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Seth Abramson @SethAbramson
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Everyone—even House Republicans—admits that the DOJ-FBI investigation first led by Comey, now by Mueller, was initiated when one of Trump's top NatSec aides got drunk in London and revealed that Trump's campaign had been offered stolen goods by the Kremlin and was considering it.
2/ Under these circumstances, had the DOJ and FBI *not* initiated an investigation, it would've been a scandal bigger than Watergate. Moreover, had the DOJ and FBI *not* used their usual investigative mechanisms in launching and conducting their probe, it would've been a scandal.
3/ SOP (standard operating procedure) for the DOJ and FBI is relying in part on informants to gather info. These informants don't *create* inculpatory evidence; they do not entrap; they do not manufacture new narratives. They tell DOJ and the FBI whether they should be concerned.
4/ When the FBI and DOJ looked into Papadopoulos' self-incriminatory statements, *every piece of evidence they found supported what Papadopoulos said*—namely, that Trump's campaign was engaged in clandestine and illegal negotiations with the Kremlin. So they *kept investigating*.
5/ The position that Trump and Giuliani have taken on the rule of law is *obscene*. Their position is that the DOJ and FBI cannot—under any circumstances—investigate criminal behavior within a presidential campaign. Nor can the DOJ and FBI investigate any candidate for president.
6/ This obscenity of a legal position—if we credited it for even a second—would have precluded the DOJ and FBI from ever even *investigating* Hillary Clinton, which decision (had it been made) would've given Clinton the White House. Why? Because all the 2016 polling data says so.
7/ While the FBI was publicly investigating Clinton for the first *year* of the presidential campaign season—and then, while rogue agents in the FBI were trying to blackmail the FBI Director into *reopening* the then-closed investigation—the FBI approach to Trump was *different*.
8/ FBI agent Peter Strzok recommended extraordinary measures to ensure no one ever found out Trump's campaign was under investigation—limiting artificially the number of people at DOJ allowed to know about the probe. Then FBI agents *directly lied* to the New York Times about it.
9/ Those rogue FBI agents are now under investigation by Inspector General Horowitz. As are the rogue FBI agents who leaked confidential, anti-Clinton/pro-Trump investigative information to the media both directly and through Trump attorneys Rudy Giuliani and Joe diGenova.
10/ And while rogue FBI agents in touch with the Trump campaign were trying to blackmail Comey into reopening the Clinton case, the Trump campaign was running an illegal disinformation campaign—a domestic psy-ops campaign the likes of which we've never seen—right here in America.
11/ The campaign involved Donald Trump Jr. and Erik Prince—who both, we now know, lied to Congress about what happened during the campaign—as well as Michael Flynn, who's been convicted of a crime for his actions during the transition, and Steve Bannon, who's under investigation.
12/ What Trump and Giuliani are conducting now is their *second*—and most *obscene*—domestic psy-ops campaign, this time not to win an election but to smear federal law enforcement and clear from criminal prosecution or impeachment the most grotesque traitor in America's history.
13/ The only reason this psy-ops campaign-cum-criminal "defense" is working—I say this as a former criminal defense lawyer—is a) it's being played out in the public square, b) the media has been incompetent at pushing back against it, and c) the whole probe has been politicized.
14/ But there's also another reason, and today Giuliani gave it: the adjudication of all this—at least during Trump's presidency and at least with respect to Trump himself—will be through impeachment, a *political* process. For that reason—says Giuliani—the *public* is the jury.
15/ And Giuliani is right: Mueller can indict and convict—or indict and receive cooperation from—Trump Jr., Kushner, Ivanka, Prince, Stone, Cohen, Clovis, Page, Bannon, and a gaggle of other Trump aides and it won't mean a damn thing for Trump if American voters don't want it to.
16/ Republicans in D.C.—and ardent Trump loyalists the nation over—have put their political agenda ahead of America's national security, and as long as that continues, Trump is effectively invulnerable from impeachment or indeed any consequences whatsoever until he leaves office.
17/ But—and again, I say this as a criminal defense attorney—Americans should at least realize they're being played. Hoodwinked. Trump and Giuliani are "running a defense" that was cooked up in a war room and uses the only possible shield Trump has: that all of this is political.
18/ That's why Nunes is doing what he's doing; that's why Trump is positioning himself as a victim of partisan politics; that's why the GOP in DC is betraying America's rule of law: because as long as this all remains "mere politics," Trump will last to the end of his presidency.
19/ If we looked at this *legally*, it's the *apocalypse* for Trump: he has no legal defense, no factual defense, is facing the best lawyers and investigators in America, and there isn't an exculpatory fact to be found in the whole investigation—and his allies are rolling on him.
20/ So because Giuliani and Trump know they're likely to win on the politics—unless Dems take the House; but politicizing the Mueller probe also energizes Republicans to vote in November, so it's a win-win—they're turning now toward trying to politicize the *legal* end of things.
21/ That's why Trump advisor/pal Alan Dershowitz says this case "criminalizes politics"—because it does just the *opposite*: it politicizes the criminal justice system. Trump and Giuliani are trying to turn the RULE OF LAW into the RULE OF POLITICS—which is how autocracies start.
22/ Here's what media can do now: bifurcate the conversation into the "political" and "legal." Make clear that in America, American voters can knowingly vote serial sexual assailants, traitors, criminals, liars, even election cheats into office if they want to. And they did here.
23/ The media should say we live in such a politicized environment apparently no U.S. political party will stop a serial sexual assailant, traitor, criminal, liar, and election cheat either before or after they take office *if their voters decide they want that person in charge*.
24/ Then draw a bright red f*cking line between that political reality and whether or not America is going to have "rule of law." Because right now America has a choice: we can have a "highly politicized democratic environment" or we can have a damn autocracy. We can't have both.
25/ Every media segment on Trump-Russia should have two parts—the length of each depending on the news of the day—a political analysis, which brings on political actors like Giuliani, and a legal analysis, which brings on legal and law enforcement experts. NEVER COMBINE THE TWO.
26/ Do *not* bring on any political guest—*ever*—to discuss the legal side of the case, else you help Trump establish RULE OF POLITICS over RULE OF LAW in America. All media questions should be either "political" or "legal" queries—no media question should ever commingle the two.
27/ If the media does this, we will come to understand that *no legal expert of any credibility* (and this excludes Dershowitz, who poisoned his analysis by being a Trump pal and advisor) believes the FBI and DOJ have treated Trump unfairly or that Trump is in good shape legally.
28/ By the same token, if the media does this, we will come to understand that the 2018 mid-term election is the most important election of our lifetime—as it will determine whether there continues to be a RULE OF LAW in America or whether political might is all that matters now.
29/ I'm a small-d democrat as well as a Democrat: I think if American voters know in advance someone is a traitor, criminal, liar, election cheat, and serial sexual assailant, they should be able to willfully destroy America by voting that cretin into the White House—I really do.
30/ But I *don't* believe American voters can eliminate the RULE OF LAW without a Constitutional Convention or an armed rebellion—neither of which anyone wants. And I don't think either the media or law enforcement should help a candidate hide from voters who he is pre-election.
31/ So as an attorney and democrat I'm angry about two things, as we all should be: that Trump is threatening the RULE OF LAW and that rogue FBI agents and frankly the media helped Trump hide who he is from American voters pre-election. That Trump *won* is itself not the problem.
32/ Right now the media can begin to undo the damage it did by bifurcating all Trump-Russia talk into *political and legal components*.

And the Inspector General can bring to an accounting those rogue FBI agents who lied to the NYT about Trump or blackmailed Comey pre-election.
33/ And U.S. voters can punish GOP Congressmen like Mitch McConnell, who refused to let American voters be told about the Russia threat pre-election. And voters can punish Trump for the lies he told about himself and his Russia ties pre-election by taking Congress from his party.
34/ But we must never again have a series of Sunday-morning interviews with Giuliani and other Trump flacks like we did today. The commingling of the legal and political in the Trump-Russia investigation is an atrocity of bad journalism and bad citizenship that threatens America.
35/ Legally, Trump is in trouble and should be. Politically, he'll be in trouble depending upon how America votes—which is also how it should be. Media-wise, he'll be presented accurately only if the media stops playing his autocratic games.

All three ends of this *matter*. /end
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