1/ Barr begins by conceding that, in accordance with DOJ regulations, the report he has received from Mueller only summarizes "prosecution or declination" decisions—meaning that it may well not include much of the raw evidence Mueller compiled, and be sparsely conclusory in form.
2/ Though Mueller may not have included raw evidence in his report—which mainly summarizes who he charged or didn't and why—Barr observes that "the report explains that his staff thoroughly investigated" the allegations, thus confusing the raw evidence and what Mueller told Barr.
3/ This means that we have not 2 but 3 data-points to work with:
(1) Mueller's case file.
(2) Mueller's summary of prosecution and declination decisions.
(3) Barr's summary of Mueller's summary.
Barr writes his letter in a way that quickly conflates #1 and #2—and it *matters*.
4/ So let's say Data-point #1 (Mueller's case file) establishes 80% proof of a crime being committed; Data-point #2 (Mueller's summary of prosecution and declination decisions) might simply say, "not enough to indict." Barr's letter (Data-point #3) can then *imply* "no evidence."
5/ As we've seen—and will see in this thread—that's exactly what Barr does: he carefully chooses his words in describing Mueller's "declination" decisions in a way that obscures how much evidence there may have been, leaving the impression—instead—there may have been none at all.
6/ Barr had a choice here: he could summarize the evidence or summarize the *summary* of the evidence. The decision he made was to summarize the summary, knowing that him doing so would feed into Team Trump's false narrative that criminal evidence exists in an all-or-none binary.
7/ But by *leading off* his "summary of the summary" by referencing the raw evidence—"the Special Counsel and his staff thoroughly investigated..."—it sounds like he's working from the raw evidence, not a summary of the evidence. This is a pretty basic legalistic bait-and-switch.
8/ The next thing Barr does is outrageously mischaracterize the scope of Mueller's investigation—wildly misquoting the public appointment letter that led to the 22-month Mueller probe. Why mischaracterize a public document like this (especially such a famous one)? Let's find out.
9/ Here's the DOJ document that authorized and set the scope for Mueller's investigation. Note, first, that it tasked Mueller with investigating "coordination" between Team Trump and the Russian government; it pointedly did *not* use the word "conspiracy."
10/ "Coordination" is far broader than "conspiracy," as a) it comes from counterintelligence—and thus includes far more conduct than the criminal system would recognize as problematic, and b) it has a broad lay meaning on par with "collusion"—not a narrow statute like Conspiracy.
11/ But note too that Mueller's appointment letter tasked him with fully investigating "any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation"—for instance if Mueller found insufficient evidence to charge Conspiracy but found evidence of Bribery, he could pursue it.
12/ Conspiracy requires an *agreement* of some kind—a "meeting of the minds"—with an illegal purpose, then an *act in furtherance* of the agreement to achieve an illegal end. The end needn't be achieved, but some agreement—here, with "the Russian government"—*would* be necessary.
13/ Here's the key point on this: As Mueller began his work, *no one in America was accusing Trump of engaging in a covert illegal agreement with a Russian government entity*. Not the IRA, not the GRU, not the FSB. *Nor had Trump done that*. Which is why he immediately denied it.
14/ Trump found the one type of collusion he *hadn't* engaged in—a covert, before-the-fact agreement (Conspiracy) with the IRA or GRU to (respectively) use psy-ops on or hack America—and denied it. Unfortunately, that was a small part of the "coordination" Mueller was looking at.
15/ What Trump *was* being accused of—and which he couldn't deny, because, as we already know from public evidence, *he definitely did it*—was allowing his foreign policy on Russian sanctions to be the product of Bribery (one of two enumerated impeachable offenses, with Treason).
16/ The Trump Tower Moscow-for-sanctions relief quid pro quo Trump was accused of was *never* chargeable as Conspiracy—it would be Bribery or maybe Aiding and Abetting (After the Fact) Russian interference by agreeing to unilaterally pay Putin trillions, and thus encouraging him.