I was going say media is misleadingly indicating Mueller's team only objects to Barr's obstruction summary, but now, via NBC: "Mueller team [members] say his findings paint a picture of a campaign whose members were manipulated by a sophisticated Russian intelligence operation."
1/ One reason this breaking news is big is that it turns the question to whether the campaign was wittingly or unwittingly manipulated. Carter Page can't say he doesn't understand Russian intelligence. Neither can Manafort or Gates. Trump Jr. knew exactly who he was dealing with.
2/ Trump himself has dealt with Russian mobsters for years. Papadopoulos was told he was dealing with the Kremlin. In fact, I'd like someone to explain *who* on the Trump campaign could have been *unwittingly* influenced when they knew they were dealing with Russian intelligence.
3/ My understanding is that counterintelligence findings of "unwitting coordination" tend to relate to those who didn't know they were dealing with Russian intelligence or had no means at hand to appreciate the risks of so dealing. But who on Trump's campaign would that apply to?
4/ Trump had a whole damn NatSec *team* that'd been told by the Kremlin as early as March 2016 that its ranks had been infiltrated by a "Kremlin intermediary." So from that point on, how could *anyone* on Trump's campaign say that any coordination with the Russians was unwitting?
5/ My point: the possibility that the Mueller Report concludes there was zero evidence of coordination has now vanished. There are simply too many Trump campaign members for whom unwitting coordination would've been highly unlikely. So it's a matter of the standard of proof only.
6/ As soon as Barr's letter came out, I wrote here that the standard for finding a national security threat in a counterintelligence investigation is lower than the standard for convicting someone at a criminal trial—and that the same applies to a "national security impeachment."
7/ You may recall that I did a long thread on what Congress would be at least morally obligated to do if Mueller found 80% or 60% or even 50% proof of witting cooperation with the Russians, meaning a 50% or 60% or 80% certainty that that happened during the presidential campaign.
8/ For that reason, as I wrote here/in Newsweek, it was always an error for media to focus on the beyond a reasonable doubt standard when what we've been talking about from the start is a referral from Mueller to Congress whose future proceedings won't use that standard of proof.
9/ Indeed, one thing we can conclusively say of Barr's letter is it was in part an effort to set the standard on obstruction and conspiracy at beyond a reasonable doubt, when we have known from the start that in a national security situation that's *not* going to be the standard.
10/ What I now want to see is a detailed explanation on my TV—by people intimately familiar with the Trump-Russia investigation—of how *unwitting* coordination could *ever* be found involving the following men: Trump, Don Jr., Manafort, Stone, Gates, Page, Papadopoulos, Flynn...
You can follow @SethAbramson.
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