You all knew the media would play it this way, right? https://t.co/DnnTLh4fNj
— Tom Watson (@tomwatson) February 12, 2019
Ok, now explain acting guilty af for two years. https://t.co/JettpAgoA1
— Schooley (@Rschooley) February 12, 2019
I started a post about Burr’s original interview some days ago, under the header “Republican Partisan Chooses His Words *Very* Carefully”. That was the windup for this pitch:
… “If we write a report based upon the facts that we have, then we don’t have anything that would suggest there was collusion by the Trump campaign and Russia,” said Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, in an interview with CBS News last week.
Burr was careful to note that more facts may yet be uncovered, but he also made clear that the investigation was nearing an end.
On Tuesday, Burr doubled down, telling NBC News, “There is no factual evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.”
Sen. Mark Warner, D.-Va., ranking member of the committee, told reporters in the Capitol Tuesday that he disagrees with the way Burr characterized the evidence about collusion, but he declined to offer his own assessment.
“I’m not going to get into any conclusions I have,” he said, before adding that “there’s never been a campaign in American history … that people affiliated with the campaign had as many ties with Russia as the Trump campaign did.”
Democratic Senate investigators who spoke to NBC News on condition of anonymity did not dispute Burr’s characterizations, but said they lacked context.
“We were never going to find a contract signed in blood saying, ‘Hey Vlad, we’re going to collude,'” one Democratic aide said…
Court transcript: Trump's campaign manager handed campaign polling data to a GRU asset at a meeting where they discussed sanctions relief.
SSCI: No collusion there! https://t.co/VZaiTwaz9w
— emptywheel (@emptywheel) February 12, 2019
Here’s an extract from the CBS interview:
… “I’m not going to tell you that what we set out to do — which was to understand what happened in ’16 — is what’s extended the life of the investigation,” Burr said in a rare interview with CBS News. “I think it’s a better understanding of what happened and how coordinated and organized the effort was.” …
He made clear that the investigation is not compiling the story of one pivotal election, but of something larger, more complicated and, from a counterintelligence perspective, more nefarious. The final report may be so highly classified, he said, that a meaningful portion may not be made public at all…
Burr, a Charlottesville native, had been named a national security adviser to the Trump campaign in October — as it happened, less than an hour before the “Access Hollywood” tape became public, and soon after the Obama administration released its first statement on Russia’s election interference efforts…
… One key witness whom the committee had been unsuccessful in engaging, Burr said, was Christopher Steele, the British former intelligence officer who authored the controversial, partially verified dossier, which described links between Trump associates and Russia and played a part in triggering the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation.
Last February, the former chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Iowa Republican Chuck Grassley, sent a letter to a Washington-based lawyer acting as an intermediary for Steele asking whether Steele may have been indirectly on the payroll of Oleg Deripaska, a Russian oligarch with close ties to Putin. The implicit suggestion of Grassley’s inquiry was that the dossier contained purposeful misinformation intended to help Russia. It is not a view, or a suspicion, that Democrats share…
“There’s an awful lot of connections of all these people,” he said. “They may not be connections that are tied to 2016 elections in the United States, but just the sheer fact that they have a relationship — it may be business. It may be Russian intelligence. It may be they’re all on the payroll of Oleg Deripaska,” he said…
NB: The Trump campaign’s national security advisor argues that, hey, who can know what’s in the hearts of men? Maybe it was all a series of fortunate-for-my-guy coincidences! Remember that Christoper Steele guy we spent so much time painting as a sketchy spy-for-hire — if the Democrats didn’t actually invent all this “evidence”, maybe they were just misled by crafty Russian oligarchs, bless their addled hearts!…
And yet, the public ain’t buying what Burr is trying to sell:
Whose version of the facts are you most inclined to accept?
Impeach is Trump obstructed Justice?
Impeach if Trump coordinated with Russia?
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) February 12, 2019