Insinuendo: Why the Mueller Report Doth Repeat So Much – IOTW Report

Insinuendo: Why the Mueller Report Doth Repeat So Much

Real Clear Politics: The Mueller report should have been a knockout blow to anti-Trump forces who invested their hopes in the special counsel. With Robert Mueller’s finding that the Trump campaign did not conspire with Russia to steal the 2016 election and that there was no clear path to indicting the president for obstruction, the enterprise should have shuddered to a stop.

Instead, those who were at first dumbfounded by the special counsel’s report have since found reasons to be buoyed by it – by its grudging tone, its sly assertions resembling proof, and its insistence that not being found guilty should not be confused with innocence. If you had to pick a single sentence that captures the style and substance of Mueller’s tome, you’d find it on page 2: “A statement that the investigation did not establish particular facts does not mean there was no evidence of those facts.”

Democratic members of the House have secured Mueller’s agreement to testify. They will encourage him to offer a sort of informal indictment of the president, something to justify impeachment. Something that can be winkled out of the Mueller report.

All of which calls for a closer reading of the 448-page document. What becomes clear is that the special counsel used a number of rhetorical devices to couch evidence and craft a narrative so that a document that ultimately clears the president can also be read as an indictment.

The first thing to note about the Mueller report is just how contentious it is. It isn’t a set of findings so much as an assertion of what the findings might have been if only there had been more evidence. It is like a closing argument in a criminal case already dismissed for lack of evidence but in which the prosecutor is determined to redeem what he can of his case. Mueller turns to a variety of strategies: hectoring repetition; the use of extraneous detail to add heft to flimsy assertion; and a resort to insinuation and innuendo to prejudice the reader against those who have escaped the dock.

Papadopoulos Again and Again

Ever since the debunking of Trump-Russia dirt paid for by the Democrats and compiled by the opposition firm Fusion GPS, government officials and conspiracists have insisted that the Steele dossier had nothing to do with launching the investigation. The story is that the FBI flew into action after learning that Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos had made an alarming statement to an Australian diplomat in a London bar, telling him about Russian intentions to interfere with the U.S. election.

From the first page of his report, the special counsel is eager to establish the narrative that that Papadopoulos, not Steele, sparked the initial investigation. Mueller writes that in May 2016 “Papadopoulos had suggested to a representative of [a] foreign government that the Trump Campaign had received indications from the Russian government that it could assist the Campaign through the anonymous release of information damaging to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.”

But it’s not enough to say it once. Come page 6, Mueller writes, “Papadopoulos suggested to a representative of a foreign government that the Trump Campaign had received indications from the Russian government that it could assist the Campaign through the anonymous release of information damaging to candidate Clinton.”

Mueller repeats this claim nearly word for word again on pages 81, 89, and 93.

At least page 192 offers a hint of variation: The FBI “approached Papadopoulos for an interview” because of “his suggestion to a foreign government representative that Russia had indicated that it could assist the Campaign through the anonymous release of information damaging to candidate Clinton.”

Such relentless repetition might be dismissed as lazy cut-and-paste writing. But repetition is an ancient and effective tool of rhetoric.  The Greeks called it epimone; the Romans, commoratio. It can be used subtly and powerfully, as in “Brutus is an honorable man,” or it can be employed in a clumsy effort to pound home a weak claim, as in “Papadopoulos suggested…that the Trump Campaign…”

What makes the claim weak?

The problem starts with “Papadopoulos suggested.” What exactly did he say? “Suggested” implies he expressed himself indirectly. The report’s use of that squishy verb all six times it refers to the conversation is an admission that Papadopoulos did not directly make the explosive claim that allegedly spurred the FBI into action.   KEEP READING


5 Comments on Insinuendo: Why the Mueller Report Doth Repeat So Much

  1. Soph histry herstory history

    epimone
    commoratio

    Like Alisyn Camerota repeatedly blaming President Trump for CNN Sucking. Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota and Brian Stelter repeatedly suggesting a scenario of Trump supporters violently attacking reporters.

    Antifa and reporters Alisyn Camerota?

    Her story and history

    Andy Ngo innuendo insinuendo

    2
  2. Robespierre Mueller and his Committee of Public Safety are about to defend the indefensible before a joint Congressional Comittee composed of Nitwits, Jacobins, Seditious Traitors, and Blowhards, as well as Patriots and Men who will defend the Constitution. This hearing could explain why Mueller wanted his Magnum Opus to doublespeak for itself.

    4
  3. brilliant set-up … but no knock-out punch

    … the end just fizzles … but it should be required reading for repubs on the committees that will question Muleface & his henchman

    3

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