Stolen Cigarettes, Russian Collusion, and Mueller

Stolen cigarettes and Russian collusion.
Stolen cigarettes and Russian collusion.

What do stolen cigarettes have to do with Russian collusion? In my imagination… everything. I’ve been frustrated by the Republican reaction to the Barr letter on the Mueller Report. It’s possible that Republicans just don’t get it. Therefore, I’ve taken it upon myself to explain it. That, my friends is where the stolen cigarettes come in.

Stolen cigarettes.

It’s Friday night. I’m relaxing. I get a text message from a friend who works at a local warehouse. He’s managed to smuggle out a case of cigarettes. However, he’s concerned that they’re on to him. He wants to know if I would like to buy them from him cheap. Thus, he can avoid trying to sell them himself in case he’s being watched.

I express interest. He instructs me to meet him behind the 7-11 at 2am. I show up with money to buy. However, I’m disappointed with the offering. What he has is a carton of generics he will sell me for $20. I don’t smoke. Therefore, I need more room for profit. Hence, I pass.

On Monday, I am informed that I am under investigation for colluding with the cigarette thief to receive stolen property. The investigation lasts 4 days. On Friday, the police release the following bullet points to the local paper.

  • Steve Parry received a text message offering him the opportunity to purchase stolen cigarettes.
  • He responded saying that he would like to purchase them.
  • Steve attended a meeting where the cigarettes were to be sold.
  • Dissatisfied with the quality and price, Steve declined to purchase the stolen merchandise.
  • Therefore, Steve will not be charged with receiving stolen property.

See there? I was completely exonerated. Right? Not exactly. I have avoided criminal prosecution. However, I am guilty in a moral sense. I escaped criminal charges simply because I was dissatisfied with the product.

Russian collusion.

Consider the Barr letter in the light of this example. Here’s what we know. On June 3rd, 2016 Donald Trump Jr. received an email which stated the following.

The Crown prosecutor of Russia met with his father Aras this morning and in their meeting offered to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father.

This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump – helped along by Aras and Emin.

Rob Goldstone to Donald Trump Jr.

To which Trump Jr. sent the following reply.

Thanks Rob I appreciate that. I am on the road at the moment but perhaps I just speak to Emin first. Seems we have some time and if it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer. Could we do a call first thing next week when I am back?

Donald Trump Jr. to Rob Goldstone.

On June 9th, 2016 members of the Trump campaign met with a Russian lawyer at Trump Tower. Those members were Paul Manafort, Jared Kushner, and Don Jr. The lawyer was Natalia Veselnitskaya, who admits to being a Kremlin informant. Also present at the meeting was Rob Goldstone.

Stolen cigarettes and Russian collusion.

Robert Mueller.

It is true that Barr’s letter states that “[T]he investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.” However, it does not state that there was no collusion.

A deceitful agreement or compact between two or more persons, for the one party to bring an action against the other for some evil purpose, as to defraud a third party of his right Cowell.

Collusion Definition at Black’s Law Dictionary

A combination or confederacy between two or more persons formed for the purpose of committing, by their joint efforts, some unlawful or criminal act, or some act which is innocent in itself, but becomes unlawful when done by the concerted action of the conspirators, or for the purpose of using criminal or unlawful means to the commission of an act not in itself unlawful.

Conspiracy Definition at Black’s Law Library

There was clearly a deceitful agreement between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. The same way that there was a deceitful agreement between myself and my friend with the stolen cigarettes. However, in order to rise to the level of criminal action, there must be a joining of our efforts in a criminal act. I would have had to purchase the stolen cigarettes. Trump would have to take and use the Russian dirt.

Why are the Republicans celebrating?

What we have learned from this letter about the Mueller report isn’t good. Agreed, President Trump didn’t break the law. The trouble is, it wasn’t for a lack of trying. We learned that the campaign for the sitting President of the United States met with a Kremlin informant to receive help with his 2016 campaign. Legally, he is absolved by the fact that the plans didn’t go through. Morally, that makes no difference. If the Republicans think that I will celebrate that the President colluded but didn’t conspire, I’ve got some stolen cigarettes I’m willing to sell them. Just don’t tell them that the deal fell through.

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