oral tradition. The term is derived from the onomatopoeic expression of the sound of, for instance, a junkyard dog barking to ward off potential intruders.

        “Sellin’ woof tickets” is engaging in threatening or intimidating verbal aggression, usually without the intent of actually doing physical harm. In West African and African-American cultures, verbal sparring and physical displays traditionally were employed as proxies for physical violence to preserve life and maintain peace and order. Woofin’ also can be a means of “calling someone out,” of challenging an opponent to a verbal or physical match.

  5. That dog didn’t bark, and it won’t hunt, either.

    The Russians were in everyone’s office, trying to get the Magninsky Act repealed. After the Russian Reset Button debacle, they were feted and petted all over the Hill.

    Honestly, if taking a meeting with a Russia is treason, then all of the Democrats and Republicans will all be jailed. We had diplomatic relations. They had an Ambassador here. Was everyone retroactively supposed to stop speaking to them the moment they got their Uranium One Deal?

  6. Jon, you and Fox News need to stop declaring the outcome of an investigation that’s far from over. You and Hannity have no idea what evidence Mueller has, because Mueller’s team, unlike Trump’s, does not leak. Any objective person would see that something stinks here. Russians clearly interfered with the 2016 election. Russians clearly wanted Trump to somehow get his fat ass into the White House. Why? Trump’s son is taking meetings with Russians, knowing in advance that the Russians wanted to impart adverse information from HRC. How far did Trump’s actions go? We don’t know yet, but we do know that Trump won’t impose sanctions. Trump won’t criticize Putin, and, in fact, highly praised him. Why? What about the Florida real estate deal, where Trump made a $40 million profit on a property sold 2 years after purchase that was never occupied? What about the Russian oligarch’s plane seemingly always present at the airport near Mar A Lago when Trump in in town? This story is only unfolding, and far from over, but Trumpsters, like their hero, need immediate gratification. Trumpsters, like their hero, need someone to pat their hand and tell them it’s going to be OK. Trumpsters, like their hero, need to vilify anyone who dares to stand up to him. You shouldn’t lend your credentials to these endeavors.

    1. See Natacha, you like so many others fail to read that what Mr. Turley wrote is based on evidence in view. He is asked to opine and he does based on what we do know, not your hopes and dreams.

      It’s okay for you to opine on your theories as well, but you leave a bad taste since you go right into the gutter with your ‘evidence’.

      1. And yet, Robert Swan Mueller The Third remains he who will not be deterred.

        P. S. Natacha’s right. And you know it.

    1. slohrss29 – thanks for posting this! My what a twisted web – even for those of us who are paying attention it’s hard to keep track of it all – so many “fronts”. May they all serve time.

  7. “… CNN Legal Analyst and former White House ethics attorney Norm Eisen who declared that the case for collusion is now “devastating” and that Trump is “colluding in plain sight.”
    ****************************************
    Maybe if we say it oh so slowly, it will sink in: There is no crime called “collusion” except in anti-trust law and Trump isn’t worried about milk prices. (https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/dairy-industry-cows-settlement_us_57d1a4ade4b03d2d459926e4). Never was, never will be. Too vague and much too common a human endeavor: My wife and I are “colluding” to avoid going out with another couple who always bring their obnoxious kids. Call the gendarmes!

    There’s conspiracy to do an illegal act and there’s obstruction of justice in an investigation and there’s bribery but there is no criminal magic in the word “collusion,” like say the word “racketeering.” The fact that the press is obsessed with it tells more about them than the subjects of the investigation. Eisen has even less excuse at obfuscation. He was taught better.

    They press are rank propagandists perpetuating the Big Lie. At least Goebbels had better fashion sense and could throw a heck of a rally! The press wears worn out polos and their idea of a rally is three of ’em sitting around Starbucks waiting for their name to be called out.

  8. The MAGA psychics are at it again. They think they have magic powers that enable them to know what evidence the Mueller team has or doesn’t have. That they are persistent in this delusion doesn’t change the fact that they are idiots.

    I think Turley wants a SCOTUS appointment by a R president sometime in the future, thus, his current attempts to curry favor.

    1. Clark:
      I prefer the MAGA crowd to the swamis on the Left who just know the indictments of Trump are coming any day now! They’ve known since last January, known evidence be damned: So it shall be written by CNN, so it shall be done by Mueller. Sort of like Yul Brynner in The Ten Commandments. Wait ‘until those frogs start dropping from the sky. Won’t they be surprised!

      1. My point, which I think you are confirming, is that no one on either side knows what Mueller has and what is coming. There is a lot of bloviating from noisemakers on both sides.

        Mueller’s indictments thus far have been thorough and informative and he has experts in relevant topics such as prosecution of mob figures, money laundering, tax fraud, etc. So I patiently await his next move.

        Speaking of that, did you ever read this fantastic article? This is a story of NYC mafia v law enforcement at its very best. It’s real life James Bond.

        https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2017/12/how-scared-should-trump-be-of-mueller-ask-john-gotti-or-sammy-the-bull

        1. “My point, which I think you are confirming, is that no one on either side knows what Mueller has and what is coming. ”
          *********************
          We agree on that for sure. I didn’t read it but I will since you mentioned it. Thanks.

      1. @ Nick, about “Johnny Cochrane.”

        I think you mean “Johnnie Cochran.”

          1. P. S. I’m opposed to tax giveaways for corporations who extort them from States, Counties and Municipalities. So the idea that a State would use a tax break to extort concessions from a corporation has some appeal for me. Nevertheless, the State of Georgia has withdrawn a tax giveaway to Delta Airlines for ending its discounts for NRA members. This is bizarre. If they were doing it to get discounts for prescription drugs for patients who couldn’t otherwise afford them, then I’d applaud their action. Are NRA members so uniformly indigent that they can’t afford full fare for air travel and an arsenal of assault rifles?

            1. Diane – is Delta so indigent it cannot pay the taxes on the gasoline and jet fuel it buys?

            2. So the idea that a State would use a tax break to extort concessions from a corporation has some appeal for me.

              So you favor weaponizing the government against those you oppose. That’s not nearly the progressive revelation you may have thought it to be.

              1. Turnabout fair play, Chief. Corporations have been extorting tax-giveaways from States, Counties and Municipalities for . . . a very great long while. Meanwhile, what Georgia did is make its State tax levies instruments of purchasing power for a buyers club that just so happens to make sizable contributions to the election campaigns of State legislators in Georgia and all across this great land of ours. I do believe the proper “conservative” term for Georgia’s act is “government picking winners and losers.”

                1. Correction: That’s what Georgia attempted to do. Delta Airlines refused to reinstate the discounts for NRA members.

                2. How is that turnabout? And how is weaponizing the government to pick winners and losers a conservative term? I expect corporations as well as individuals to attempt to influence government on their behalf. That is human nature. We elect people to government with that same nature. I don’t concern myself so much with the individual or corporation attempting to influence government. I do however hold responsible those that will abandon their oath of office and those that will reelect them for doing so. That’s proper conservatism.

                3. L4D,
                  Here is a far better explanation (of my point) by Jonah Goldberg:

                  Every group, guild, trade, faction, vocation, league, class, cartel, union, and profession known to man will, given the time and opportunity, seek to protect its interests. And you know what? That’s fine because it’s normal. Complaining about it is like complaining that dogs lick their nethers and birds rain feces from the sky. You’re free to whine about it, but it will come to naught. This is not just an economic thing. The exact same dynamic exists in every realm of life, from high-school cliques to politics in general. This is simply part of the process of what Alexis de Tocqueville called “association.” We at National Review often put the interests of National Review ahead of the interests of The Weekly Standard. The New England Patriots are shameless in their prioritization of their interests over those of other NFL teams.

                  The only thing that turns this natural process of the human condition into a threat is when some group of people flee from fair competition — democratic, cultural, intellectual, and, yes, economic — and seek out the government to protect them (or if, like the Mafia or motorcycle gangs, they opt to operate outside the law).
                  https://www.nationalreview.com/blog/g-file/trump-steel-aluminum-tariffs-elitism-not-populism/?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=180302_G-File&utm_term=GFile

  9. What was it Putin said a few weeks ago – something like “the dogs bark but the caravan has moved on”?

    The “caravans” of people who were not fooled by “Russia Russia Russia” are long gone. No one sane is still hanging around listening to the dogs even as their yapping becomes even louder and more frenzied..

  10. Yesterday Turley wrote, “The specific crime in Kompromat would be blackmail on the part of Russian actors or fraudulent transactions that are part of an overall Kompromat scheme.”

    Today Turley writes, “As with the Papadopoulos contacts starting in March 2016, the meeting is rather late for an effort at collusion.”

    Turley’s comment yesterday referred to reports that Mueller is seeking information about Trump’s trip to Moscow in 2013 and the origin of Trump’s decision to run for President in 2016. Turley’s comment today complains that the recruitment of Papadopoulos was too late in the game for any prior “collusion” with Trump in 2013. I fail to see why Turley can’t connect his own statements with Turley’s own analyses of Mueller’s investigation.

    There is not yet any evidence that Trump “colluded” with Russia during his 2013 trip to Moscow. There is only speculation that Mueller might be seeking such potential evidence of “collusion” between Russia and Trump in 2013 in Moscow. Should Mueller fail to uncover such evidence, then Turley’s complaint against the dog that didn’t bark might be legitimate. If, however, Mueller uncovers evidence of “collusion” between Trump and Russia during Trump’s 2013 trip to Moscow, then Turley’s complaint against the dog that didn’t bark would be explained by the “collusion” having occurred long before the 2016 election.

    1. L4D, thanks for setting the record straight.
      Dowd and Cohen, are exemplars of Trump’s legal maneuverings. And, they are not acting alone. Expect media to give platforms to partisan or hired surrogates who relegate justice to the periphery. It’s a convenience for lawyers and their clients to offload responsibility for truth. Obvious deductions that would implicate, are rearranged to create distortions. But, in egregious contrast, quantum unsubstantiated leaps are made to exonerate.

      1. You’re welcome, Linda. However, Turley may have a valid point about the current, and potentially future, lack of direct evidence to warrant any conspiracy charges that would connect the suspected financial crimes with the Russian hacking, leaking and information warfare operations.

        Those amongst the Russian operatives working outside The Russian Federation had to have been paid and had to have been given money to pay for the ads on Facebook and Twitter. That money might have been laundered. But Mueller might not be able to show exactly how the laundered money got into the hands of the Russian operatives who worked outside The Russian Federation.

        Hence, if Mueller uncovers evidence of such financial crimes as money-laundering and bank fraud, then those crimes might have to be charged separately from the indictments already entered against Prigozhin and the Internet Research Agency, or from the upcoming indictments against Cozy Bear for the hacking operation, for that matter.

        P. S. Check out the link to The Nation article I posted upstream from here to read more about our magnificent allies in Holland and The Netherlands. We do still have friends in the world.

        1. Diane – those magnificent friends did not give us a heads up, nor did they tell the DNC to shut down. Holland has a complete backup of the servers of the DNC. If they were our magnificent friends, they would give it to Sessions.

          1. Actually, they probably did give us a heads up, but our wonderful intelligence community sat on the tip so that they could continue gathering intelligence on the Russian operations. They only take action on intelligence when the benefit of disclosure outweighs the cost of concealment. You know that.

            1. Correction: when the benefit of disclosure outweighs the benefit of concealment.

            2. Diane – it was the DNC that refused to let the FBI examine its servers. It was Obama who sat on the information that there were hacking attempts on the DNC and RNC, he assured us the election was free of interference. He gets an intelligence briefing, at least weekly.

              So, how about our Dutch friends just publish all of Hillary’s emails?

              1. The Dutch did not hack the State Department, Paul. The Dutch hacked Cozy Bear. Cozy Bear and Fancy Bear hacked the DNC and Podesta. Obama was rebutting Trump’s claim that the system is rigged. Hillary and the DNC did not leak emails to DCLeaks nor Wikileaks. BTW, thanks for conceding that last point.

                1. Diane – The Washington Times is reporting that Seth Rich and his brother leaked to Wikileaks, which is why Wikileaks has the reward out. So, the Dutch report may be a hoax.

                  1. Once again, I thank you conceding that the Russians hacked the DNC and Podesta.

                    1. Diane – I did not concede that point. You and David Benson are having the same communication problems. You are reading into what I said something that is not there. Everyone knows the Russians tried to hack the DNC and RNC, but the download speeds of the emails off the DNC servers indicate it was going to a flash drive rather than over the internet. And there is every indication that the murdered Seth Rich was the leaker. Consider him a dead whistleblower against the DNC.

        2. The “we” has to be qualified (particularly in light of Russian involvement). The grifters in Trump’s political orbit have nothing in common with a government of the people, by the people and for the people. And, the exploitive oligarchs like Bill Gates, the Mercer’s and the Koch’s have nothing in common with the “we” of American decency.

          1. Linda, we can’t deport people who were born here. We can only prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law–or vote them out of office.

  11. Sometimes the dog doesn’t bark because it knows the perp.

    Mueller’s investigation has already uncovered lies and wrongdoings by those close to Trump, who worked with Trump, and for Trump’s candidacy. Perhaps Mueller should continue digging. It is in America’s best interests to know and understand all of Trump’s dealings, especially those with Russian bankers. Release the tax records. Release the hounds.

    1. From an article in “Brief Writing” by Mike Skotnicki:

      “The fact that the dog did not bark when you would expect it to do so while a horse was stolen led Homes to the conclusion that the evildoer was a not a stranger to the dog, but someone the dog recognized and thus would not cause him to bark. Holmes drew a conclusion from a fact (barking) that did not occur, which can be referred to as a “negative fact,” or for the purpose of this discussion, an expected fact absent from the record.”

      It seems as though Isaac has drawn the proper conclusion from the absence of the expected fact.

  12. Mueller has not charged Trump with any crime. If Mueller charges Trump with a crime, then Trump will be presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. The presumption of innocence is not a reason to end any investigation. The absence of probable cause to suspect a crime is a reason to end an investigation–provided that the investigation has been thorough. If an investigation has not yet been thorough, and if there is still probable cause to suspect that a crime might have been committed, then the investigation should continue until either there is no longer any probable cause remaining to suspect that a crime may have been committed or sufficient evidence of a crime has been discovered.

    Turley has stated that Trump is still at risk of being charged with suspected financial crimes of the sort for which Manafort and Gates have been indicted. Since Turley sees no plausible theory of “collusion,” nor any direct evidence for “collusion,” between the Trump campaign and the Russian information warfare, one must, therefore, presume that Turley sees no plausible connection between, nor any direct evidence of, those suspected financial crimes and the Russian information warfare.

    But it would not be strictly necessary to connect the suspected financial crimes to the Russian information warfare in order to charge Trump, Trump Jr. or Jared Kushner with those suspected financial crimes in, say, the State of New York, for instance. And there may be a plausible connection between the suspected financial crimes and the Russian information warfare, anyway. Keep in mind that the Russians have suffered hardship under The Magnitsky Act (2013), the sanctions for annexing the Crimea in 2014 and the sanctions for interfering in the 2016 US elections. Also keep in mind that each of those sanctions regimes makes it harder for Russian oligarchs and kleptocrats to transfer their ill-gotten gains out of Russia and into foreign countries where they can actually enjoy the fruits of their criminal enterprises.

    Finally, just because Trump told The New York Times that he has no business in Russia, doesn’t mean that Trump has had no business dealings with Russians. Remember as well that Trump told The New York Times that, if Mueller investigated his and his family’s businesses and finances, then Trump would consider that cause to fire Mueller. Evidently, Don McGahn has already had to talk Trump out of firing Mueller at least once that has been reported. Will Trump continue to heed McGahn’s advice?

    1. Paul, if you can answer the following questions, then maybe you can give Mueller something to hang his hat on:

      How did the Russians pay their information warfare operatives working outside of The Russian Federation and how did they pay for the ads on FB and Twitter?

      A) With dirty Russian (state-mafia) money?

      B) With laundered Russian money?

      If option B, then who laundered the Russian money to pay the information warfare operatives who bought the ads on FB and Twitter?

      C) Manafort and Gates.

      D) Micheal D. Cohen.

      E) Trump, Trump Jr. or Jared Kushner.

      1. F) Some Russian oligarch living outside the Russian Federation who did not use Manafort, Gates, Trump, Trump Jr., nor Jared Kushner to launder money.

      2. Diane – the Russians have been infiltrating this country since the Communist Revolution. They have a system in place to take care of all this. You should know that. They do not need anyone from the Trump team to pay them.

        1. Has the Magnitsky Act, or any of the other sanctions regimes, been in force since 1918? Or was 2013, 2014 and 2016?

          1. Diane – the Russians work above ground and below ground. Putin is old school KGB, he is not going to forget his first lessons.

            1. Putin paid his people out of his own pocket? How much of Putin’s pocket was already outside the Russian Federation before Trump went to Moscow in 2013?

              1. Diane – you have a lot to learn about spycraft. I am not going to take the time to teach you. However, I will tell you that the arrest of the 13 Russians is laughable. Hillary did more damage to herself than they did. And I think they would have a good case for a not guilty verdict, given the right jury.

                1. Paul, just because a given statement is true doesn’t mean that that given statement is relevant to any given argument under the Sun.

  13. BarkinDog who used to comment on this blog has a brother dog named FartinDog. This case is more like something FartinDog would conjure up. Colllusion is an allusion. And how was I to know that she was with the Russians too?

  14. Send it all to the Daily Tatler. Maybe they can make a lurid story out of it.

    But more likely even the Daily Tatler will just spike it. .

  15. “The dog that wouldn’t bark” is the wrong metaphor.

    The better metaphor is “The Nothingburger that couldn’t be microwaved.”

  16. I’m a Democrat so spending money for opposition research with a foreign national is hunky dory. In fact, my foreign national worked with more foreigners to collect hearsay evidence which was used to accelerate an FBI/DOJ investigation, even though none of this evidence collected was proven at the time a FISA warrant was asked and granted. And none of this is considered collusion.

    I’m a Republican who was invited to meet with Russians who said I could get inflammatory information on the opposition candidate. The meeting lasts 30 minutes, no information was obtained, and no money was exchanged. One of the Russians who attend, has a relationship with the firm that was paid to get opposition research on the people they were meeting with. And this is considered collusion.

    Yep, the Dems, MSM and the never Trumpers have totally lost their minds. TDS is alive, and causing permanent damage to the cerebral cortexes of these folks.

    1. That is very well said. You would think with all the documented actions of the Democrats uncovered, they would be at least trying to dial back their hail-Mary. But–when that’s all you’ve got–and you’re worked into a corner, you have to come out swinging. And now that it appears that Obama may be implicated… I guess you can pretty much say they have worked themselves into a corner. How do you go about arresting all these Democrats and FBI law breakers??? Horse-drawn paddy wagon??

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