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(THREAD) CBS just spoke to the REPUBLICAN chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee—now entering its third year of investigating Trump-Russia ties—and what Richard Burr has to tell America should decimate any lingering skepticism about Mueller. I hope you'll read on and retweet.
1/ Here's the link to the CBS interview. Skeptics reading this thread—who will be stunned by what they read—should understand that the interviewee, Republican Senator Richard Burr of North Carolina, was on TRUMP'S NATIONAL SECURITY TEAM as of October 2016. cbsnews.com/news/richard-b…
2/ CBS notes that the Senate Intel Committee is entering its third year of a bipartisan Russia probe *despite* intense pressure—particularly from Burr's fellow Republicans—to wrap up its work. That alone is telling: that the Senate majority on the Committee is resisting stopping.
3/ QUOTE #1: "[Burr] acknowledges now that the investigation is broader, and perhaps more consequential, than it has long been thought to be." So America doesn't realize how much troubling material the Senate has found—or how far-flung and important to our future the material is.
4/ QUOTE #2: "What [has]...extended the life of the [Senate] investigation...is a better understanding of...how coordinated and organized the effort was." So it was the "coordination" and "organization" of what Russia did—uh, coordinating with *whom*?—that has shocked the Senate.
5/ And "shock" isn't too strong a word, as Burr says "none of us"—meaning *even the Democrats on the Senate Intel Committee who hate Trump the most*—"ever anticipated that this [investigation] would be two years." Burr made this comment to CBS, CBS says, "solemnly." That's eerie.
6/ QUOTE #3 (CBS): "The [probe] isn't compiling the story of one pivotal election, but of something larger, more complicated and—from a counterintelligence perspective—more nefarious. The final report may be so highly classified that a meaningful portion may not be made public."
7/ As that CBS summary of what Burr said attests, most Americans—but not people who read this feed, I'm happy to say—think Mueller is only discovering info about what happened in "one election." Burr, Trump-Russia analysts, and readers of feeds like this know it's *beyond* that.
8/ According to CBS, per Burr the "story" Trump-Russia investigators are seeing is "larger, more complicated, and more nefarious" than the story of the 2016 election. On this feed, the shorthand we use to describe what the Republican Burr is telling CBS/us is "the grand bargain."
9/ As I write about "the grand bargain," I discuss names major media—and Mueller's indictments thus far—aren't focused on: Dahlan, Nader, Barrack, Broidy, MBS, MBZ, el-Sisi, dozens more.

Burr QUOTE #4: "We've interviewed people I don't know if the special counsel knows about..."
10/ QUOTE #5: "'[This is] work the [Senate Intel] committee will do for the next decade. And it has helped even our intelligence community's understanding of Russia's capabilities and intent behind this.' This was not, he stressed, 'Let's go screw with the Americans in 2016.'"
11/ The implication in Burr's words is chilling: that the "story" is so big the whole Senate Intel Committee needs a *decade* to work on it, and that a big part of the story is Russia's "intent"—which far too many journalists have blithely assumed they know. It goes beyond Trump.
12/ So we have a "larger, more complicated, more nefarious" story behind Russia's "intent" that goes "beyond" one election cycle and will require "a decade" to fully understand. Okay, but is the story limited to Russia's regional interests (e.g., Ukraine, NATO's eastern creep)?
13/ QUOTE #6 (CBS): "The investigation now spans continents and includes sources from countries besides Russia—the [Committee] staff have traveled overseas and witnesses have come in to testify from abroad." So the story of Russia's "intent" involves other regions and continents.
14/ Those who read this feed know which "regions and continents" Russia's "intent" covers besides North America and Russia's immediate neighbors. In fact, *everyone* following the case knows this—though we rarely hear it on TV. The Russia investigation is about *the Middle East*.
15/ Burr—again, folks, an October 2016 MEMBER OF TRUMP'S NATIONAL SECURITY TEAM—says the unprecedented access the Senate got to U.S. intelligence "gave us tremendous insight to know when somebody was lying to us." He says *many* people have been referred for criminal prosecution.
16/ How crazy is this? *So many people have lied to the Senate Intel Committee* in its Trump-Russia investigation that Richard Burr, once a Trump ally, *won't even tell CBS how many did* except to intimate that it's *a lot*.

Which means *some* (or *many*) new charges are coming.
17/ QUOTE #7: "Though the team's known to work 6 and sometimes 7 days a week, Burr denied it'd taken a toll. 'Morale's great,' he said. 'I think they're fueled by what they find.'" People ask what keeps me (or others who follow Trump-Russia daily) going—it's that. "What we find."
18/ Equally significant is how the Senate team is operating: it's a nine-person *bipartisan team* apparently so *unified* in their concern about what they're finding that they're able to *agree* on nearly everything. That's right: Burr describes a team basically on the same page.
19/ CBS was—it's clear—so surprised about how unified the Senate staff are that it had to tease something not in its story to gain readers: the idea there might be a fight over the final report. But when you see what Burr says about it, it's that he doesn't worry about it at all.
20/ QUOTE #8: "It's hard for me to believe this could fall apart at the easiest point, which is: 'Here are the facts. Write the report.'" Burr's confidence the report won't be a fight suggests that the facts are so obvious and/or damning neither side will need/want to shade them.
21/ I often get asked—always by far-right Twitter users weakly trolling me—if I have a "murder board" in my house tying together elements of the Trump-Russia story with lengths of yarn. (Answer: nope. It's all in my head.) But you know who *does* have a murder board? The Senate.
22/ QUOTE #9: "Inside the [Committee's investigative] spaces, the staff have several investigation boards mapping out known connections between witnesses—and a constellation of players whose roles/relationships aren't fully understood." What do you know? A *GOP-run murder board*.
23/ Just imagine how *complex and nefarious* Russia's intent (as to America) has to be for a nine-person Senate staff to be *two years* into an investigation and be using a giant murder board with "a constellation of players whose roles and relationships aren't fully understood."
24/ QUOTE #10: "There've been a lot of people—a lot of people—that none of you [in media] have caught. Not all the interviews [of Trump-Russia witnesses] have taken place up here [on Capitol Hill]." So Burr is saying we haven't even heard of *many* major Trump-Russia figures yet.
25/ Folks like @AlanDersh luxuriate in lying to Americans who don't understand our criminal justice system. They imply that law enforcement reveals its findings as it goes along—rather than only at the end—so if Mueller had anything, we'd know. No we wouldn't—that's a filthy lie.
26/ What's true for Mueller is *also* true for the *GOP-led Senate Intel Committee*. Not only are they referring for criminal prosecution people they won't tell us about—per a Republican, Burr—they are *also* saying they know about key witnesses *none of us do yet*. Process that.
27/ As CBS reports, when the Committee started it had 3 areas of inquiry; it's had to expand its brief to *5* areas of inquiry. And how much work does it have left? Well, it's released 2 reports and has months left before releasing a third.

And the two biggest ones? No timeline.
28/ The Senate reports with no timeline?

(1) Trump-Russia coordination; and
(2) the *effect* of Russian interference on the 2016 election and beyond.

This would suggest to anyone that these topics are the ones "larger, more complicated, more nefarious" than anyone anticipated.
29/ CBS underscores how much bigger those inquiries are turning out to be with some numbers, especially these two:

(1) The Committee has held ~13 public hearings.
(2) The Committee has interviewed 200+ witnesses.

Do the math. How many witnesses do you think we don't know about?
30/ Despite a dwindling crew of mainstream media journalists (led by @KenDilanianNBC) desperately hawking a prediction that Mueller is almost done, what CBS pulls from its interview with Richard Burr is completely different, and makes up QUOTE #11 in this thread (see next tweet).
31/ QUOTE #11: "Burr and Warner have offered inexact estimates of when the investigation would wind down. It was already supposed to have ended by the end of 2017, by spring 2018, before the midterms, and then by the end of last year." Burr now—"We don't know what we don't know."
32/ So CBS registers what all who follow the Trump-Russia case closely—and have experience with criminal investigations—are saying: *every prior story* claiming the core Trump-Russia investigation was about to shut down has been *false* and no more such stories should be printed.
33/ So how great is the size/scope of this story?

QUOTE #12: "Burr had not wanted to expand the universe of witnesses the committee interviewed, but felt he had little choice. He guessed that the committee had completed interviews with its target list 'fairly early on' in 2017."
34/ So Burr is saying—stunningly—that the Senate came up with, in early 2017, a list of every witness it felt it needed to interview based on the intelligence it had...

...and finished with that list *two years ago*. But Burr says they've been working 6-7 days a week since then.
35/ QUOTE #13: "It's not the people that were on the deck that we knew about that lengthened the time. It was the people we didn't know about that we came to the conclusion—either for the campaign interactions or this bigger picture we're looking at—that extended the timeline."
36/ Burr implies that some witnesses (presumably U.S. witnesses) were so scared to testify before Congress that they *asked to be subpoenaed* so that they could represent (to what nefarious political or other forces we don't know) that they had no choice. What does that tell you?
37/ What some harp on is the end of the story, which tries—as media *won't stop doing*—to freeze in time a probe Burr *just said* has many, *many* years left to go. But CBS couldn't resist: have you found "collusion" right now, with (Burr implied) 8 years of investigation left?
38/ Burr gives a nice quotable answer that'll make Trumpists happy—which is what that quote was clearly intended to do. But his further breakdown leaves doubt. He allows that "collusion" is a possible explanation for the motivations of many of the Trump-Russia ties they've found.
39/ Referring to the Manafort-Kilimnik interactions, Burr calls the argument that they were collusive a "stretch" without dismissing it (and of course he has much, much more investigation of that topic to go). But he allows that "collusion" is one possibility there and elsewhere.
40/ QUOTE #14: "There's an awful lot of connections. They may not be connections that are tied to 2016 elections, but just the sheer fact that they have a relationship—it may be business. It may be Russian intelligence. It may be they're all on the payroll of Oleg Deripaska."
41/ QUOTE #15: "In a lot of cases, we found out they [the Trump-Russia connections the Senate Intelligence Committee has found] fit in neither bucket [listed in QUOTE #14], or we don't know which bucket [yet]." So Burr admits "collusion" may well be the answer to open questions.
42/ Burr says the Senate *hasn't* started its report and *doesn't even know what form it would take*.

But most importantly, he hedges on who the report would please or displease and, contrary to what Trumpists are falsely saying today, doesn't take a final position on collusion.
43/ QUOTE #16: "What I'm telling you is that [the Senate Intelligence Committee] is going to present, as best we can, the facts to [media] and the American people. And you'll have to draw your own conclusion as to whether you think that, by whatever definition, that's collusion."
44/ Burr makes clear that—in his view—it's about "60%" of America that's in the as-yet-undecided group that'll have to decide whether, "by whatever definition...[the report indicates] collusion." He allows that, in addition to the 20% (his view) who see it already, many more may.
45/ But because social media (and media generally) is crappy, the entire CBS interview, which is harrowing for Trump, has now been reduced to a *single pull-quote* that Burr *quite deliberately* threw as red meat to the Trumpists—even though it contradicts his expanded comments.
46/ That is, the Burr interview makes absolutely, 100% crystal clear that "collusion" is *already* a *reasonable interpretation* of EXISTING FACTS—if not one he *personally* adopts—and may well be a reasonable interpretation of STILL-UNDER-INVESTIGATION and AS-YET UNKNOWN facts.
47/ In other words, he's saying collusion will continue to be arguable post-report *based on what he knows now*—with eight years left of work to do. Given that "beyond a reasonable doubt" is the discourse standard here, he's saying some will see that level of proof, and some not.
48/ Folks like @AlanDersh have lied about standards of proof—pretending collusion is a binary (i.e. it 100% exists or 100% doesn't). Burr instead speaks responsibly, noting that some will say collusion exists beyond a reasonable doubt and some will see evidence shy of that level.
49/ Burr's words make clear he *doesn't* discount collusion as a possible explanation for the evidence he's seen—just that there are still enough *other* explanations that he *personally* wouldn't say collusion has been proven to the highest standard of proof. See the difference?
50/ Media—and attorneys like me—have an obligation to contextualize, dissect and explain interviews like Burr's so we can see how they *devastate* both of two key narratives: (1) that the Trump-Russia investigation is almost done *or* (2) that there is *no* evidence of collusion.
CONCLUSION/ I've *never* said—and would *never* say—I'm the only attorney folks should read. Read *all* the attorneys and investigators—even read @AlanDersh, who's disagreed with by the rest of us. But if you're quoting Trump Jr. on a complex federal investigation, grow up. /end
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