The Mueller Indictments

Some thoughts from Dan McLaughlin:

The overall picture here looks similar to what we saw with the Trump jr. story: people in the Trump campaign were desperate for dirt on Hillary, they were willing to work with anyone to get it, and Russian interests used this desperation to play them for suckers. Papadopoulos was frequently promised things, and promising things in turn to the campaign, that never got delivered. This is a running theme of Trump’s amateur-hour foreign policy campaign team (in contrast, one would note, to the professionals now running his foreign policy shop).

Where things get dicier for Trump is that the investigation and the Papadopoulos plea both focus on how this can all be tied back to Trump and his senior campaign staff. Papadopoulos pled guilty to lying about when he went to work for Trump relative to when he started talking to the professor; he tried to convince the FBI that he already knew about the professor’s dirt on Hillary before he joined the campaign. And on March 31, 2016, well before Trump had even locked up the Republican nomination, Papadopoulos told Trump and a roomful of Trump’s foreign policy advisers “in sum and substance, that he had connections that could help arrange a meeting between then-candidate Trump and President Putin.” The meeting, like many such things, never happened, but he kept the campaign (including an unnamed “senior policy advisor for the Campaign”) apprised that he was trying to arrange one, and the plea is mostly silent on what he was told by the campaign in return. Then, in late April – still well before the June meeting at Trump Tower – the professor began dangling “dirt” on Hillary: “They [the Russians] have dirt on her”; “the Russians had emails of Clinton”; “they have thousands of emails.”

Let us pause here to note that this is precisely the situation that many of us warned was a grave risk to national security with Hillary’s insecure email server, and which Hillary and her camp loudly denied to be a possibility while basically admitting it when they started complaining during the campaign (let alone after) about Trump publicly seeking leaks of her emails. This entire story is the perfect storm of an aggressive and devious foreign regime, a Republican nominee of low character surrounded by inept and naively cynical amateur advisers, and a Democratic nominee who was heedlessly reckless with national security out of partisan paranoia. Secretary Clinton exposed herself to what amounted to easy Russian blackmail, and everything else that happened followed from that.

Yup. Worst political class in history, and worst candidates in history.

[Update a few minutes later]

Andy McCarthy: Not much there, and a boon for Trump.

But the media will continue to have their hair on fire over it.

[Tuesday-morning update]

Popehat lawsplains the Manafort/Gates indictments, and the Papadopoulos guilty plea.

21 thoughts on “The Mueller Indictments”

  1. (in contrast, one would note, to the professionals now running his foreign policy shop)

    I agree with this caveat. Tillerson is doing a better job that his detractors hoped/believed he could.

  2. It is surprising that the Trump campaign didn’t do a better job checking people’s backgrounds. It’s not like Hillary would make a mistake like that. Oh wait! Manafort was working with the Podesta group. I am sure charges will be rolling out against them soon too.

    This really does emphasize how bad the political class is on all sides. Manafort is a Republican and he was working with the Podestas who are Democrats. People go from working in campaigns, to government, to lobbying, to consulting and engage in these activities all over the world. Trump and his campaign were experienced and didn’t do things right but the problem is that the right way in DC is to be better at hiding things.

    To use Obama as an analogy, we shouldn’t want someone who puts a lot of effort into carefully crafting deceits as opposed to someone who speaks without concern for the truth. We should want people concerned with the truth, or people who engage in politics in good faith not carefully planned out deceits to game the system.

  3. people in the Trump campaign were desperate for dirt on Hillary, they were willing to work with anyone to get it, and Russian interests used this desperation to play them for suckers.

    This is a statement not supported by evidence. Here’s the evidence provided buried in the middle of a long paragraph: “The meeting, like many such things, never happened” Uh huh, so a meeting that never occurred is “precisely the situation that many of us warned was a grave risk to national security with Hillary’s insecure email server“? I’m failing to see the logic behind Dan McLaughlin’s various leaps.

    1. Well, Hillary’s email server was a grave threat to national security, because it opened up an avenue for hacking by foreign powers to obtain classified information, or other information that could then be used against elected officials of the US.

      However, the leap to condemning Trump for a meeting that never happened, and who can say ever would have happened, is the sort of thing we have come to expect from NeverTrumpers and other Trump opponents. Someone need to play the Sheriff, and take away Officer Fife’s bullet before he shoots himself in the foot again.

    2. The “grave threat” is “the emails being stolen by a hostile-ish foreign power”, not the meeting-that-never-happened.

      I thought that was pretty obvious in context?

      1. I think I get that concept Sigivald. The context included this: “a Republican nominee of low character surrounded by inept and naively cynical amateur advisers“, which destroys what you call obvious. But I think the notion is that Hillary’s email being stolen and given out as blackmail against her is the “grave threat” that supposedly became a reality when Trump seeked to obtain those emails to influence the election. If that’s the argument, then I guess I can see that as part of the fear people had about Hillary’s mishandling of classified data.

        Except I don’t recall anyone making that “precise” argument at the time. Moreover, I’m still not seeing the evidence to support the premise that Trump was ever desperate for this information. Trump statement about Russia hacking Hillary’s email and releasing them was understood by many to be rhetorical. Of course, rhetorical always runs the risk of being taken literally, but Trump’s comment was to the grave concern about Hillary’s emails. Her system wasn’t safe, and could be hacked, and the FBI and Obama’s DOJ collectively decided “meh, not much to worry”.

        1. This is how I see it.

          People said Hillary’s server was a security risk and could be hacked.

          Hillary said it was never hacked.

          A couple people working the the Trump campaign said let’s prove her wrong. The papadopolous guy and the guy who checked to see if the emails were for sale on the dark web.

          Hillary responds Russian collusion.

          Asking the Russians for proof they hacked Hillary or looking for emails for sale on the black market to prove she got hacked, doesn’t strike me as collusion to commit the hacking, which would have happened way back when Hillary was SoS.

          Would proving Hillary got hacked move some votes? Maybe, which would explain why the intelligence community was silent on the matter if she was hacked. It is a little troubling that our own government would collude with a candidate to prevent the public from knowing what they have a right to know. This should have been run down by the journolists too.

  4. One thing we know: Hillary has been a criminal since before Bill was governor. The first thing they did when Bill became president is send a flunky to gather all the dirt the FBI had on everybody. For what purpose? The only one that seems possible is blackmail and control. It explains a lot about the actions of others both dems and repubs.

    Sessions and Trump not interested in bringing charges against Hillary? Rumors that John Roberts had an adoption issue he could be blackmailed over. Apparently they have nothing on Chaffetz, but probably on everyone else. They make J. Edgar Hoover seem an amateur.

    The problem for the dems is they’re up to their eyeballs with connections where the repubs have only dipped in their toes. Any connection they find, like Manafort, is going to be 100 times worse for themselves. The old transference trick isn’t going to work for them this time.

      1. The reason there is a stupid party is they do the same thing in reverse, giving benefit of the doubt when there is no doubt. The left is constantly gathering leverage on the right, even if they never use it. Plus they are always promoting moles, operating under false flags. It’s gotten so bad that the definition of legal has become “who’s trying to do it?”

        No matter how bad or corrupt we believe things are, it’s worse. The most revealing thing to me was how terrified Hillary was that if they lost, they were all going to jail. That didn’t happen, and I strongly believe there was blackmail involved (including over Trump… a god-king wouldn’t have allowed such a turn of events.) I think the only thing preventing a total meltdown is the little they have on others is nothing to the crimes they know about themselves. They are all cowards. No exceptions.

        I think they did try to entrap and compromise Trump years ago and Trump may be unsure about the extent of it.

        1. As much as I’d like to see Clinton in jail, that’s the kind of thing you to in the run-up to an election, not today when there’s plenty of time for the Democrats to recover and the voters to forget their crimes.

          If Clinton had anything real to use against Trump, she’d have used it in the election campaign: she’s spent her entire life working to become The First Female President, and would have done anything to get there.

          Indeed, the mere fact that the best they can throw at Trump is ‘Muh Russia!’ is pretty darn good proof that there’s nothing out there.

          1. I see reasons to not delay on prosecuting Hillary:
            – Her health
            – I can see the defense tactics and hysteria easily keeping the trial going through the next presidential election. Especially if the defense is allowed plenty of rope to hang itself.
            – And as the Hillary trial proceeds, connected persons are publicly exposed and we can begin their trials. Playing it out, prosecuting the democrat weasels is series rather than all at once, could drag it out until the current party leadership is all gone.

  5. It is suspicious that the Papadopoulos articles always say “emails” but never reference specific email sets. Did the guy think they had emails off Hillary’s server? It is stupid to think Russia would say so if they did. If they did though, it wouldn’t show Trump collusion unless he had this planned out in 2008. In which case, Papadopoulos wouldn’t be talking to the Russians in 2016. I am not sure that asking for proof that Russia hacked Hillary’s server after the fact is collusion.

    The troubling thing is that the intelligence community should already know how the DNC and Podesta emails got to wikileaks and also whether or not Hillary’s server was hacked. All of that should already be open to the public but it isn’t.

    If the IC thought it was credible that Russia was offering emails off Hillary’s server, then that means they know her server was hacked. If that is the case, the Obama administration had an obligation to tell the public, just like they had an obligation to show the evidence behind the DNC/Podesta emails. The public hasn’t seen any of this. Instead we get some sort of kabuki investigation of Trump that sidesteps the genesis for the investigation.

    Presumably Trump has access to all of this information too, just like he had access to the FISA records from Obama spying on his campaign. During the election, the Obama administration was using the IC to spy and the FBI was investigating the Trump team, everything would have been known in real time and have been used against Trump during the election.

  6. rrrit… click. Hello?
    Hi Eric! It’s George Papadopolos! How are you?
    -click-
    rrrrit. click Hello?
    Hi Jared it’s Paul Manafort! How are you? How’s the family?
    -click-

    1. For whatever reason, that started a song in my head.

      Oooooh, I need a dirty woman. Oooooh, I need a dirty girl… Hello, Hillary?

      What’ve you got for me?

  7. You all make very good points. I don’t know how we got to the point where one of the major Parties is little more than an organized crime syndicate and nobody cares, but here we are.

    But, all this convinces me even more that Trump is the right guy at the right time. If anyone knows how to overcome organized crime to do business, it is a guy who stood at the pinnacle of NYC real estate for the past 40 odd years.

    1. Related: Remember that doctrine is a way to empower our allies and weaken theirs.

      Wow, its all about the naked desire to seize power and then abuse it. Even his point on gay marriage was nothing about a sincere belief about the issue but how it could be used to attack groups the Democrats don’t like.

      It reminds me of an oped from some lefty lawyer after the election where he basically said, “Since we can’t get a judge on SCOTUS that will rule based on our ideology, the next best thing is one that will rule based on the constitution.”

  8. Mueller by now undoubtedly has enough evidence to charge Trump with “suspicion of intent to collude.”

    In other words, nothing.

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