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Vox - David Roberts - America is facing an epistemic crisis

Say Mueller reveals hard proof that the Trump campaign knowingly colluded with Russia, strategically using leaked emails to hurt Clinton's campaign. Say the president -- backed by the Wall Street Journal editorial page, Fox News, Breitbart, most of the US Cabinet, half the panelists on CNN, most of the radio talk show hosts in the country, and an enormous network of Russian-paid hackers and volunteer shitposters working through social media -- rejects the evidence.

They might say Mueller is compromised. It's a Hillary/"deep state" plot. There's nothing wrong with colluding with Russia in this particular way. Dems did it first. All of the above. Whatever. Say the entire right-wing media machine kicks to life and dismisses the whole thing as a scam -- and conservatives believe them. The conservative base remains committed to Trump, politicians remain scared to cross the base, and US politics remains stuck in partisan paralysis, unable to act on what Mueller discovers.

In short, what if Mueller proves the case and it's not enough? What if there is no longer any evidentiary standard that could overcome the influence of right-wing media?

My bold

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Nov 2nd, 2017 at 08:17:50 PM EST
Props for selecting a horrible essay: Author reveals he has either no idea of or is able to apply essential public law and practical standard of evidentiary proof of guilt in the USA: reasonable doubt. The former chastises attys, the latter restrains jury. In deliberating the life or death of the accused, speculation about events (facts) which have not occurred produces an immoral justice.

Say Mueller reveals hard proof...
Say the entire right-wing media machine kicks...

Which is why, "I don't deal with hypotheticals," is an ancient US American atty joke about the adversarial role (for hire) at trial.

US standards of "due process" like much of constitutional backmatter ought to be understood in relation to "epistemological" history of rebellion against arbitrary, historical authorities of the English crown. But modern children don't get that tuition in political theory much less its practical application and results. Except O.J.!

Accordingly, Mueller obtained indictments with the evidence he has. None of this implicates Trump in the crimes charged to the indicted in point of fact --to be litigated (T, F)--- or findingsof law to be litigate (T, F).

Trial by press has no standard by comparison.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Fri Nov 3rd, 2017 at 11:04:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't see the Republicans getting rid of Trump, unless he gets bored and quits. But he can't resign if that would put him in prison, so he will probably stay.

Then again, the case of Russia being involved in the leaks is still as weak as it ever was. The guy with the Greek name that has made a plea met with a professor who claimed to have contacts in Russia, but looks more like someone who wanted to be more important than he is.

Lies gets you perjury and Manafort and Gates may go down on corruption, but if all Mueller digs up is lies and corruption, is there a point where the media and Democrats will accept that Russia didn't have anything to do with the election?

I suspect the answer there is also no. So neither side accepts Mueller's investigation as a fact finding mission. The epistemic crisis is already in place.

by fjallstrom on Fri Nov 3rd, 2017 at 11:38:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I wonder how much evidence of Russian involvement an investigation would have to find before the Russians-didn't-do-anything brigade could be convinced?

[I'm neutral here: neither Trump nor Brexit have single causes but it seems to me that opinions about Russian psyops have more to do with political positions than facts. Of which there are few.]

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Nov 3rd, 2017 at 11:49:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I can't speak for the whole brigade, but I find the lack of technical evidence suspicious. And I don't limit myself to technical evidence I get to see, but when FBI doesn't get access to the servers I find that suspicious, even though I wouldn't have access to their findings until it had been used in legal proceedings.

Since we have general surveillance on the Internet, NSA should have a decent amount of evidence, proving at least that there was an intrusion and a copying of emails. If NSA published findings that Snowden and VIPS accepts as evidence, I would tentatively accept it. Still possible that it is forged evidence of course, but forgeries bring their own risks of exposure down the line.

And while my general trust in Assange is pretty low, Wikileaks has so far held a high standard in what they publish, and from what I've seen of Craig Murray (who is supposed to have received at least the DNC leak), he appears trustworthy enough.

So for now, I think leak is more likely than hack.

by fjallstrom on Fri Nov 3rd, 2017 at 12:12:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I posted the link to the indictment and the criminal statute cited. You might want to read the charges (12 in all)  in the indictment before commenting further. Conspiracy to commit tax evasion by mail and wire fraud (commonly known as "laundering").

The brief includes a table of domestic and international banking transactions. Apart from this there is undoubtedly a roomful of enumerated documentary evidence of the crime in commission that has been submitted with the indictment but which is not published --email communication between the indicted conspirators included.

Do not rely on purported "leaks" in press to evaluate merits of the case. That Mueller is still searching for witnesses to roll is actually kind of sad.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Fri Nov 3rd, 2017 at 01:35:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, I have read the indictment of Manafort and Gates as well as the plea bargain for George Papadopoulos.

And unless I missed something, there is little connection to the now established narrative of the Russian government (not just random Russians), tipping the election in favour of Trump through hacking DNC and spreading the emails by way of Wikileaks. Which is what I understand Colman was asking about.

Manafort and Gates are charged with illegally receiving  money (and hiding, and lying about it) from Yanukovych, his party and various organisations. The party is described as pro-Russian, but otherwise Russia isn't mentioned there as far as I saw.

George Papadopoulos had contacts primarily with a professor, identified by media as Joseph Mifsud, who promised him contacts with the Russian Ambassador in London (but that didn't happen) and introduced him to a woman Papadopoulos understood to be Putin's niece (but who wasn't). The only solid connection to Russia is an unnamed person that Papadopoulos understood to be working for the Russian Foreign ministry.

Mifsud has in newspapers claimed it was a Russian academic, not a Russian Foreign ministry official.

So what we are left with is a chain of persons that might connect to the Russian Foreign ministry, but a chain that has proven less than trustworthy in the past. Don't really see how that would affect my answer to Colman.

by fjallstrom on Fri Nov 3rd, 2017 at 04:24:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I feel frustrated by expectation --ginned up by the press-- that this investigation or any indictments obtained by Mueller will result int Trump's indictment. Those expectation gainsay Mueller's main predicament which is to foster an appearance of justice and impartiality, The American Way, while hiding or withholding the very evidence collected, "unmasked" moths ago, by NSA that would incriminate Trump racketeering. Because that's all the prosecution's strategy has going for it that the IRS has clearly been unable to substantiate.

Sordid is an inadequate description of these proceedings which in themselves I had hoped would galvanize public opposition to deep-seated corruption in Congress.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Fri Nov 3rd, 2017 at 07:22:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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