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(CNN)We can’t really ever know all the truth, but we are still learning new facts about how former President Donald Trump’s campaigns and administration warped perception.
While Trump can’t spread misinformation on Twitter (ever again) or Facebook (at least for the next six months, we learned Wednesday), we’re starting to get a clearer sense of the line between misinformation in 2016, misinformation in 2020 and how it might look now that the majority of the GOP has decided to mainline misinformation going forward.
The 2016 version of misinformation came from Russia. Did Trump’s 2016 campaign interact with Russians and did those Russians send information back to the Kremlin? Yes. The Treasury Department made the revelation of Russia’s 2016 interference in April, announcing new sanctions for Russia’s attempted election meddling in 2020.
It has long been suspected but never explicitly stated by the US government that Konstantin Kilimnik passed internal Trump campaign data from former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort to Russian intelligence services. The announcement Thursday establishes a simple and direct channel of communication from the upper echelon of the Trump campaign to the Russian agencies that were meddling to help Trump win.
Back to whether Trump’s actions may have been criminal. We were led by then-Attorney General William Barr to believe that they were not. But a remarkable critique by a federal judge this week and her decision that the Department of Justice must publicly release a highly redacted memo prepared for Barr makes it seem like the fix was in; Trump couldn’t be charged no matter what. Everything else stemmed from that. Barr slow-walked the release of the Mueller report and tried to blunt its effect after already deciding it would not allege criminal wrongdoing.
Read more about the Judge Amy Berman Jackson’s decision here.
Jackson concluded that the redacted memo showed that it was drafted even though the decision not to prosecute Trump had already been settled, suggesting Barr misled lawmakers and the public about the decision not to charge Trump with obstruction of justice. The opinion included emails showing that Justice Department officials were drafting the memo on obstruction at the same time as the four-page letter Barr sent to Congress summarizing Mueller’s findings.
“The review of the document reveals that the Attorney General was not then engaged in making a decision about whether the President should be charged with obst
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