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Seth Abramson @SethAbramson
, 11 tweets, 3 min read Read on Twitter
Isikoff's a good journalist. He's also wrong about everything in this interview: from Mueller's timeline to Steele's dossier, from Cohen's Prague trip to what Flynn's first-to-the-feds plea deal meant, from the scope of Butina's role to what "collusion" signifies in this context.
2/ I came to my view of this case not from a hatred of Trump, though I abhor what he's doing to our country. I came to it from having read thousands of police reports, being trained as a criminal investigator, and trying cases before juries. Most journalists don't have that lens.
3/ Trial attorneys are trained to be advocates; criminal investigators are trained to develop dynamic theories for their cases; journalists are trained to be objective to a fault. My approach to writing about the Trump-Russia case tries to incorporate all aspects of my expertise.
4/ Isikoff said Mueller was almost done; I said any lawyer or investigator would know he wasn't, and turned out to be right. An investigator, but maybe not a U.S. journalist, would read a lot of UK media, which repeatedly confirms Steele's intel on the Ritz Moscow kompromat tape.
5/ What I can't account for is Isikoff not recalling major-media reports confirming that Mueller does have evidence Cohen went to Prague, or not knowing that Cohen's July '16 European vacation turned out to be a sham (with fake alibi and all). That's just conventional journalism.
6/ As for Butina/Flynn, I think Americans care too much about journalists' opinions on things they know little about. To understand pleas and when/why they make sense, ask an attorney or an investigator, not a journalist. That's no knock on journalists; it's just not their thing.
7/ What this Mediate guy is doing with this article is the same thing everyone does nowadays: choosing a news source based in whether the source says something you agree with, not based on their level of knowledge, field of expertise or demonstrated track record on a given story.
8/ There are many people who have a track record on *this* story, and a field of expertise giving them special insight on *this* story, who I *wouldn't* trust over Isikoff on almost any story that simply called for hard news reporting. But this case is far more complex than that.
9/ With federal courts/statutes confirming bribery and conspiracy to defraud the U.S. as two crimes undergirded by collusion, and when collusive conduct can lead to many offenses we already have overwhelming evidence of, I wouldn't want to be the journalist saying "no collusion."
10/ But here's the thing: no journalist loses an ounce of credibility insisting there's no there there in the Trump-Russia case until the last possible moment. Only lawyers, analysts, and journalists sticking their neck out by truthfully saying what they see are risking anything.
CONCLUSION/ When I see someone giving a conservative interpretation of the Trump-Russia case based on a selective reading of facts, a misreading of facts, or a timeline/storyline missing key facts, I get nervous that professional trepidation is superseding erudite analysis. /end
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