No Backing Down. Release the Mueller Report. 

Yes, we are dismayed, but not for the reasons you might think. We are not troubled by any imagined derelictions of the mainstream media or by any presumed credulousness on its part or by any putative conspiracy, in tandem with the Democratic Party, to mislead the nation about a fictitious involvement of Donald Trump, his campaign, or his administration with the Russian regime of Vladimir Putin.

What concerns us instead is the tail-between-the-legs attitude of some of our brethren in the Fourth Estate, or the chastisement of fellow journalists by the likes of The New York Times' David Brooks or gonzo progressive Matt Taibbi.

No, we have nothing to apologize for, those of us who pointed out the practical symbiosis between the Trump campaign and administration and the organized conspiracy of the Russian government to undermine both our democratic (small d) processes and the electoral chances of the Democratic Party.

No, we were not deceived, and we had no difficulty discerning a pattern in the ever-proliferating number of relationships between the Trumpians and the Russians, even if, bafflingly, special counsel Robert Mueller, who unearthed so many of them, supposedly did. (And we pause here to observe that, in these first few days of shocked reaction to the hands-off conclusions attributed to the Mueller report, what is being reacted to is William Barr's summary of that report, an interpretation of its contents by an attorney general hired by Trump, in effect, to serve as the personal presidential lawyer that Jeff Sessions, Trump's first AG, declined to be.)

Michael Flynn, the president's first national security adviser, did have conversations with Russian officials, which he later lied about, promising them relief from sanctions properly applied by former President Barack Obama. He pleaded guilty.

Earlier, Trump's most intimate campaign assistants, including a son, a son-in-law, and his campaign manager Paul Manafort, took a meeting — in Trump Tower in New York, no less — with Russian emissaries who promised them help with the campaign and dirt on Trump's opponent, Hillary Clinton.

Even earlier than that, Manafort had agreed to share the campaign's polling information with a Russian oligarch close to Putin, and presumably close also to the cyber-sabotage being organized and conducted by Russians, a dozen of whom would go on to be indicted at Mueller's behest.

It goes on and on, the litany of relationships and the network of lies told in both countries to conceal them. In more recent weeks we have learned about Trump's hopes for an extravagant payoff from Putin via the Russian dictator's approval of a Trump Tower to be built in Moscow.

We have all been lessoned as to the fact that the word "collusion," indicating an intimate working relationship, is not a legal term. Fine, we accept it for what it is, an indication of an intimate working relationship. And everything we have just described, along with much more that we don't have space for here, is collusion on the face of it. We — and others in the media — have nothing to apologize for in having pointed this out. Let the American people know the truth, one way or the other. Release the Mueller report.

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