Special counsel Robert Mueller is authorized to investigate “any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump.” The popular word for that is “collusion,” and it remains at the heart of both the Mueller and the Senate Intelligence Committee investigations.

We know the indictments he has filed and the pleas he has reached with various figures in the case. Some target either people on the Russian side of the equation or those for whom there are no suspicions of collusion.

But Mueller has charged three people who were in the Trump campaign inner circle — former national security adviser Michael Flynn, former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and former deputy campaign chairman Richard Gates — all with ties to Russia and all of whom might be expected to be part of a collusion scheme, had one existed. Mueller has also charged one peripheral hanger-on, George Papadopoulos, who might conceivably have been part of a collusion scenario.

But all have faced charges and none of those charges, at least so far, has involved allegations that they played a role in a scheme of collusion.

What kind of collusion scheme could have existed without Flynn, Manafort or Gates being part of it? And yet none of them has been charged with taking part in a collusion scheme.

Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to investigators about a phone conversation with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

Manafort has been charged with a daunting number of financial crimes, including fraud and tax evasion, relating to his work for a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine.

Gates was charged with most of the crimes Manafort faced, but received a deal from Mueller, allowing him to plead guilty to one count of lying to investigators and one count of hiding profits from his work with Manafort in Ukraine.

Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to one count of lying to investigators about a conversation he had with a Russian seeking ties with the Trump campaign.

All those charges, and none alleging that any of these men, some at the highest levels of the Trump campaign, took part in any collusion.

“I can’t imagine that there would have been collusion or conspiracy with the Russians that Michael Flynn didn’t know about,” said Sol Wisenberg, a former prosecutor with the office of independent counsel Kenneth Starr.

But in the Mueller investigation, it is precisely the people who would most be expected to be part of a collusion scheme who have not been charged with taking part in any such activity.

Nevertheless, for those hoping for collusion, there are still some possibilities. Mueller might lodge, or might have already lodged, additional charges against Flynn, Manafort or Gates.

And there is still Carter Page, who traveled to Russia in 2016. Perhaps Mueller is waiting to charge him with something. Or maybe someone else will be charged with taking part in the long-sought collusion.

Still, it’s hard to imagine a collusion plot that never touched Flynn, Manafort or Gates. Maybe it happened, but after more than 18 months of FBI, and now Mueller, investigations, it’s becoming harder to see how.

Byron York is a nationally syndicated columnist.

(49) comments

Carlos Ponce

Democrats want drag this witch hunt into the midterm elections and possibly into the 2020 elections. Mueller's investigation with his hand-picked team of Hillary supporters is nothing more than a fishing expedition not worth the millions spent on a fruitless search. None of the indictments have anything to do with the 2016 campaign and some just PROCESS Crimes.
Note to the anti-Trumps: Trump IS NOT going to fire Mueller.
But let not your heart be troubled. Trump will be re-elected in 2020. [beam]

Jim Forsythe

Some may be under the impression that the Democrats are the ones in charge!
The President appointed Sessions and he did not appoint Mueller, Rosenstein did.
Rosenstein was appointed by President George W. Bush.
BTW, Rosenstein is a registered Republican as is Mueller, Comey and McCabe.
Mueller's team is made up of the ones he considered the best for the task he has.
It takes time in a case this large.
To me, a "witch hunt " would not end in results. Already , results have happened. The ground work has been done, and now the bigger players are being looked at.
Why would any American want to stop the investigation before it is finished?

"Mueller’s indictment of 13 Russian people and three Russian companies accuses them of conspiring to interfere with “US political and electoral processes, including the presidential election of 2016.” Later in the day, he also announced a California man named Richard Pinedo had pleaded guilty to an identity fraud charge and become a cooperator, apparently in connection with the Russian charges."
"Still, looking at the Mueller investigation as a whole, it’s grown to be quite complex. One Trump adviser, George Papadopoulos, pleaded guilty to lying about his contacts with Russians during the election. Another, Michael Flynn, pleaded guilty to lying about his contacts with Russians after the election. Two other ex-Trump aides, Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, were indicted for alleged money laundering unrelated to the campaign. And Mueller’s team has been looking into potential obstruction of justice from the Trump administration too."



Carlos Ponce

"Why would any American want to stop the investigation before it is finished?"
Put a fork in it, It's finished.What Mueller is doing now is fishing. And we're paying for it.

Jim Forsythe

What Mueller is doing now is his job. It will be finished when he has looked at all the questions, and looked at all the evidence.
You and I do not know all he has found, and what he may find with further work. Trump's time before Mueller is coming up.
Why would you want Mueller, not to finish the investigation?

Carlos Ponce

It's finished, NO collusion discovered. Why is he dragging his feet to announce that conclusion?
A. To give Democrats fodder for the upcoming mid-terms.
B. To draw more pay from the government feeding trough.
C. To save his friends and himself from prosecution. A REAL investigation would indict him and his cohorts.
D. ALL OF THE ABOVE. * Answer

Jim Forsythe

"It's finished, NO collusion discovered. " Is your source is Trump, or has Mueller told you this? Collusion or other crimes may be proven.
Mueller's final report is not in yet.
"Former prosecutors say the investigation could last two years or more before it produces a final report to the Justice Department. In the meantime, they say he can recommend grand jury indictments if his team uncovers illegal activity."
"Why is he dragging his feet to announce that conclusion?" Because Mueller has not reached his conclusion yet.
"To save his friends and himself from prosecution." His friends are?
What would they be prosecuted for? Mueller would be prosecuted for?


Carlos Ponce

"Mueller's final report is not in yet." And it will not be in because of the reasons I have stated. Must be nice to be a modern day government "untouchable".

Jim Forsythe

To expect Mueller to be finished, is not being realistic. A investigation of this magnitude takes time . Mueller will give a final report, unless he is fired.

"To save his friends and himself from prosecution." His friends are?
What would they be prosecuted for? Mueller would be prosecuted for?

Gonzalo Gonzalez

More conservative propaganda from a conservative mouthpiece. Absence of evidence does not mean evidence of absence. Mueller is taking his time, building a case that will stick. Keep comfort in your delusions, the you-know-what will hit the fan soon enough. Happy daydreamin'!!

Carlos Ponce

Delusions? Try REALITY!

Ray Taft

You wrote, “Absence of evidence does not mean evidence of absence.”

Logic says otherwise.
‘In some circumstances it can be safely assumed that if a certain event had occurred, evidence of it could be discovered by qualified investigators. In such circumstances it is perfectly reasonable to take the absence of proof of its occurrence as positive proof of its non-occurrence.
- Copi, Introduction to Logic (1953), p. 95’

And concerning “...the you-know-what will hit the fan soon enough.” You might be right. Attorney General Sessions, acting on the recommendation of the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR), fired former FBI Deputy Director McCabe. Justice may be coming for the perpetrators of the Trump witch hunt.

Gary Miller

The FBI's OPR recommended McCabe be fired for lying to FBI investigators. Why weren't Muller, Rosenstine, Tzsrock, Comey fired when they lied to FBI investigators while under oath? Will the IG report suggest they must be fired?
BTW Don't cry for McCabe's pension loss. During his 21 years he built a $11 Million net worth. Half a million a year on a $179K salary?

Jim Forsythe

Making money is wrong? How does his income, match with what Trump makes?
Andrew McCabe Net Worth is $11 Million dollars and earns an annual Income of $900,000 dollars (Estimated data only).Andrew McCabe earns income from multiple sources, apart from the formal salary through his employment with FBI. Andrew McCabe has a securities portfolio and he has been trading in stocks for some time now.
Andrew McCabe’s Fixed Deposits with the Bank of America brings him over $50,000 interest income every year. Andrew also owns two real estate properties that he has inherited from his mother. These properties market price can be added up to $2.7 million dollars
Andrew McCabe’s wife earns a little over a Million dollars per annum. The total household income of the McCabes can be accumulated to much more sum.Andrew McCabe is known for his tax planning and has over the period of years, saved a lot of his income and wisely invested it.

Gonzalo Gonzalez

Logic would also say that it takes time to build a case and we do not know what evidence is available to Mueller. Charges can be filed at any time until the investigation is closed. Patience grasshopper, they are coming.

Diane Turski

Conspiracy will be the criminal charge emanating from "collusion". It takes time to build a case against such a giant criminal conspiracy that I, among many others, believe this clearly is. Every day new information is revealed in this criminal conspiracy. Humpty Trumpty is about to have a great fall!!

Carlos Ponce

I wonder what Diane is going to post when the Clintons and Obama are indicted. Much, much more to those than allegations. Add the massive 8 year cover-up which would have continued had Hillary won.

Steve Fouga

Carlos and Ray, IF President Trump and/or his campaign are guilty of collusion with the Russians, or of obstruction of justice, or of financial crimes, or of conspiracy of some other type, would you like them to be found guilty and punished? 🤔

Carlos Ponce

Collusion with Russians is not against the law otherwise Hillary would be in prison. Has she been punished?????

PD Hyatt

If Obama, Hillary, Holder, Lynch, Bill Clinton and his meeting on the tarmac and many others would you be willing to put them under the prisons? Or is it just because of the hatred of Trump and how dare he take the title away from the Hildabeast!!!! Can not you see your double standard? Or have the scales on your eyes blinded you?

PD Hyatt

One has to wonder why no one went after all of the crimes that Obama and his ilk committed while they were in office.... Why Mueller and the demon-crats are not going after the Hildabeast and all of her crimes with the emails, her Russia dealings in selling 20% of the US output of uranium.... Well for some the law is for and for the rest of them it will not touch.... Again one has to wonder why so many are hot on the heels of going after NOTHING yet refuse to look at real crimes that were committed over the Obama regime years.... It is funny about those people and yet so sad as if this continues then who will ever trust the FBI, the FISA courts or anything else.... Straight out of the Saul Alynsky book.... This nation will not continue to stand with these double standards as we will end up like Venezuela is now if it doesn't stop..,..

Steve Fouga

You guys are great for a laugh! There's easily enough evidence to support a wide-ranging inquiry into Trump and his crew. You're not paying attention to the right news sources, as usual.

Of course colluding with a foreign power IN THE COURSE OF A POLITICAL CAMPAIGN is illegal! That includes accepting money or other aid -- like bots and trolls -- from a foreign power, to further a campaign. SOOOO much to see here! This is not going away anytime soon. It's like a good spy novel. Even better than Watergate.

As for Hillary, Bill, and Barack -- you've got a Republican administration and Congress. Don't blame anyone but them if they fail to pursue your dead ends! I'm waiting... But not holding my breath. [whistling]

Carlos Ponce

He who laughs last laughs best."You're not paying attention to the right news sources, as usual." Steve are you watching FAKE NEWS again??????? I collaborate my news from several sources. The so called "evidence to support a wide-ranging inquiry into Trump and his crew" is not FACT but Left wing conjecture and wishful thinking. In truth there is nothing there.

Jim Forsythe

From Steve.
"Carlos and Ray, IF President Trump and/or his campaign are guilty of collusion with the Russians, or of obstruction of justice, or of financial crimes, or of conspiracy of some other type, would you like them to be found guilty and punished"

Carlos Ponce

They're not. Case closed - or it should be. Forsythe, one of these days when the truth is revealed even you will see the futility of these efforts to go after Trump. Waste of government time, waste of government money waste of your and my tax dollars - all for political gain.

Carlos Ponce

"President Trump is right in saying that a special counsel should never have been appointed to investigate the so-called Russian connection. There was no evidence of any crime committed by the Trump administration." Liberal Alan Dershowitz
http://thehill.com/opinion/white-house/379372-trump-is-right-the-special-counsel-should-never-have-been-appointed

Steve Fouga

Carlos says: "He who laughs last laughs best."

I'm counting on it. We'll be reading sordid exposes and laughing our butts off about this one for the rest of our collective lifetimes. At least I will. You might still have your head in the sand.

Jim Forsythe

The real question is , if Trump is found to have committed a crime, would you, Carlos, favor punishment that fits his crime, or would you say it's ok, because it's Trump.

The case will be closed when Mueller is finished or he is fired. Some Republican Senators have stated that, if Trump fires Mueller it would be the first step of his impeachment.
It may take longer than 2 years to finish, because of Trumps finances and business holdings. I'm waiting for the truth is revealed, and it will be when Mueller is done.

Carlos Ponce

Jim, the REAL question is , WHEN Trump is found NOT GUILTY of ANY crime, will you, JIM, admit it, or will you continue until your dying day proclaiming unfounded accusations?
"House Intelligence Committee Completes Russia Probe: ‘No Evidence of Collusion Between Trump Campaign, Russians' "
Looks like even an act of CONGRESS will not convince you. Jim, putting your credibility behind Mueller isn't very smart.

Jim Forsythe

"WHEN Trump is found NOT GUILTY of ANY crime, will you, JIM, admit it," noting to admit, as he would be found not guilty. Just as if Trump is found guilty, noting for you admit, Trump would be guilty. At that time, would you be in favor of punishment for Trump to fit the crime or just let him slide,because he is Trump?
Until Mueller final verdict is announced, we will not know.
Collusion is not all Trump is being investigated for.

Carlos Ponce

"noting to admit"
Well, you've been pounding on this president even before he was elected! I wish you will at least give up on your FAKE NEWS sources when they've been proven partisan and WRONG!! You're like the gambler who keeps going back to a bookie who gives you poor advice. Your credibility is in deficit.

Gary Miller

Of course yes Jim.
And the same for the Obama/Clinton crime family which is more likely to produce convictions. A RICO conviction would jail HRC until dead and confiscate all her and Bill's assets.

Jim Forsythe

This is about Russia investigation. and the indictments. Mueller will give his results and at that time nothing will need to be admitted, as he will report the findings. If you want to debate Trump, send it into GDN Opinion section, so other can also debate the pro's and con's of the president.
Why would you think that I have a bookie?

Carlos Ponce

Bookie? The FAKE NEWS media is your bookie. Why anyone with even a modicum of intelligence would follow and believe them is beyond comprehension.

Jim Forsythe

Gary, that up to the Republicans, as that have the votes and the power. Hillary might be convicted or not. If convicted she should pay the price, if not then everyone would stop with the lock her up chant that came from Cambridge Analytica


Jim Forsythe

Bookies do not give advice.

margo holst

Lots of speculation here. One fact is true: We haven't seen Trump's taxes.
DJ Kava Crystal Beach/Beaumont

Jarvis Buckley

You folks understand the NSA is reading your comments don't you?

Steve Fouga

[beam][sad][innocent][unsure]

Gary Scoggin

When Trump fans’ arguments start getting thin, they go after Hillary. I’m pretty sure she lost.

Carlos Ponce

If you are tuned in to real news you will know that Hillary, Bill and the the Clinton Foundation have been under investigation for several months. Also the DOJ office of the Inspector General is due to release a report on several high name officials in the Obama administration. Look for many indictments. Stay tuned.

Jim Forsythe

Carlos , Thanks I found the real news!
http://therealnews.com/t2/

Gary Scoggin

Thanks for confirming my statement.

Jim Forsythe

Gary, if someone want to be a Trump fan , they would need to be a Contortionist, to keep up with his changing of positions

Carlos Ponce

Contortionist? Okay like:
“I have been very clear on this, I have said I am not a supporter of gay marriage."
"I believe that marriage is the union between a man and a woman. Now, for me as a Christian — for me — for me as a Christian, it is also a sacred union. God's in the mix."
and "I am not a supporter of gay marriage as it has been thrown about, primarily just as a strategic issue. I think that marriage, in the minds of a lot of voters, has a religious connotation."
Then as President: "I've just concluded that for me, personally, it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married."
Oh wait, that was not Trump. That was President Obama. If someone want to be an Obama fan, they would need to be a Contortionist, to keep up with his changing of positions. And that's just one example. Jim, did you get your underclothing in knots trying to keep up with your Democratic President?

Jim Forsythe

We have a Democratic President? I have not heard the news that Trump has changed parties again! He would be a RINO turning into a DINO? I have one President, and that is the one in office.
Why are you worried about what Obama is doing or has done, as he is not the President.
As Gary has said, deflecting from Trump to someone else such as the Clinton's , or Obama is just trying to not address the issues we have now.
Be sure to watch 60 Minutes Sunday.

Carlos Ponce

"We have a Democratic President?" You haven't heard? Obama is STILL running the DEEP STATE. They answer to Barack Hussein Obama. He may not be in the White House but his people are entrenched and Hell bent on throwing a monkey wrench into the legitimate presidency. Where do you think the so called "leaks" come from. The SWAMP is still there.

Jim Forsythe

If they do not agree with him , he will have them arrested.
"President Trump has signed a sweeping Executive Order allowing him to arrest and prosecute traitorous ‘Deep State’ officials using the US military court-martial process. The March 1 executive order makes changes to the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) – allowing Trump to drag civilians through the US military justice system. He plans to enact these new laws on 1 January 2019—which is the date that a new US Congress will be sworn in, and whom might contain a majority of his “Deep State” coup plotting enemies sworn to throwing him out office."
If you want to say that a Deep State exist in the USA go ahead, but it does not make it so.
While actual deep states exist in countries like Turkey, Egypt, and Pakistan, there's no evidence of a deep state in the United States.
You forgot to include Ellen DeGeneres.
"At least that is what Eric Trump, the heir to Donald’s impressive real estate fortune, has asserted. He believes that none other than sprightly talk show host Ellen DeGeneres is a part of a shadow government along with Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama."
Did you get your proof, like Eric did?
"Rather than getting the information from a government intelligence agency, the younger Trump found out via Twitter’s “Who to follow” and took a screenshot as proof that there is a “deep state”."
As Gary has said, deflecting from Trump to someone else such as the Clinton's, Obama or the Deep State is just trying to not address the issues we have now.

Is Coast to Coast your new source? Both topics are tied together.
Tuesday they will be talking about- Exposing the 'Deep State'/ UFO Phenomena
https://www.coasttocoastam.com/

Carlos Ponce

Jim Forsythe, are you part of the Deep State or a member of the Swamp?

Jim Forsythe

As Gary has said, deflecting from Trump to someone else such as the Clinton's, Obama, the Deep State and the Swamp is just trying to not address the issues we have now.
I was waiting for my membership card. I had no idea that you were the membership committee.
You can grant membership without checking with the others?

"In recent months, Trump has rebranded the "swamp" to mean almost anything he objects to: reporters, opponents of his immigration plan, free traders, bureaucrats, politicians who vote against tax cuts"
"The Swamp: Washington's Murky Pool of Corruption and Cronyism and How Trump Can Drain It."
Well, then you most certainly have to start with Trump's own family, his own kids profiting by the obvious nepotism. Then it's on to Mnuchin who profited by the housing crisis ten years ago followed by the other1% ers in his administration(Trump included ) who are rampant opportunists.This entire administration is notable for how much it is suffused with that kind of ambience.

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