Drudge Retort: The Other Side of the News
Saturday, January 12, 2019

If it is correct that the FBI's principle interest in obstruction was not as a discrete criminal fact pattern but as a national security threat, this significantly blurs the distinction between the obstruction and collusion aspects of the investigation. In this construction, obstruction was not a problem distinct from collusion, as has been generally imagined. Rather, in this construction, obstruction was the collusion, or at least part of it. The obstruction of justice statutes become, in this understanding, merely one set of statutes investigators might think about using to deal with a national security risk -- specifically, the risk of a person on the U.S. side coordinating with or supporting Russian activity by shutting down the investigation.



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For those puzzled by this seemingly strange assertion, let's talk about it. The FBI always was focused on their decades-long mission of schussing out Russian counterintelligence operations concerning the US or US interests. Comey told Trump the truth when asked whether the President himself was under direct investigation in the early months of his presidency and the answer at that time was an unqualified 'no' because he wasn't.

Trump's own narcissism and myopic obsession has continuously colored the reality that the investigations were never predicated on simply Trump nor those around him because of who they were and their roles politically, they were started due to continued evidentiary discovery that Russia wasn't just attacking the US election on their own, there were far too many overlapping intersections with those near and within the Trump campaign for it to just be a string of coincidences.

When Trump fired Comey, who was heading the investigation into Russia's plot, he openly and self admittedly sought to obstruct, nee stop the FBI from completing its national security inquiries. And the very day after he entertained Russian government officials within the Oval Office with no US media personnel allowed in while Russian media was given access and reported details and photos on what was said and done. He was quoted expressing relief that Comey being gone has taken pressure off him that he attributed to the FBI's investigation into Russia. Top that with his admissions on camera to Lester Holt and it becomes crystal clear why the FBI worried that Trump himself might be acting as an asset to Russian intelligence as a matter of colluding to obstruct or stop the FBI was discovering what actually happened during the campaign continuing through these very moments and whether Trump's own actions and decisions threatened US national security.

Hence, Trump's open admittance to intentionally obstruct the Russia investigation itself was likely a component in active collusion with Russia to keep their actions undiscovered by the FBI.

#1 | Posted by tonyroma at 2019-01-12 07:50 AM | Reply

I find this frustrating.

It's frustrating because Wittes's piece is essentially a giant mea culpa– on behalf of himself and on behalf of the media in general. It's at once a recognition and an apology for having gone about the analysis of the Russia investigation the wrong way from the beginning. Its basic insight is that the Russia investigation has never really been bifurcated into collusion and obstruction of justice components, but has all along been primarily a counterintelligence investigation with criminal components. To go just a bit deeper, Wittes seems to be realizing for the first time that Trump's efforts to obstruct the investigation may be little more than an element of the underlying problem, which is that Trump has been working on the behalf of Russian interests all along. For this reason, his obstruction is just as much about protecting Russia as it is about protecting himself. Or, in other words, the Obstruction Was the Collusion.

Martin Longman

#2 | Posted by tonyroma at 2019-01-12 08:07 AM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

Tony, I have to hand it to you. The rest of the Dems have given up the Russian collusion conspiracy theory and you now stand alone. You bring all the vigor of a human centipede version of Alex Jones + Eddie Bravo + George Noory when you spout your non-stop Russian nonsense. Just take this post as an example. No one cares because no one wants to board the train to crazy town. You are riding solo and putting in 100% to keep this in the news and further discredit yourself.

#3 | Posted by nobiasposter101 at 2019-01-12 10:10 AM | Reply

"The rest of the Dems have given up the Russian collusion conspiracy theory and you now stand alone" - #3 | Posted by nobiasposter101 at 2019-01-12 10:10 AM

When all else fails, lie.

F.B.I. Opened Inquiry Into Whether Trump Was Secretly Working on Behalf of Russia

#4 | Posted by Hans at 2019-01-12 10:13 AM | Reply | Newsworthy 3

F.B.I. Opened Inquiry Into Whether Trump Was Secretly Working on Behalf of Russia

Yes, the same nutjobs that got 3 FISA warrants on Carter Page and thought the Dossier was true. This does nothing to help their credibility. The fact that this went no where tells you all you need to know about how stupid and partisan that move was. But, that is all over now after turning up nothing, and yet, here is Hands still spouting nonsense. Like I said, I give him credit.

#5 | Posted by nobiasposter101 at 2019-01-12 10:22 AM | Reply

I don't consider myself a "Dem", but as an independent, intelligent person, I certainly haven't given up on the Russian collusion investigation. I'd have to ignore decades of evidence of Trump's questionable statements and business dealings. Why should I ignore all the evidence? Because the president is doing such a great job for this country? No. Sorry. I care more about the planet we call home, and human health and dignity, than anyone's 401k.

#6 | Posted by micd at 2019-01-12 10:34 AM | Reply | Newsworthy 8

No one cares because no one wants to board the train to crazy town.

Says Trumpflufferposter101.

Why is this idiot still here?

#7 | Posted by jpw at 2019-01-12 01:06 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 2

@#5 ... thought the Dossier was true. ...

As information is unearthed, the Steele dossier is looking better than the opinions of those who criticize it.

The Steele Dossier: A Retrospective

...Our interest in revisiting the compilation that has come to be called the "Steele Dossier" concerns neither of those topics, at least not directly. Rather, we returned to the document because we wondered whether information made public as a result of the Mueller investigation -- and the passage of two years -- has tended to buttress or diminish the crux of Steele's original reporting....

With that in mind, we thought it would be worthwhile to look back at the dossier and to assess, to the extent possible, how the substance of Steele's reporting holds up over time. In this effort, we considered only information in the public domain from trustworthy and official government sources, including documents released by Special Counsel Robert Mueller's office in connection with the criminal cases brought against Paul Manafort, the 12 Russian intelligence officers, the Internet Research Agency trolling operation and associated entities, Michael Cohen, Michael Flynn and George Papadopoulos. We also considered the draft statement of offense released by author Jerome Corsi, a memorandum released by House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Ranking Member Adam Schiff related to the Carter Page FISA applications and admissions directly from certain speakers.

These materials buttress some of Steele's reporting, both specifically and thematically. The dossier holds up well over time, and none of it, to our knowledge, has been disproven....

[emphasis mine]

#8 | Posted by LampLighter at 2019-01-12 01:57 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 5

thought the Dossier was true.

#5 | Posted by nobiasposter101 at 2019-01-12 10:22 AM | Reply

Dossier's been right so far, Bubba.

#9 | Posted by Zed at 2019-01-12 02:13 PM | Reply

Do you know what doesn't hold up well over time. The crap that Trump sharts out. See TrumpCriticisesTrump on Reddit for laughts.
Sometimes his lies are obvious immediately, sometimes it takes looking at facts to see the truth, but most of what Trump says are lies, followed by more lies.

The only way Trump isn't a traitor is if he has no loyalty to any country and just lies to get what is best for him at all times.

#10 | Posted by bored at 2019-01-12 02:24 PM | Reply

No one cares because no one wants to board the train to crazy town.

Trump fired Comey on Tuesday, May 9th, 2017. The following day, May 10th, Trump received Russia Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak in the Oval Office. US press was barred from the event. But the Russian state news agency TASS was invited to cover the meeting. The photos that were later released came out of Russia.

The White House later confirmed that Trump had taken this meeting because Vladimir Putin had personally asked him to on a phone call a few days earlier. "(Trump) chose to receive him because Putin asked him to," a White House spokesman told Susan Glasser the following day. "Putin did specifically ask on the call when they last talked."

At the meeting, Trump told Lavrov and Kislyak that he had just fired Comey and that this had removed the "pressure" he was under because of the FBI investigation into possible Trump campaign collusion with Russia. "I just fired the head of the F.B.I. He was crazy, a real nut job. I faced great pressure because of Russia. That's taken off," Trump told the two men according to an internal US government summary document based on notes taken during the meeting.

At the meeting, Trump also shared highly classified intelligence about the Islamic State with Lavrov, intelligence that apparently came from Israel and jeopardized field sources and operations in Syria.

Josh Marshall

The FBI would have been derelict in its duty if it did not investigate the non-disputed factual events that Trump instituted himself to intentionally thwart their investigation into Russia's counterintelligence operations during (and after) the 2016 election campaign. The only thing 'crazy' about this train is the twisted mental state of mind of its conductor, Donald Trump.

#11 | Posted by tonyroma at 2019-01-12 02:47 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 2

The rest of the Dems have given up the Russian collusion conspiracy theory and you now stand alone.

#3 | Posted by nobiasposter101 at 2019-01-12 10:10 AM | Reply

The Democrats are just getting started. If you won't spray the sh-- from the barn someone has to.

#12 | Posted by Zed at 2019-01-12 02:56 PM | Reply

... (T)he same nutjobs that got 3 FISA warrants on Carter Page and thought the Dossier was true. This does nothing to help their credibility....

Spoken like a true ignoramus who continues to ignore that the reauthorization of FISA warrants are predicated on the previous warrants bearing relevant fruit which has to be proven to the court's satisfaction. (IE., if the initial warrants don't elicit germane evidence related to the underlying suspected criminal conduct they will not be reauthorized)

And there's this little likely kicker now thrown into the mix:

Has there been a FISA surveillance warrant against Trump for the past year and a half? The FBI would absolutely have sought a FISA eavesdropping warrant against any American being investigated for acting as a foreign government spy. In fact the Feds had FISA warrants against Paul Manafort and Carter Page during the election for that reason.

No one really knows precisely how FISA courts work, but ostensibly it would have been at the sole discretion of the FISA judges. Donald Trump would have had no way of knowing about it.

Let's say the FBI did manage to obtain a FISA warrant against Donald Trump May of 2017, and that Robert Mueller then inherited that warrant when he was appointed to take over the investigation. That would mean Mueller has had access to Trump's phone calls and other electronic communications for the past year and a half. It's stunning to even imagine. But again, FISA warrants are standard procedure for anyone who's in the situation that Trump was in.

#13 | Posted by tonyroma at 2019-01-12 03:02 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

"Yes, the same nutjobs that got 3 FISA warrants on Carter Page and thought the Dossier was true." - #5 | Posted by nobiasposter101 at 2019-01-12 10:22 AM

What's True in Trump-Russia Dossier? Key Parts Proved Over Last Year

[snip] Mueller's probe, which he technically took over from the FBI, was not prompted by Steele's dossier. Instead, the investigation began when former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos drunkenly told an Australian diplomat that he knew Russia had damaging information about Hillary Clinton. Australian officials then alerted U.S. officials, and the FBI opened its probe in July 2016.

Ever since, media reports, U.S. intelligence services and Mueller's team itself have proven key parts of Steele's dossier.

Mueller probe shows parts of Steele dossier true

President Trump never misses a chance to deny the claims made in the document known as the Steele dossier, but special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation is proving some of the details contained inside to be true.


You really should learn when you should just keep your mouth shut... for your own good, of course.

You're welcome.

#14 | Posted by Hans at 2019-01-12 03:08 PM | Reply

There's been collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, no doubt about that. Though I doubt the Russians were as large a factor in the final outcome as the electoral college which reversed Hillary's victory, as Republican election dirty tricks (misallocating voting machines, registration suppression, ballot destruction and memory stick tampering), as Cambridge Analytica, or even Brad Pascal. There's always some collusion. This is illegal because Russians are foreigners. Trump begging Russia to hack Hillary's 30,000 emails was an open invitation for collusion.

Firing Comey was obstruction.

But Trump should be prosecuted immediately for using his office for personal profit for himself and his extended family. The time has come to enforce the emoluments clause in our constitution.

#15 | Posted by bayviking at 2019-01-13 08:33 AM | Reply

Congress authorizes sanctions against Russia, but Trump decides they're not necessary, so he doesn't put them into effect. The G-7 excludes Russia; Trump argues to let it back in. So, why is Trump consistently cow towing to Putin? What does Putin have on Trump? Certainly not just some soggy-bottomed Russian prostitutes.

How about this -- it's blindingly simple:

By 2015-2016, Trump and Russian oligarchs already are firm business buddies. The Russian government then conspires with Trump and his campaign for Russia to expend a whole lot of money on Electoral College research and on resources like Guccifer 2.0, Fancy Bear, Grizzly Steppe, Glavset, (who knows what all) with all sorts of Internet social-media schemes to try to get Trump elected president. Then, after Trump wins, Putin suggests -- most probably quite indirectly -- that he will not let the world know about that very conspiracy -- as long as he and Trump get along, of course.

So, for as long as all this is a secret, Putin has Trump wearing a collar and leash. And when it finally becomes known (which Putin himself can arrange at anytime), Putin doesn't mind -- it's a feather in his cap for having outsmarted the U.S. electoral system and the U.S. president: Putin looks like a genius, Trump looks like a chump.

Sure, it was a long shot that Trump could win the presidency without all this proposed Russian assistance, but if this Russian scheme worked -- What a payoff!

Prestige for Putin; treason for Trump. Russian oligarchy appears strong and in control. American democracy appears weak and falling apart. Putin can't lose.

Just an idea. Surely there can't be anything to it.

#16 | Posted by nimbleswitch at 2019-01-13 09:39 AM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

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