Seth Abramson @SethAbramson Lawyer. Professor @UofNH. Columnist @Newsweek. NYT bestselling author. Proof of Conspiracy, @StMartinsPress: Analyses @BBC. Views mine. Apr. 22, 2019 4 min read

Zero media outlets and zero Trump critics accused Trump of a before-the-fact conspiracy with the Internet Research Agency (propaganda campaign) or GRU, Russian military intelligence (hacking). The foundational lie of Trump apologists is that this was the collusion anyone alleged.

1/ If Greenwald really wanted to know why Mueller's report is being taken as a vindication of both major media and Trump critics, he'd be considering (a) what the legal (not movie) definition of an "agent" is, and (b) what the collusion allegations against Trump *continue* to be.

2/ Legally, an "agent" is simply someone generally or in a focused way tasked by a "principal" to complete a certain task. For instance, George Papadopoulos acted as a Kremlin agent when he was tasked by the Kremlin with setting up a secret Trump-Putin summit during the campaign.

3/ When Paul Manafort was informed that a man "who does not distinguish himself from the Kremlin," Oleg Deripaska, wanted *internal Trump campaign polling*—a message delivered by a GRU agent—and Manafort went and acquired that data, he was acting as a Kremlin agent for that task.

4/ Because Greenwald doesn't know anything about the law, he replaced the legal definition of "agent" with the *Hollywood* definition in reading major media—so unless Mueller proved Trump was some sort of Russian James Bond, Greenwald planned to declare he'd been right all along.

5/ Just so, when Trump and his legal team used (as @AshaRangappa_ has explained) spycraft techniques common to psy-ops to conflate "conspiracy" and "collusion," Greenwald—who, again, knows nothing about the law—treated the terms as co-extant even though they are *definitely* not.

6/ Many federal crimes are undergirded by collusive acts; only one is conspiracy. So when Mueller said—in part due to lying and unavailable witnesses, as well as destruction of evidence—he couldn't prove one such crime beyond a reasonable doubt, Greenwald deliberately misread it.

7/ I hear people say the fact that America's truth matrix has collapsed is borne out by Greenwald and Seth Abramson both claiming "vindication" from the Mueller Report. What they don't consider is that the truth is simpler: I'm a lawyer, and Greenwald knows nothing about the law.

8/ When *I* used the word "agent" with respect to Papadopoulos, I wasn't using the word the way a child who likes Bond movies—or Glenn Greenwald—was; just so, when I wrote a book on "proof of collusion" I used the terms "proof" and "collusion" correctly—which Greenwald never has.

9/ To be livid about Mueller's report not *actually* exonerating Trump, you simply have to *not know* what *any* of these words/phrases mean:

beyond a reasonable doubt
presumption of innocence
scintilla of evidence

So here we are.

10/ Before the Mueller Report, many—me included—tried to educate people on basic legal terminology *and* the *actual* collusion allegations against Trump, which center on bribery, aiding and abetting, money laundering, and campaign finance crimes. I think that work must end now.

11/ That work must end because—as Greenwald himself makes clear in the tweet atop this thread—media *is* starting to be very plain about why they feel vindicated by the Report (which they are). Those who stick with Trump's pseudo-legal rhetoric instead get the upset they deserve.

12/ The work left for those who understand basic legal terminology to do is actually *new* work: primarily, noting that Mueller didn't fall short of the *highest standard of proof America has*—meaning he still had *tons* of proof—for any reason besides being stymied by Trumpists.

13/ There's a reason Trump and his son refused to talk to Mueller *and* are two men whose collusive-act cases fell—apparently—just short of beyond a reasonable doubt proof. It's also no coincidence that their prospective cases were those in which the most evidence was destroyed.

14/ There are times a prosecutor says, "I had access to all the evidence I could ever have wanted, and found not even a scintilla of evidence," and times a prosecutor reports that he was stymied deliberately at *every turn* and fell *just* short of the highest standard of proof.

15/ People like Glenn Greenwald are *irrelevant* now. They put all their eggs in a certain basket—that Mueller would find *no* evidence of *any* wrongdoing by Trump or his people—and they lost their bet. They can yawp into the Void for as long as they want, now. Ignore them. /end

PS/ Yes, I *know* @GlennGreenwald is an attorney—I'm deliberately buzzing him, perhaps a *bit* too subtly. So I'll clarify by saying that I have never seen any indication Glenn understands criminal law—if he does, he pretends not to for political purposes. Thus my digging on him.

PS2/ If you've read this feed long, you know I take the same approach with @JudgeJeanine and @IngrahamAngle—two lawyers who pretend not to understand *basic* legal terminology to score political points. My practice with those who betray their Oath is to treat them as non-lawyers.

PS3/ It is *not OK* for a Greenwald, Ingraham or Pirro to pretend they don't know the difference between the lay term "collusion" and the criminal statute "conspiracy"; it is *not okay* for them to misdefine "proof," "evidence," and "beyond a reasonable doubt" in public writings.

PS4/ Attorneys take an Oath—those attorneys did, and so did I. And what we have seen coast to coast is certain attorneys (those three, Giuliani, and others) violate their Oaths by deliberately misrepresenting in their public writings even *basic* legal concepts. It infuriates me.

PS5/ I'm fine disputing with someone whether Trump Jr. should've been charged with illegal solicitation of foreign campaign donations. Most prosecutors will tell you he should've been; a few will say otherwise. But disputing *basic legal terminology*, like "agent" or "proof"? No.

You can follow @SethAbramson.


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