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Tom Nichols @RadioFreeTom
, 16 tweets, 3 min read Read on Twitter
Okay, since the post-FISA Russia gaslighting has begun, let's sum up why the Trumper arguments about "no collusion" and "no crime" and all that crap are not only wrong, but morally deficient. Yes, including the Fusion and Steele issue. /1
First, the "dossier." A GOP operative hires a dirt-gathering oppo firm, backs out, and that assignment gets taken over by a firm working for the Dems. They are paying a company whose job it is to get dirt to go get dirt. This firm - duh - has foreign contractors like Steele. /2
Foreign contractor uses his contacts in a world of Very Bad Guys to see what he can turn up, because (a) oppo, and (b) he is, you know, a former spy. He writes a raw file - not a final report - that says: "Here's some hideous dirt, but I can't vouch for all of it." /3
Meanwhile, the contractor - an experienced agent - is so freaked by what he finds while looking into Trump that he pings US law enforcement and the intelligence community. This is called "The Right Thing to Do," if you've been a spy for an *allied* country. /4
Of course, the US authorities were *already* on the case, because Trump works with morons who are bad at everything. Ignoring the Steele file would have been LE and IC malpractice. Meanwhile, Steele and Fusion are also- again, duh - trying to get the press interested. /5
Insanely, however, the Trumper theory of the case is: Clinton directed Fusion, who directed Steele, to get dirt from the Russians, who then faked out Steele with bad info, which Steele used to trigger a Deep State plot against Trump. (Versions vary, but that's roughly it.) /6
This assumes everyone was going out on a dangerous limb for an election HRC thought was in the bag, and that the FBI had no interest in anything related to Trump and Russia until a guy knew a guy who wrote a thing, and not at all due to stuff of which they were already aware. /7
The Trumpers, however, live in a linear world, where nothing can happen in parallel; all things must happen in sequence because that's how their brains work. Clinton>Fusion>Steele>FBI appeals to their paranoia, instead of that the IC and Steele knowing stufref concurrently. /8
When the FISA warrant is set out, the gaslighting gets turned way hot. But instead of hiding Steele, the warrant says that it used a source that was doing oppo, but that there were other reasons to look into Carter Page. (Because, see above: "Trump works with morons.") /9
Meanwhile - and this is key - Trumpers are trying to equate a US firm using a UK contractor for a report that raised stuff the IC was already working on - with *taking a call directly from Russian emissaries to share dirt on a US candidate.*
These are not remotely the same. /10
The world of oppo research is ugly, and I've seen some of it close up since losing my political, uh, virginity back in the 1980s. Sometimes, you don't use what you have. Sometimes you call the cops. But you NEVER take a call from an enemy state and book the meeting. NEVER. /11
Hiring a US firm to go find dirt using foreign contractors? Dirty, ugly - and sadly, normal.
Taking a call directly from emissaries of the Kremlin to get dirt on a US citizen and a candidate for office? Horrifying, unpatriotic, and should have been an INSTANT call to the FBI. /12
Every conservative pundit trying to draw this moral equivalence knows it's wrong - no, they do, they're smart enough to know how they'd react to all this had Clinton done any of it - and they're now abandoning every last shred of decency and shame in desperation. /13
Their goal is to both confuse the American public with complexity (easy to do) and to paralyze any moral response to something that even five years ago would have *horrified* us by saying "everyone does it" and "Clinton did it too" and "it's just Russia, so what." /14
They are reacting to each damning revelation with more and more of a fetid moral smog. No matter what anyone say from here on out, bear in mind the key difference: Nasty opposition research is not the same as taking the outstretched hand of the Kremlin. /15
Ignore the chaff bursts from the apologists. They will be brighter and bigger as this gets worse. What laws were broken, I don't know; I'm not a lawyer. But the basic moral issue here is crystal clear, or should be, to any loyal American. /15x
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