Seth Abramson @SethAbramson Attorney. @Newsweek columnist. NYT bestselling author of a book on Trump's Iran policy, Proof of Conspiracy (Macmillan, Professor. May. 17, 2019 2 min read

American media decided that Trump secretly negotiating a Russian business deal that required Putin's approval while setting Russia policy during the 2016 campaign wasn't "collusion" broadly writ. Mueller didn't decide that; American voters didn't decide that; the media did. Why?

1/ Any American who a) had looked up "collusion" in a dictionary, b) had read the Mueller Report, and c) ran a U.S. newsroom, would've told his/her reporters and anchors that it was their journalistic obligation to report that "collusion" had been proven. That didn't happen. Why?

2/ Do we really think U.S. journalism doesn't believe "collusion," broadly writ, has been proven? Some panelists—even some anchors—say it. But there's no consistent message that this *happened*. Why? They don't want to lose any conservative viewers living in an alternate reality.

3/ If we had a journalistic class willing to state the *absolute fact* that the Trump campaign "colluded," and the *absolute fact* that whether any part of that collusion was criminal is *still under probe*—and *950 prosecutors* say some of it *was* criminal—well, *imagine* that.

4/ *If* the journalistic class had reported the *absolute fact* that Trump's campaign "colluded"—and that whether any of the collusion was criminal is still under investigation—let me ask you: how do you think it would've affected Americans' view of the ongoing Democratic probes?

5/ There are many many good people in the media today. Many. Folks like @chrislhayes and @ChrisCuomo and @maddow and @BrookeBCNN and @JeffreyToobin can go on air whenever they like and state the *absolute fact* that the "collusion" question is settled—the Trump campaign colluded.

6/ Folks like @chrislhayes and @ChrisCuomo and @maddow and @BrookeBCNN and @JeffreyToobin can then say that by any definition that "collusion" would *include* after-the-fact cover-ups—and that 950+ federal prosecutors therefore say a part of the "collusion" *was* indeed criminal.

7/ Folks like @chrislhayes and @ChrisCuomo and @maddow and @BrookeBCNN and @JeffreyToobin can then *add* that outstanding questions like whether *some* of that criminal "collusion" included bribery, money laundering, or aiding and abetting is *still under federal investigation*.

8/ Folks like @chrislhayes and @ChrisCuomo and @maddow and @BrookeBCNN and @JeffreyToobin can then *add* to *that* the fact that—for some reason *nobody understands and apparently only Schiff is even asking about*—the FBI/CIA won't help us answer the *national security* question.

9/ If all that happened, we'd be past "no collusion," past "no obstruction," past "no criminal collusion," and would just be asking, "Is Trump a national security threat?" and "How wasn't this bribery?"

And Democratic probes of those issues would seem as necessary as they *are*.

10/ *Instead*, what we're talking about today is whether America's CHIEF ANONYMOUS SOURCE and CHIEF FAKE NEWS SOURCE was correct or fair in saying news organizations that are 100 years old are "fake news" and "bullshit." How did we get into this absolutely *ridiculous* situation?

You can follow @SethAbramson.


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