James Risen published the first of four articles in a series bearing that headline in the Intercept. Yes, I know it’s the Intercept.
It’s a question that I think has arisen for many of us, but I haven’t said it out loud because it designates such an extreme situation. Notice that the headline is framed as a question, the way to put a controversial idea if you don’t have the evidence to fully support it.
That’s another reason I haven’t gone there. An enormous number of credible reports exist of Russian involvement in the election and involvement of Trump associates with Russians. But the connections of hacking and social media campaigns to Trump associates to Trump himself don’t exist in the public record. The case, so far, is circumstantial.
Risen has reported for the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times on national security and intelligence matters. But he also was part of the crew that got the Wen Ho Lee story wrong. He won a Pulitzer Prize with Eric Lichtblau, who was one of the authors of the October 2016 Surprise article that said that the FBI was (no way!) investigating Donald Trump’s connections with Russia.
Risen is credible, but he’s also made some big mistakes.
The Intercept article is long. I’ve skimmed it. I didn’t see anything new, but organizing the information that’s out there is a service in itself. Risen says there will be four columns. The fact he calls them columns suggests that he is not contributing new reporting. Bolding is mine.
THERE ARE FOUR important tracks to follow in the Trump-Russia story. First, we must determine whether there is credible evidence for the underlying premise that Russia intervened in the 2016 election to help Trump win. Second, we must figure out whether Trump or people around him worked with the Russians to try to win the election. Next, we must scrutinize the evidence to understand whether Trump and his associates have sought to obstruct justice by impeding a federal investigation into whether Trump and Russia colluded. A fourth track concerns whether Republican leaders are now engaged in a criminal conspiracy to obstruct justice through their intense and ongoing efforts to discredit Mueller’s probe.
I’ll read it in more detail later. Have at it!