Ockham’s Razor And The Trump Tower Transcripts

William_of_OckhamBelow is my column in the Hill newspaper on the release of the transcripts from the investigation into the infamous Trump Tower meeting.  The testimony of key players is consistent with a reckless effort to get dirt of Hillary Clinton but, if anything, it undermines claims of collusion or conspiracy with the Russians.  The answer may lie in the writings of 13th Century  English Franciscan friar William of Ockham.

Here is the column:

In an important step toward transparency, the Senate Judiciary Committee released over 2,500 pages of materials from its investigation of the infamous June 9, 2016, meeting between Donald Trump Jr., presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner, Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, and Russian figures promising evidence of criminal conduct by Hillary Clinton. The transcripts are enlightening, as critical witnesses under oath described in detail a classic bait-and-switch meeting where Russians came promising dirt and left with disappointment on all sides.

The public will have to reach its own conclusions on the Trump Tower meeting but it is now more likely to find enlightenment in the writings of a 14th century Franciscan friar than from partisans in Congress. William of Ockham is famous as the source of “Ockham’s razor,” the principle that when presented with competing possible solutions to a problem, one should select the answer that makes the fewest assumptions. There is an obvious explanation for the Trump Tower meeting, and it is not conspiracy, but stupidity.

For more than a year, some of us have argued that allegations of collusion or conspiracy in the Trump Tower meeting were unsubstantiated and illogical. If a true conspiracy occurred between the Trump campaign and Russian intelligence, why would they ever call a meeting with unknown participants in the most highly visible location possible?

The Russians may be duplicitous, but they are not stupid. What was the benefit of such a meeting when the Russians could work through back channels to get the information to journalists or a single insider? Instead, conspiracy theorists suggested that the Russians picked a clownish British music promoter to arrange a meeting by expressly promising compromising information from the Russian government in writing.

One of the most interesting aspects of the new information was the response from the media. CNN, which has a bevy of legal analysts who have been flogging the Trump Tower conspiracy for months, ran the headline, “Trump Tower transcripts detail quest for dirt on Hillary Clinton.” Nothing on the great conspiracy or collusion. Just a detailed account of the quest for “dirt.” Trump Jr. admitted his ill-considered “I love it” comment was in response to the prospect of getting official documents that would expose Clinton as a criminal. If true, then the meeting was moronic, naive, but entirely legal.

Trump Jr. admitted he wanted to see any official documents on criminal conduct by Clinton. In this case, Trump Jr. was told that the “crown prosecutor of Russia” had offered “to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father.” Music promoter Rod Goldstone added, “This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”

All of the participants confirmed that the meeting was brief — around 20 minutes — and that no real evidence was supplied or discussed. All of the witnesses were consistent in describing a meeting billed as the disclosure of criminal conduct but actually meant to raise the continuing controversy over the Magnitsky Act, a 2012 congressional bill that imposed restrictions on travel and banking on 18 Russian officials and other figures. It remains an ongoing controversy in Russia and was the long focus of Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya.

The use of the meeting to pitch for the rescission of the Magnitsky Act was described by Goldstone as an embarrassment. He testified that “Jared Kushner, who is sitting next to me, appeared somewhat agitated by this and said, ‘I really have no idea what you’re talking about. Could you please focus a bit more and maybe just start again?’ And I recall that she began the presentation exactly where she had begun it last time, almost word for word, which seemed, by his body language, to infuriate him even more.” Goldstone apologized to Trump Jr. for wasting his time.

Many of the media continue to refuse to acknowledge the fact that both campaigns were actively seeking dirt on the other side, including information from Russian intelligence figures. While the Clinton campaign long denied the connection to the Steele dossier, including in meetings with investigators, Clinton and her top campaign officials belatedly admitted to funding the dossier after media found evidence linking it to Clinton’s top lawyer. It was buried as a campaign expenditure to a law firm. Clinton aides now express disbelief that anyone would question such “opposition research” on Trump, even from Russian sources.

None of this changes the fact that Trump Jr., Kushner and Manafort were idiots to take such a meeting. Clinton was far more sophisticated, using a surrogate like former British spy Christopher Steele. Moreover, there remains uncertainty over the identity of a caller who telephoned Trump Jr. after he spoke with Russian pop star Emin Agalarov about the meeting. The number was blocked and Senate Judiciary Committee Republicans refused to subpoena the records to determine the identity of the caller. (President Trump is known to use a blocked number.) The committee should have subpoenaed that record. If that call was Trump, it would sharply contradict the statements of the president and his son.

However, the transcript reveals a largely consistent and entirely plausible account of a meeting of chumps, not conspirators. The statement drafted by President Trump on Air Force One was misleading in failing to mention the original purpose of the meeting. But if such spins were crimes in Washington, there would not be a single politician left at liberty.

None of this changes my view that special counsel Robert Mueller should be allowed to finish his investigation or that real, though largely unrelated, crimes have been exposed by Manafort and others. However, it is also true that the original purpose of the investigation — Russian collusion with the campaign — has thus far failed to materialize. Mueller may well have evidence, but it is unlikely to be found in the Trump Tower meeting.

The Trump Tower meeting is now ready for Ockham’s razor: Those 20 minutes have resulted in more than a year of investigation, countless hours of testimony and tens of thousands of documents. The most obvious explanation, with the least assumptions, is that this was a case of blind and reckless desire overcoming judgment. It is called a “razor” precisely because it “shaves away” unnecessary, or in this case partisan, assumptions. When you shave away the unsupported facts, the Trump Tower meeting appears hardly complimentary but entirely legal.

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

241 thoughts on “Ockham’s Razor And The Trump Tower Transcripts”

  1. Can someone please explain to me why it is recklessly stupid for the Trump team to take a meeting with a Russian lawyer promising evidence of Hillary Clinton’s illegal activity? But it is not a problem that Hillary’s team paid millions of dollars to a British national, to use Russian sources, to provide a false document that purported to show Trump’s illegal activities?

    Opposition research is not illegal. I don’t even have a problem with Hillary Clinton paying for opposition research. I have a problem that it was false, not supported, she tried to release it just before the election when there wasn’t time to prove it was false, and it was used by the FBI to spy on an American citizen running for President, which they denied. And most of all, I take issue that she actually did what they have accused Trump of doing.

    This is madness.

    Are candidates going to go to jail now every time they take a meeting regarding the promise of opposition research, or do only Republican candidates need worry? After all, Democrats have the power of the DOJ, FBI, IRS, and EPA at their fingertips to club the populace.

    1. False Document? Pray tell.

      this is to “hannity is my love guru” karen

  2. Diane’s daily conclusions based on her prior conclusions and facts tailored to her desires instead of the truth makes one want to read a column by Andrew McCarthy in order to move from demented fantasy to reality.

    Spinning a Crossfire Hurricane: The Times on the FBI’s Trump Investigation

    Andrew C. McCarthyMay 17, 2018 12:22 PM

    Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks at a rally at High Point University in High Point, North Carolina, September 20, 2016. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)
    The paper buries more than one lede.
    If you’re a fading Baby Boomer, you’re faintly amused that the FBI code-named its Trump-Russia investigation “Crossfire Hurricane.” It’s an homage to the Rolling Stones golden oldie “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” — which, come to think of it, might just be a perfect handle for John Brennan, the former Obama CIA director whose specter hovers over each critical juncture of the case.

    The young’uns may not believe it, but back before it was known as “classic rock,” you couldn’t just play your crossfire hurricane on Spotify. You had to spin it. Fittingly, that is exactly what the New York Times has done in Wednesday’s blockbuster report on the origins of the Trump-Russia probe.

    The quick take on the 4,100-word opus is that the Gray Lady “buried the lede.” Fair enough: You have to dig pretty deep to find that the FBI ran “at least one government informant” against the Trump campaign — and to note that the Times learned this because “current and former officials” leaked to reporters the same classified information about which, just days ago, the Justice Department shrieked “Extortion!” when Congress asked about it.

    But that’s not even the most important of the buried ledes. What the Times story makes explicit, with studious understatement, is that the Obama administration used its counterintelligence powers to investigate the opposition party’s presidential campaign.

    That is, there was no criminal predicate to justify an investigation of any Trump-campaign official. So, the FBI did not open a criminal investigation. Instead, the bureau opened a counterintelligence investigation and hoped that evidence of crimes committed by Trump officials would emerge. But it is an abuse of power to use counterintelligence powers, including spying and electronic surveillance, to conduct what is actually a criminal investigation.

    The Times barely mentions the word counterintelligence in its saga. That’s not an accident. The paper is crafting the media-Democrat narrative. Here is how things are to be spun: The FBI was very public about the Clinton-emails investigation, even making disclosures about it on the eve of the election. Yet it kept the Trump-Russia investigation tightly under wraps, despite intelligence showing that the Kremlin was sabotaging the election for Trump’s benefit. This effectively destroyed Clinton’s candidacy and handed the presidency to Trump.

    It’s a gas, gas, gas!

    It’s also bunk. Just because the two FBI cases are both referred to as “investigations” does not make them the same kind of thing.

    The Clinton case was a criminal investigation that was predicated on a mountain of incriminating evidence. Mrs. Clinton does have one legitimate beef against the FBI: Then-director James Comey went public with some (but by no means all) of the proof against her. It is not proper for law-enforcement officials to publicize evidence from a criminal investigation unless formal charges are brought.

    In the scheme of things, though, this was a minor infraction. The scandal here is that Mrs. Clinton was not charged. She likes to blame Comey for her defeat; but she had a chance to win only because the Obama Justice Department and the FBI tanked the case against her — in exactly the manner President Obama encouraged them to do in public commentary.

    By contast, the Trump case is a counterintelligence investigation. Unlike criminal cases, counterintelligence matters are classified. If agents had made public disclosures about them, they would have been committing crimes and violating solemn agreements with foreign intelligence services — agreements without which those services would not share information that U.S. national-security officials need in order to protect our country.

    In the scheme of things, though, the problem is not that the FBI honored its confidentiality obligations in the Trump case while violating them in the Clinton case. The scandal is that the FBI, lacking the incriminating evidence needed to justify opening a criminal investigation of the Trump campaign, decided to open a counterintelligence investigation. With the blessing of the Obama White House, they took the powers that enable our government to spy on foreign adversaries and used them to spy on Americans — Americans who just happened to be their political adversaries.

    The Times averts its eyes from this point — although if a Republican administration tried this sort of thing on a Democratic candidate, it would be the only point.

    Like the Justice Department and the FBI, the paper is banking on Russia to muddy the waters. Obviously, Russia was trying to meddle in the election, mainly through cyber-espionage — hacking. There would, then, have been nothing inappropriate about the FBI’s opening up a counterintelligence investigation against Russia. Indeed, it would have been irresponsible not to do so. That’s what counterintelligence powers are for.

    But opening up a counterintelligence investigation against Russia is not the same thing as opening up a counterintelligence investigation against the Trump campaign.

    The media-Democrat complex has tried from the start to conflate these two things. That explains the desperation to convince the public that Putin wanted Trump to win. It explains the stress on contacts, no matter how slight, between Trump campaign figures and Russians. They are trying to fill a gaping void they hope you don’t notice: Even if Putin did want Trump to win, and even if Trump-campaign advisers did have contacts with Kremlin-tied figures, there is no evidence of participation by the Trump campaign in Russia’s espionage.

    At the height of the 2016 presidential race, the FBI collaborated with the CIA to probe an American political campaign.
    That is the proof that would have been needed to justify investigating Americans. Under federal law, to establish that an American is acting as an agent of a foreign power, the government must show that the American is purposefully engaging in clandestine activities on behalf of a foreign power, and that it is probable that these activities violate federal criminal law. (See FISA, Title 50, U.S. Code, Section 1801(b)(2), further explained in the last six paragraphs of my Dec. 17 column.)

    But of course, if the FBI had had that kind of evidence, they would not have had to open a counterintelligence investigation. They would not have had to use the Clinton campaign’s opposition research — the Steele dossier — to get FISA-court warrants. They would instead have opened a criminal investigation, just as they did on Clinton when there was evidence that she committed felonies.

    To the contrary, the bureau opened a counterintelligence investigation in the absence of any (a) incriminating evidence, or (b) evidence implicating the Trump campaign in Russian espionage. At the height of the 2016 presidential race, the FBI collaborated with the CIA to probe an American political campaign. They used foreign-intelligence surveillance and informants.

    That’s your crossfire hurricane.

      1. “Do tell.”

        You mean that long article wasn’t long enough? What do you want told, David?

      2. David Benson – still owes me a citation from the REAL OED. And he did. Something you seem incapable of. Pony up that citation.

        1. David Benson – still owes me a citation from the REAL OED. And he did Something you are incapable of. Pony up that citation, David. You know you have it in you.

          1. Your mental state suggests to me that you should see the doctor. You may have a brain tumor.

            1. David Benson – still owes me a citation from the OED.

              Yes or no, David. Would you let a student force you to find the citation for his work? Yes or no.

              David, do you have a caretaker? Serious question.

              1. I am not your student.

                I am in good health and see my family doctor yearly, whether I need it or not.

                You need mental health counseling. Onset of Alzheimer’s?

                1. David Benson – still owes me a citation from the OED. A yearly exam is important at your age. Still, can you get up that hill by yourself, or do you need help? My comments are much longer and more detailed than yours, so I think we should agree that I am not in need of mental care.

                  Is the problem that you do not know how to cut-and-paste in WordPress? We can rectify that, just let me know.

                  1. You certainly show indications of the need for mental health counseling.
                    Rigidity and an an inability to recall previous events. By the way, one of the psychologists I know is a neighbor.

                    1. David Benson – STILL owes me a citation from the OED. Is this neighbor on the way to the library? If they are a friend, they cannot give consultations, they would have to refer you. If not, run this by them. Be truthful and see what they say. Then regardless, hike to the library and get me my citation from the OED.

            2. David, based on the little history Paul has provided to the blog it sounds like he has had a recent CT or MRI of the head so you will have to find another cause. Could it be that you quoted something and didn’t prove your case? Your feet are being held to the fire so either quote your initial comment and demonstrate you were right or accept the fact that you provided an incorrect source.

              1. I didn’t quote from the online Oxford English Dictionary.

                Paul C . Schulte is presumably capable of doing the same trivial search that I did. He has, obviously, some kind of mental block.

                  1. No, I just stated that the definition of a certain word that I used could be found in OED.
                    Indeed, it turns out that the most common 280,000 words can be found online there, free for the asking.
                    Paul C Schulte refuses to try, indicating some mental problem.

                    1. David Benson – STILL owes me a citation from the OED. Save your strength for the hike up the hill today. 🙂 I want the real thing. You went on for about 100 comments claiming it was from the OED, maybe more. I want the real OED version with the ephemera. You will be able to recognize when you see it.

                  2. Allan – you have the story right. 🙂 Now, he is running for cover and backing-and-hoeing.

                1. David Benson – still owes me a citation from the OED. The onus of proof is on you, buddy, not me. Reference services at the library are open from 10 am to 4 pm today. Just march up the hill, the exercise will be good for you. Reference librarians love this sort of stuff, they will be glad to help.

                  You can do it. I have confidence in you. Be sure to tell them you need the online version of the OED.

                  1. The online Oxford English Dictionary is available online for those who are not mental basket cases.

                    Maybe you need the assistance of your local librarian?

                    1. The Oxford Dons are the ones who sent William of Occam into exile. Do you know why? Occam said that they were all just a bunch of yammering yammerers. That’s why.

                    2. Annie/Inga – you are wrong, wrong, wrong. Even Wikipedia does not like your answer. 😉 Hint: It will take two articles to find the answer.

                    3. David Benson – STILL owes me a citation from the OED. Admit it, you have never looked up anything in the OED before!!! When you write something it is up to you to cite the sources, not your reader. My god, what do they teach you in engineering?

    1. “disappointment on all sides”

      Jonathan Turley, the leftist law professor (is there any other kind) typically misses the point. This “meeting” makes perfect sense if seen in the light of reality instead of the misty murk of leftist brain twisting.

      Of-FRICKING-course the Trump team would want to hear credible evidence of criminal activity on the part of a presidential candidate. Isn’t that the purported bases of the Mueller investigation? “Collusion” – utter nonsense! If someone actually did have real information it should be shared with the public (and that goes for DJT as well). But this was a set-up from the start.

      Veselnitskaya met with Clinton’s GPS Fusion hit squad both before (to get the hit strategy clear) and after (to report on the hit) the “meeting”. Veselnitskaya carefully avoided ANY discussion of Clinton so she could later say (imagine a thick Russian accent here) “I vus just talking about Magnitsky act. I don’t know nothing about Komrade Klinton.”

      The “meeting” was NEVER about sharing Kompromat with Team Trump. The “meeting” was ONLY about setting up the fact that there had been a meeting. In that respect it worked like a charm and there was ZERO disappointment on the Clinton side. It was “high fives” and “mission accomplished” all the way. Of course Turley has his head too far up the left side of his rectum to see the obvious.

  3. I’m still waiting for the evidence of Boris and Natasha’s role in this. Then again, Snidely Whiplash could have been involved.

        1. You could readily find it yourself if you weren’t senile.

          1. David Benson – still owes me a citation from the OED, David, if you are emeritus you have free access to the OED, I do not. Only you can select the specific definition from the OED that you supposedly are using.

            BTW, calling me names does not help your case. I passed my last mental exam and they didn’t take my driver’s license away.

            1. Find Oxford English Dictionary on your web browser and study what you find there. That way you will be no longer stuck in the previous century.

              I use no more access than is available to you. The intransigence is yours, indicating a lessen mental capability.

              1. David Benson – still owes me a citation from the OED and now is trying to make it my fault.

                Even you should realize that only you can do the job. Are you living near someone who still works at the university? They have outside access to the OED. Would they do it for you as a favor or did everyone stop talking to you once you left the university? If they would do it as a favor, they can print out the page on their home printer and you can then type the definition with all the ephemera, and send it to me. Or you can get a temporary subscription to the OED.

                1. I looked up the definition online, which you can do equally well.

                  But your regidity in failing to comprehend this oft repeated fact indicates to me you are in serious need of mental health counseling.

                  1. David Benson – owes me a citation from the OED and is now trying to make it my fault. David, you got your definition from the wrong dictionary, which you did not link, bad boy, David. Tsk, tsk. The Merriam-Webster Unabridged is the Merriam-Webster Unabridged, not the Merriam-Webster Collegiate. The Oxford English Dictionary is the Oxford English Dictionary. Accept no substitutes.

                    Would you let a student treat you this way over a citation? Or would you make the student get you the citation? You know you are wrong. Your ego is in the way at this point. Swallow your pride and get me the citation.

    1. Turley wrote, “The Russians may be duplicitous, but they are not stupid. What was the benefit of such a meeting when the Russians could work through back channels to get the information to journalists or a single insider?”

      Could journalists deliver sanctions relief for Russia? If so, then Turley’s seemingly rhetorical question could be answered in the negative. Given that journalists can’t deliver sanctions relief to Russia, it follows that Turley doesn’t know how to pose a properly rhetorical question. And that just so happens to be a flaw in Turley’s logic as well.

      1. Jeeeeeezus, Turley. The benefit of the meeting was to be able to point back to the mere fact that a meeting had taken place. This isn’t exactly rocket surgery, man. It was a set-up. Arrange a meeting under false pretenses so that you can smack your opponents in the face with it and make them testify for hours under oath about what happened at a fifteen minute meeting. It’s just like sending three soldiers to the enemy’s left flank with boxes of firecrackers and making enough noise that they divert two divisions to that side while you attack the right flank.

        Jeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeezus, Turley, this isn’t that difficult. Turley isn’t really this stupid, but he is a leftist. That sad fact will never allow him to connect the dinner plate sized dots and ask publicly why and how Veselnitskaya got a visa from the OBAMA administration (initially denied until the OBAMA administration intervened) and WHY, WHY, WHY,WHY, WHY, WHY, WHY, did Veselnitskaya meet with Fusion GPS both BEFORE and AFTER the “meeting” with Trump. Jeezus, Turley, you are a dolt.

    2. Suze – if Snidely Whiplash is involved, Dudley Do-Right will not be far behind. 😉

  4. Shortly after the presidential election in 1960. Someone asked Everet Dirksen, senator from Illinois, why no one complained that dead people voted for John Kennedy in Chicago. Senator Dirksen replied, that’s because dead people voted for Nixon in Southern Illinois. The reason Trump is in the White House is because a lot of people are sick of this kind of crap. Say what you want Donald Trump is not part of politics as usual.

    1. 🙂

      With regard to the entire investigation, that would be the explanation requiring the fewest assumptions.

    2. And thank God about that! President Trump is being demonized by every media outlet we have (maybe not all, but it wouldn’t surprise me) as they do politicians they don’t like. But he isn’t a Politician! They may understand that eventually, but don’t bet on it! Spending less than it collected in April has to be a first in many, many years (I know taxes collected got a piece of that). He doesn’t approach problems by sinking them in committees. His first reaction is find a solution. That’s how large companies work. Congress may get that eventually and become a fixer, not a thinker. When Obama was elected conservatives said he can’t destroy the country in eight years. But look how close he came! What a relief it’s been watching people go back to work and off welfare programs. Millions have self-esteem back. If media could remember their job is to inform not tear down.

      1. Sandi,
        You are right………TRUMP has been demonized…….because he fits the bill. Again you are right about him not solving problems in a conventional way. He just does the first knee jerk reaction on his twitter machine and sends the world off in a tizzy without even knowing the etiology of the problem. To solve a problem…….you need to first know what caused the problem. Trump has created more problems than he has solved. The issues he has addressed is how to get his rich buddies richer, and leave middle class, hard working, retired disabled veterans like me to pay for the trillion dollar tax cut he imposed that we did not need. Trump was right…….he could shoot somebody in the middle of 5th avenue and get away with it and even if it was the pope he shot, people like you would find some way to justify it. I think you and the rest of his base are so fogged by the hate of Obama that you don’t even realize what an embarrassment and destructive force Trump is to our nation. God help us.

  5. Wake me up when the charlatan Mueller finds “Russian collusion.”

    When his criminal “malicious prosecution” fails, send him and the entire Obama Gang to prison.

    A short few centuries ago, they would have all been Drawn and Quartered by now.

    Abuse of power, treason and the execution of a coup d’etat in America are egregious enterprises indeed.

    1. George – I heard a rumor that Mueller had his own “Russian collusion” problem. 🙂

    2. It is quite amazing that so much vitriol exists for Obama and anyone associated with him, yet he was the most squeaky clean president OF ALL TIME. On the other hand TRUMP is a slimy, underhanded, womanizing, narcissistic, ego-maniac…….WHO HAS BEEN DOCUMENTED TELLING OVER 3,000 LIES……yet you favor him over OBAMA. That speaks volumes about YOU! george

  6. RUSSIAN LAWYER AT TRUMP TOWER MEETING..

    WORKED CLOSELY WITH RUSSIA’S CHIEF LEGAL OFFICER..

    TO THWART A 2014 JUSTICE DEPARTMENT CIVIL FRAUD CASE..

    INVOLVING MONEY LAUNDERED THROUGH NEW YORK REAL ESTATE

    Natalia V. Veselnitskyaya was highly active on the defense team of Denis P. Katsyv, a well-connected Russian businessman whose company, Prevezon Holdings L.T.D. invested in New York real estate. By all appearances Katsyv is the arch-typical Russian Oligarch with ties to Vladimir Putin.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/27/us/natalya-veselnitskaya-trump-tower-russian-prosecutor-general.html

    1. …and she was let in just days before meeting with Trump’s son by Obama’s DOJ.

      Why Was Natalia Veselnitskaya At Former NSC Special Assistant Michael McFaul’s 2014 HFAC Hearing?

      Radical left-wing icon former California Democratic Rep. Ron Dellums was a hired lobbyist for Natalia Veselnitskaya The former congressman is one of several high-profile Democratic partisans who was on Veselnitskaya’s payroll, working to defeat a law that is the hated object of a personal vendetta waged by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

      It seems DEMOCRATS HAVE CLOSE TIES TO LAWYER WHO HAD CLOSER TIES TO KREMLIN THAN LET ON.

      1. Ron Dellums, 82, former U.S. Marine, Mayor of Oakland and U.S. Rep, lobbied for repeal of Maginsky Act last year in 2017. Delums retired from Congress in 1997.

        How does ‘one’ retired Congressman tie the Democrats to Veselnitskaya?

        1. It is not just one retired Congressman but many. Then add to that she was supposed to be kept out but the Obama DOJ let her in days before the incident with Don Jr.

          1. Then add to that she was supposed to be kept out but the Obama DOJ let her in days before the incident with Don Jr.

            Obama’s DOJ was simply in their own way honoring bits and pieces of the poem on the Statue of Liberty:

            Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
            A mighty Russian woman with a torch, whose flame
            Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
            Natalia Veselnitskaya. cries “Give me your
            huddled masses yearning to hear corruption stories
            of that wretched candidate, Hillary Clinton!”

            1. Do you think I keep all the names in my head? If I were to repeat some of the names I might get one wrong and be yelled at even though the overall response is correct. Therefore, I would have to look up the names something you could do just as easily. I’ll let you do it since in the past I have been very specific and you have either provided newspaper headlines meant to shock not inform or generalities.

              1. Jeez Peter, don’t let Allan tell you about the voices in his head, we could be here for days.

  7. I don’t even understand why Turley plays this out as Trump, Jr. doing something wrong.
    He was offered dirt on Clinton, some really nasty stuff that would tank her campaign, and he bit for it.
    It turned out to be bait and switch.
    But so what? Why was it wrong or unusual to want to find real dirt on your political opponent?
    Unless I am missing something here, I don’t think Donald Trump Jr did anything that deserves criticism.

    1. Don Jr. did nothing, but it seems like a lot of Democrats including the Obama DOJ were playing footsie with her.

    2. Nobody asked who was feeding dirt to the Clinton campaign about Trump. But the idea of getting stuff on your opponent is so American why do we criticize?

      1. Clinton was not offering sanctions relief to Russia. Trump was.

        1. Clinton wasn’t offering sanction relief to the Russians, at least we didn’t hear her make such offers. She wasn’t offering Uranium to the Russians either until she was paid. In fact, Hillary doesn’t offer much unless cash seems to be transferred to her bank accounts.

    3. Gary Trieste said, “Unless I am missing something here, I don’t think Donald Trump Jr did anything that deserves criticism.”

      If the second draft cover story turn out to be the whole story, the real story and, therefore, the true story, then your conclusion that nothing illegal took place at the Trump Tower meeting would be correct. However, you might want to take a closer look at that second draft cover story. Three high-level members of the Trump campaign were in a room with four Russians and a Brit negotiating sanctions relief for Russia in exchange for kompromat on Clinton. And that’s what they admitted to in their Senate testimony. Of course, they also denied that any agreement was reached to provide sanctions relief to Russia in exchange for publication of the DNC emails. But of course they denied that. The only things you’re missing Gary are a healthier dose of skepticism than the one you’ve swallowed thus far and whatever evidence Mueller might have up his sleeve.

      1. I believe you have made up this fantasy story. This meeting was not set up to trade “kompromat” on Clinton for favorable treatment regarding the Magnitsky Act. It was set up ONLY to deliver evidence of criminal activity by Clinton (“bait”) and then Veselnitskaya carefully avoided ANY mention of this (which would put her in an “awkward” legal position) and only brought up the Magnitsky Act (the “switch”) without any warning.

        The purpose of the meeting was simply to provide evidence that a meeting had taken place. They only thing you’re missing L4D is a brain.

        1. A POTUS, Trump, could not have delivered a repeal of the Magnitsky Act to the Russians. Only the Congress could have done that. A POTUS, Trump, could have rescinded Obama’s EO imposing sanctions on Russia for its annexation of The Crimea. Your argument, like Turley’s, presumes that the Russians were too stupid to know that what they were reportedly asking for at the Trump Tower meeting could not have been given to them by a POTUS, Trump. The Russians are not stupid–merely desperate. Ergo the Russians were asking the Trump campaign for the only thing that a POTUS, Trump, could have given them: rescinding Obama’s EO imposing sanctions on Russia for the annexation of The Crimea. That necessarily means that the second-draft cover-story that Trump coughed up to The Senate Judiciary Committee is a false story. And that, in turn, means that the kompromat that the Russians had to offer the Trump Campaign on Clinton was not the missing the Sceretary of State emails but the DNC and Podesta emails.

  8. News Flash! 1. Politics ain’t beanbag. 2. CNN et al employ a collection of Democratic operatives with bylines. 3. Turley feels the need to insult Donald Trump Jr. in keeping with faculty rathskellar protocols.

    1. And Fox News might as well be a subsidiary of the RNC…

      That’s fine, I take into account where they’re coming from as I do with CNN.

      Good News, no one has to get their news from a single source, and everyone gets to choose where they do.

      God Bless America

      1. Which side of Fox news. The RNC side that doesn’t support the President or the RNC side that supports the President? Are you talking about the News portion or the Opinion part?

        I have to tell Shepard Smith that he is an arm of the Republican Party.

        1. Supposedly Murdoch loved Shep. He’s the FOX liberal go-get-um guy. He flies off like this every once in a while. Conservatives just select mute until his lips stop moving. He certainly got suckered punched repeating leaks that weren’t true.

        2. Are you really contesting that Fox News has a right, Republican bias?

  9. As I said a hundred times, there wasn’t collusion in a traditional sense.

    Putin owns oligarchs, and oligarchs invest in the Steak Salesman, like Eric once said. That’s why the best-brained Extra from Zoolander radiated warmth toward Putin, for fear of divestment and the public exposure of such.

    (And Occam’s Razor is fallacious to the core. It’s an accurate guide except when it’s not.)

    1. Actually, what you’ve implicitly said 100 times was that you’ve got the idea in your head that stringing together adolescent insults makes an argument on public policy.

    2. Dave123. Ockham’s Razor is indeed a fruitful guide. Consider the route from Ptolemaic epicycles via Copernicus to Kepler and Newton. Or the discovery of the periodic chart of the elements. Or elementary genetics. Or…

      1. It remains a most galling irony that the emerging sciences made great use of the Invincible Doctor’s eponymous razor to free modern science from the clutches of The Church and it’s faith for which the Bishop of Occam was, by some accounts, martyred. Or maybe that was just politics as usual, too.

        1. Schulte is so obsessed with collecting an OED citation from Dr. Benson that he has refused to take the bait. Occam was never a Bishop. Occam was driven into exile. But Occam was not martyred.

          1. Annie/Inga – I am not obsessed, I am determined. I am like the Little Engine that Could. And I really don’t care about Ockham’s Razor or his death.

            1. Well, in that case Marinus van der Lubbe did not start the Reichstag fire all by his lonesome nor was he a communist, either.

              1. Annie/Inga – he certainly was a communist. Whether he had help or not has been a bone of contention since the fire. 😉

                  1. Annie/Inga – that is your opinion. Academics have been fighting over this since the fire. However, you do have to take a side or bunker down. 😉

  10. So I checked. Yes, requesting a definition of a word via a search line of

    Word oed definition

    does indeed take one to the Oxford University Press’ Oxford Living Dictionary of the English language, all without a subscription. There is also a subscription available.

    So Paul C.Schulte is wrong, stuck in the middle of the previous century it appears.

    Apologies for the off topic post. I hope you will now scan down to my attempt to be a Hammerstein.

    1. David Benson – owes me a citation from the OED. Did you even read what you wrote? According to what you wrote you supposedly have a definition from the Oxford Living Dictionary of the English language and not the OED, which you agree requires a subscription. And then you have the unmitigated gall to say I am wrong?????

      When I was working on my master’s thesis I probably spent 100 or more hours looking up terms, phrases, and words in the OED. I KNOW how the OED works and looks. I know when you are trying to blow smoke up my skirt.

      David, are you emeritus at WSU? If so, I will tell you how to get on the OED for free. 🙂

      1. It is the non-subscription form of the Oxford English Dictionary. I suppose it is abridged but it is what Google readily finds. For simple inquiries it is adequate and so I don’t have to go up to the university library at the top of the hill.

        Now quit demonstrating what a pedant you are and just look up the definition which Oxford University Press provides for free. Jeez.

        1. David Benson – owes a citation from the OED. David, the walk will do you good. The onus is on you, David, not me.

          1. I found the definition online, brickhead. You can do the same.

            1. David Benson – owes me a citation from the OED. You said you were using the definition from the OED, that is what started this. Get me that definition.

              1. I was. It is available online, for free.

                Find it yourself, fool.

                1. From the Merriam-Webster entry on yammer:

                  1. to whine or complain.
                  2. to make an outcry or clamor.
                  3. to talk loudly and persistently.

                    1. David Benson – owes me a citation from the OED. Now you are cheating off others? Bad boy. F-

                    2. When a Schulteacher grades one student on the basis of work submitted by another student, it is the Schulteacher who CHEATS.

                  1. Annie/Inga – David said his definition came from the OED. I want that specific definition. However, it is kind of you to try to intercede. 😉

                    1. I’m trying to string it along farther. Blow, gentlemen. Blow!

                2. David Benson – owes me a citation from the OED. You made the claim. You supply the link. At least you have admitted you lied about getting it from the OED. But now I want it from the OED. You would not let a student get away with behavior that you are trying to get away with. Shame on you!!!!

                    1. FWIW Paul, this OED spat you’re carrying on with David is not within your usual character.

                    2. OLLY – one should never be too predictable. BTW, it is not a spat, it is a disagreement between two academics.

                    3. Trite would be this blog’s character.

                      Paul’s character would be more of a contrarian.

                    4. R. Lien – I would take umbrage at your remark if I didn’t think you were a Russian bot.

                    5. Maybe not, but being a prick and refusing to provide the citation is within David Benson’s character.

                    6. David Benson rarely has anything to say that would necessitate a citation. Now Trite would certainly suit his character on this blog.

  11. We are to believe that some Dr. Evil Russian collusion took place in Trump Tower with villains walking through front door and lobby in plain view of media to get to meeting. If this is how Trump campaign conducted its purported Russian collusion, then all the more reason for HRC supporters to throw a fit out of frustration for losing to the gang that couldn’t shoot straight. All kidding aside, Trump won because of effective use of television and good old fashioned hitting the road past midnight on the eve of election (including WI and MI). Obama gets that – he pointed out the importance never missing a genuine opportunity including fish frys, etc on campaign trail. HRC was too arrogant to hit the road like Trump and Obama, and she did not come across as being genuine on television – the American people did not like what they saw when she came into their living rooms via TV. Forget about Facebook propaganda etc, election was won via hitting the road and effective use of television.

    1. Trump won because Hillary Clinton is a remarkably unlikeable person and a terrible politician.
      2016 was the Election from Hell.

      1. A lot of politicians are unlikeable people and quite a few aren’t good politicians at least where the public is concerned so what is your point? Don’t forget but Trump won the Republican primary as well so there is more to Trump’s ability than simply beating the crook and terrible human being, Hillary Clinton.

      2. 2016 was the Election from Hell.

        What have the American people done to deserve anything else? Candidates will offer what sells.

        I opposed Trump because he was an unknown in how he would respect the rule of law and separation of powers. Also, because of how he conducted himself in exactly the same style of politics I’ve come to expect from the progressive left. I opposed Clinton because she has no respect for the rule of law and separation of powers. She conducted herself exactly as I expect from the progressive left. Trump was more effective at using the Democrats campaign tactics than the Democrats.

        This quote by James Garfield is as relevant today as it was on July 4th, 1876. That is until the American people finally vote away the remaining rights necessary to defend ourselves against the tyranny of government.

        Now more than ever before, the people are responsible for the character of their Congress. If that body be ignorant, reckless and corrupt, it is because the people tolerate ignorance, recklessness and corruption. If it be intelligent, brave and pure, it is because the people demand these high qualities to represent them in the national legislature … If the next centennial does not find us a great nation…it will be because those who represent the enterprise, the culture, and the morality of the nation do not aid in controlling the political forces.

    2. @Bill Martin May 18, 2018 at 5:56 AM
      “Forget about Facebook propaganda etc, election was won via hitting the road and effective use of television.”

      Of course, Crosscheck helped.

      “On its surface, Crosscheck seems quite reasonable. Twenty-eight participating states share their voter lists and, in the name of dispassionate, race-blind Big Data, seek to ensure the rolls are up to date. To make sure the system finds suspect voters, Crosscheck supposedly matches first, middle and last name, plus birth date, and provides the last four digits of a Social Security number for additional verification.

      “In reality, however, there have been signs that the program doesn’t operate as advertised. Some states have dropped out of Crosscheck, citing problems with its methodology, as Oregon’s secretary of state recently explained: ‘We left [Crosscheck] because the data we received was unreliable.’

      “In our effort to report on the program, we contacted every state for their Crosscheck list. But because voting twice is a felony, state after state told us their lists of suspects were part of a criminal investigation and, as such, confidential.

      “Then we got a break. A clerk in Virginia sent us its Crosscheck list of suspects, which a letter from the state later said was done ‘in error.’

      “The Virginia list was a revelation. In all, 342,556 names were listed as apparently registered to vote in both Virginia and another state as of January 2014. Thirteen percent of the people on the Crosscheck list, already flagged as inactive voters, were almost immediately removed, meaning a stunning 41,637 names were ‘canceled’ from voter rolls, most of them just before Election Day. {Emphasis added]

      “We were able to obtain more lists – Georgia and Washington state, the total number of voters adding up to more than 1 million matches – and Crosscheck’s results seemed at best deeply flawed. We found that one-fourth of the names on the list actually lacked a middle-name match. [Emphasis added]

      “The system can also mistakenly identify fathers and sons as the same voter, ignoring designations of Jr. and Sr. A whole lot of people named ‘James Brown’ are suspected of voting or registering twice, 357 of them in Georgia alone. But according to Crosscheck, James Willie Brown is supposed to be the same voter as James Arthur Brown. James Clifford Brown is allegedly the same voter as James Lynn Brown.

      “And those promised birth dates and Social Security numbers? The Crosscheck instruction manual says that ‘Social Security numbers are included for verification; the numbers might or might not match’ – which leaves a crucial step in the identification process up to the states.[Emphasis added]

      “Social Security numbers weren’t even included in the state lists we obtained.
      We had Mark Swedlund, a database expert whose clients include eBay and American Express, look at the data from Georgia and Virginia, and he was shocked by Crosscheck’s ‘childish methodology.’ He added, ‘God forbid your name is Garcia, of which there are 858,000 in the U.S., and your first name is Joseph or Jose. You’re probably suspected of voting in 27 states.’
      [Emphasis added]

      “Swedlund’s statistical analysis found that African-American, Latino and Asian names predominate, a simple result of the Crosscheck matching process, which spews out little more than a bunch of common names. No surprise: The U.S. Census data shows that minorities are overrepresented in 85 of 100 of the most common last names.

      “If your name is Washington, there’s an 89 percent chance you’re African-American. If your last name is Hernandez, there’s a 94 percent chance you’re Hispanic. If your name is Kim, there’s a 95 percent chance you’re Asian. [Emphasis added]

      “The Crosscheck program, started by Kris Kobach, has spread to over two dozen states, tagging more than 7 million voters as possibly suspect. This inherent bias results in an astonishing one in six Hispanics, one in seven Asian-Americans and one in nine African-Americans in Crosscheck states landing on the list.

      “Was the program designed to target voters of color? ‘I’m a data guy,’ Swedlund says. ‘I can’t tell you what the intent was. I can only tell you what the outcome is. And the outcome is discriminatory against minorities. ‘ “[Emphasis added]
      https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/features/the-gops-stealth-war-against-voters-w435890

      In a follow-up post this afternoon, I’ll provide some post-election stats in different states, for those interested in the actual voter-purging effectiveness of Crosscheck.

      1. Here are the post-election voter stats I referred to this morning:

        “The Election Was Stolen – Here’s How…
        “Friday, November 11, 2016
        “Before a single vote was cast, the election was fixed by GOP and Trump operatives.
        Starting in 2013 – just as the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act – a coterie of Trump operatives, under the direction of Kris Kobach, Kansas Secretary of State, created a system to purge 1.1 million Americans of color from the voter rolls of GOP–controlled states.
        The system, called Crosscheck, is detailed in my Rolling Stone report,
        ‘The GOP’s Stealth War on Voters,’ 8/24/2016.

        “Crosscheck in action:
        Trump victory margin in Michigan: 13,107
        Michigan Crosscheck purge list: 449,922

        Trump victory margin in Arizona: 85,257
        Arizona Crosscheck purge list: 270,824

        Trump victory margin in North Carolina: 177,008
        North Carolina Crosscheck purge list: 589,393
        [Emphasis added]

        “On Tuesday, we saw Crosscheck elect a Republican Senate and as President, Donald Trump. The electoral putsch was aided by nine other methods of attacking the right to vote of Black, Latino and Asian-American voters, methods detailed in my book and film, including ‘Caging,’ ‘purging,’ blocking legitimate registrations, and wrongly shunting millions to ‘provisional’ ballots that will never be counted.’
        http://www.gregpalast.com/election-stolen-heres/

        Now, if I were a Democrat, I’d be focusing on evidence like this, rather than fecklessly speculating about Russian interference in the 2016 election, because Crosscheck and other voter suppression tactics can actually be opposed and countered before the mid-terms and subsequent elections.

        Based on what I’ve seen on the part of Democrats in the past, however, because opposing various forms of voter suppression might actually be politically effective, they won’t want to go there.

        .

    3. She did not “NEED” to go on the campaign trail, to actually get her hands dirty by shaking them with the filthy peasants.
      Her election was a pre-ordained coronation; all she had to do was show up at her sponsored rock concerts in Philadelphia, have the singers give her praise, and watch the votes come in the next day.
      Besides, it was too tiring and uncomfortable to actually be traveling to random bumfuks, when it was obvious from the polls, the media, Hollywood and all the political pundits that she was going to win.
      To even think that Trump would win, was LOLROTF ridiculousness that only deplorable unwashed masses and right wing conspiracy nuts could believe.

      1. Easy girl (Late). Catch yourself – give us an original thought(s) please – don’t go down that path today of mad posting of lefty articles and excerpts.

          1. Oh, the lady has sharp elbows – feisty. Nobody gonna get in the way of those lefty loon articles and excerpts.

          2. Annie/Inga – I am not afraid of you. You just wave a red flag in front of the bull. 😉

            1. It’s a long road from Arizona. And bulls don’t wear Skechers anywhere else but in Arizona. The Texans will fall out laughing as they watch you plodding through.

              1. I found the articles interesting and informative.
                Thanks for posting them.

    1. Turley said, “The most obvious explanation, with the least assumptions, is that this was a case of blind and reckless desire overcoming judgment.”

      Hogwash. What Turley calls “the most obvious explanation” is a second draft cover story coughed up by Trump for the sake of damage control. The notion that Trump’s second draft cover story has the fewest assumptions just so happens to be the tell-tale sign for a cover story; “Nothing to see here.”

      How does Turley explain the attendance of Ara Agalorov’s lawyer and reputed money-launderer Irakly Kaveladze at the Trump Tower meeting? They needed a Russian translator to conduct the meeting. Who else could they have found on such short notice to translate Russian into English besides Agalarov’s lawyer and reputed money-launderer, Ike Kaveladze? Surely Turley does not truly think that the most obvious solution is also the simplest solution. Or does he?

      Consider this: The Trump Tower meeting might really have been about negotiating with the Russians for the publication of the DNC emails. The putative fact that the attendees of that meeting all deny that they negotiated with one another for the publication of the DNC emails might be expected, if they did actually negotiate with one another over the publication of the DNC emails. To say that the denial is least assumption and the suspicion is the most assumption is fairly typical lawyering bamboozlery.

      1. FTR, Occam’s Razor has three axioms that work together.

        1) Never assume the existence of more entities than are logically necessary.

        2) Entities ought not to be multiplied [nor divided] beyond any logical necessity.

        3) All other considerations being more or less equally negligible, the simplest solution is usually the best.

        So who, if anyone, is merely assuming the existence of three Americans and five Russians meeting to negotiate sanctions relief in exchange for kompromat on Hillary Clinton? Nobody is assuming the existence of those entities nor multiplying them beyond any logical necessity. The known facts have been on the record for quite some time now. The question is whether we should assume, as Turley does, that the attendees at that meeting are telling the truth when they deny having reached an agreement to provide sanctions relief to Russia in exchange for the publication of the DNC emails. Occam’s Razor has absolutely nothing useful to say in response to that question.

        1. Rob Goldstone is not Russian. So there were 3 Americans, 4 Russians (two of whom are also U. S. citizens) and 1 person from The United Kingdom at the Trump Tower meeting.

          1. Excuse me Ms. Late. Not sure if you realize it but you are replying to your own posts.

            1. That’s L4D/Annie/Inga trying to stay on the leader board by racking up the frequent posting miles.

              1. Annie and Inga are not eligible for L4D’s frequent posting miles.

            2. Bill, Her conscious state is filled with fantasy and she talks to herself. It’s not new, but it is getting worse.

              1. Never overlook the obvious, Allanonsense. For instance, when Peter Hill told you that Veselnitskaya was representing Katsyv at his trial in SDNY, you could have, but didn’t, suppose that that was why she was let into the country. Instead, you overlooked the obvious and went for bat-guano insane per usual.

                1. Coincidences never fail to leave you in the dark. That is why you continue on your trek to create stories that could never have existed without someone’s petty imagination.

                  1. Allanonsense says it’s a coincidence that a lawyer was allowed to enter the country to defend her client at his trial in New York. Allanonsense had previously insinuated that it was not a coincidence that a lawyer was allowed to enter the country to attend the Trump Tower meeting. And yet, it’s the same lawyer being let into the country on the same occasion. Therefore, Allanonsense is actually saying that it is both a coincidence and not a coincidence that a lawyer was allowed to enter the country to defend her client at his trial. And that necessarily means that Allanonsense does not know what a coincidence is until the tossed coin comes to rest either in the heads up or the heads down position.

                    1. Read more carefully, Diane. Better yet get some help from your son who has corrected you in the past. Too many coincidences not to look for a design and trace it back to where these coincidences came from. The lawyer was not supposed to be let into the country and another lawyer could have gone in her place. She was not the only one. But she was let in by the Obama administration. Funny how that meeting occurred within days of her entry and how strange the meeting actually was.

          2. Here’s the list of attendees: Paul Manafort, Jared Kushner, Donald Trump Jr., Natalia Veselnitskaya, Anatoli Samochornov (Ms. V’s translator), Rinat Akhmetshin (registered foreign agent), Irakly Kaveladze (not needed as a translator, but to represent Aras Agalarov) and Rob Goldstone.

            1. Late4Dinner,…
              – Ahkmetshin was NOT a registered foreign agent.
              This failure to regisister under FARA was noted in Sen. Grassley’s March 31, 2017 letter to the DOJ.
              Grassley also mentions Fusion GPS’s failure to register under FARA, despite its work on behalf of Prevezon, in that same 3-31-2017 letter.

              1. Thanks Ptom. Glad to see that you’re back on the case. Refutation by minutia is such a vital contribution to the blawg. And you are clearly the best at that device, Gnash.

                1. If you’re going to inaccurately claim that Akhmetshin was “a registered foreign agent”, then that bit of “monuti” by you should probably be “refuted”.
                  Don’t bitch about “refutation by minutia” when you include inaccurate statements that are challenged.

                  1. From Wikipedia:

                    Rinat Rafkatovitch Akhmetshin (Russian: Ринат Ахметшин, born 1967) is a Soviet Union–born Russian-American lobbyist and former Soviet counterintelligence officer. He came to American media spotlight in July 2017 as a registered lobbyist for an organisation run by Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, who, along with him, had a meeting with Donald Trump’s election campaign officials in June 2016.

                    P. S. If you’d like, I can forward both your minutia and your monuti to Wikipedia’s complaint desk. According to both Schulte the accuracy of Wikipedia is a coin-toss. Curiously, that’s the same probability that L4D assign to Grassely and Graham. The probability for Ninny Na-Na Nunes is very nearly zero.

                    1. DieAnn/ Inga/ Annie,
                      .
                      He may have been a registered LOBBYEST; he was not, as you claimed earlier, a registered foreign agent.
                      You seem to do a lot better when you supply both ends of the dialogue in your daily columns here, so I’ll leave you to yourself to conduct these “exchanges”.

                    2. The secret meaning of monuti has just now been revealed by its koiner.

  12. This is all there is to justify Bozo Brennan’s overstuffed indictments of Trump? Brennan truly is the king clown of farce.

  13. There was nothing idiotic in politics about meeting with anyone that may give something you would want, and that includes obtaining any information potentially damaging to your opponents. Of course, in Mr. Turley’s perverse partisan world, anything Trump does, not matter how normal, is wrong or idiotic. Such is the nature of those afflicted withTDS.

    And, of course, in Mr. Turley’s perverted partisan world, members of Trump’s team meeting with some people who promise to give Trump information against Clinton is equivalent to Clinton colluding with members of Obama’s administration, officers of the CIA, leaders of the DOJ, staff of the FBI to create phony “intelligence” claiming Trump has some fetish involving women urinating.

    I would suggest to Mr. Turley that he use Occam’s razor on himself. If he did, he would readily conclude that the simplest and most direct explanation for his arguments is they are an unsubtle means of communicating his mentally infirm leftist propaganda points.

    So, with that in mind, I fully expect Mr. Turkey to apply his usual dull razor and to totally avoid Occam’s razor.

    1. TDS
      Testosterone Deficiency Syndrome.

      Wrong diagnosis for that crowd.

    2. Ralph Adamo said, “There was nothing idiotic in politics about meeting with anyone that may give something you would want, and that includes obtaining any information potentially damaging to your opponents.”

      That’s only true if the Russians are not asking you for sanctions relief. Guess what? The Russians at the Trump Tower meeting were asking for sanctions relief from Trump while offering both kompromat on Clinton and a Trump Tower Moscow to Trump.

      BTW, the Trump Tower Moscow was offered as a consolation prize in case the leak of the DNC emails did not sway the election in Trump’s favor. It was a win-win for Trump. Had Trump lost the election, he would’ve gotten his Trump Tower Moscow. Since he won the election, he got to be POTUS. One occasionally wonders which outcome Trump really wanted.

      1. L4D, what evidence do you have supporting your statement that the Russians were proposing a quid pro quo for whatever negative information they could provide on Clinton? Even though I did not consider CNN and MSNBC to be reliable sources of information without independent verification, if what you say had even a scintilla of merit, those media outlets would be hammering home the quid pro quo. But they’ve said NOTHING about it, which means there’s not even a scintilla of fact to it that they would risk their reputations on (not that they care about their reputations).

        1. The evidence is in the hands of he who will not be deterred, Robert Swan Mueller The Third.

    3. If Turley use Occam’s Razor on himself he would slit his own throat.

      1. Given that Turley will not slit his own throat, it follows that Turley will not use Occam’s Razor on himself.

    1. Matthew 7:17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.

      Look how it has played out for Trump.

      That’s why it was stupid, and legal, at the same time.

  14. There are two versions to the razor. One states when every other possibility has been discounted the one left no matter how improbable will be the truth. ab

    The other a variation is the most probable correct answer is the one that is the most simple KISS principle.
    in this case the most probable is trying to make contact with the next President through a close relative.

    But what came out of it demands it’s own razor. the false document was in paid for by the DNC and the Clinton Campaign and that was when Clinton had bought and owned the DNC much to the later chagrin of Bernie Sanders. It is improbable that she was not aware of that entire episode.

    The only real question is where did she get the money to buy one half of a political system?

    1. There are many more than two versions. The earliest is attributed to Aristotle, probably only because his are the oldest writings on the matter to survive.

          1. David Benson – owes me a citation from the OED. I am not insane, my mother had me tested. 😉

              1. David Benson – owes me a citation from the OED. I am not the one who refuses to back up his claims.

        1. Paul, I missed the start of your inquiry, and have only seen David’s evasive responses. Just what OED citation are you seeking? David is not the sort of person that would offer any help with anything. For example, when my car broke down on the freeway and David stopped by briefly and then opened his window, I asked him if he would give me a tow. Instead, he gave me the finger.

          1. Just Making Stuff Up again.

            I don’t own or operate an automobile.

            1. David Benson – owes me a citation from the OED. David, do you need instructions on how to use the OED? BTW, we are all happy you are not driving. 🙂

              1. It appears that you are the one who needs instruction in using an Internet search engine.

                But that requires a modicum of sanity…

                1. David Benson – owes me a citation from the OED. You made the claim. You have to back it up. If I am dissatisfied, then I will do a search. The onus is on you.

            2. Whether or not you have an automobile is irrelevant. My joke seems to have gone over your head. I know. It doesn’t take much to do that. But I will ‘splain for u. It’s a verbal joke. So, in my joke story when I ask you, “Can you give me a tow,” I’m also saying “Can you give me a toe,” because “toe” is a homophone for “tow.” And your nonverbal response of “giving me the finger” is an insult response to asking for a “toe,” which is a different appendage, of course. It would help if you could imagine Rodney Dangerfield telling you this brief story.

            3. “I don’t own or operate an automobile.”

              Did the OED (Office of Enebriation& Delusions) take your license away?

              .
              (Sp urban dictionary)

          2. Ralph Adamo – you really do not want to get into this, but it has to do with the use of the word ‘yammer’ and if David is using a definition from the OED as he claims. So far, he has not ponied up that definition, so my guess is that he is making it up. BTW, I am surprised David stopped when your car broke down, even to give you the finger. 😉

            Also, evasive understates it. 🙂

            1. If Paul C. Schulte were not insane he could find the definition himself.

              1. David Benson – owes me a citation from the OED. David, if you actually knew how the OED was constructed, you would realize that there are as many as 40-50 definitions for each word, including the sentence the word was first used in for that definition. Therefore, only YOU can find the correct citation. If you need help, let me know.

                  1. David Benson – owes me a citation from the OED. As I told you, you need a subscription to the online OED, I am not going to pay it. Supposedly, you paid it. Send me the link.

                    1. Oh brain of brick no I don’t have a subscription to OED.
                      Just enter the word followed by oed and then definition on your search engine entry line.
                      That is all I did.

                    2. David Benson – owes me a citation from the OED. That is not the real OED.

                    3. Oh brain of brick, Google finds a link to Oxford English Dictionary.

                    4. David Benson – owes me a citation from the OED. David, have you ever been diagnosed as oppositionally defiant?

                    5. mespo – he supposedly has looked it up twice and has yet to give me the link. At this point, I think it is a cover-up.

                    6. Gentlemen, you’re both overlooking the obvious. Your ongoing colloquy is an operational definition of “yammering.”

                    7. Annie/Inga – we are looking for a specific definition that is in the OED. David told me that was where he got it.

                    8. I understand completely. Nevertheless, the two of you are doing a fine job of making a concrete object out of the verb to yammer.

            2. David, I think you are actually a member of the OED — Opposition to Evolution Development.

  15. There otta be a song:

    Stupidity! Duplicity!
    Here’s my pieces of gold.
    Stupidity! Duplicity!
    Don’t be a scold,
    Just pass the dirt,
    That way no one is hurt,
    I mean the heat,
    That’s the beat!

    And so on. You finish it.
    Remember, best Broadway style
    This is the Manhattan Mafia here…

  16. Shorter Professor Turley: I’m going to apply Occam’s Razor to what I think can’t be proven with the “visible” evidence regarding “collusion” (which would more accurately be characterized as a conspiracy if the available evidence ever supports such a charge), even though I know there is evidence in Mueller’s possession that the public has not seen. But I’m not going to comment on the application of Occam’s Razor to the visible evidence of corruption of Trump and his “team.”.

    This is your blog, Turley, so post what you please. But your continued attempts to “deflect” attention from the evidence that Trump is in dit sheep are obvious.

    1. To be more exact why was the word collusion selected instead of conspiracy. One story is the media selected it and at the same time failed for a year to point out collusion is not a crime. Another story yet to be told… why are they in such a hurry all of a sudden to shut the investigation down. Three elements Trump, Collusion , Russia. What is more probable is the elements should have been Candidate, Conspiracy, and what appeared to be elements of the former USSR. A lot closer to the mark than the goose chasing we’ve been witnessing so far.

      The Razor would say probable and most simple solution is only Clinton is left standing as the only part of all this that has not been investigated in a real sense and is also the most probable answer to the question.

      1. “Conspiracy” is not a sufficient condition for lawbreaking. The conspiracy has to be directed towards breaking a law, and concrete steps taken in furtherance (preparation) for that lawbreaking.

        There is nothing clearly illegal about anything that took place in the Trump Tower meeting.

        The FEC campaign laws are vague in regard to purchasing or barter for oppo-research, even more so in regard to foreign actors being contracted or engaged. For instance, was there anything illegal in the way the DNC and Clinton campaign contracted oppo-research out to Perkins Coie (Mark Elias), who then paid Christopher Steele (ex-MI6 agent), who then paid sources in Russia? The Campaign reported these expenses as “legal services”, an obvious laundering of dirty-tricks money spent.

        1. pbinca asked, ” For instance, was there anything illegal in the way the DNC and Clinton campaign contracted oppo-research out to Perkins Coie (Mark Elias), who then paid Christopher Steele (ex-MI6 agent), who then paid sources in Russia?”

          Steele’s Russian sources were not asking Clinton for sanctions relief for Russia in exchange for the information they gave to Steele. The Russians at the Trump Tower meeting literally asked for sanctions relief for Russia in exchange for kompromat on Clinton.

          The question of legal jeopardy hinges upon whether that deal was made or rejected. There are also questions about exactly which kompromat on Clinton the Russians were offering. The additional choices are the Secretary of State emails, the DNC emails and the Podesta emails. There’s evidence already in the public record that the Trump campaign thought the Russians had Clinton emails to offer.

          Remember: A conspiracy does not have to come to fruition on both the quid and the quo in order to be charged as a conspiracy.

          1. All the information I have read elsewhere indicate that the Magnitsky Act was never mentioned as a discussion topic for the meeting – only the kompromat on Clinton. As soon as it was obvious that Velnetskaya had no information relating to Clinton criminality and only wanted to talk about the Magnitsky Act the meeting was ended. It may have been obvious at the time that the meeting was a set-up. Otherwise it would have seemed like a very strange meeting indeed.

            So if the reason for the meeting was to hear about potential criminal acts committed by Clinton and the Magnitsky Act was sprung as a surprise, where is the conspiracy to do anything? Or have I missed something?

            1. Buckeyeman,…
              A few days after the Trump Towere meeting, Veselnitskaya and Akhmetshin hosted an event featuring wine, hors d’oerves, and an anti-Magnitsky Act film.
              I’ve never seen a guest list for what was described as “an elite” event by invitation, but it was reported that two Obama State Dept. officials were among the guests.
              It was pointed out previously in this thread that the Obama DOJ interceded on Veselnitskaya’s behalf to allow her into the U.S.
              If some are determined to conclude that there was some kind of quid pro quo arraingement at the Trump Tower meeting, then they can easily transfer their “suspicions” ( not evidence)to conclude that Veselnitskaya and Akhmetshin got something in return for smoozing with those at the event and film they hosted.
              But a “belief” or a “suspicion”about what might have happened should not be presented as “fact” or “evidence”.
              I’ve pointed out before, to the same individual here, that piling on conjecture on top of speculation to reach a desired conclusion is a foolish, useless exercise.
              But that is evidently a key part of her “exercise program” in her lengthy daily columns here.

            2. buckeyeman asked, “So if the reason for the meeting was to hear about potential criminal acts committed by Clinton and the Magnitsky Act was sprung as a surprise, where is the conspiracy to do anything? Or have I missed something?”

              A POTUS, Trump, could not have repealed the Magnitsky Act. Only the Congress could have repealed the Magnitsky Act. A POTUS, Trump, could only have rescinded Obama’s EO imposing sanctions on Russia for it annexation of The Crimea. The second-draft cover-story upon which you, Turley and The SJC are insisting necessarily presumes that the Russians were too stupid to realize that they were asking Trump to give them something that was not Trump’s to give. And that is how we know that the second-draft cover-story is false on the face of it. There’s evidence that the Trump campaign knew that the Russians had Clinton emails to trade. Those emails could have been the missing Secretary of State emails, the DNC emails, or even the Podesta emails. To take the suspects’ word that they did not conspire to defraud the United States is not so much the simplest solution as the simpleton’s solution.

              1. “Or have I missed something?”

                Yes, Diane, you have missed everything. But don’t worry. The nurses are coming to take you back to the home.

    2. Oliver:
      Conspiracy has to have a predicate crime to be a crime itself. For example, you and I can publicly conspire to go have an ice cream cone at the local McDonalds and … gasp … the police are powerless to stop us. Since the usual whipping boy “collusion” has finally been dispelled as a crime in the public’s collective mind, and “conspiracy” is the latest “next man up” in the Left’s derangement lineup, pray tell what predicate crimes were contemplated in a short meeting with non citizens in Trump Tower?

      1. Conspiracy to commit election fraud against The United States by promising sanctions relief to Russia in exchange for the publication of the DNC emails which is an illegal, foreign, in-kind campaign contribution.

          1. I’m still not a lawyer. And Oliver won’t represent himself. So try this one on for size, instead:

            923. 18 U.S.C. § 371—Conspiracy to Defraud the United States

            The general conspiracy statute, 18 U.S.C. § 371, creates an offense “[i]f two or more persons conspire either to commit any offense against the United States, or to defraud the United States, or any agency thereof in any manner or for any purpose.

            1. Fraud suggests making a false representation to secure something of value knowing the representation to be false. Not much of that going on here. “A” is for effort.

            2. Excerpted from the article linked above:

              The operative language is the so-called “defraud clause,” that prohibits conspiracies to defraud the United States. This clause creates a separate offense from the “offense clause” in Section 371. Both offenses require the traditional elements of Section 371 conspiracy, including an illegal agreement, criminal intent, and proof of an overt act.

              Although this language is very broad, cases rely heavily on the definition of “defraud” provided by the Supreme Court in two early cases, Hass v. Henkel, 216 U.S. 462 (1910), and Hammerschmidt v. United States, 265 U.S. 182 (1924). In Hass the Court stated:

              The statute is broad enough in its terms to include any conspiracy for the purpose of impairing, obstructing or defeating the lawful function of any department of government . . . (A)ny conspiracy which is calculated to obstruct or impair its efficiency and destroy the value of its operation and reports as fair, impartial and reasonably accurate, would be to defraud the United States by depriving it of its lawful right and duty of promulgating or diffusing the information so officially acquired in the way and at the time required by law or departmental regulation.

              Hass, 216 U.S. at 479-480. In Hammerschmidt, Chief Justice Taft, defined “defraud” as follows:

              To conspire to defraud the United States means primarily to cheat the Government out of property or money, but it also means to interfere with or obstruct one of its lawful governmental functions by deceit, craft or trickery, or at least by means that are dishonest. It is not necessary that the Government shall be subjected to property or pecuniary loss by the fraud, but only that its legitimate official action and purpose shall be defeated by misrepresentation, chicane or the overreaching of those charged with carrying out the governmental intention.

              Hammerschmidt, 265 U.S. at 188.

              The general purpose of this part of the statute is to protect governmental functions from frustration and distortion through deceptive practices. Section 371 reaches “any conspiracy for the purpose of impairing, obstructing or defeating the lawful function of any department of Government.” Tanner v. United States, 483 U.S. 107, 128 (1987); see Dennis v. United States, 384 U.S. 855 (1966). The “defraud part of section 371 criminalizes any willful impairment of a legitimate function of government, whether or not the improper acts or objective are criminal under another statute.” United States v. Tuohey, 867 F.2d 534, 537 (9th Cir. 1989).

              1. And not to put too fine a point on it, Counselor, but if the US government says that you cannot take a campaign contribution from a foreign nation and if you then conspire with that foreign nation for the purpose of impairing, obstructing or defeating the lawful function of that department of Government which prohibits accepting foreign campaign contributions, then you may be charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States under 923. 18 U.S.C. § 371.

                BTW, don’t be surprised if the un-redacted portions of Rosenstein’s August memorandum as well as the Urgent Reports that Downing requested, but which Judge Ellis denied, spell out the ConFraudUs case that Mueller may very well be building against the attendees at the Trump Tower meeting.

        1. @Late4Dinner May 18, 2018 at 8:02 AM
          “Conspiracy to commit election fraud against The United States by promising sanctions relief to Russia in exchange for the publication of the DNC emails which is an illegal, foreign, in-kind campaign contribution.”

          As I hope is evident from other comments I’ve made, I’m no admirer of Trump, particularly since his foreign policy is becoming more Clintonesque by the week, but I have to ask: Are you content to ignore the rather dispositive evidence that the DNC emails were leaked, rather than hacked?

    3. If you applied the Razor to all available evidence regarding the 2016 election, the only reasonable conclusion would be Obama’s IC/FBI along with the DNC/Clinton violated the law. Trump and his entourage violated the unwritten rule that it wasn’t supposed to be his election to win. It wasn’t his turn. He violated the long-standing tradition of political decency.

      1. Olly, there were the three highest-level members of the Trump Campaign, four Russians and a Brit discussing sanctions relief for Russia in exchange for kompromat on Clinton. And that’s the second draft “cover story” that Trump coughed up. For Turley to argue that taking the word of the Trump campaign that they did not promise sanctions relief in exchange for publication of the DNC emails is the simplest solution with the fewest assumptions while suspecting the contrary is the most complicated solution with the most assumptions is a prima facie perversion of Occam’s Razor. The only serious question is whether Turley knows that he perverted Occam’s Razor and intended to do so.

        1. We can count on you to construct “…the most complicated solution with the most assumptions” to contort your way to your desired conclusions.

          1. Please allow me to simplify the matter for you, Ptom. Taking the suspects’ word for the supposed fact that they did not commit the crime is always the simplest solution for the suspects and their defense counsel.

            1. Belated4Dinner,..
              -I’ll explain something to you in return.
              You have 8 identified people in the attempt to obtain “komptromat” on Hillary in the brief Trump Tower meeting.

              In the case of the Steele Russian Dossier, you have a former spy using unknown contacts to obtain “kompromat” on Trump from unknownRussian sources.
              Since you dealt in the “minutia” of describing the 8 people in the Trump Tower meeting, I thought you might want to compare those details with the some facts about the Steele Dossier “kompromat”.

              1. Steele’s Russian sources were not seeking sanctions relief for Russia in exchange for the information they gave Steele. Steele was in no position to give sanctions relief to Russia, anyway. Had he been in such a position, one doubts that he would have promised any sanctions relief to Russia. Meanwhile, it’s a pretty safe bet that Russia had no realistic expectation of ever getting any sanctions relief from HRC.

                1. I don’t know what Steele/Orbis and/ or his contacts and his contacts’sources received beyond a sizeable fee, and the collection of foreign opposition research designed to damage the campaign of a candidate that Steele opposed.

                  1. Are you seriously floating the possibility that Steele’s sources might have sought sanctions relief for Russia from HRC simply because you do not know that they did not seek sanctions relief for Russia from HRC???

                    1. We don’t know who Steele’s contacts were, nor do we know the sources that Steele’s contacts used.
                      Opposition research can be used for the purpose of opposition research; it need not “be exchanged” for something else.
                      Does that clear it up for you, or do you need to have another discussion with yourself?

                  2. Tom, have you noted that these waves of information from Diane are filled with data that is either inaccurate or unproven? From this faulty data, she draws her conclusions which she then converts into a fact that she uses to create her next conclusion. She forgets that with time her conclusions conflict with one another and they conflict with the truth.

                    One can only accept her conclusions if one forgets her prior conclusions and doesn’t recognize her facts too frequently reflect her desired conclusion rather than the truth.

                    1. Allan, Yeah, Iv’e noticed that…..and I’ve commented on her elaborate house of cards building blocks in this thread, and in previous threads.

                    2. The second-draft cover-story that Trump coughed up for the Trump Tower meeting requires the Russians to be ignorant of the fact that A POTUS cannot single-handedly repeal an Act of Congress, such as The Magnitsky Act. A POTUS could either sign or veto a Bill repealing a previous Act of Congress if, and only if, The Congress passes such a repeal Bill and sends it to the POTUS’ desk. Consequently, the second-draft cover-story that Trump coughed up for the Trump Tower meeting will not hold water for an indefinite period of time. There must needs be a third-draft of that cover-story at some point in the future. You might want to use your prodigious powers of analysis to get started on the construction of that much needed third-draft cover-story before Mueller issues his final report to Rosenstein. Or not. Your choice.

                    3. Tom, Diane is talking again and not making any sense. Can you figure out what she is trying to say? It sounds like the murmurings of some intoxicated drunk or a person on way too many drugs.

                    4. There is no cover story, Diane, except in your addled head.

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