Russia-gate’s Successor Gambit

Now the propaganda crusade has been initiated to defame the AG, writes James Howard Kunstler.

By James Howard Kunstler
Clusterfuck Nation

James Howard KunstlerHaving disgraced themselves with full immersion in the barren Russia-gate “narrative,” the Resistance is now tripling down on Russia-gate’s successor gambit: obstruction of justice where there was no crime in the first place. What exactly was that bit of mischief Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller inserted in his final report, saying that “…while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him?”

It’s this simple: prosecutors are charged with finding crimes. If there is insufficient evidence to bring a case, then that is the end of the matter. Prosecutors, special or otherwise, are not authorized to offer hypothetical accounts where they can’t bring a criminal case. But Mueller produced a brief of arguments pro-and-con about obstruction for others to decide upon. In doing that, he was out of order, and maliciously so.

Trump and Barr on Feb. 14, 2019. (Wikimedia Commons)

Trump and Barr on Feb. 14, 2019. (Wikimedia Commons)

Of course, Attorney General William Barr took up the offer and declared the case closed, as he properly should where the prosecutor could not conclude that a crime was committed. One hopes that the AG also instructed Mueller and his staff to shut the f… up vis-à-vis further ex post facto “anonymous source” speculation in the news media. But, of course, the Mueller staff — which inexplicably included lawyers who worked for the Clinton Foundation and the Democratic National Committee — at once started insinuating to New York Times reporters that the full report would contain an arsenal of bombshells reigniting enough suspicion to fuel several congressional committee investigations.

The objective apparently is to keep President Donald Trump burdened, hobbled, and disabled for the remainder of his term, and especially in preparation for the 2020 election against whomever emerges from the crowd of lightweights and geriatric cases now roistering through the primary states. It also leaves the door open for the Resistance to prosecute an impeachment case, since that is a political matter, not a law enforcement action.

Setting up the AG 

This blog is not associated with any court other than public opinion, and I am free to hypothesize on the meaning of Mueller’s curious gambit, so here goes: Barr, long before being considered for his current job, published his opinion that there was no case for obstruction of justice in the Russia-gate affair. By punting the decision to Barr, Mueller sets up the AG for being accused of prejudice in the matter — and, more to the point, has managed to generate a new brushfire in the press.

Mueller: Igniting another media brushfire. (Wikimedia Commons)

Mueller: Igniting another brushfire. (Wikimedia Commons)

Barr could see this coming from a thousand miles away. I suspect he’s pissed off about being set up like this. I suspect further that he knows this brushfire is intended to produce a smokescreen to obscure the rash of grand jury referrals coming down in the weeks and months ahead against the many government employees who concocted the Russia-gate scandal. Personally, I think Mueller himself deserves to be in that roundup for destroying evidence (the Strzok / Page cell phones) and for malicious prosecution against General Michael Flynn, among other things.

The reason Mueller did not bring an obstruction-of-justice charge against Trump is that the evidence didn’t support it. He didn’t have a case. In a trial — say, after Trump was impeached or left office — the discovery process could bring to light evidence that might embarrass and even incriminate Mueller and his staff, and cast further opprobrium on the federal justice agencies. For instance: why did Mueller drag out his inquiry for two years when he must have known by at least the summer of 2017 that the Steele dossier was a fraud perpetrated by the Clinton campaign?

Now the propaganda crusade has been initiated to defame Barr. The idiots running the budding new congressional inquiries are going to pile on him, with the help of the news media. Though he is said to be an “old friend” of Robert Mueller’s, I believe they have become adversaries, perhaps even enemies. Mueller is not in a position of strength in this battle. He has now officially exited the stage as his mandate expires, so he has no standing to oppose further consequences in the aftermath of Russia-gate. What remains is a dastardly and seditious hoax as yet un-adjudicated and an evidence trail a mile wide, and no amount of jumping up and down crying “woo woo woo” by Democratic lawmakers Jerrold Nadler, Maxine Waters, and Adam Schiff is going to derail that choo-choo train a’chuggin’ down the tracks.

James Howard Kunstler is author of “The Geography of Nowhere,” which he says he wrote “Because I believe a lot of people share my feelings about the tragic landscape of highway strips, parking lots, housing tracts, mega-malls, junked cities, and ravaged countryside that makes up the everyday environment where most Americans live and work.” He has written several other works of nonfiction and fiction. Read more about him here. This article first appeared on his blog, ClusterfuckNation.


49 comments for “Russia-gate’s Successor Gambit

  1. April 9, 2019 at 20:10

    If Bob Parry were alive and had done the investigative work. Hillary and Donald would be sharing a cell and Julian Assange would be skiing in Aspen.

    • Bruce Hitchcock
      April 17, 2019 at 05:24

      No .!Assange would not be there!

  2. Dennis Rice
    April 9, 2019 at 15:29

    The author writes, “Barr, long before being considered for his current job, published his opinion that there was no case for obstruction of justice in the Russia-gate affair. By punting the decision to Barr, Mueller sets up the AG for being accused of prejudice in the matter.”

    So, let us get this straight; long before Barr was nominated as AG, he was already setup by Muller – who knew that ‘someday’ Barr would be the AG?

    Anyone watching Barr on the news lately knows he is fabricating for Trump.

    And the American people are NOT going to see this full report. Especially anything that might show obstruction of justice by Trump.

    • Skip Scott
      April 10, 2019 at 07:34

      If there was no collusion, what “justice” was he obstructing? More like obstructing “injustice”, or obstructing a theatrical “witch hunt”.
      Why don’t they just go after him over paying off the porn star? They’ve got him dead to rights on that one. Probably too many skeletons in too many closets.

      • The Underfundedmentalist
        April 10, 2019 at 23:51

        Spot on Skip.
        This tactic actually flips the burden of proof onto the accused.
        Which of course was the point of the whole exercise from the getgo.

        I find this metaphor to be of interest,
        “By punting the decision to Barr, Mueller sets up the AG for being accused of prejudice in the matter…
        Barr could see this coming from a thousand miles away. I suspect he’s pissed off about being set up like this.”

        Actually, in American football, receiving a punt is a positve outcome as it typically results in the reversing of field positon. Which appears to be the ultimate goal in this unending saga.

        And the game goes on.

        Trump will win a second term,
        and whichever corporate democrat is elected in 2024 will be obliged to prove their innocence involving the latest weapons of mass distraction deal.
        A win win for the “firm” and a lose lose for due process.

        • Skip Scott
          April 11, 2019 at 09:59

          It will be interesting to see if Barr has the cajones to turn the tables and start an investigation on the origins of RussiaGate, and if there was any criminal wrongdoing that can be prosecuted, especially by members of our so-called “Intelligence” community. There are whispers of it in the MSM. I think more likely he’ll use that possibility as leverage to make the whole story go away.

  3. bjd
    April 9, 2019 at 14:22

    Just wanted to say to the author: I very much enjoyed your two talks on urban geography.
    It is an amazing and sad fact how your analysis is today truer than ever.

    For the interested, I highly recommend the two talks I refer to:

    The TED talk especially is brilliant.
    Thank you!

  4. jaycee
    April 9, 2019 at 14:15

    Russiagate is a cult. Adherents are inoculated from material reality. Any appeal to reason is met with hysterics, and insistence that the unredacted Mueller Report will yet prove suspicions correct. They will never accept the truth.

  5. Tennegon
    April 9, 2019 at 11:52

    In reading this piece, I couldn’t help but wonder if an Orwellian interpretation of this matter could well be as likely as any other.

    Initially the Clinton-dominated Dem party used the Russia-gate canard as an excuse for their misdeeds in rigging the campaign for Hillary’s ascension to the throne.

    While most, as evidenced by the ongoing commentary, view the tactic as futility, perhaps it might be more strategic in nature.

    I recall seeing, in the early days of the 2016 campaign, a photo of the Clintons and Trumps chumming at some ritzy gathering of the uber elites, in years past. Let’s face it, they’re all part of that club that George Carlin joked about being “a big one”, that most of us “ain’t in”.

    What if the ruse of Russia-gate, and any subsequent implications, or outright allegations of some variety, are part of a scheme to actually play to Trump’s favor, reinforcing his re-election campaign with his base supporters, who view it all as vindication of his assertions that he’s being victimized by the media, the crooked Clintons, and so forth.

    There have been several suggestions that Russia-gate has all but assured Trump’s re-election. But has it been pure happenstance, a mere blowback of a bitter loser? Or could it serve a greater, more substantial purpose?

    And, finally, maybe the Red Queen is just wickedly vindictive enough to screw over any other candidate from her own ‘party’ out of spite, if not an actual clinical diagnosis, just to have, in her twisted view, the last word on the matter.

  6. Litchfield
    April 9, 2019 at 11:35

    Seems to me it might just be poetic justice if Mueller in turn gets to feel the heat of these furies and lunatics.

    If I were Barr I would hold a joint press conference with Mueller where the press can ask questions and get on=the=record answers as to the contents of the report and Barr’s letter.

    Members of the alt. press could then take the opportunity to ask Barr and Mueller to document the forensics that the DNC server was hacked, not leaked. Would they be willing to make these statements under oath?
    And then and ask them to comment on VIPS forensic evidence that the server was leaked, not hacked.

    Then we would at least be having the needed technical discussion.

    Forget the constant Tweeting. It is childish.

    • Skip Scott
      April 10, 2019 at 07:27

      Great idea Litchfield! However, I think Barr knows all too well where the acceptable boundaries lie. They will never challenge the “Russians hacked” part of the story, and they will not let anyone who does access to the MSM. Trump himself could bring the lie out to the public and bring Binney along to back him up, yet he fails to do so. Trump is like a puppy dog learning to heel at his master’s command.

  7. Raymond Comeau
    April 9, 2019 at 10:44

    What else should one expect from a country which murders their own leaders and, would be leaders( The Kennedy brothers)? And, produce a fake report on the 9-11 attack on the twin towers, plus bail out the crooked bankers, and invade whatever Sovereign nation which has resources that the USA want.

    It appears that there is no one who can stop the Criminal exploits of the United States Government and its crooked Agencies (FBI, CIA et al!

  8. Bill
    April 9, 2019 at 09:09

    There’s also the issue of the DNC email server “hacking”. It seems likely that Mueller will state it as a fact that the Russians did the hacking. It’s also likely that he didn’t investigate this issue at all.

    • rosemerry
      April 9, 2019 at 16:40

      Speaking of “highly likely”, I find the influence of the UK with its Russophobic press and government of PM May pushing evidence-free propaganda for months, in concert with the USA scandal, quite notable.

  9. Joe Tedesky
    April 8, 2019 at 22:02

    With a Military Industrial Complex panicky over the loss of an enemy now that Russia has kicked ISIS ass and there are less Islamic States to invade Russia with a little help from China, Iran, N Korea among a few others must be the evil left for the USA too destroy. So don’t expect any easing up on Russia.

    The Dem’s have to be the stupidest political party ever having embarrassed themselves with no corroboration of Christine Blasey Ford now to dwell on this Mueller Russiagate Investigation… Really. While the Dem’s try and ignore anything so progressive as Bernie Sander’s New Deal Socialism, they instead drill down into the absurd. It’s truly a case of making something out of nothing and expecting everyone to believe you when it comes to unfolding the Dem’s strategy. Can’t the Dem’s see the absurdity of their follies?

    This Russiagate fiasco Investigation ain’t over yet but I hear murmurs of scandal on the horizon for the instigator herself. So who knows maybe ‘lock her up’ will materialize yet. One way or the other the presidential campaign for 2020 will prove to be a ball buster.

    • Bill
      April 9, 2019 at 11:39

      It seems likely that Obama had a hand in this. It was his goons who pushed the stories.

    • Skip Scott
      April 10, 2019 at 07:19

      In the end, the Oligarchy fears Progressives more than they do Trump. Trump has proven to be malleable on everything that really matters to them. The DNC is a tool of Oligarchy and the so-called “Intelligence” community. Their “follies” are meant to distract the public while they work to control the primary process like they did in 2016. The DNC’s imperative is to offer the public “corporate sponsored warmonger from column B”. It is amazing to me that the Progressives can’t see they have no chance inside the Democratic Party.

  10. bevin
    April 8, 2019 at 21:18

    During the past months we have seen several indictments and more accusations but we have not seen any evidence either that the Russian state intervened in the 2016 election or that the Trump campaign was working with Russia.
    What is needed in the current situation is for the famous Intelligence Report of 2017-the one from the famous seventeen agencies which turned out to be nothing of the sort- to be withdrawn by those who presented it. It was inaccurate at best and a tissue of misrepresentations at worst. It ought to be withdrawn because it is still doing damage. A case in point is the current Canadian government attempt to censor Social Media, which is based entirely on the Russiagate canard:

    “‘It is very likely that Canadian voters will encounter foreign cyber interference ahead of, and during, the 2019 general election,’ said the CSE, which noted democratic governments around the world were experiencing more cyber-attacks.

    “Canada’s foreign minister, Chrystia Freeland, said last week she was “very concerned” about possible Russian interference in the voting and that there “have probably already been efforts by malign foreign actors to disrupt our democracy”.

    “CSE said it was unlikely a foreign cyber campaign would be as major as the one Russian actors launched during the 2016 US elections, in part because public awareness of the potential threats was now much greater.

    “A US intelligence report in January 2017 said Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, directed a sophisticated influence campaign including cyber-attacks to denigrate the Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and support Donald Trump.”
    We can do without state sponsored lies especially when they bring nations closer to conflict.

    • Raymond Comeau
      April 9, 2019 at 10:51

      Canada should give Chrystia Freeland as a gift to the USA to replace Nikki Hayley. They are both warmongering loudmouths and a disgrace to any government in the free world! Perhaps they were twins which were separated at birth.

    • Zhu
      April 11, 2019 at 05:11

      The US is rather more likely to interfere in Canada’s politics than Russia is.

  11. KiwiAntz
    April 8, 2019 at 18:00

    If at first you don’t succeed, “try, try, try again? The Resistance, unlike Neo in the Matrix, fails to take the red pill to wake up too real life, in the present & continues to swallow the blue pill to stay in the dreamworld of fake realities & Hoax conspiracies? So the Kabuki theatre must continue, the too big to fail lie of Russiagate can’t be allowed to die? The damage this fake conspiracy, collusion delusion is having on the US can’t be quantified? The fools who continue to promote this narrative are now tripling down in a state of denial that defies belief! The Mainstream Media is now totally dead & buried, no one believes their lies anymore & people are heading to alt media in droves! Politicians & Politics, especially left wing, are objects of derision & contempt, & although Trump may be innocent, the fact remains that he is a terrible President & a dangerous idiot?? You only need to look at his staff with warmongering imbeciles like Pompeo, Bolton & their kind who are leading America to War, in which their win ratio is zero? The lunatic Russiagate narrative has served & achieved part of its goals & purposes? To hamstrung Trump & paralyse his administration & get him impeached via a coup d’état then to destroy & poison Russian detente,civility & relations? It failed on one level to obtain Trumps removal but succeeded in destroying Russian relations, the most dangerous gambit ever, to taut & ridicule a Nuclear Superpower? But that’s the actions of a dying US Empire in decline, arrogance, ignorance, hubris & self delusion, all aptly supported by a corrupt propagandist fourth estate, the American Fakestream Media?

  12. JonnyJames
    April 8, 2019 at 17:06

    Once again, we see this is all a rather ridiculous charade to distract the public. As Bill Binney & the VIPS pointed out on this website & others: if there was any evidence of “Russian collusion” the NSA would have had it immediately. After two wasted years of distractions & nonsense, of course there is NO evidence.

    The irrational reactions of partisan hypocrites are truly bizarre, we need to have a social psychologist explain the madness of crowd mentality here. What’s more, so many people STILL fail to acknowledge (or are paid not to) that there is NO evidence. They say wait and see… (We’re still waiting for Saddam’s WMD etc) Tragically humorous…

    You want REAL collusion and high crimes?: The Trump regime virtually takes orders verbatim on foreign policy from Benjamin Nuttyahoo. However, Israeli diktats enjoy the overwhelming support of both “parties” in Congress and the servile media cartel. Pointing out these extremely obvious & highly problematic facts is not allowed. One cannot talk about Israeli lobby groups not having to register as foreign agents. One cannot talk about indisputable facts with a mountain of evidence in plain sight.

    In the words of Rod Serling: “You have entered the Twilight Zone”

    • Zhu
      April 9, 2019 at 05:58

      Never forget the Christian Zionists and the Rapture.

  13. nomad
    April 8, 2019 at 16:16

    Rather than hypothesize you should wait till the political theater ends.
    This is not a surprise the fight is still on. Just wait for the ending.

    • michael
      April 8, 2019 at 19:44

      There’s an ending? We waited patiently for Mueller who discharged his duty and proclaimed “no collusion with Russia”. I think the Democrats, refusing to accept the results of 2016, are setting precedence for all presidential elections in the future. While oftimes entertaining, Congress needs to be held to account for not doing their jobs, and grandstanding rather than dealing with serious issues (like Health Care where Americans pay three times per capita as much as Israel, who has universal health care and better medical outcomes, and twice as much as the average EU country, who also has universal health care and better outcomes. Of course their politicians don’t engage in pay-to-play at anywhere near the level of American politicians.)

    • UVA hoops champs WAHOOWA
      April 9, 2019 at 01:44

      How many years or decades should we wait, nomad? And how do you define “ending”. “Ending” like the Afghanistan war?

    • nomad
      April 18, 2019 at 11:15


      The game is over. AG Barr news coverage re-verified this.
      The people who went after him lost again.
      The question is what will happen to those who lost in their spying of him?

  14. Jack Hudson
    April 8, 2019 at 16:07

    Mueller and team had nothing or they would have nailed Trump with it. But an obviously pre planned political move to leave just enough on the table for the Democrats to continue their harrasment of Trump.

    IG Horowitz’s ongoing investigation into FISA abuse should be interesting once its completed and released.

    Having said that, there are many other articles here that don’t give me that internal warm and fuzzy feeling.

    But I feel certain that what I am experiencing is one of the few remaining sources of what was once known as the profession of journalism.

    Keep up the great work.

  15. April 8, 2019 at 15:53

    Rachel Maddow became InfoWars. She’s spinning the conspiracy of the day now since Alex Jones got dragged off to court.

  16. mike k
    April 8, 2019 at 15:23

    Good one Kunstler. Of course the whole witch hunt had little to do with facts. Hence the mud slinging will continue regardless of how much evidence is produced of it’s falsity. The democrats in charge of this farce are liars just like Trump – they will never ever admit to being wrong about anything.

  17. April 8, 2019 at 13:48

    In Counterpunch:

    Charles Davis: We already have this Russia stuff: the emails hacked by the government of Russia, laundered to WikiLeaks and openly welcomed by the Trump campaign, a fact — that this was happening, and that it mattered …

    Andrew Levine: long article, is short, he does not give credence to anything in the affair.

    OTOH, there is a wikipedia page with a lot of “sources”

    Nothing in that page is “alleged”, everything is presented as a fact, and with solid sources like the indictment of 12 Satanic apostles: July 2018 indictment by the Justice Department of twelve Russian GRU intelligence officials posing as “a Guccifer 2.0 persona” for conspiring to interfere in the 2016 elections[102][103] was for hacking into computers of the Clinton campaign, the Democratic National Committee, state election boards, and secretaries of several states. The indictment describes “a sprawling and sustained cyberattack on at least three hundred people connected to the Democratic Party and the Clinton campaign”. The indictment is a public document, and seems very detailed, although I wonder how US government lawyers could know stuff like what web searches were made by those Satanic apostles.

    So there are mountains of evidence, at least, what many believe to be evidence.

    Sadly, there are always people who deny the most obvious facts:

    immaculate conception of our Lord and Savior

    immaculate conception of the State of Israel

    Russian hacking

    criminality of Maria Butina plus two unnamed Russian women who more than two years before the election obtained visas for what turned out to be a three-week reconnaissance tour of the United States, including battleground states such as Colorado, Michigan, Nevada and New Mexico, to gather intelligence on American politics.

    • Maxwell Quest
      April 8, 2019 at 22:03

      And yet I am unmoved…

      A couple of tips to help you up your game: First, never mention Wikipedia as a source. It has as much validity as the NYT or WaPo, having gone to the dark side years ago. Today, it is only trusted by children and gullible senior citizens who still watch CNN.

      Second, never drag religion into discussions on political intrigue, money, and power. Wait a second… nevermind.

      • Zhu
        April 11, 2019 at 05:33

        Dispensationalism, Americanexceptionalism, are religious doctrines relevant to US polotics.

  18. Jeff Harrison
    April 8, 2019 at 13:20

    I believe that the term prosecutor should officially be retired and the more accurate term persecutor should be substituted in its place. The frequency of persecutorial misconduct at all levels of the judicial system makes a mockery of the concept of justice.

    • mike k
      April 8, 2019 at 15:24

      Right on, Jeff!

    • JonnyJames
      April 8, 2019 at 17:17

      Yes indeed.

      Justice and “the rule of law” is made a mockery of every day: Dick Cheney/Bush Jr.. Tony Blair & other war criminals walk free. Instead of being in prison for life, they are lavished with praise from media personalities & make big money.
      After committing “the largest financial crimes in history, by orders of magnitude”, (prof. William K. Black) NOT ONE senior banker has been indicted, let alone prosecuted. Jamie Dimon, for example, is in the media regularly and depicted as a brilliant & great man.

      Congress & the Exec. routinely ignore & violate the law, including the US constitution & Bill of Rights. At this point when any politician says the words “democracy” & “the rule of law” I sneer & laugh with contempt

    • Zhu
      April 11, 2019 at 05:34


  19. Skip Scott
    April 8, 2019 at 12:55

    It will be interesting to see if the DoJ really does follow up on the RussiaGate scam and attempt to indict the people who created it. Would they really dare to prosecute members of our so-called “intelligence” community? What about Schumer’s “six ways from Sunday”?

    • mike k
      April 8, 2019 at 15:26

      Schumer is just a little Mafia toady.

    • Zhu
      April 9, 2019 at 06:04

      The Deep State will not prosecute or punish itself.

  20. JDC
    April 8, 2019 at 12:38

    The discovery process in any trial of Trump would have also perhaps brought to light that Mueller’s conclusion, as relayed by Barr’s summary, that Russia hacked the DNC and delivered the documents to Wikileaks has no basis in fact, given what Bill Binney and the other VIPS have shown.

  21. hetro
    April 8, 2019 at 12:31

    I think what needs clarifying here is the difference between “does not conclude the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him” and the more specific “obstruction of justice” accusation. For me, at least, this is confusing. Trump may well have committed a crime by ordering Cohen to pay off Stormy Daniels, or in other ways similar to the financial sleaze revealed with his associates–but is this not separate from “obstruction of justice”? Further, it would seem to most ordinary mortals Mueller would be embarrassed after more than two years to come up with . . . nothing? So he gives us not guilty of “collusion” and hints at something else, taking the heat off himself (or attempting to)?

    • Jeff Harrison
      April 9, 2019 at 12:51

      Let me say this about that. The author clearly calls bullsh*t on the “does not conclude/does not exonerate” crap and that is closely related to the obstruction of justice line. In order for there to be obstruction of justice, there has to be a crime. Stormy Daniels is a porn queen. She f*cks men on a very regular basis and gets paid for getting filmed doing it. It’s how she makes a living. It’s not illegal. It’s therefore not illegal to pay her to not trumpet the fact that she f*cked Donald J. Trump.

  22. JDC
    April 8, 2019 at 12:26

    “…and especially in preparation for the 2020 election against whomever emerges from the crowd of lightweights and geriatric cases now roistering through the primary states.”

    Geriatric cases? Is this in reference to Gravel or Sanders or Joe Biden? I’m hardly a fan of the last but I take issue with what I find to be an ageist smear as applied to some of the candidates in the 2020 field.

    • Anarcissie
      April 8, 2019 at 19:13

      Ageism seems to be cool among even the hip and the woke.

      • geeyp
        April 9, 2019 at 00:55

        Don’t kid yourself. Everyone one will experience ageism.

    • Zhu
      April 11, 2019 at 05:39

      My generation and my father’s have screwed things up long enough. Let AOC’s and Tulsi Gabbard’s try to fix things before it’s too.

  23. April 8, 2019 at 12:23

    Is there no end to the perversity of these people?

    • Zhu
      April 9, 2019 at 06:06


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