Seth Abramson @SethAbramson Attorney. @Newsweek columnist. NYT bestselling author of a book on Trump's Iran policy, Proof of Conspiracy (Macmillan, Professor. Mar. 24, 2019 3 min read

Reporting establishes that Trump's campaign manager sold a known Kremlin spy proprietary internal campaign polling data and an offer of private briefings on Trump's foreign policy deliberations for $2.4 million. We'll see what Mueller found—but it certainly wasn't "no collusion."

1/ For instance, he could say he was unable to or uninterested in charging Manafort with conspiracy after Manafort wouldn't cooperate with tge SCO but got more than 7 years in prison anyway. That's very different from saying that Manafort didn't actively collude with the Kremlin.

2/ When I wrote my first book on this subject, I deliberately stuck with the term "collusion." To say collusion simply means "conspiracy" is not only wrong—it does enormous damage to our understanding of what actually happened here and why it's the biggest scandal in our history.

3/ I've seen non-attorney journalists foolishly boast that they're smarter than most for having figured out that "collusion" is the wrong term to use here—that we should opt for "conspiracy." But when you use the narrowest and hardest-to-prove term for misconduct, you excuse it.

4/ The result of so many people not understanding the difference between conspiracy and collusion and the *greater* utility of the *latter* term is we have all these Trumper morons on Twitter saying Mueller found no collusion when what they *mean* is he'll *charge* no conspiracy.

5/ Collusion can occur without criminal conduct. Collusion can occur within criminal conduct not charged as conspiracy. Collusion can be assigned to a campaign, not just—as crimes are—one person. Journalists must say Mueller is likely to find collusion, but not charge conspiracy.

6/ I'll admit that I'm angry—and have been for some time—at those journalists who've thought so little about the norms we're trying to protect here that they've accepted the Trumper line that everything is *okay* so long as Mueller didn't find 90%+ proof of a criminal conspiracy.

7/ When Trump had a secret face-to-face conversation with Putin, then hours later crafted a false statement for America to read about a meeting with Kremlin agents in his home—to keep hiding what he's always hidden, the scope of his relationship with the Kremlin—that's collusion.

8/ When Trump held a national security meeting in his hotel in March 2016 and a member of his tiny NatSec team said he was a Kremlin intermediary trying to set up—backchannel—a secret Trump-Russia summit on foreign policy with the Kremlin and Trump promoted him, that's collusion.

9/ When Trump—knowing perfectly well that his campaign was engaged in a backchannel conversation with the Kremlin over its support for him—publicly asked for the Kremlin's help in hacking his opponents, and in under 24 hours the hackers acceded to his wishes, that was collusion.

10/ When Trump directly ordered his NatSec team to make a change to the RNC platform to benefit the Kremlin at a time his campaign was reaching out to Kremlin agents to get them to give him stolen Clinton emails—thereby performing on his half of a quid pro quo—that was collusion.

11/ When Trump "found out"—assuming he hadn't known all along—his NSA had been secretly negotiating American foreign policy with the Kremlin for months, including during the campaign, and not only didn't fire him but tried to deep-six feds' prosecution of him, that was collusion.

12/ When Trump was secretly negotiating a multibillion dollar tower deal with Kremlin agents during the 2016 campaign while telling America that he had no business relationship whatsoever with any Russians, that was collusion of the most outrageously obvious and treacherous sort.

13/ When Trump disclosed classified Israeli intel in the Oval Office at a meeting with top Kremlin agents that he'd forbidden any Americans from attending or even photographing—and bragged to them about ending investigation into secret US-Russian coordination—that was collusion.

14/ When Trump secretly crafted a plan to drop all sanctions on the Kremlin even as his presidential campaign aides were having countless secret meetings with Russian nationals about sanctions policy—a plan that, when revealed, *terrified* the State Department—that was collusion.

15/ Proof that I could go on and on in this vein ad nauseum is that I've written two books—about 1000 pages—on Trump's collusion. Never let journalists tell you that there shouldn't be a *word* for all this until it's "conspiracy" beyond a reasonable doubt. It's *collusion*. /end

You can follow @SethAbramson.


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