A Quick Note on AG Barr’s Letter to Congress Regarding the Special Counsel’s Report to the Department of Justice

As everyone starts their spin, the President prepares to tweet or do a press gaggle with the traveling press pool as he flies back to DC, rending of garments, gnashing of teeth, victory laps, and celebrations depending on one’s political views and perspectives, I wanted to just make one quick point. The letter that Attorney General Barr sent to Congress today is his summary of Special Counsel Mueller’s top line findings, they are not actually Special Counsel Mueller’s report, nor are they the executive summary to that report. That does not mean that Attorney General Barr is misrepresenting the Special Counsel’s findings in his letter. It does mean that the Special Counsel, his personnel, the Attorney General, the Deputy Attorney General, and their personnel advising on this since Friday afternoon are the only people that have actually seen Special Counsel Mueller’s report.

Katie Brenner, who is The New York Times reporter assigned to the Department of Justice, makes this very clear. Attorney General Barr’s letter to Congress today was prepared without any consultation or input from Special Counsel Mueller. This is his interpretation of the Special Counsel’s report, which, again, has only been seen at this point by the Special Counsel, his personnel, the Attorney General, Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein, and the personnel from the Office of Legal Counsel that advised them on preparing his letter to Congress.

Until the Special Counsel’s report is actually provided to Congress and made public, we have no way of actually knowing if the Attorney General’s interpretation of the report, or his and Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein’s determination that obstruction of justice charges could not be brought based on what the Special Counsel’s Office had reported to them, are accurate. Especially as both the Attorney General, because of the unsolicited assessment he submitted to the White House Counsel regarding the accusations of obstruction of justice and the Deputy Attorney General’s involvement in providing justification for terminating FBI Director Comey, create serious conflicts of interest for them in making that final determination regarding whether the President obstructed justice. We also won’t know, until the report is made public, if the Special Counsel concluded, per footnote 1 on p. 2 of Barr’s letter, that there was no tacit or explicit conspiracy between the President, members of his campaign, and/or his other surrogates and/or employees with the Russians to interfere in the 2016 election because he just couldn’t find any or enough substantiating evidence or because he was lied to and that evidence was destroyed and actions covered up to prevent him from finding it.

Attorney General Barr’s Letter is below.

Until or unless Special Counsel Mueller’s report is made public, we do not actually know much more than we knew two hours ago.

Open thread.






145 replies
  1. 1
    raven says:

    Our “friend” has been calling for the prosecution of Brennan, Comey and others for trying to overthrow the duly elected president. What say you?

  2. 2
    MomSense says:

    The narrative is set.

  3. 3
    germy says:

    In light of the very concerning discrepancies and final decision making at the Justice Department following the Special Counsel report, where Mueller did not exonerate the President, we will be calling Attorney General Barr in to testify before @HouseJudiciary in the near future.
    — (((Rep. Nadler))) (@RepJerryNadler) March 24, 2019

  4. 4
    Jiminy C. says:

    Trump’s gonna skate. Book it.

  5. 5
    Emerald says:

    @MomSense: Yep. I’m sick. Of course, I expected to be sick.

    I have confidence in our Democratic committees. I do not have confidence that our media will present things fairly.

    We are gonna have to BLOW OUT the next election. I think we will. But until then, I’m sick.

  6. 6
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @raven: He needs a 72 hour evaluatory hold.

  7. 7
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @germy: Barr is going to spend so much time on Capitol Hill that the Post Office is going to deliver his mail there.

  8. 8
    MomSense says:

    @Emerald:

    I’m furious.

  9. 9
    MisterForkbeard says:

    @germy: Right? “The President did things which were pretty clearly obstruction but since SCO didn’t find that he directly and illegally conspired, we’re going to say he couldn’t possibly have obstructed” is pretty weak tea.

  10. 10
    Adam L Silverman says:

    Someone may want to do a welfare check on Sarah Kendzior.

  11. 11
    Yutsano says:

    Barr is doing what he was hired to do. He is covering Trump’s ass. I don’t believe a single fucking line in that letter. Hell the current prosecutions (remember Müller didn’t charge any of the defendants with all the crimes he could have) already belie those points. This stinks to high heaven and I hope Nadler et al drag him from one side of the Capitol to the other.

  12. 12
    oldgold says:

    The entire approach was wrong.

    To treat this as criminal matter was boneheaded and worse.

    They should have appointed a
    special commission to address this.

    The facts needed sunlight. Instead, for 22 long months there was opacity. Nothing. Trump used this information vacuum and time to build a narrative/political wall. And, this is not an after the fact complaint. For months I have been complaining about pace and opacity.

    Finally, what sense does it make to proceed criminally, with all of its time consuming procedural impediments, evidentiary obstacles and privacy concerns, in a public/political matter such as this, if the POTUS cannot be indicted?

    This has been an unmitigated shit-show.”

  13. 13
    PsiFighter37 says:

    This will just give the crime cartel in charge a green light to work with Russia in even more blatant fashion next time around.

  14. 14
    MomSense says:

    Fuck Barr. I’m so disgusted. I don’t know that we can come back from this.

  15. 15
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @germy: I would also expect that Special Counsel Mueller will also be called to testify before both the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees.

  16. 16
    CarolDuhart2 says:

    Not necessarily. Tax Fraud. Other state charges.

    I never thought they would prosecute him while in office. Too hard to find an objective jury or a place that couldn’t be politically influenced in some way. But depending on the statute of limitations, he can still face a jury as a private citizen. And nobody has even thought about civil actions

    They are about to find out that this isn’t the mealy-mouth Dems of the 1990’s. Constantly persecuting Hillary has burned up any good will in this matter, and we will demand the receipts: not just the report,but the raw materials behind the report. We will ask Mueller to testify both publicly and privately along with members of his staff and investigators. And state actions will continue-this has nothing to do with his tax scams, his payoffs. We will bring Butina in to testify. And the intel will continue as before.

    If they noticed, or cared to, Democrats no longer give a fuck about what Republicans think anymore. They believe that the Democrats will now cower and stop. But the incident with Omar shows that there’s a new day now. Dems did not throw her under the bus or demand she resign, despite the howling of Republican Right Wing Radio, or AIPAC

  17. 17
    germy says:

    @Adam L Silverman: I honestly don’t expect him to contradict Barr.

  18. 18
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @oldgold: You proceed criminally because that protects the counterintelligence investigations. Specifically the sources and methods that need to be protected because burning them is incredibly costly.

  19. 19
    zhena gogolia says:

    @germy:

    I don’t either. He’s a Republican when all is said and done. I should have known that would outweigh all his pretty words about integrity that he gave to the girls’ school when his granddaughter graduated.

  20. 20
    JPL says:

    @PsiFighter37: It’s the alternative ending for It’s a Wonderful Life. By 2022 Trump tower will be in St. Petersburg, Russia, neon lights and all.

  21. 21
    MJS says:

    @Adam L Silverman: He shouldn’t have to be called. If Barr’s letter misrepresents his findings, he should be on TV telling everyone so. If Barr’s letter is an accurate reflection of Mueller’s investigation, Mueller should be fucking ashamed of himself.

  22. 22
    CarolDuhart2 says:

    What Trump has been afraid of is this: that since the 1990’s, he’s been totally owned by Russian oligarchs. No need to make a formal arrangement when they own him down to his shorts. That’s why he keeps his scams going personally when it would seem better for him to get some distance. He has no money of his own, (and in my theory) he lives literally off cash flow. If he were to die today, Melania would have to move out of the penthouse because it’s mortgaged and owned to the hilt by so many entites who would come in on the day of and even take the furniture.

  23. 23
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @PsiFighter37: It isn’t next time. It’s ongoing.

  24. 24
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @germy: That’s why you don’t have him testify until the House Judiciary and Intel committees have gotten the report.

  25. 25
    Steeplejack says:

    Quip of the day:

    To think, in just half an hour we will have complete clarity on what happened with regard to Russia and the controversy will be put to bed.

    — Josh Barro (@jbarro) March 24, 2019

  26. 26
    JPL says:

    @MJS: It appears that it was already leaked, so baby steps.

  27. 27
    Steeplejack says:

    Uh-oh, NBC breaking in to say that Trump has commented. Live on the tarmac in Palm Beach.

    Trump:

    It was just announced there was no collusion with Russia. [. . .] There was no obstruction—none whatsoever. It was a complete and total exoneration.

  28. 28
    Mike in Pasadena says:

    Barr had a hand in pardoning Iran-Contra criminals. We didn’t expect him to do anything other than cover for Trump, did we? Especially after seeing his piece that exonerated Trump that he wrote before he became AG and before he had conducted an investigation or seen evidence from an investigation. Of course he would cover Trump’s ample ass, that’s why he is AG. Trump made no secret that he expected the AG to act as his personal attorney. That’s what the Pussy Grabber got when the McConnel Senate confirmed Barr.

  29. 29
    Kay says:

    @oldgold:

    The facts needed sunlight. Instead, for 22 long months there was opacity

    Agreed. It is three years after the election and the public still haven’t been told what happened.

    Do they care at all that they are losing all credibility, with everyone? Why won’t they just release the report? Christ almighty we have a multi-billion dollar intelligence and justice apparatus and we can’t find out what happened three years ago.

    We paid for the report. I want it. It doesn’t belong to Trump’s low quality corrupt hires. It belongs to the public.

    They can choose. They can start releasing information or they can lose any shreds of credibility they still have left. This is no longer just about Trump. He is destroying all of their reputations and the credibility of the United States. Is that unfair to the good people? Yes. Does it matter if it’s unfair? No. It’s not their fault but it is their problem. They should fix it. Releasing the fucking information would be a start.

    If one more person says “SDNY will do it” I will scream. They had jurisdiction of the Trump crime cartel for decades. They did nothing. The only people who seem to do any prosecutions anymore are state AG’s. If the NY state AG doesn’t act, no one will. Thank God for state prosecutors. They’re filling a huge fucking VOID.

    Our institutions are still failing. They didn’t collapse because of Trump. They must have been weak and inept – it’s just no one tested them before Trump. They failed, and they’re still failing.

  30. 30
    trollhattan says:

    @Yutsano:

    Barr is doing what he was hired to do.

    100% this. “Hey look, I’m old, rich and don’t need this job. Trust me.” is not the most dazzling resume I’ve ever encountered so of course he was confirmed. The same rationale gave us the governator.

  31. 31
    JPL says:

    @Steeplejack: My phone dinged, and unfortunately for my mutt I said the words that bother the mutt most. Then I sang and he calmed down.

  32. 32
    MisterForkbeard says:

    @Steeplejack: “They didn’t find an explicit agreement and declined to prosecute Obstruction because I obstructed but they didn’t find an underlying crime” is going to be shorthanded to “Nothing wrong!”, isn’t it?

  33. 33
    A Ghost To Most says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Thanks for trying, but you should save yourself. The notion of the long game is apparently lost at the moment.

  34. 34
    Betty Cracker says:

    @zhena gogolia: Bingo. There are no patriots in the Republican Party.

  35. 35

    Its all feels so anti-climactic.

  36. 36
    germy says:

    LGM comment:

    McAllen • an hour ago

    So are Greenwald and Tracey and their ilk demanding the public release of the report? They are, after all, such consistent critics of government power and secrecy, and if it’s as exculpatory as they seem to think surely they’d want us to know about it now so we can put all this behind us

  37. 37
    MomSense says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    If Barr is misrepresenting what was in his report, Mueller should come forward.

  38. 38
    mvr says:

    I guess I’m not surprised given the lack of further indictments by the SC. We already know that members of the campaign tried to coordinate with agents of the Russian government. Only one was indicted and not for that. So at best there were not going to be findings of provable collusion.

    The Mueller quotes in Barr’s letter don’t sound like vindication of even the “no collusion” claim. Just that they don’t have sufficient evidence to charge collusion with the Russian government. That’s pretty weak.

    And if the report makes the case pro and con for obstruction but the best reason Barr can come up with for not finding obstruction is that they can’t prove collusion, that also is awfully weak. Especially when Trump would not testify. And of course especially when he says all these things publicly that you might think would show intent to obstruct.

    But Mueller was never going to save us. Elections might. And more attention to all the bad things they are currently doing that sometimes get ignored in virtue of our hopes that somehow he was going to get indicted or impeached. I’m not saying that Congress should not continue to investigate this. Just that it isn’t going to save us. We’ll have to do that for ourselves by fighting hard in the next election.

  39. 39
    MomSense says:

    @A Ghost To Most:

    The problem is that we know that people make up their minds based on the established narrative – it is almost impossible to reframe the narrative once established. The states are not going to go to the wall to prosecute trump if the public thinks it’s a whole lot of nothing. We have been completely abandoned by our institutions. Comey elected trump and Mueller is covering it up.

  40. 40

    And a D president should never appoint an R again to head the FBI.

  41. 41
    Kay says:

    Well, we’ll just have to beat them in the next election. Not that that solves our huge white collar crime problem, but without getting rid of these people the crime wave will continue unabated.

    Someone should run on cracking down on white collar crime. It is ludicrous that there are opiate addicts filling the jails and prisons and the Mercer family haven’t even been indicted. We’ll save a lot of money if we get the big fish, the heads of the various crime families.

  42. 42
    MJS says:

    @A Ghost To Most: Please stop with the “long game” nonsense. 22 months is plenty long enough. The evidence of conspiracy is as plain as it possibly could be. Same with obstruction. To have prepared a report with only written answers from Trump is malpractice. “The long game” is going to get us Trump for another 4 years.

  43. 43
    Mike in Pasadena says:

    @Adam L Silverman: So Congress or an investigative commission could not proceed without burning sources and methods? Both conduct closed hearings when necessary, both manage to keep certain documents secret. But now we learn that neither can act without burning sources and methods? Are you sure of that answer? Please explain.

  44. 44
    MomSense says:

    @Kay:

    They’d rather harass black people for Fucking court fees and fines. Honestly they love issuing warrants for failure to pay $150 in restitution but leave millions in tax evasion untouched.

  45. 45
  46. 46
    Mike in NC says:

    Barr was made AG in order to release a cloud of squid ink over this investigation.

  47. 47
    oldgold says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    All things considered, I respectfully disagree.

  48. 48
    Emerald says:

    @MomSense: I think the die was cast when we actually inaugurated the a$$hole. I couldn’t believe that NOBODY even questioned that 77K votes in three strategically placed counties could overcome three million votes. Nobody ever will do the forensics on those counties, so we will never know for sure if he was even really elected.

    This whole shoddy episode demonstrates that our system is completely broken. I agree. I do not know how we come back from this. If we don’t BLOW OUT 2020 then Franklin’s whole experiment is done.

  49. 49
    Jay Noble says:

    Well. Did note Barr used the word “conspiracy”. The lack of the word “collusion” will of course be spun as “no collusion”.

    I see Barr’s the “can’t indict the Prez” card in his back pocket.

    The 6(e) material thing is concerning.

    Something I find very interesting is the “It was all the Russian’s fault” and we charged them. How does that square with “Vlad said they ddin’t do it so I believe him” going forward?

    Mueller did the cop legwork and gave it to the prosecutor. Or should I say lead prosecutor, because the rest of are on the prosecuting team and need to see Mueller’s work.

  50. 50

    Going to step away till I find out more.

  51. 51
    Kay says:

    @MJS:

    What it is is special treatment. They have to stop treating powerful people differently than ordinary people. It has to stop. The entire legitimacy of the US justice is at stake. They will destroy it. All they had was credibility. They need it. 90% of people have to believe that it works. Without that all they have is enforcement and there aren’t enough cops and regulators in the world to make that work. This thing runs on trust. It runs on consent. If they treat powerful people as if they are above the law then there is no “law”. Trump should have been questioned like anyone else would be questioned.

  52. 52
  53. 53
    Kay says:

    @MomSense:

    Honestly they love issuing warrants for failure to pay $150 in restitution but leave millions in tax evasion untouched.

    It’ll stop working. People will figure out that they don’t have to pay taxes, and they’ll stop consenting to pay them. That’s what happens in corrupt countries. It isn’t that everyone becomes an overt criminal. People just quietly stop following laws and when that reaches a tipping point? That’s all she wrote.

  54. 54

    What do we need to do get Barr to release the report? Call our members of Congress?

  55. 55
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Kay: Thank you. Jesus, what a disgraceful shit-show this has been.

  56. 56
    MomSense says:

    I’m just going to binge gummy bears and throw wine corks at my tv.

  57. 57
    cleek says:

    lol.

    Trump is off the hook. accept it and move on.

  58. 58
    The Dangerman says:

    Until … Mueller’s report is made public, we do not actually know much more than we knew two hours ago.

    Which is why I’m going to start on my backlog of books and stay the hell away from TV News for a while (they broke into the UNC/WA game, which kinda pissed me off).

    The Foxies (Hannity, Carlson, et al) are going to scream themselves into a stroke (not saying this is a bad thing).

  59. 59
    MJS says:

    @Kay: They have to stop treating powerful Republicans differently than ordinary people. They were very happy to humiliate a sitting Democratic president. But “they” are almost exclusively Republicans, so that’s not going to happen.

    Mueller has one chance to save this – either testify in open hearings, or go to the press. Otherwise, he’s as bad as the rest of them.

  60. 60

    […] Source: Trump is off the hook. […]

  61. 61
    Emerald says:

    @Kay:

    The entire legitimacy of the US justice is at stake. They will destroy it.

    They have destroyed it.

  62. 62
    zhena gogolia says:

    Tiny glimmer of sunshine in this: if everyone else is one thousandth as pissed off as I am, they’re going to crawl over broken glass to vote for ANY Democrat in 2020. (note I said “Democrat”)

  63. 63
    Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho says:

    @Adam L Silverman: This is perfect for her doom porn.

  64. 64
    Anya says:

    One thing we know is if the Mueller report exonerated Trump and his crime family it would have been released. I tend to think the conclusion or the evidence laid out is bad for Trump and that is why Barr reached his conclusion and didn’t share the report.

  65. 65
    FelonyGovt says:

    I plan to write to my Representative (Ted Lieu) and both my Senators. Not that they won’t all be demanding the full report themselves, but I don’t know what else I am do.

  66. 66
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    Come on you all, you know Trump and company were going scream “No Collusion” right off the bat and then what the report really says will come out over the next few days.

  67. 67
    Renie says:

    It’s pretty much over now. The Senate will never vote to impeach him; having the House do impeachment will divide the nation more and let him play the victim again. Hopefully his talking point of ‘No collusion” ” witch hunt” will be gone. Now he has to stand on his own merits (or lack of). We need to focus on the future and get everyone out to vote, fight the voter suppression efforts, don’t rag on other primary candidates, stay united and vote him out.

    Then we can let SDNY indict him and his kids.

  68. 68
    dww44 says:

    @raven: I’ve been away all weekend and just now tuning back in. So, forgive my ignorance, but who is the “our friend” to whom you are referring?

  69. 69
    Nelle says:

    It would be kind of interesting to have a tax strike right now. Voluntary compliance rests on the theory of equal treatment and that is so down the drain.

  70. 70
    zhena gogolia says:

    @dww44:

    Pat Lang. Don’t go there, trust me.

  71. 71
    JMG says:

    Mueller can certainly say publicly he wants the report made public, but he really can’t say much more than that unless the report is mischaracterized by the DOJ. We all know Trump’s gonna lie about it. Hell, he didn’t even read Barr’s letter.

  72. 72
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Mike in Pasadena: I’m not saying they couldn’t. But you don’t take sources and methods into court.

  73. 73
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @oldgold: All things considered, I’m the intelligence professional. Among other areas of national security I’ve worked in.

  74. 74
    zhena gogolia says:

    @zhena gogolia:

    And I have zero interest in, “ooh, Mayor Pete said this” or “Amy was mean to her staff.” THEY’RE ALL INFALLIBLE IN MY BOOK.

  75. 75
    Anya says:

    @zhena gogolia: I don’t think Mueller will have any loyalty for the party when all he got from that party is an attack on his integrity. He has no reason to sell his soul to the party that called him a dirty cop and attacked him for the better part of 2 years.

  76. 76
    zhena gogolia says:

    @Anya:

    Nah, it runs bone deep in them.

  77. 77
    Emerald says:

    @Nelle: If I tried to participate in a tax strike they would take my house. The aristocracy (we ought to start just calling them that) would laugh and pocket their money.

  78. 78
    guachi says:

    Anyone who doesn’t think Obama’s greatest failure was the appointment of Comey as FBI director is fooling himself. It was obviously a terrible appointment at the time.

    Obama has never and will never apologize for his error.

  79. 79
    zhena gogolia says:

    @Emerald:

    Time for us all to read A Tale of Two Cities.

  80. 80

    @Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho: We are doomed doomed doomed but listen to my podcast, buy my T-shirt.

  81. 81
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho: While she is not wrong in her overall argument, she clearly had an exceedingly myopic understanding of US politics and political history if she thought things were going to proceed in any manner other than they have. She’s very smart, she’s a great anthropologist and an important voice, but she knows nothing about how national security institutions function, especially the counterintelligence functions, so expecting someone, anyone to have done something with the intelligence collected between 2015 and January 2017 is unrealistic at best.

  82. 82
    gene108 says:

    Unless the report is made public before Thursday this week, it won’t matter if it is ever public.

    Republicans will declare Trump is exonerated, and the news cycle will move on. And Republicans will use Barr’s letter to pound Democrats for saying otherwise.

    Republicans have a lot of Senate seats up for re-election in 2020, but outside of ME and CO, the rest of the seats are safe. And Doug Jones will probably lose.

    Republicans just got away with another crime.

  83. 83
    Bobby Thomson says:

    Once again, this is not the Mueller Report. It’s not even a fair summary. This is the BARR REPORT.

  84. 84
    Adam L Silverman says:

  85. 85
    Jay says:

    @Enhanced Voting Techniques:

    Weeks, not days.

    There is a process to this.

    The House Commitees will demand the unredacted report,

    The House will demand the public release of the redacted report.

    The Commitees will hold hearings, public and closed door, and Meuller and his whole Team will be called to testify, behind closed doors and in public.

  86. 86
    Plato says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Really? Why? Because she has been right all along? Unlike this blog ‘experts’? The traitorous thug skated once again and you had to go take a cheap shot at one woman who predicted this disaster ?

  87. 87
    FelonyGovt says:

    @gene108: I’m not willing to concede the Senate. I think we will need to work really hard to build up enough of another blue wave to flip some other Senate seats.

  88. 88
    zhena gogolia says:

    Mrs. Betty Bowers

    @BettyBowers
    31m31 minutes ago
    More Mrs. Betty Bowers Retweeted Donald J. Trump
    So, if the Mueller investigation is a corrupt witch hunt that doesn’t care about the truth, as Trump has relentlessly claimed for two years, we should ignore any of its conclusions because they’re biased, made by crooked people, and based on lies, right?Mrs. Betty Bowers added,
    Donald J. Trump
    Verified account

    @realDonaldTrump
    No Collusion, No Obstruction, Complete and Total EXONERATION. KEEP AMERICA GREAT!
    11 replies 77 retweets 282 likes

  89. 89
  90. 90
    Another Scott says:

    My, the Doomsters are out in this thread.

    Mueller and/or Barr are going to testify before Congress. We’re going to learn much, much more about Mueller’s findings. This is far from over.

    Life and the Law doesn’t move at the speed of hot takes on Twitter. Patience on this stuff…

    And find a positive outlet for your anger. Voting rights, etc., are necessary for progress…

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  91. 91
    eemom says:

    : @Yutsano:

    SO this. I can’t believe anybody in their right mind is taking this seriously.

  92. 92
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Someone may want to do a welfare check on Sarah Kendzior.

    Why? She’s been saying for the past two years that nothing much is going to come of this, so I shouldn’t expect her to be surprised.

    I’ve always thought the main question is how much political damage it all does to Trump, since there was no chance he was actually going to be removed from office, and he didn’t care much about his associates anyway. The big show is winning elections, and we always knew that no matter what came out, Trump was going to claim it was total exoneration, because that’s what he does.

  93. 93
    Peale says:

    @Emerald: and if your house was worth anything, they’d buy it cheap at auction and add it to a private equity fund.

  94. 94
    Mike in Pasadena says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Didn’t you contradict yourself? Must use court proceedings. No, you don’t take sources and methods into court. Which is it?

  95. 95
    tamiasmin says:

    It does mean that no one other than the Special Counsel, his personnel, the Attorney General, the Deputy Attorney General, and their personnel advising on this since Friday afternoon are the only people that have actually seen Special Counsel Mueller’s report.

    Please delete the words in bold.

  96. 96
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Plato: No, because she can’t compartmentalize. I never said she was wrong in her assessments. In fact, I’ve never been anything but complimentary of her work, with the exception that she has unrealistic assumptions of how the US intelligence community and the DOJ/FBI were going to proceed because she has no experience with them. And that’s not so much a fault as just a lack of experience with how counterintelligence works.

    As for experts on this blog, if you have something to say, say it.

  97. 97
    Jay says:

    @Another Scott:

    Yup, 👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍

  98. 98
    colleeniem says:

    @Kay: Exactly so. I have been deathly afraid of this from the jump. I have traveled widely, and observed up close where this trust is non existent. People don’t realize how good they have it here (while it is, of course, far from perfect) and it comes from accountability and effort. It’s not magic or God.

  99. 99
    Kay says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    Jesus, what a disgraceful shit-show this has been.

    I hold no sympathy for Trump voters, but all of the keening and gnashing of teeth after the election about how they’re not “well educated” and need to learn CIVICS or whatever? These are our elites, the people who refuse to hold powerful people accountable. They ARE well educated and they certainly know civics. This is an elite failure as much or more than a failure of the stupid fucking Trump fans. They keep failing. Our “institutions” failed- they are simply not up to this, and our institutions are run by elites. The Trump fans don’t have any fucking power.

    We have a bigger problem than low info voters. We have low quality elites. They’re not holding the line.

  100. 100
    Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho says:

    @Adam L Silverman: This is exactly why. And people forget that the OSC did a lot of investigatory work. We need to know what investigations were referred out and/or are ongoing before reaching any conclusions.

  101. 101
    B.B.A. says:

    Come on, we need to focus on what’s important: wiping the floor with Bernie Sanders.

  102. 102
    SenyorDave says:

    Oh well, back to hoping that he strokes out on the toilet.

  103. 103
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Mike in Pasadena: No I didn’t. You use the criminal stuff – money laundering, fraud, tax evasion, lying under oath – things like that to make these cases because you don’t bring the counterintelligence information into court because it would burn the sources and methods. I’ve been saying this for going on three years.

  104. 104

    @Yutsano: @eemom: Thanks. I am also seeing a lot of new names, and names of people who seldom comment, find time to come here and tell us that all is lost.

  105. 105
    MJS says:

    @Another Scott: The doomsters are out for one simple reason – for Barr to have made the claims he did, there must be wiggle room in the report, and there should be none. Unless Barr is flat-out lying, Mueller missed the conspiracy and obstruction staring him in the face. Submitting a report without an in-person interview with the subject of the investigation is unconscionable.

  106. 106
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @tamiasmin: Why?

  107. 107
    zhena gogolia says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    The grammar doesn’t work unless you remove those words. Read the whole sentence.

  108. 108

    @Kay: Agreed with you about the elites. Mitch McConnell is a far bigger problem than a random red hatted T fan.

  109. 109
    zhena gogolia says:

    There’s a new thread up top if we want to go rend our garments in a new venue.

  110. 110
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @zhena gogolia: Fine, fine.

  111. 111
    gene108 says:

    @MomSense:

    The people with millions owed in tax evasion, have millions to spend on lawyers to push back on prosecutors. A guy not able to pay $150 in fines is a lot easier to prosecute. Odds of losing to the guy owing $150 are nil. Odds of prosecuting the tax cheat to the fullest extent of the law are slim.

  112. 112
    colleeniem says:

    @Adam L Silverman: I’m biased, because I’ve been inside the lines of the IC, but what is it for if it can’t protect our democracy from targeted psyops? I am asking seriously.

  113. 113
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    @Jay: what he said; This letter will be forgotton by Tuesday and it will be years of stuff coming out of the actual Muller report on Trump.

    And me personally, I am not surprised Mueller wasn’t able to find evidence of Trump colluding with the Russian. Trump is as big as an idiot as there is, but the Russians aren’t. Remember the meeting in Trump Tower when the Russians agent wanted to talk “orphans” and was aghast when Don Jr talked about fixing the election openly? More likely than not every move the Russians made with Trump was done threw intermediaries or by hints and just to make sure Putin had a lot of the people running it killed after the election.

  114. 114
    plato says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    she has unrealistic assumptions of how the US intelligence community and the DOJ/FBI were going to proceed because she has no experience with them. And that’s not so much a fault as just a lack of experience with how counterintelligence works.

    Yes, we all saw how those great institutions worked in stopping this traitor, didn’t we?

    As for experts on this blog, if you have something to say, say it.

    I already did. Gratuitous swipes can work both ways.

  115. 115
    Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Exactly. I think she’s a terrific scholar, and came to very apt conclusions, but how the US intelligence/CI/counterterrorism systems work and interact with the criminal justice systems is not in her area of expertise. Nor should it be, but I did listen to her with that understanding, and not everyone did – or does.

  116. 116
    Another Scott says:

    @MJS: As tweets in the thread upstairs make clear, we don’t have Muller’s report or even any complete sentences of his reasoning or findings.

    This very short letter from Barr is the best possible spin on Mueller’s report. It will only get worse for Donnie and his minions from here on out if/when Mueller’s report is finally out.

    Don’t panic just yet…

    My $0.02.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  117. 117
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @colleeniem: Our counterintelligence capabilities have been seriously degraded. A lot of this has to do with overly focusing on terrorism since 9-11, but it began before that with the end of the Cold War. In terms of counter-influence operations, there are two distinct issues. The first is that the bulk of that capacity is in the military, specifically the US Army’s Psychological Operations Regiment. The PSYOPers do great work, but there are only a limited number of them and they’ve been under resourced since 9-11 as Special Operations priorities have been on capturing and/or killing terrorists. The second is that the rest of our counter-influence operations capabilities reside within the Department of State and the Department of Homeland Security. Given the political appointees running those two agencies, the damage to the former they’ve been sent to inflict on State and the focus on the latter being solely on immigrants and/or Muslims, nothing is really being done.

    I fight the battle every week to push the rock up the hill on this issue.

  118. 118
    CaseyL says:

    What we have learned today is that it’s perfectly OK to conspire with a hostile foreign nation in order to take power in the US.

    Good to know.

  119. 119
    Colleeniem says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Thank you, as will I, in the ways that I can.

  120. 120
    Jay says:

    @Mike in Pasadena:

    The product of sources and methods are taken into Court, but the sources and methods are only indentified in FISA Warrants, which the Court is neither cleared to review nor has standing to challenge.

    Transcripts of signals intercepts are provided, not the intercepts themselves, nor the methods and technologies used to intercept the signals.

    Highly redacted transcripts of Agents and Assets testimony, with vague descriptions of confidence, are presented. “a highly placed Intelligence Agent of an Allied Nation”.

    Assets and Agents arn’t pulled from cover, identified and give testimony in person.

  121. 121
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @plato: Counterintelligence isn’t designed to or capable of stopping what happened in 2016. Especially given how degraded we have let our counterintelligence capabilities become since the end of the Cold War. The purpose of counterintelligence is to identify threats, both insider and outsider, that have the ability to and/or are compromising national security, to map out all the connections around those threats (network analysis), monitor that network, and then work to compartment any penetration. It is rare that the details of this work are brought out into the light, let alone prosecuted. And when they are, they tend to be prosecuted for things that have little to do with the actual counterintelligence breach. Which is why you normally see, in the few prosecutions that there are of this stuff, financial crimes being charged.

    Whenever you’re willing to step into the light by shedding your nym and explaining your actual professional expertise in these matters, you know right where to find me. If you don’t find what I write here to be of value, you are not under any obligation to read it. Unlike you, I’m willing to put my name on my work. And as everyone here has seen evidence of, when I make an analytical error I own up to it. And when I feel I’m out of line I apologize for it. Usually on the front page.

  122. 122
    plato says:

    @Kay:

    Our “institutions” failed- they are simply not up to this, and our institutions are run by elites.

    Yup. The ultimate shitshow. In future, the rethugs will cite this ‘ failed investigation’ to justify all their atrocities.

  123. 123
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho: US counterintelligence functions need to be separated from the DOJ and FBI into their own agency. Similar to what they do in the UK.

  124. 124
    CarolDuhart2 says:

    @Renie: They never were. Barring something so horrible that even his own base would desert him, it wasn’t going to happen-at least not in a first term. Even the Republicans waited until Clinton won re-election before pulling the trigger because they didn’t want him to campaign against them.

  125. 125
    Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Absolutely, and this specific situation could be used as an example to justify that exact restructuring. If only.

  126. 126
    debbie says:

    @Plato:

    Trump isn’t skating. Barr says he wasn’t exonerated. None of us can possibly know what that means.

    Besides, Trump’s big fat mouth will continue to prove his assholism which will prove to all but the stupidest that he cannot be allowed to have a second term.

  127. 127
    Ella in New Mexico says:

    @JPL:

    It appears that it was already leaked, so baby steps.

    What is “it’ and how do you know “it” was it already leaked?

  128. 128
    oldgold says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    So what? It informs and gives weight to your opinion, but does not mean that your opinion is necessarily correct.

    There are other important considerations, in addition to national security concerns, at play in this matter. Is it possible your background causes you to weigh the national security element to heavily in the balancing of these various considerations?

  129. 129
    NotoriousJRT says:

    @Adam L Silverman:
    Because the way this has and will continue to unfold has not at all been costly.

    What a depressing weekend.

  130. 130
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @oldgold: Nope. In this case I think some sources and methods are warranted

  131. 131
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @NotoriousJRT: Have I ever downplayed how bad this all is?

  132. 132
    NotoriousJRT says:

    @Another Scott:
    Bless your heart.

  133. 133
    ola azul says:

    @CaseyL:

    What we have learned today from Trump administration Attoney General bagman Bob Barr (BagmanBob!), veteran cleaner of the Iran Contra crime syndicate is that it is perfectly OK to conspire with a hostile foreign nation in order to take power in the US.

    Good to know.

    Agreed, with one important addendum.

    As MomSense sez: the narrative is being rolled out for the coverup/coverover. Classic cover-yer-ass close-ranks party-over-country Republicanism.

    The extent to which these pustulent creatures justify any and all betrayals with their l’etat c’est moi worldview is, if unsurprising, still astonishing.

  134. 134
    Mike in Pasadena says:

    @Adam L Silverman:
    Oldgold says: “To treat this as criminal matter was boneheaded and worse. They should have appointed a
    special commission to address this.”
    Adam replies: “You proceed criminally because that protects the counterintelligence investigations. Specifically the sources and methods that need to be protected because burning them is incredibly costly.”
    I said: “So Congress or an investigative commission could not proceed without burning sources and methods? Both conduct closed hearings when necessary, both manage to keep certain documents secret. But now we learn that neither can act without burning sources and methods.”
    Adam replies to me: ” I’m not saying they couldn’t. But you don’t take sources and methods into court.”

    So, Adam, I would truly like to understand your point in this conversation. Oldgold thinks we should have used a commission, you say we gotta proceed criminally to protect sources and methods, I suggest commissions and congress could protect sources and methods. You agree that commissions and congress COULD avoid burning sources and methods. If that’s truly your opinion, then why is it that you disagree with Oldgold and posit that we proceed in criminal court to avoid burning sources and methods. It seems that you’ve conceded Oldgold’s original point that a commission would have been the better choice. Your statement that you proceed criminally to protect sources and methods is almost a nonsequitor to his point that there were other better ways to proceed to so that politically the nation would have known what was being investigated and, more importantly, revealed about Trump and his campaign’s criminality as the investigation by the commission/congress proceeded. Instead, we get a single “report” that is easily buried, covered up, misrepresented, and forgotten. The criminal process as headed by Mueller and the DOJ ends in a “report” that is easily buried, covered up, misrepresented, and forgotten.

    In summary, to protect sources and methods, we investigate in criminal prosecution-like proceedings that end up being covered up and forgotten. Great! We protected sources and methods of the IC, but we get to keep our criminal president and his administration. Terrific way to go!

  135. 135
    Mike in Pasadena says:

    @Jay: Thanks, Jay. I understood that, but Oldgold’s point was that a commission or congress investigating would have been a better way to proceed. Adam tells us that you proceed in criminal court to protect sources and methods. Adam agrees that a commission and/or congress can also protect sources and methods. Therefore, it seems to me that criminal court isn’t necessarily a better way to proceed if in the end it is easy to cover up and misrepresent the results of the secret criminal investigation.

  136. 136
    plato says:

    @Adam L Silverman: So, experts cannot be questioned by lowlies when their predictions and theories did not pan out?

    And, you can stop playing martyr.

  137. 137
    Jay says:

    @Mike in Pasadena:

    Problem is, only the House, Senate or President can set up a Commission.

    So, the Commission would only have started work, sometime after January 4th, 2019, and would be a House Commission only.

  138. 138
    sgrAstar says:

    @zhena gogolia: “They’re all infallible in my book.” YEAH. Thanks for laying it out so succinctly.

  139. 139
    Mike in Pasadena says:

    @Jay: You are totally correct here. My discussion with Adam was completely hypothetical because Democrats could not conduct an investigation, hold hearings, or set up a commission to investigate and hold hearings because they were not in power. This exchange concerned whether in a hypothetical future, when Democrats hold one house of Congress or the other in an environment of Republican criminality at the very top, is it better to have the facts revealed as we go along or whether it is better to have a secret and silent investigation that results in an easily-buried report. The reality here was that since Mueller proceeded in total radio silence, the public heard from only the Republican/Presidential megaphone that there was “no collusion!” And we’re hearing it again today.

  140. 140
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Mike in Pasadena: You can always revolt. I’ll be happy to set up the GoFundme for your militia.

    I’m not responsible for the system that we have. I’m also not responsible for how it works. If you don’t like the answers you’re getting either stop asking them or ask someone else whose answers you prefer. Because any commission or congressional committee that hears this stuff in closed session will have to keep it in closed session, unless you want a replay of the Nunes clown show. So you’re right back to the same thing I started with in my original answer to Oldgold.

  141. 141
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @plato: 1) I’m not playing martyr. 2) When did I ever say that as soon as the Mueller probe was concluded that the President would be taken into custody? 3) Still waiting for you to step into the light.

  142. 142
    Jay says:

    @Mike in Pasadena:

    There are several hearings ongoing in the House, and the Meuller Report will be made public.

    Ya get what ya got. Justice had to act alone, so all you got was a Special Council.

    There will be more Commitees and Commissions going forward.

    The tricky part of the FBI vs. Commission/Commitee issue, is that in the beginning “suspicion of a crime” starts the ball rolling, then evidence needs be collected to “prove the crime”, and Commitees and Commisions are not well placed to be the ones to start the ball rolling on a lot of this.

  143. 143
    MazeDancer says:

    @MomSense:

    Setting the narrative was the whole point of Barr’s letter.

    He’s hoping they can keep lying until the real report is leaked.

  144. 144
    NotoriousJRT says:

    @Adam L Silverman:
    No. Forgive for inferring from your comments that some costs were more worthy of being borne than others. This is a raw day. I keep hearing the media saying “Mueller found no collusion.” It’s sickening and demoralizing. Sorry, but I am not in the mood for parsing what the masses will not parse. I never thought Mueller would deliver us, but I was not prepared to feel this disappointed. Others can keep looking for the pony. I feel like torching the barn.

  145. 145
    Bill Arnold says:

    @MazeDancer:

    Setting the narrative was the whole point of Barr’s letter.

    This.

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