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Why We Don't Trust Our Institutions?
Many Trump opponents were shocked and disappointed by Trump-Russia special counsel Robert Mueller's conclusion that "the investigation did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities." Some members of the "Resistance" and NeverTrump communities apparently had a deep emotional commitment to the idea of collusion.
Reason - Surprise - Year - Mueller - Sign
But there was no reason for surprise. For more than a year, Mueller sent sign after sign that he would not allege collusion. Those signs took the form of indictments and plea agreements against key Trump figures that did not allege any conspiracy or coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia to fix the 2016 election.
If those key Trump figures -- Paul Manafort, Rick Gates, Michael Flynn, Michael Cohen and others -- were not involved in a Trump-Russia conspiracy, who was? As it turns out, no one.
Sign - October - Mueller - Manafort - Gates
The first big sign came in October 2017, when Mueller indicted Manafort and Gates for tax evasion, bank fraud and failure to register as a foreign agent, among other crimes. Prosecutors detailed Manafort's extravagant spending, like a $15,000 ostrich coat, but left out any accusation that Manafort and Gates were involved in conspiracy or coordination with Russia to affect the election.
Manafort and Gates were well-known for dealings in Ukraine that involved politicians with links to Russia. Media reports were filled with speculation that the Ukraine connection meant that Manafort, and to a lesser extent Gates, were part of some sort of Trump-Russia wrongdoing.
Charges - Collusion - Accounts - Prosecutors - Information
But the charges were what they were -- and they did not allege collusion. Gates pleaded guilty, and by all accounts cooperated extensively with prosecutors. And yet with all that information, Mueller did not allege that Manafort or Gates were part of a collusion scheme.
That was an early and significant clue...
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