Richard Cristdahl: Easy-peasy, how spinning one word can exonerate Trump
In Attorney General William Barr’s March 24 letter to Congress, he wrote, “As the report states: [T]he investigation did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.”
That sentence contains a footnote that defines coordination very narrowly and places Trump’s claim of “complete and total exoneration” into question. Barr’s footnote, defined coordination as an “agreement — tacit or express — between the Trump campaign and the Russian government on election interference.”
But that definition of coordination is contrary to the law and Federal Election Commission (FEC) regulations, which has a broader definition. The FEC defines a coordinated expenditure (coordination) as one made, “in cooperation, consultation or concert with, or at the request or suggestion of a candidate or political committee, regardless of whether any agreement was involved.”
Although Barr’s statement, as stated and referenced, is correct; it incorrectly states what the Special Counsel actually said. The significance of Barr’s narrow definition of what’s criminal alludes to Trump not being guilty. But the Special Counsel’s broader definition to what is criminal, and the correct and legal definition, in this case, can lead to Trump, et-al being guilty of conspiring with Russia.
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