The Republican-controlled Senate Intelligence Committee released a report today claiming that it couldn’t find any direct evidence of collusion between the Donald Trump campaign and Russia. This report is, obviously, horse crap. It was also fairly predictable, and it’ll have no impact whatsoever. But it does appear to give something away about the timing of what the real investigators are about to do.
It’s not that this Senate Intel Committee report contains any outright lies. Instead it’s more centered around lies of omission. All one would need to do is to look at Donald Trump Jr’s emails, or Roger Stone’s emails, or the court testimony provided by cooperators like Rick Gates, to see that there was a coordinated and sustained criminal conspiracy between the Trump campaign, the Trump family, and the Russian government to alter the outcome of the 2016 election. But this report took a very different approach.
The Senate Intel Committee is basically saying that because no one came into its hearings and outright confessed to anything, there’s no “direct” evidence of their guilt. This is roughly like saying that because you looked in the freezer for mayonnaise and didn’t find any, there’s no direct evidence of mayonnaise in the kitchen. You’re conveniently leaving out the part where you decided not to look in the refrigerator, because you didn’t want to find it.
This report will have zero impact. Donald Trump will yell around about how it exonerates him, but no one will care. When the Devin Nunes-controlled House Intel Committee released a report falsely exonerating everyone in Trump’s orbit last year, it ended up having zero impact from a political, legal, or court of public opinion perspective. So why bother?
The key here is the timing. Why make a point of issuing this nonsense report right now? This investigation has been going on for the better part of two years, yet suddenly it’s being rushed out the door, even before Michael Cohen could show up and testify. That’s hilarious, considering he’s one of the cooperators with the most direct knowledge of the Trumps family’s crimes. But consider what’s coming up on the horizon.
Last month there were major media reports that Robert Mueller would be making his big move against Donald Trump in mid February. Well, we’re getting into mid February. In addition, Mueller just got his hands on the perjury transcripts of dozens of Trump players, and can arrest them at any time. For that matter, SDNY appears to be close to moving in on Trump’s family.
If you’re on Team Trump, as Republican Senator Richard Burr and his GOP-controlled Senate Intel Committee obviously are, you’re going to want to publish your phony exoneration just before the real stuff comes out. The Republicans who released this report know full well it won’t help Trump one bit, but they gain favor with him by releasing it, because he’s delusional enough to think this somehow does help him.
The big question here is why the Democrats on the Senate Intel Committee aren’t setting the building on fire right now over this bogus report. To be clear, they had zero power to stop this report from coming out; they could only have fought back by publicly running their mouths. They’re not really doing that, at least not to the extent one might expect. We’d guess it’s because they know this report will lull Trump into a false sense of security, making him less likely to try any drastic moves before Mueller finishes him off. This also further suggests that they know Mueller’s big moves are coming rather soon.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report