Monday, August 13, 2018


I'm supposed to believe that Robert Mueller will eventually emerge with evidence of wrongdoing so incontrovertible that the Trump administration will fold like a house of cards. For the president, impeachment will be inevitable, and many in his inner circle are undoubtedly looking at serious prison time.

I'd love to believe that, but I don't.

More than 90% of Republican voters will never believe anyone in the Trump inner circle was guilty of wrongdoing -- and, of course, they believe that the real criminals are the accusers. The firing of Peter Strzok is more evidence to them that Trump is the victim of a witch hunt by evil people acting in bad faith, especially when it's framed this way by the president:

"The list of bad players in the FBI & DOJ gets longer & longer." The vast majority of Republicans believe that. All it will take is one Republican on any Russiagate jury and acquittal is guaranteed.

Especially when every Republican in America believes Bizarro World nonsense like this:

The linked story, by Lee Smith, appears at, a sister site of the relatively respectable RealClearPolitics, and also at the website of right-wing journalist Sara Carter. This is what your right-wing uncle believes is the real meaning of that notorious Trump Tower meeting:
A growing body of evidence ... indicates that the meeting may have been a setup -- part of a broad effort to tarnish the Trump campaign involving Hillary Clinton operatives employed by Kremlin-linked figures and Department of Justice officials.... the real collusion may have taken place among those who arranged the meeting rather than the Trump officials who agreed to attend it....

“[Glenn] Simpson [of Fusion GPS] approached the Clinton campaign through its law firm and said he could dig up dirt on Trump and Russia,” said one congressional investigator. “The difference between the Trump and Clinton campaigns’ willingness to take dirt on its opponent is that the Clintons went through with it and paid for it....”

According to the dossier, Trump himself as well as aides Paul Manafort and Carter Page were in clandestine contact with the Russian government. “If that was really the case,” former FBI agent Mark Wauck told RealClearInvestigtions, “it’s not clear why the Russian government needed a British music publicist [Rob Goldstone] to make an overture. And why would Moscow need to send a Russian lawyer who didn’t speak English [Natalia Veselnitskaya] to Trump Tower? That tends to confirm that the meeting was intended as a setup.”

On June 9, 2016, Goldstone brought Veselnitskaya to meet with Trump Jr., Manafort and Jared Kushner at Trump Tower....

Trump Jr. cut the appointment with Veselnitskaya short. But if this were a sting operation, engineered by Simpson, with likely assistance from Justice Department officials he is now known to have been in regular contact with, the damage had already been done.

“The purpose of the meeting,” one congressional investigator told RCI, “was to substantiate the Clinton-funded dossier alleging that Trump was taking dirt on his rivals from the Russians.”
Right-wing counternarratives have had months to take root in Red America. Meanwhile, as Lawfare's Quinta Jurecic notes in The New York Times today, we're going to have to wait a lot longer for a factually accurate narrative from Mueller:
As the midterm elections draw nearer, the odds that Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel, will spearhead any major developments in the Russia investigation before Election Day grow steeper and steeper. The Justice Department generally does its best to avoid taking action in such a way that it might influence an election — even as the president tweets defiantly that there was “No Collusion!”
Yes, the FBI publicly declared Hillary Clinton a person under suspicion shortly before the 2016 election -- but I assume Mueller won't go public with what he's learned until after the midterms precisely because that intervention had such obvious consequences.

So I don't think the good guys are winning right now.

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