"Get the emails."
In one sense, Gates' confirmation of Trump's obsession with a conspiracy theory -- that 33,000 of his Democratic rival's emails had been stolen and could reveal damning information -- isn't a total shock. After all, the 2016 candidate famously blurted the quiet part out loud during a public appearance that July, when he famously said "
But in another sense, Saturday's disclosure -- part of 500 pages of previously secret documents from special counsel
Gates' disclosure to investigators was a key insight into the state of mind of a campaign that was willing and eager to work with electronic thieves -- even with powerful foreign adversaries like
Indeed, the 500 pages -- including agents' interviews with key players like Gates, Trump's now-disgraced former lawyer
Among the highlights are that Gates said that a lot of the pressure to find the purloined emails fell on retired general
Other revelations from the 500 pages of source material are confirmation that
Manafort's weird unfounded theory -- also promoted by his longtime associate
The disclosures also bring into much sharper focus something that's critical for understanding America's current plight: The so-called Trump-Russia scandal -- in which the president falsely claimed "total exoneration" after Mueller's muddled two-year probe -- and the so-called
Saturday's news about the Mueller memos didn't cause a huge stir -- most on social media were more taken by the schadenfreude of seeing Trump's narcissistic 2019 World Approval-Seeking Tour draw more boos in
But here's a more discouraging takeaway -- the powerful suggestion that the Mueller investigation that dominated the news for the better part of two years was never what the millions of Americans who believed in the battle-tested former FBI chief, a functioning justice system, and the truth actually thought it was. Saturday's revealing memos were just the latest and strongest hint that an investigation upon which too many pinned too much hope -- from
Sorry, hon -- Mueller didn't get this.
It's hard to know how much of this is the fault of Mueller, the taciturn Vietnam War hero who may not have temperamentally been up to the job of grasping such a vast threat to American democracy under the best of circumstances. And these clearly were not the best of circumstances. When Mueller finally testified in public before
There were, in hindsight, early clues. Why were Trump figures -- including Gates, Flynn and others -- given relatively sweet deals to plead guilty and provide information, when that information didn't bring consequences for the president and other higher-ups around him? A warning flag was Team Mueller's surprisingly public denial of a BuzzFeed article about Trump pressure on Cohen to mislead
Maybe that's because, in the end, a probe that was 50 percent about obstruction of justice was thwarted by ... obstruction of justice. Some of that likely was the collective impact of the 10 documented efforts to obstruct justice that are outlined in the Mueller report -- from the firing of FBI chief
But there is no doubt that the knobs of gaslighting were switched to "high" when new Attorney General
In the end -- as the memos dropped on Saturday reveal -- the Mueller report was not the definitive word on what happened with Trump,
What's telling is that Mueller's impotent testimony before
Interestingly, the new Mueller info came just a day after an interview in which House Speaker
"What we're talking about now is taking us into a whole other class of objection to what the president has done. And there may be other -- there were 11 obstruction of justice provisions in the Mueller report. Perhaps some of them will be part of this," Pelosi told
This is a tough call, because every day that
That's because -- as noted earlier -- the real scandal of Trump's presidency is his amoral and narcissistic willingness to do any and all things that are terrible for the country but are good for his own personal power and ambition. The symptoms of that corrupt disease played out on a global canvas from
Note: Some light editing to make clear that some info in the memos was referenced in original Mueller report but not highlighted by Mueller or, perhaps more importantly, in subsequent media coverage.
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