For helpful Talmudic exegeses of the Barr letter, see these morning reads, especially the second:
Lawfare, What to Make of Bill Barr’s Letter
The Language to be Parsed
I focus here on the collusion side, rather than the obstruction side. Barr’s key language is short. Thus spaketh Attorney General Barr:
The report further explains that a primary consideration for the Special Counsel’s investigation was whether any Americans including individuals associated with the Trump campaign joined the Russian conspiracies to influence the election, which would be a federal crime. The Special Counsel’s investigation did not find that the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired or coordinated with Russia in its efforts to influence the 2016 US presidential election. 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.”1
Footnote 1 reads as follows:
“In assessing potential conspiracy charges, the Special Cou7nsel also considered whether members of the Trump campaign “coordinated” with Russian election interference activities. The Special Counsel defined “coordination” as an “agreement—tacit or express—between the Trump Campaign and the Russian government on election interference.”
“Find” Versus “Establish”
Barr’s own language—paraphrasing or purporting to paraphrase Mueller—is that the investigation did not “find”conspiracy or coordination. But Mueller’slanguage says that the investigation did not “establish”conspiracy or coordination.
Moreover, as indicated by the brackets around “T”—“[T]he”—Barr is cherry picking a part of a sentence from Mueller, not the whole sentence.
When we get the whole sentence, what will it say? Of course I don’t know, but it could well be something along the lines of,
although there was lots of really bad evidence, I didn’t think I could prove conspiracy or coordination beyond a reasonable doubt, therefore I determined that the evidence did not establish conspiracy or coordination.
Or, it could be that, inexplicably, Mueller determined that there was in fact little or no evidence of conspiracy or coordination at all. But if that is the case, then why in hell didn’t Barr quote the whole damn sentence, not just a piece of it?