I don’t know what the personal chemistry/history is between Watergate duo Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. Where Woodward can count of unfettered access to any administration as well as rely upon the Washington Post to serialize parts of his books to promote them, Bernstein receded into virtual anonymity only to emerge in the Age of Trump as an angry, bitter, and pathetic figure willing to say anything for air time. Maybe he’s still pissed at being portrayed by Dustin Hoffman when Robert Redford was cast as Woodward. Maybe he’s just a nutter…I suspect Louise Mensch will look just like him in about 40 years.
Be that as it may, on Sunday Bernstein was on CNN’s hilariously named “Reliable Sources” opposite Brian “Tater” Stelter…who, ironically is looking more and more like an overstuffed spud every day.
BERNSTEIN: Well, first of all, “The New York Times” and “The Washington Post” were more advanced on this story than I was, but I did know something. And part of what I know comes from lawyers of some of the other defendants in this matter who have appeared before Mueller, including members of the joint defense team which collaborates with the White House and those lawyers believe the president has been lying at every turn about his relationship with Russia, about those of his aides.
Look, let us look at all of the lies, follow the money, follow the lies. They are all mostly and most vehemently about Russia. Whether we are talking about Flynn, Trump, his son, Kushner, back to lying about questions having to do with Russia, about what happened at the Trump Tower meeting. The president of the United States drafts a totally false statement about what happened at that meeting that his son was at.
Look, you set it up right, we don’t know the answers. But what we do know is that Donald Trump has tried to convince us that unless there is some kind of smoking gun, a recording of him in the room with Putin saying, yes, Vladimir, I will do your bidding, there has been, quote, no collusion. That’s nonsense.
What this counterintelligence investigation was about, unprecedented, the FBI — and this is not about the deep state, this is about the most serious counterintelligence people we have in the U.S. government saying, oh, my god, the president’s words and actions lead us to conclude that somehow he has become a witting, unwitting or half witting pawn, certainly in some regards to Vladimir Putin.
Look, Trump keeps going back to the idea we need better relations with Russia. Could be. He could well be right.
But from a point of view of strength and what everybody can see is that he has not acted with Russia from the United States having a strength advantage with Russia, rather he has done what appears to be Putin’s goals. He has helped Putin destabilize the United States and interfere in the election, no matter whether it was purposeful or not.
And that is part of what the draft of Mueller’s report, I’m told, is to be about.
What fits hand in glove is both the cover-up and the possibility, likelihood — we know there has been collusion. We know there has been collusion by Flynn. We know there has been collusion of some sort by Manafort.
The question is, yes, what did the president know and when did he know it? But also it could be unwitting, half witting, that’s what we’re going to find out.
But the idea that this is just benign behavior and conduct, there is nothing benign about what the consequences of this have been. What the hell happened at Helsinki? Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence, still does not know what happened at Helsinki because the president as the Washington — a great “Washington Post” story points out, hasn’t allowed his aides to know or to say what they know about what happened at Helsinki and in his other meetings with Putin.
Or, as transcribed on the CNN video above:
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No matter if you use the English or CNN version, this is simply lunacy.
There is not even a whiff of anything more than prosecutorial misconduct in the Flynn case. In Manafort’s case, the closest anyone can get to showing any dealing with Russia is him giving months-old polling data to a Russian associate to pass onto a couple of decidedly non-Russian Ukrainian oligarchs.
The odds of a report by Mueller claiming, “He has helped Putin destabilize the United States and interfere in the election, no matter whether it was purposeful or not,” is just about zero because to make either statement would require something resembling evidence.
If you want an indicator of how far out-of-phase Bernstein is and the degree to which he was, assuming he’s not just a batty old geezer slobbering for attention, tailoring his statement to fit Tater’s worldview and entertain both people who watched the show, this is what ABC’s Jon Karl, an actual reporter, said about the Mueller report.
KARL: Yes. And — and — and actually going to the point of investigating whether or not effectively the president was a Russian agent. But what I am getting is that this is all building up to the Mueller report and raising expectations of a bombshell report. And there have been expectations that have been building, of course, for over a year on this. But people who are closest to what Mueller has been doing, interacting with the special counsel caution me that this report is almost certain to be anti-climactic.
And if you look at what the FBI was investigating in that New York Times report, you look at what they were investigating, Mueller did not go anywhere with that investigation. He has been writing his report in real time through these indictments and we have seen nothing from Mueller on the central question of, was there any coordination, collusion, with the Russians in the effort to meddle in the elections? Or was there even any knowledge on the part of the president or anybody in his campaign with what the Russians were doing, there’s been no indication of that …
STEPHANOPOULOS: They hadn’t laid that out yet in the indictments but how do things like the Trump Tower meeting with Russians, Don Jr., Paul Manafort – Paul Manafort giving polling data to Ukrainian oligarchs, the pursuit of a Trump Tower in Moscow. How does that fit into this theory?
KARL: What we’ve certainly seen over and over again is the people around the president, first of all, have been willing to lie to investigation – investigators, and had their own dealings with Russians, had their own agendas with Russians. And Manafort was trying to get paid for his work on behalf of Ukraine. Flynn had his own dealings. But it is not added up to anything of the central question, again, was there anybody – was the Trump campaign aware of or coordinating with the Russians in their effort to meddle with the election. So far there’s been nothing on that and I’m led to believe – don’t expect there’s going to be anything.
Bernstein is either delusional, demented, or dishonest…or some combination of the above. The irony is that the no-it’s-really-a-banana network doesn’t care. They are a desperate for attention as Bernstein and are more than happy to push out his claptrap as though it were truth. Stay tuned for when the report is released and nothing Bernstein said pans out and he’ll be back on with Tater talking about conspiracies to cover up the true investigation.