<THREAD> So, I'm going to do something here I've been considering for a while... I think that @SethAbramson's new book, Proof of Collusion, might be a really important publication, depending on how many people read it and what's in it.
I received my copy today. Seth is one of the few "citizen journalists" springing out of the aftermath of the 2016 election that I've come to trust a decent amount. He brings the perspective of both an attorney and an academic, and he sources quite well for Twitter.
The book, as you might surmise, is about Trump's and the Republican Party's relationships with Russia, mostly as it pertains to the 2016 election.
I've decided that though I'm pretty busy, I want to get through the book and I'm going to live tweet my reading of it as much as I can. I'm going to focus on things that stand out to me, particularly things I didn't already know. We'll see how this experiment turns out.
Here goes nothing... The Introduction, entitled, "A Theory of the Case."
p. 3: "The Trump-Russia investigation may be the most multifaceted, wide ranging, high-stakes federal criminal investigation in American history. It crosses continents and decades and has swept into its vortex more than four hundred people, millions of pages of..."
"... financial records, and scores of unanswered questions about the state of our democracy." This is one of the things that I like about Abramson -- he gets that there's something bigger than America going on, and emphasizes that this is why we need to be patient with Mueller.
p. 3: "... whatever your opinion of Donald Trump, you have a vested interest in finding out the truth... if you want America to be governed by the consent of the people and not the Kremlin." As we've seen in Helsinki and Paris, this isn't really an exaggeration.
p. 4: "...it is likely that the Trump-Russia story ends with Americans choosing a new archetype for "American traitor" besides Benedict Arnold."
He proceeds to define collusion and talk about the criminal implications.
Love this. p. 5: " ... the work is made easier, I'll confess, by the almost historic absence.... of *any* exculpatory evidence suggesting the president of the United States did *not* conspire with our enemies to violate federal law." Not a trivial point.
Seth says, from the standpoint of an attorney, p. 5: "... I have never before encountered a criminal investigation in which the entirety of the evidence is as damning as the Trump investigation." This is what makes this all so frustrating.
For anyone who's been following the developments since 2015, so much of this has happened *in plain sight*. We saw Trump kissing Putin's ass repeatedly, We saw Trump select national security advisers with no credentials other than ties to Russia or allies of Russia.
We saw Trump change the GOP platform to favor Russia. We saw Trump telling Russia to hack Hillary's e-mails. @DavidCorn published a terrific piece that I ignored in October 2016 which brought up the facts of the Steele dossier.
@FranklinFoer did one on the Alfa Bank server connection that I laughed at at the time. But taken all together, with everything we've learned since, makes me want to scream "THIS IS SO OBVIOUS! WHY CAN'T WE STOP HIM?"
But our political system and our media are not equipped to handle a crime that is so consequential, particularly if it involves Republicans (they're fine chasing made up stuff about Democrats).
Someone help me here -- What's the line Marie Schrader yells in Season 5 of Breaking Bad when she's been thinking it's going to be easy to make a case against Walter White but realizes is really won't be?
That's how I feel every time I think about this.
p. 6: ".. Donald Trump is a different type of defendant; his defense team is a different sort of defense team; and the defense he and his team have mounted so far is not recognizable to an attorney as any sort of legal defense at all."
I'd go one step further and say that, if anything, his defense team always seems to incriminate him even more!
Abramson continues: "From his Twitter feed, Trump launches daily baseless ad hominem attacks against prosecutors, investigators, and witnesses alike, and he does so with a seeming impunity from the allegations of witness tampering and obstruction of justice..."
p. 7 "While several chapters of this book contain original reporting, the bulk... aggregates and curates information rather than reporting it." Which is what Seth tends to do and it's what I was hoping for -- a one-stop shop for everything we know so far (which is a lot).
p. 8: "This is the state of America in 2018: we wait for news on the possibility that our president may be beholden to a foreign power and the final verdict never arrives, despite feeling tantalizingly close."
Seth goes on to bemoan the lack of financial records that have been made available to the public in so many aspects of this case, including aspects that go way beyond Trump. But know what? Thanks to the #BlueWave, that changes in six weeks.
Seth sets a parameter on p. 9: "So while the Trump-Russia investigation may end up revealing one of the most audacious money-laundering schemes in the last century... this book cannot go there yet."
He's being a more responsible journalist than I think I would be :). But that's what Twitter is for!
p. 10: "In the case of the ongoing Trump-Russia probe, the only plausible theory of the case that coordinates with all the existing evidence is that Donald Trump and a core group of ten to twenty aides, associates, and allies conspired with a hostile foreign power to sell..."
"... that power control over America's foreign policy in exchange for financial reward and -- eventually -- covert election assistance. " Therein lies the rub.
I'm going to stop this thread here. For ease of reading purposes, I'm going to archive these threads and put them on my blog. I'm going to try to get through the first chapter in another thread tonight. Buy Seth's book! simonandschuster.com/books/Proof-of…
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