Sunday, May 14, 2017

Regarding Russia

This seems like the most likely scenario to me.
Trump continues to behave for all the world like a man desperate to hide something. But that could be any number of things other than direct and explicit conspiracy with self-identified Russian intelligence operatives. I won’t indulge in lengthy speculation about the range of possibilities here, but if the FBI is spending months turning over rocks, scrutinizing the personal and financial ties between Trump or his associates and Russian officials or businesses, there’s a pretty good chance of bumping into any adjacent unseemly or unlawful conduct in the process, even if they come up empty on a conspiracy to affect the outcome of the election.


Critics of the administration seem to want the moral satisfaction of demonstrating that campaign officials were witting and culpable co-conspirators in Russian influence operations, rather than pawns or dupes. But the latter is as serious a scenario from a national security perspective, even if it makes a less tidy morality play.

It therefore seems like a grave error to talk as though the two possible outcomes are that the FBI’s investigation—or that of a special counsel, if that’s the direction this ends up going—either finds clear evidence of knowing collusion or turns up nothing much worth talking about. The more we focus obsessively on that first unlikely alternative, the easier it becomes to sweep any other significant findings under the rug once the investigation concludes, by limiting public disclosure of those findings to a terse answer to the binary question of collusion. Probably James Comey would have been difficult to bully into complicity in such a whitewash, but he’s gone now, and the more the public is convinced that’s the only question worth answering, the easier his successor will find it to play ball.

  Just Security
Maybe it's just that the pee tapes are real.  There's something there, but not necessarily an overt quid pro quo.  Whatever complaints we might have about Comey, he wasn't someone who could be bought or intimidated.  That's pretty rare in Washington, I think.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

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