Seth Abramson @SethAbramson Attorney. @Newsweek columnist. NYT bestselling author of a book on Trump's Iran policy, Proof of Conspiracy (Macmillan, Professor. May. 18, 2019 2 min read

A lesson we'll relearn via Trump-Russia—too late—is one also learned post-9/11: the US intel community withholds info from us for institutional reasons not always in America's interest. 7 allied intel agencies told the FBI of Trump-Russia contacts—*that's* why the CI probe began.

1/ The *only* reason Barr can start a third—third!—DOJ probe into the beginning of the counterintelligence probe of several Trump advisers (Page, Manafort, Flynn, Papadopoulos) is because the FBI won't just *clearly state* it had *ample* early-2016 intel about Trump-Russia ties.

2/ What's so crazy about this is that *major media reporting* already establishes that that information existed. But DOJ and CIA policies about commenting on ongoing probes mean that Barr gets to *benefit from the silence of his own branch of government* to create a fake scandal.

3/ The *one* group of people who could call out Barr's lie—because the FBI and CIA learned nothing from 9/11 about how their institutional hangups can hurt America—is the media. But per usual, they have *forgotten their own reporting* and speak of Barr's gambit as a credible one.

4/ 100 of every 100 law enforcement officers would open an investigation if *seven allied intelligence agencies* were reporting to them—between December 2015 and June 2016—that Trump aides were having suspicious *covert* contact with foreign nationals in the midst of an election.

5/ The investigation that was then opened—mind you—*wasn't even a criminal investigation*! It was a *national security* probe to determine if any of these four men were *foreign agents*. And guess what? Flynn and Manafort *turned out to be*! Page had *already been accused of it*!

6/ And as for George Papadopoulos, he *literally*—under the definition of the word "agent" in U.S. law—was acting as a "Kremlin agent" when he told Trump's National Security Advisory Committee, *and Trump himself*, on March 31, 2016 that he was acting as a "Kremlin intermediary"!

7/ So 7 allied intel agencies told us that 4 Trump advisers were acting like they might be foreign agents and *all were in fact doing so* in some capacity or another. There is *literally* no basis for *any* investigation—but even if there were, the *DOJ IG probe* would be enough.

8/ But because the FBI and CIA won't defend themselves, they a) allow Barr to drag their reputation through the mud, and b) allow Trump and his crew to falsely claim that there's *any* basis to investigate how the counterintelligence investigation of 4 Trump advisers got started.

9/ Speaking only for myself, what I'd urge everyone to consider is that Trump was made possible—and keeps hold of political power—because of our *broken institutions*. Congress is broken; our intelligence institutions are broken; our media is broken. We have to fix our *systems*.

10/ I don't in any sense discount that there are many hateful people in America—far too many. But with a functional Congress, intelligence community, and media apparatus, Trump doesn't win in 2016. He comes very close—sure—but right now he's no more than a "Trump TV" anchor. /end

You can follow @SethAbramson.


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