« The Weeds

Collusion and the Mueller endgame

2019-02-19

Andrew Prokop joins Dara and Matt to explain what we've learned from the latest developments in the Russia investigation.

Andrew's article on Jerome Corsi's unreliable book

Article on the redacted Manafort transcript

Marcy Wheeler article

Special counsel regulation text

Trump Tower Moscow explainer

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Yeah, this is Marquez Brownie Acre and Cuba HD, and this is Andrew, Manga Nellie. We will introduce you to our podcast way, form the new sedition to the Vocs media podcast network, so I've spent over ten years reviewing type Gregson, consumer electronics, for millions of people on the incubation to channel and now on the way form part. asked Andrew, and I use that experience to dig even deeper into latest tech for smartphones too. I max to electric cars. So if you're a gadget lover or attack head or if you just want to figure out whether the latest gadget is worth your harder in cash, give us a lesson sacred fine way, formed the MTV Ftp cats on your favorite Pakistan. Every Friday see over there. The weeds are here: the weeds are coming from inside the house.
hello. Welcome to another episode of the weeds on the VOX media, podcast network, I'm at the maclay. She is here with Darrell in, and we also have joining us today, Andrew Prokop, who is the keeper of of all things, Russia and Mueller, and sometimes related things having to do with snow, animals every so often we drag enter into the pond cast studio, go Andrew, we officially lost track of thing is happening with Trump and Russia and very- is criminal and in a non criminal investigations help, and so this is another round of that ensures that happen. Ghana, quite a few things have happened recently, but one thing that I think it just tubs structure this is, there was a kind
flurry of reports recently that the Sun Intelligence Committee had wrapped up its investigation and there was no collusion and morally snow. No proof of collusion- and you know I guess a good place to start as like. Like is that right like like. But what do we know about colluding from all these these centres? Is that have been handed. So I think first we had to separate the Senate Intelligence Committee. Investigation from the Mahler Investigation Active, preceded completely separate, lay, and them that we're comments by Richard Blur, the chairmen of in tell a Republican from North Carolina, and he said something like they found. Oh in their own investigation, no direct evidence of collusion, then the damage had started, pushing back a little bit. Saying our, where we found some sort of get, you have theirs, maybe circumstantial My questions arose from stuff we found, but you know
they haven't really stare finding. So we don't really know what it is exactly they found or didn't find, and in any case the main event is not this committee's investigation. The main event is the mother investigation, and I think that when you look back at the past, months going back to may be. I am November right after the elections we have. and a significant amount in the new sentencing memos and new charges brought by Mahler and what we have learned, you know a lot of people say that all the more investigation fines is process. Crimes like lying to me, grass or which Roger Stone was just with an obstruction or am Michael Cohen, was also with lying, the Congress or man afford has been charged with a bunch of kind of unrelated stuff and You know it is true that still
no one has yet been charged by mother with a criminal. conspiracy to interfere with the election. However, in these filings, we seem to be getting closer to something like that. I don't know. If will end up there, but What we ve learned in the past few months, involving Cohen man afore and stone, have have all been in territory of sorts collusion adjacent stuff that had happened during a camp. Giving its word book before we delve into the details. Wait, I think, there's a concert game of sort of goalposts moving around so swayed collusion, is not something that you can scroll through. The. U S code and say: aha like here, is the crime of collusion here the elements of collusion. If you want to prosecute someone for collusion, you need the following things right, so
If the standard is for this to be a big deal, you have to both prove a crime and you have to prove. pollution, but also collusion, has to be the crime that you prove That's a really really hard won right, like a possible thing in the realm of process crimes, is that a person has done something. The thing that they have done is embarrassing, because it would be, for example, politically devastating to be openly colluding with the russian government during an election campaign, but perhaps not illegal, but then to cover up the embarrassing thing you did. You committed crimes, I might get a normal commonsense, like that's, that's being a criminal unanimous. My lady having a television set is not a crime, but stealing a television set is a crime rate and so a range of of sort of rare
Homes in which someone can be just process crimes right leg, you couldn't have legitimately done nothing wrong but been like tripped up by clever FBI agents. Into contradicting your story, and now they have a crime against you. You can have situation where you come under investigative scrutiny, it turns out, they can't prove you did the thing that they thought you did, but by rummaging through your life, they find other crimes that you committed and then there's a realm of like you did something that you wanted to keep secret and you broke the law to cover it up right and then I think when we talk about collusion adjacent like that's what it seems like we're talking about red, like you have in the sensing memos, there's a lot alike. He did this. He did that they're trying to explain what happened. Unlike some of the stuff, that happened seems like it involves working with the Russians on the campaign
the other thing tat to point out here and it's I'm in the bizarre position, hopefully pointing finger more directly at Republicans in that illustration than matters, but I'm not sure if it ever happened on the podcast before but like it's, not just the idea. collusion kind of emerged from the discourse as the gold standard here right. The Trump administration worked very actively to associate the Mahler investigation with a collusion and estimation. They refuse to answer questions about the other element of the investigation, which is the firing of James Co. Me there s. No Donald Trump was on Twitter. All the time saying that the truck De Mello investigation was fake, because there wasn't collusion so their simultaneously trying to funnel it into this. The only legitimate thing they could be investigating his collusion, but no bearing in mind that yes, ok to call me side of this investigation is an obstruction of justice. But when you're, at the point, where the obstruction of justice
question would be literally firing. Your director of the F B, I like how process that process crime is verses. It would be a significant problem, even if there were no underlying illegal behaviour, starts to get a little fuzzy, but now having having funneled it so narrowly into collusion. There are now saying it has to be both collusion and because collusion is neither an existing federal crime, but nobody even leaving the question of obstruction aside. I think that we have learned several things from dollars charges incensing them as in the past few months. That deserve be treated as massive scandals, things that happen during the twenty sixteen campaign that were not about the cover up The exact are, I mean, maybe not the basis of mental charges or maybe charges were not brought for whatever reason, but but the fact that these things happen are legitimately scandalous,
and there is absolutely right there's this there's this bizarre kind of dictation setting partly from Trump, I think, also partly from the steel dossier, which wedged such a kind of sinister. Conspiracy that anything that comes short of that now is treated by some as somewhat disappointing. But think we ve learned the full story yet either of what's mothers found, but we have learn about and we can go through them now. I would characteristic as first there's Roger Stone and Wikileaks, which you know everybody spin following the chair Is against him lately we know that at the very least, he made some effort to get in touch with Wikileaks to Time Wiki weeks his release of the hacked emails that had been stolen by Russia from Clinton campaign chairman job.
faster, and this is also something we don't entirely know the full story about. Yet there are some indications that stone may have known that that would you weeks had possessed as emails in advance, but that has not been sort of directly alleged yet so I mean that's kind of to be continued, but let me reiterate that whether I mean again collusion as it is a difficult claim, but like one read of what happened in twenty, sixteen is that Donald Trump got lucky because with him and his team having nothing to do with it. Thanks to poor information security processes on the part of John Podesta, there in government was able to access his inbox and then the russian government on their own for their own unknown reasons, release these emails in a way that happened to be very fortuitous for trouble. on the day of the access holly?
What do you do with regulating and also jet late in the campaign where right like they didn't really? Is it the day after they got it, then no one in terms camp was involved in any way. This just happen separately from because, like stuff happens again, pittance ride, so maybe Trump got lucky and if everybody, you know, it's not leg. A reasonably well informed intelligence. Operative in Russia. Couldn't look at the calendar of Eu Us presidential campaign and go it's generally better to release let me give it and like you, can theoretically come up with a world where that how white or Julie Miss, but what we now seem to know from Roger Stone is that he he was ok, so At the very least, in July, Roger Stone was trying to get in touch with Julian Assange, and then the charges get a little complicated, and so they talk about two people person one. Person to person. One is Jerome Course he is the conspiracy theorist in
former info wars. Correspondent, who has you know, stoked Obama was not born in America. So Mueller has in the indictment that stone in July to course he to get to a and get a hold of the pending emails. He has coming and the stone writes that he thinks these relate to the Clinton foundation. So then, about later in early August. Horsey rights back stone, this email that for some reason it talks about a scientist plans and then it mentions Podesta, and that has apparently really raised investigators eyebrows, because they're like how would he possibly know nobody knew at the time that Podesta had been hacked the or this was not public at least and then a couple weeks through this Roger stone himself tweeted his infamous tweed of soon it will the pedestrian time in the barrel there, some type us in their does an entirely
romantic chromatic sets stowed as we say This was a coincidence. This was entirely and I and he said that, actually get out once this became controversial. once the Wikileaks info started coming out. Stance said. Actually this was about research that Jerome course he was doing for me at the time and of course he sang in fact, Stow knew about the protested emails and asked me to concoct a memo as a cover story, so war or getting pretty complex sorry here, but what seems to be going on is that there was some kind of shady efforts to contact. Wikileaks, learn what Wiki weeks had and then And also perhaps later, to influence the timing of Wikileaks his release. We don't know how successful they were, but they're at the very least stone was trying and he may have
learned. Some information about what they had and then he apparently told at least something to the Trump campaign, and there are Steve bad in is is said to have been incurred, act would stone about what he knew the week of the possessor Dubbs. So you know and again like stone was charged not with any crimes related to this, but with lying to Congress about this in twenty seventeen the next year, holding documents and trying to intimidate a witness into giving of? a story about this, and you know, let's not get into the other witnesses that just makes it more advocated by burning, basically there's another guy who was talking to Assad who stone was kind of in touch with and getting it from so he can
mention on weight. We don't know how successful they stone course. You are in getting information that can have gets into one of the many defences that have been used, which is that the Trump Administration was essentially to and competent to successfully collude with. Anybody would like. Frank's with a certain understanding of a you know, it's not it's it's not exactly as if anyone's assessment of how well coordinated the Donald Trump Swimming sixteen campaign was has been raised substantially by any of these revolutions, but it doesn't necessarily like it doesn't necessarily appear to be true, given what we ve seen an you know, the documents that have been released- and it also doesn't appear to necessarily be exculpatory, rightly can you talk through? Does the putative success or not of these attempts to find out information?
we matter in a criminal sense or in a should. We think of this is collusion sense. Well, what when everyone is kind of wondering, is whether there are more charges coming regarding Roger Stone and Wiki weeks in some fashion, because the indictment of stone clearly does not attempt to tell the full story or to be the last word on what he knew and exactly what happened between him and Wikileaks in in twenty sixteen and there is. There is an interesting to bid recently that Mahler designated stones case as related to his indictment of the russian hackers fur hacking, the pedestrian emails in the first place. He did this because there is a common warrant use
to get evidence that he said would be relevant and stones case, and you know we already know that stone had engaged some de with Wikileaks and with future for to the russian hacker persona What we know of these dm so far makes them look very limited and, and rather innocuous, it's not entirely light. Like they're, not smoking Dundee aims. shows they were talking, but it doesn't show really that stone knew anything or was involved in any way. But that's what people are wondering whether there is a fuller story. A new indictment coming on this or made It is also possible that mother, we know that Mullah Doug into this very deeply. He hauled. Basically, everyone connected to Roger Stone in any way before his grand jury.
Last year course. He himself has written a whole book about his experience before the grand jury he's a very unreliable character, but you can read my explain or on things in his book that that I found interesting in his in his account of what happened. So it seemed that, at the very least, they wanted to charge as large a crime, and you know whether they perhaps couldn't make their case or whether they still intend to do so. We don't get so what would the? Why would you bring some indictments find your stone if you're not Dutton like what with their but with the logic of that, because I mean I think I can see that there was a sort of from Byron York and some others like when the stone indictments came out. It was like ok, they like when really early at this guide and increasing, really hard and like this is what they came up with. Then it's it's not that stellar, but a lot of that hinges on the question of like is well known. It is the fact that this
what's in the indictment reason to believe that, that's all that there is Or can the investigation keep snowball yeah? I think A few reasons. First of all, we should note that when Mahler first indicted man afford it was for a more limited set of charges, and it took a few months. Fur kind of I believe, Justice Department, bureaucratic reasons to get the attacks, charges and bank fraud charges added to man affords You know there could be stuff going on behind the scenes. There could also be the question of co, conspirators and charges or charges against other people that perhaps are not yet ready like if there is another go between between stone and Wikileaks, who we dont yet know about, or even there are said to be charges against Assange himself that are under sea or right now that have already been filed.
Russia imposed has reported that so I don't know exactly what the rationale could be or or maybe it wasn't ready- maybe they're still working on this. There is there's one person whose very whose worked for stone for a long time who refused to testify to the grand jury, and that is, has been held in content and is fighting a court battle to try to avoid testifying. So you know, maybe they need this guy's testimony and that could be another reason hold a fight. Let's, let's take a break, and I want to talk about how many for, if you like, basically anyone listening to this right now, I'm willing to bet that you are you're dealing with stress, maybe there's it of it like an overwhelming amount, or maybe it's more like a low but steady drumbeat background stress, remember how you are experiencing stress. It's likely effect
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is, you are just saying right, like the initial wave of charges against metaphor, it was like financial crimes that were at best loosely related to the investigation, but I think Nous more stuff has come out. That brings manner for closer, two to collusion right. Yes, it's getting closer, and so will have what's happened lately is that man afford struck a plea deal with Mahler in September to avert his second trial after being convicted as first trial and committed to cooperate. With the investigation was questioned. Twelve ties by prosecutors
twice went before the grand jury and then mothers team said that they believed he had repeatedly lied to them on several topics and breached his cooperation agreement that they're not bring a new charges against him for this, but they're they're. Basically, because he's gonna get such a huge sentence already and they're kind of using this in the sentencing process to argue, or do you now to convince the judge not to go easy on him, essentially flageolets filmmakers. All pretty standard like this isn't a matter of that really have the goods as if they really have the goods on em they be heading and with new charges. The idea that someone has been cooperative or not or uncooperative as a factor in sentencing is right down the line, standard operating, it goes like he had. A plea agreement emeralds come out. Now is not new charges exactly, but the complaint that his lack of cooperation means the sentence for the old charge
should be very severe yes world and so mad afford disputed that he had deliberately lied and over the past few months, we seen some dueling filings and court hearing transcripts and an eventual ruling from Judge Amy Burma, Jackson in DC kind of assessing these claims and and they have been very fascinating, very heavily rejected. Also by them. There have also conveniently been some reduction errors. Manifolds team submitted one filing where they put black bars over text.
it turned out. You could just copy and paste and see what was under the backbiter, so so we ve learned a fair amount about what mauler has been investigating from these filings like like why he, he clearly really wanted manifolds cooperation and asked him about a lot of stuff, and these are a few of the topics that mother thinks he really had. Man afford nailed on line to him about, and I think for our purposes, the most important at making this kind of larger argument about collusion. Wade's to man affords russian associate Constantine Polemic, so we learned that
Mahler is accusing metaphor of sharing trump campaign, private pulling data with kill em neck in twenty sixteen during the campaign, and also that clinic the FBI has assessed him as having ties to russian intelligence in twenty sixteen. So this is yet another thing that, like rightly, should be treated as a major scandal to have Donald Trumps campaign manager, hand over private, pulling data during the campaign, you a guy with ties to russian intelligence. We don't know what purpose it was four and so there had. There are still arguments about whether this council collusion like. Maybe this is one furious that maybe this is man a fortune like trying to like keep oligarchy in Ukraine and Russia happy by giving them inside info, and so on that he wasn't asking for anything in return, but it
still like a big scandal. You know- and this has always been- I would say- the these drones. Circumstantial case for collusion has always been that, once you accept that there is a russian operation whose purpose is to help trump when the election. Then trumps campaign manager, just like had been hired previously by people with links to russian intelligence for the purposes of tapping his political expertise, the universe in which the regions can alike have this guy. Who, for the question of like how to help window since in Ukraine they had asked what parliamentary forts take was black now they're working on the United States, and they went like forget to be in contact right, like I mean it again like it wouldn't make sense to not collude is not like a leaf
argument. But that's why it to me when you start to hear threads of this right, that, like Manna Fort while working on the Trump campaign, was continuing to feed back stuff about the campaign through comic. It's like yeah, like that's how you would, but that's how you do it right like there were people in the russian government who were working with kilometers and manner for it on political campaigns. For many years that was his overt non secret non illegal job. I think he usually this is his work is said to have gone through oligarchy rather than official. So it's basically like oligarchy close to Putin are tied to the russian government and it's always been kind of difficult to connect. Man afford directly to russian government whitebait but kill a man was his partner right, like his business partner on the ground in Ukraine. He- and I mean again, who knows if this is true or not-
But like? U S, intelligence sources, the undue and air quotes like say that he has quarter quote ties to russian intelligence, and you know I don't you know, but I guess he probably does ITALY. It is like he does. It does kind of, as opposed to the stone thing where the question of well, if you were soliciting information from Wikileaks
when they were trying to drop of what their next Hilary related Intel wasn't one their opponents drop it like whether or not you get that information asking for it, you know seems to be it self, not in bounds. This the men Fort stuff does lake. If somehow, it could be decisively proved that he was passing this onto clinic, saying just show this to be our guard, don't show it to anybody else and they want to feel included lake late, Larry Leg. Let's lets you know, do them a solid that would in a hurry the ex ante. Where is it sounds that would be exculpatory? I guess in so far as it would demonstrate that there was some other purpose. Then can spare
It interfere with the election right. Yet so I mean the it's not exculpatory, because it still scandalous by rag v, exculpatory, ish theory about manner, for it has always been. He had his own thing going like he was out for himself. He was heavily in debt to a russian oligarchy. He was trying to line up future business for himself, and so he might have been doing stuff, without trumps, knowledge or or not, even really aimed at helping trumps campaign so much as aimed at helping himself secure future business and get paid so that in the category like scandalous, but not illegal, yes, but then you have like you know we're coming back to the question of giving this pulling data, and why would they give this pulling data There have been a lot of interesting speculation and theories about this. We know that there are various some social media propaganda effort,
run by russian oligarchy. Mother has already filed charges. In relation to that. The question of what this poem Atta shows exactly what like, like. Basically the incriminating theory, now that we ve gone through the exculpatory s theory is that man afford is basically telling the Russians how they can best help the Trump campaign by informing them with this internal data, so they can target their Botz their propaganda efforts and- and so on. So like that, you know. For example, one of the things that came up in the internet research agency indictments was like the idea of these fake black lives matter, pages right that were designed to hit on the divisive, raise issues and therefore inspire a backlash among pro trumped up Republicans like you're, saying that in theory, one of the things that put that pulling data could be showing his great keep on with a race war stuff. This is awesome
They could have done. It could have focused on demographics and like strategies for depressing turn out among certain democratic groups or the ones most commonly pointed you are like efforts to hurt Hillary Clinton among black voters, among Bernie Sanders supporters and also among women with like the kind of firm millennial women, specifically with Sea Bill Clinton. Drawing attention to Bill Clinton accusation all of which were tactics that the Trump campaign itself explicitly was at hand. Abandon was was directly involved in all this. And then, and then there is also the question of states and why that's also gets interesting like if the internal pulling data showed anything interesting about which states should be the focus of russian help or or so on, are using the plenum.
Putin took a campaign stop in Wisconsin. I mean that would certainly be interest. You know where we're getting pretty far ahead. I was I was just so I mean she inquired in this is like what is its significance for our understanding of what happened. Exactly if it's like trumps Russia, friendly campaign staff pay, asked Paul information showing that the midwestern battle grounds, where the key and for that reason the Russians targeted their ads, they air verses. If the Russians just like Red five, thirty eight my advice. You know because, like eight one, we visited so plausible that She's got that idea from trumps internal Pauling. Is that, like it's true said, The internal bollywood said, but one reason it's implausible is that, like it's also true so like that,
you what a dead animals I always get paid seem to have been the right, but it's not what you would really want. As a test, right would have been something outlandish. Rightly George. W Bush is campaign in two thousand appeared to have a private theory that California was in play and made a big last minute push there, and that was like totally wrong and the conventional wisdom was completely correct. So if some other actor had like also agreed with them, their you'd be like that's really fishy, whereas like it, a both seems very fishy to have been like sharing Pauling information with this Ukrainian die with time. Russian intelligence, but also like the accurate he's actually rush of Russian Dasso, they got everyone's irrational and weep. But, like there's this, this, like such a conference around this subject,
right like trumps. Private pulling doesn't seem to have actually showed anything, particularly distinct, which you know not pull us back Fairfield again, but it does go to the heart of the escalation, from involvement to collusion to throw in the election. Rightly, it is pretty clear at this point that there were so many things that went into the election of Donald Trump that it's never going to be possible to definitively say if there had been no involvement between. You know if parliament effort had never been hired and there has never been any sort of passing of polling day. or whatever the election would have gone to. Hillary Clinton like there are so many different factors here. The flip side of that is enough election, any one thing could how to go over the top. But you know it's important to bear in mind when we're talking about this stuff
We are never going to get the answer to if this had happened. Who would have won the twenty sixteen election and therefore that should really be the standard. Also just to substantiate this have whilst speculation a little more back when Mahler rode up his questions, that he wanted to ask Donald Trump, a list of them leaked to the near ties back in April there about forty or so questions and one of the questions really raised eyebrows. It was what do you know about any efforts by Paul metaphor to get russian help for the appeared, and that was like the one you know a lot of the questions on the list were stuff we'd already
too bad, and you know they didn't seem necessarily to betray any secret knowledge. But that's the one where people were like her wonder. What's wonder what that's about? And I think that maybe, with this question of the sharing of pulling data, which too In point the timeline a little bit. This allegedly happened on August. Second, twenty sixteen, so man afford had been sharing the trunk campaign for a couple months. It was after the convention. He had been exchanging some emails about with kill him Nick for some time kill him. Nick headway back to him about talking up caviar and code, which, which really good code apparently means money at all, today the day they met in New York and its supposedly according to rig gates has has told Mahler that that man
apparently handed over this pulling data and walked, kill him Nick through what the data meant and how to interpret it at this meeting and man afford. Basically, beauty ass. He said that one of the first of all he said that he was just sort of forgetful about it when he didn't really mention it tomorrow then he said that, although it was mainly all public stuff anyway, it wasn't valuable data and the judge did not buy this at all. She was extremely harsh on Matt afford, saying it like. It seemed very clear to her that he deliberately lied about this and also that it would make no
adds to secretly handover guy data that also her he public, so it. So. This is just another example, so you have at the very least, there's an allegation that Donald Trump Campaign chair handed over the campaigns point at a to a guy with ties to russian intelligence, and you know combine that with you to Roger Stowed was trying to get in touch with Wikileaks about the hacked emails They have succeeded to some extent, and then you have the Michael Cohen Aspect about the Trump Tower Moscow. I feel so, I think, that's kind of the third prong of the collusion of Jason's stuff, which we don't have to go too much. I'll buy. But basically it's been made clear in mothers core filing set that Cohen.
Engaged in these talks to build a true tower in Moscow during the presidential campaign late into the presidential campaign at least until June, and that he regularly briefed Trump and Trump family members about this and then lied about it to Congress, and also Mullah has pledged that this is a project that could have made the Trump organization hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue so this is like the new the new thing that makes us look back at what happened in the twenty sixteen campaign and should rightly be considered. Occasionally, scandalously
The republic in Presidential, Domini or nominee in waiting was encased, had seeker talks in a business project in Russia that could it made him and his family a ton of money at the same time as he was like being super nice to Putin and sing nice things, bad him like a particular, actually be everything back even further right. Everything went to the republican primary right. Unlike Trump is saying this weird, like pro russian stuff back then, and other Republicans were still you know they were like thinking they were gonna beat Trump and that pointing out that lots of things Trump was saying was out in line with normal republican policy were like gonna devastate him. It turned out that, like rank and file republican Party voters are like not that invested in foreign policy in eastern and Central Europe. Topics
and like nobody, nobody really cared about these. Like hey, you seem to love Vladimir Putin too much sit type takes. It would have been no one at the top right that, like Trump was like literally trying to close a deal in which he would personally gain tens of millions of dollars there would have been much more concrete sort of political controversy to go over right. I mean, I think, a lot of the republican senators who are like now going to be defending Trump and saying this is no big deal would have thought it was a very big deal had they known it at the time that they were still trying to fight drum right. This this would have been
This is about like meat on the bones of a sort of esoteric farm policy, concern and turn it into like a full bore like legitimate scandal. Right they like Trump, was not answering questions about honestly right in like it would have been it's weird away. It not to say it wasn't a big story when it came out, but like a came out in the context of Trump already being president everything being super parties in like this steel memo, having set the bar for like a really baroque type of conspiracy, whereas like just like the fact that, like he's in here everyone's warnings. Likewise even running and its I get is trying to do a huge multi million dollar Realestate deal and it would have been Hollis Building in Europe, so this is like obviously something Donald Trump. path, a lot lately I mean, even if we're not
talking about a particular opponent who would have enabled to use it in the active phase of the primary like. We know that a lot of the Republican Party was not sold on Trump, even going into the twenty sixteen republican national convention and simultaneously during the deliberations over the platform. Bead from administration urged sorry that, then the term campaign actively made sure that harsh language about Russia's incursion into Ukraine was stripped from the platform and
new about that at the time, if you're thinking about a world where it's already known or it becomes known as part of that new story, the Donald Trump is seeking to build truth. Teller, Moscow, like TED crews, gave his speech the convention. You know as as basically a middle finger to tramping over all but refuse to endorse yadda yadda. If you think about the world where we know what we know now as part of that, it's not that you could say he wouldn't get the nomination but vowed. Is that cast his candidacy in a different light going into the general election is really difficult to overstate. How much that would tie a bunch of things together that at the time, anybody who is drawing connections looked like they were wildly speculating at best. We can
arising at worst yeah in, of course, when we think back to the twenty sixteen campaign in the coverage of Trump Russia links and so on. I think there was a lot of scepticism that there was anything there. It seemed silly to people in, and you know if, if any one of these greetings. There was at least some discussion about Roger Stone at what he might have known about Wikileaks because of his tweet but but- but even I remember thinking back then that I don't know like like I'm from earlier, with Roger Stone and his long history of kind of being a bullshitter in republican politics in and There's a whole documentary about him that a lot of people make the argument that register constantly tries to exaggerate his own importance and in full. So, like I didn't really
the tweet, didn't seem completely clear to me. So I got the time as like I don't know, and then, of course he had the New York Times saying FBI Sees no tramplings to Russia and so on and so forth. these. Things had been known in more detail like if there was like evidence that stone was trying to get in touch with weeks. That came out back then that man, if what was handing over the pulling data that tromp was Cohen, were engaged in these transfer. Moscow talks like it would have been a huge issue, and any probably would have I mean who, who knows like me? Maybe it would have just got no coverage compared to Hilary females, but It is at least had the potential of changing the outcome of the campaign. If those things were no, let's, let's take a second break and then last like like so what. Episode is brought to you by own up. Every bank says they ve got great mortgage rates, so why are people
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Hence the Bob on Apple Podcast, Spotify or your favorite podcast app. Ok, so I guess we question the I've heard about this whole thing for a long time is like so what right leg you can imagine a different world in which it turns out that Donald Trump has actually been a beneficiary of a sophisticated computer hackers effort by the government of that jury? Right and that the government of Nigeria has also may be had some secret business deals with Donald Trump and various other things, and if this all came out, one thing it would, it would raise it. My head is like oh, my God does download from have some secret in a fairy. Pro nigerian agenda that, like we don't know about before right, there would transform our understanding of what's going on with the
Russia collusion has been very like shrouded in secrecy and investigation, but like trumps, affection for Vladimir Putin is not exactly a secret right like you can, so to take our leave that it seems to me like as a big deal or are we learning through these investigative nuts and bolts, something something that should then should really look like what is the difference between guilt or innocence here, no first off when it comes to the consequences of the mauler investigations, findings and whether Trump well at an face? Impeach man or something like that, I think for their. The bar has been set by Republicans, mainly as like. There has to be actual guenaud. Really, smoking gun proof of Juno something so
or a ball vat and maybe not even then made maybe that there would be a way to excuse that too. So, as far as I was matters yes tromp personally doing something it's funny, because when I try to think of what it would be like it so close to what we already know, I mean you can find an argument to excuse anything like the Toronto. Moscow Taksim super correct, but the argument to excuse it is, while the deal than close. So it didn't end up happening the Wikileaks South to it seem shady. But then the argument is well. You don't have the proof that there is actually some sort of conspiracy and its true, we don't right now. I think, as far as just our understanding of Donald Trump and what he does. I do think that, like something like the transfer, Moscow talks should cause us to look back on what he said during the campaign in question.
Perhaps his motivations, but since he's taken office, there is obviously been this complex dynamic where he often says her does certain things and then the rest of his government. You know there's clearly, Russia has not gotten exactly what they wanted. As far as the total lifting of sanctions, a perhaps acquiescence to a kind of Russia favouring Peace deal in Ukraine or or something like that, that would them that would have been the russian government's dream of of white installed what they would get from about recent thing hears like this should be the clock right. It seems to me, if you had evidence of Jared Kirshner somebody else right, like somebody in the narrow, led, Donald Trump Orbit, saying or documented in the context of an interim administration dispute right that, like the president, needs to push back
against some more establishment anti russian stuff, because either they owe the Russians or the Russians have dirt on their right like like. If you could, if you had a message right from somebody in trumps, inertia got back to Moscow saying I know you're mad about this single just happened, but you need to understand why we can only get right. because because that would be the dynamic what you ve done, a derisory of Michael Flynn and where he taught my research of CASE Donald Trump is being blackmailed by the Russians right. He would be in a complicated situation of trying to explain back to his runners in Moscow that he can't do everything that they would like him to do, because that would blow up the whole thing, but they need to exercise forbearance and see these little tokens that he's giving them like the Helsinki Press conference and and Bob Bob Bob right
that would be the thing that would destroy Donald Trump, but it just seems so unfathomable. Even if that's true like that, you would ever tat. We never get. Donald Trump on a hot make telling Vladimir Putin that he would have more flexibility after the election. We just because you ve already seen the outputs right ready its Ike but I didn't like even as somebody who I personally am I I think I speak for the american people and being not that invested in the interim farm policy community dispute over to Private of lethal force to the ukrainian government over the done yet, Region Club right right like like. I don't know man. This is why the Irish really is two brands of our Trump Russia sceptics, there's like the people who think Trump is innocent, which seems ridiculous to me. But in this
I don't know like. Do we really care about this? So much so, I feel like the desire to make all of this. A referendum on the character of Donald Trump is itself a function of. Trumps, amazing ability to make everything about him like, I also, I think it's also that there is now been so much attention devoted to this. That there's a certain desire for a big climactic pay off. I mean look a lot of the hashtag resistance. Genuinely does believe that, because what we know so far indicates a certain amount of illegitimacy in how Donald Trump went about seeking the presidency that he is an illegitimate president and that therefore he should be hauled out and cuffs by the? U S: Marshall Service like that is a belief that exists out there and I think a lot of people genuinely want to see that in
that information, that information sufficient to mean approve criminal charges either is already out there might still be determined, but I think there are a lot of other people who haven't necessarily put that amount of thought into it, but who assume that if this is a big deal, it must reflect on the president. Ultimately, because that's what it means to have something be a big deal. It's not you know. I think that there is a certain cognitive dissonance between the fact that the president's campaign manager her has leg, do you know it has been discovered. We passing along secret pulling and the idea that, in order for this to be very serious for democracy, it must ultimately result in the impeachment Donald Trump. It doesn't necessarily have to be that way. Rightly, we can talk about what happened in twenty sixteen as having in aberration all, and you know in some respects, criminal and quite possibly in owed their there could still in theory, be charges of a conspiracy to NATO interfere in the result
election- that does not necessarily mean that Donald Trump is going to get thrown out of office over it may or may not mean that the election of twenty sixteen was illegitimate, ill, the legitimacy of elections as a subject for the political scientist anyway, while at and also, I think that, like the national security folks would would probably say having the president of the United States in debt to Russia. Its away is bad, even if we do that Donald Trump- tens not based its, even if we know that he seems to be being checked to some extent, at least by the rest of his administration. That, like this, is still a bad thing, negative, harmful dynamics that then there is the question of corruption and and cheating more generally, like there's much, he cheated to win. The elect
an argument that that's bad and you know maybe it'll happen again. If he gets away with it, there's an and then there's just the argument towards you know and there are always arguments that, like some people get more offended by corruption than others in and other people say like well, How? How much is this actually matter compared to all the other important issues that you know all the other, the issues that are going on like or on the flip side? Isn't everybody always corrupt anyway? Here, although huge hearsay, kinda thing, that's important right, a term that the Trump Russia discourses not quite taken right, which is, would the United States, as the world saw superpower a key foreign policy strategy for many countries around the world?
is not to engage with the United States on the level of international relations, but to engage with the United States and the level of domestic policy right, because it is cheaper to buy influence in Washington DC than to build up a military that is capable of exerting influence region, right and that's a thing that has been going on for twenty twenty five years. If not more Donald Trump is more personally corrupt, then any president, I can think of fried that he has so many mechanism sewage anybody can like put money into his pockets, including foreign actors, and we ve seen numerous instances of that's right night, not just from terror, Moscow, but like This, like weird saudi Party, that like showed up at the from Tower New York many? Many aspects of that's right that relate to Russia, because Russia is an important country but are hardly exclude
to Russia, and I find him in Sunday we had to get the worldly cast in here and swept them, but it's like because, U S farm policy consensus like has certain views right that, like let em your Putin, is a bridge. Dictator like in a bad way. Where's the brutal do love him is a brutal dictator in a good way. It's a great bad to be on the take from Putin, but really good to be on the take from the USA and like now, maybe recently, because the Saudi his killed a guy in a particular grotesque away. If I may begin to be bad, we undertake from the Saudi is, but if you would suggest that any body is on the take from Israel, like that's anti semitic and my gives very
confusing landscape out there and which, like I think the door is open to like a bigger argument about corruption in american foreign policy, but that, like that's, not quite aware, the Russia discourse from like the Ex FBI, Counter intelligence officers and Emerson BC is go. So I guess you know what what can we expect? Next? What like What should we be looking for in the future? Is there going to be a big climactic Mahler report? What's up? Ok, so the shortcut is that it's a bit of a mystery. The chatter from mean Media reporters who have sources in the Justice Department is that mothers? this and that there is going to be a report of some kind can complete it. And whether that is true. I guess we will see it may be true. I think that the disk
soon about a mullah report is extremely confusing and that there is a lot of misconceptions there: so here's the actual regulation about what it says about a special council report at the conclusion of this she'll Council's work. He or she shall provide the attorney general with a confidential report explaining the prosecution or declination decisions reached by the special council. So there are a couple of important things in air. One is the word confidential, like people talk like they expect this to be the nine Eleven Commission report, or something like that or the star report, and This specifically says it should be confidential. Second, is that it's supposed to explain prosecution or declination decisions, so it seems to be about like a. Why did you charge certain people and not other people, and that raises
another important question about whether it will be made public or not, because Justice Department policy is to not talk about people who you did not end charging with. Only one does not give a press conference about how irresponsible they worked extremely care to hear less kind of thing gets you fire Then there is also there are other questions. I classified information and in its basically very unclear. What's going on here, there seems to be this expectation that Malta, doing something like the star report that will be made public, but maybe he's not an there is the alternative theory that She Wheeler and others have put forward that that he is basically speaking through his indictments, and that, like whatever fight,
a word that Mahler has to say will be issued in an indictment and that this report is a bit of a red herring. But then we should mention one other aspect to this, which is that that was what the regulation so about the special council report, but then it also says something about the attorney general and his reporting requirements. So it says upon conclusion of the special council investigation to the extent consistent with applicable law, a description and explanation of instances, if any in which the attorney general concluded that a proposed action by a special council was so inappropriate or unwell. did under established, departmental taxes that it should not be pursued the so. Basically, if Mahler recommend something and Bill BAR, whose now the attorney general decides that it should not be die. It's a witch hunt fake new. Yes, they have done a discredited dossier. Bill bar would be required
You make some kind of report to Congress and then also there's another part of this. Says that the attorney general may determine that public release of these reports would be in the public interest to the east. And their release would comply with legal restrictions. So back when Bill BAR was gonna confirmed, there is all this These exchanges between him and Senate Democrats were sent. Democrats were like. We want you to promise to make mowers report public and he was like I dont know. If I can do that and Democrats said, he's dodging and I have a bit more of a sympathetic view toward bar there, because I think that bar. If his testimonies, accurate legitimately, has no idea what Mahler is writing or what form it would be if it is something that's highly classified if it's something that is all about like why certain people were not charged, because you know they should be.
urged or other reasons involving grand jury secrecy. There are good reasons that, like bill, pirate have to like not make that for poor public might lights Nellie, as opposed to met Whittaker, who was in the Justice Department before being acting attorney general like Bill BAR, would have no particular way of knowing these things. Yes, I think it is clear that there is a plan that Bawler and Rosen Stein, and it has been Whittaker lately by but Mahler and like the top deals, people he's been working with. They have clearly been working towards some end goal, and maybe that angle is to write a report that that he does intend will be made public, but maybe it's not an and there's a different angle of how's handling it, and we just don't know what the plan is and went bar testified. He didn't know what the plan was either, so it was hard for him to make like a concrete commitment on
to make public are not to make public and in the other thing right is that it seems to me it makes such a big difference, whether whatever it is that ultimately, is alleged touches trump personally or write like this issue, bigger D. All then the exact format in which these things are released and that, like an interesting thing about that southern district of New York, filing it's Michael Cone, isn't it appeared to be accusing Donald Trump of committing a crime without accusing him of committing a crime in any kind of formal forum? He, anyway to the stormy Didn black big varied feels to me is like the real me of this. Not lake
well, some somebody statement be release or not, but lake. If your conclusion is individual wine committed the following crime, but we are not indicting him because he is the president of the United States. So I give this to you. Mr Congress read like That is information that Madame Congress Madame Congress out that the vat is information that is used to me, like the public, clearly deserves to know, rightly give if a if a reason for the decision to not prosecute Jeff is that the guilty party is the President its days. If yes, so measures rather than the reason to decide not to prosecute. Is that he's innocent right? Like that's a big difference? Public really needs to know which of them it is, and the way for one of the weird things about the southern district investigation is that because they don't have any special council regulations or anything they just gonna left this hanging out there. So we're all look at Iraq ha that's
I am like I. I would hope that Bill bar a robber dweller. Whoever will seek to provide clarity on this. This one particular critical question more than anything else is like what are they saying about Donald Trump? Yet because that's what the report is framed in terms of mothers report in the regulation is about explaining prosecution and declination decisions, whether you bring charges against someone or whether decided not to, and it is entirely possible that the report is like Donald Trump committed all these crimes and we have all of these details and evidence to prove it and were now can a charge and because he's the president and deejay guidance says we should not indicted sitting president and like baby, that's the report and it would be really bad luck. If that's the report, you can't just leave that not just yet a fireman filing cabinet. It seems to me where's if the report is like a bunch of stuff about like this went on in the grand jury. I like that's why we didn't prosecuted like rig gates's.
brother. Then you know I mean that gives a reason. This stuff is normally cap. Private right, like unlike little white call me, did with, We rightly do you really aren't supposed tat. Just like go Blabbin about like stuff that came up an investigation that sought chargeable, but I feel, like the I felt the congressional testimony was totally beating around the Bush here and, like my answer to your question, I also have to think rate like whatever is done with the formal report. Right, like Mahler will continue to exist as a human being he's in re sphinxlike. Throughout most of this process, but there was at one moment with the Buzzfeed story where he was like. No, I have to say something about. This is hard for me to imagine a universe in which Mahler reaches the conclusion. The Donald Trump has committed multiple serious crime, but a little like bureaucratic gotcha prevents him from delivering men information
I mean who knows, maybe he's such a strategy that he wouldn't leak that memo, but I mean an otter now, man, what I'm concerned about is. I think that is much more likely that the mother investigation does not come to a conclusion about the personal culpability of Donald Trump for any of a multitude of other reasons. Right like they don't feel they have enough information and they're not going to continue the investigation solely into the person of the President himself, because they already know the Deirdre guidance etc or like they genuinely do believe that he is innocent and aren't going to. You know they're not going to try to counteract that presumption, because all of the evidence they have now suggests are most of the evidence or whatever suggest the Donald,
personally, not legally culpable whatever else you might say about his responsibility. I feel ache anything short of a memo that literally says we would have indicted President Donald Trump for X Y see, but we can't because he's the president is not going to be like. Frankly, I think,
The trust in in Mahler, invested by people who are critical of tromp is not unconditional, and I would be very surprised if any kind of conclusion of the mother investigation that doesn't include a Donald Trump is guilty of sin. Smoking gun mayors, like I think, that's, probably going to result in a lot of the hashtag resistance. Seeing the Miller investigation is less legitimate or saying that, like Bill BAR stepped on it or that it's been corrupted, if in some in some way or that Robert Mahler wasn't in fact the hero of democracy, we thought he was like. I think that at this point these expectations have been set so high, that the likelihood that whatever comes out of this is actually seen as clarifying in terms of building a political consensus as to what happened and what role the president hasn't. It is unlikely, and I think we should maybe start preparing ourselves for that possibility. Now you mean we're not gonna reach political.
since eight. Yes, sadly, we're not going to reach political consensus, why do think there? But you know I just talked about the possibility of a report of damning evidence against trumpet and we're not gonna charge him cause he's the president and, as you say, there is also the possibility of the evidence. Wasn't there or the evidence was mixed or an That'S- why? I think it important that the report is about explaining the prosecution or declination decisions, because you know if they decide not to prosecute dog, junior or tromp or whoever, despite like, maybe consider it seriously, they had to explain why and so. Theoretically. Report would say like we found this evidence, but you know we didn't think the evidence was strong enough yeah. I just don't know that lake there's no. There is very little incentive for Democrats to leak that there is very little incentive for for democratic,
I believe that the only thing I would say, though, about this is that one reason I expect this do not make a huge political difference going forward unless it's a big things is that it feels to me like it is already made financial difference, rightly if tromp was riding high in the polls right with a sixty five percent approval rating based on the historically low african american unemployment and stuff. Like that, then, like information that came out about his shady dealings with Russia, you can easily see, like normally democratic leaning, voters who'd been impressed by Trump strong performance of job. Turning against him, even some waiver
moderate spring, like I don't know about that guy, but like his numbers in the in the low forty is you're talking about a group of trump approvers who are like already fairly hard core the lower you get as a president like the harder. It is too like persuade marginal people to turn against you, and I do think that's like another important piece of context where this rightly the interesting thing about money. Wind ski is it that didn't knock Bill Clinton down from a high point. You know, whereas like Colombia, starting at now, like a terribly low point, but a pretty low point where, like from paper verse, I think like really agree with him about consequential matters of national policy, and so it is hard to you know, disabuse them of the. I do also think that we have really talked about the obstruction of just
part of this. But we know that there is a very, very extensive investigation into whether Trump tried to obstruct the investigation and, like we ve known that for a long time it relates to stuff, like the call me firing in attacking sessions and all other kind of efforts to interfere. the FBI, but we ve never really seen. Sometimes there is a power in like the new cycle of having this all put together in one place, may with some new stuff and with like some some big take away like findings that yeah, so if the mother, like, let's say, there's nothing there No smoking gun on collusion and, unlike literally, what we ve talked about today, as is the extent of the collusion story and but also what we need
already know about is the extent of the obstruction story, and that looks really bad like it. It is possible that the Mulder report- let's say I'm Allah report, comes out. It's it's damning on obstruction. Perhaps it says we're not charge. because he's president or something like that, and then I think you get to the question of house democrats- and you know how do they not move to impeach? Based on this, I guess it's possible that they won't, but, like I tend to suspend That's if Mueller's findings, however, they are released or not released or anyting more damning than no collusion. Witch hunt like there's going to be a big, a lot of pressure on House Democrats to to do something about it like what are they going to do is if, if mothers like there was no collusion by the President, seriously obstructed justice and like and made all of these
completely outrageous efforts to interfere with the Justice Department. Are Democrats, just gonna say how elegance guess we'll just have to beat him in the next election. We're not gonna like do anything about this. I think they were. I haven't now really hoping for a mother report. That is one page, no collusion which, on echo, But while we are, hopefully we will have to have you back onto to discuss it at that point I'm not sure that the House Democrats, enthusiasm for MIKE pensive ministration is actually all that high. So I ran out well see, what's he what happens so thanks, Andrea Heart, for common on explaining this to us, I would like to get back into Russia Gate every few months. It says it's always a pleasure and thanks, of course, to our sponsors, Antwerp producer, Jeffrey gown and needs will be banned.
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Transcript generated on 2021-09-11.