There are just of troubling aspects to the whole mess that we should all find troubling:
- Clearly it was known 12--18 months ago there was no collusion....but no announcement...why?
Agreed to a point. In reading and trying to understand it from a neutral stance looking for fact and reason, there is compelling actions that would give one pause that the parties were working together. I personally think the last 12 to 18 months were to try and get Manafort to flip. Apply as much pressure as they could for him to give up what transpired from his hand. And Stone/company. When it became apparent they were not going to truthfully explain the happenings, the probe went into wrap and close mode.
What we don't know is what is in the report and case on Stone. Are there more links there? Maybe.. maybe not.
What we know according to the report, Trump wanted dirt, he directed people to get it. Loosely. In the report there are several documented attempts to gather info and the team sharing info. What is known still at this point.. did they take the above directives and bend the laws and norms and act on their own to fulfill or did they directly converse with Trump and carry the attempts out.
I believe that the objective of the last 18ish months. In reading the report, I truly think Mueller was a fair player in this, trying to parse fact from happening. I happen to think the more he dug, the more conflicting information came to light and he truly tried to chase them down.
- According the last 12-18 months were an attempt at 'gotcha'
I don't see it that way... MSM certainly leveraged it as such (both sides endlessly have used this for ratings), but for Mueller's part, I cannot attest it being a gotcha attempt. Based on his wording and questions littered throughout the document.. he was trying to establish fact from happening.
I completing volume one, I come to a conclusion based on fact (in document) that one should conclude that legally speaking they did not "work" together. The parties exposed voids in our laws that allowed them play off each others actions to work towards their individual goals. Trump wanted to win. Russians to sow doubt in the process that will lead to years of chaos. Both have succeeded.
I have little doubt Manafort was working directly with Russian operatives, but what is never parsed out, why. Evidence shows he had many personal stakes in it. Did he lone wolf that or was there more direct ties to the president. He was also rather sloppy.
Again, I think that is the reason for the lack of conclusion... if they could get Manafort to play ball and expose what truly transpired or would he allow himself to be convicted. He choose the later. And the why did he remain silent and lie throughout the process. I think there was no good exit strategy for him... if he flips on Trump and mores o the Russians, what type of repercussion would be felt.
- It is now unassailable clear that the genesis of the investigation was a set-up...people within our government abused power to go after a political candidate.
I assume you are referring to the dossier. Here I concur I want to know more, in fact based evidence, about the dossier. But I don't see that as the root of the investigation, especially not in an "unassailable" manner.
2014 and 2015 the IRA start to deploy information into the social media platforms, at this point just to stir the pot. Early in 2016, March, to favor the Trump campaign. April 2016, they start hacking into the DNC, June 2016 the DNC discloses that attack. May 2016, Papadopoulos makes comments that were reported about the emails and dirt. Couple that with Carter Page joining the Trump campaign March 2016, the same Page that was interviewed in 2013 for Russian contacts. Probe starts July 2016.
All of that before the Steele dossier is obtained via Ohr.
All that said, I certainly would support a neutral look into the evidence and to publicly disclose it. Let the truth validate the above or if the Steele dossier played more of a role. Past looks into this reveal that the origin of the probe was legit, no problem with a second test of that conclusion from me.
I think it very fair to question the FISA application of Page and how the dossier played into it. But the probe itself, Trump's loose hires in Page and the "coffee boy" tied together with known efforts by the IRA and GRU are what drew the questions, then lit on fire by Trump asking for the emails and the GRU reacting as such. I hardly think any of that indicate the origin of the probe was a setup, if anything, it was things that the campaign should have known about these players they hired into the campaign.
Sorry... trying to respond to this in between compiles and questions... probably somewhat disjointed in flow.
The Ironic part, Fusion GPS was hired by The Washington Free Beacon, which is funded by.... billionaire Paul Singer. A republican. So during the primaries... a prominent Republican was trying to find dirt on Trump. This was disclosed to the House already. Just not a repetitive talking point.. just that Fusion GPS did the contracted work and so forth with Simpson and such. Again... the whole thing is plain dirty... and probably common.
Oh, and again, I am not naive, the Dems would leverage any dirt they could as well. And I am sure they have paid for it as well.