Direct vs. Circumstantial Evidence

Today on Meet the Press, House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Ranking Member Adam Schiff (D-CA) stated that he has seen “circumstantial evidence” of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 campaign. I wanted to provide some definitions to explain the difference between circumstantial and direct evidence.

This is what we were taught in Criminal Law on pretty much the first day of law school:

Direct evidence: Evidence which proves a fact by itself. Example: In court a witness testifies that he saw it raining before he entered the courthouse. That is direct evidence that it was raining.

Circumstantial evidence: Evidence which doesn’t directly prove the fact in question, but is evidence of a different fact or facts from which a conclusion of truth may be drawn. Example: In court a witness testifies that he saw someone come in with a raincoat with water drops on it, supporting the conclusion that it was raining.

The expression, “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire” has been bandied about a lot recently. To me it seems that there is so much smoke that there is definitely a fire. Certainly there’s a fire in Trump’s pants because he only knows how to lie.

I have read that committee chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) will steer tomorrow’s questioning of FBI Director James Comey more toward the antics of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn than examining possible collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. I hope the Democrats stand their ground and press the witness on the collusion issue. It’s hard to get anywhere with the Republican ostriches with their heads in the sand (which ostriches don’t do, but that’s a topic for another day) who REFUSE to follow the mounting trail of evidence against the grifters in the White House.

Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) also appeared on MTP today and said a couple of things with which I take issue. When Chuck Todd asked her about the absurd allegation that former President Obama (how I hate the word “former” as applied to President Obama) surveilled Trump Tower, she responded that “we need to get to the bottom of this.” Um, we have reached the bottom, and as Gertrude Stein wrote of Oakland, there is no there there. (Sorry, Oakland) Why is it so hard for some Republicans to admit that this simply did not happen?

Senator Collins also stated that she is hoping for “President” Trump’s success. I do not share the same hope. I hope and pray for his complete and utter failure in everything he tries. Not because I don’t respect the office; I have been studying the American presidency since I was in second grade (1969-70, for those keeping track). I decry the fact that such an ignorant, evil liar is squatting in our beloved White House. There is not a single policy proposal he has made with which I agree. I do not agree with taking away 24 million Americans’ health insurance. I do not agree with killing the EPA, Education and HUD Departments by installing incompetent people to run them (same goes for every other department). I do not agree with banning Muslims, Mexicans or any other immigrant from our shores. Everything Trump wants to do benefits himself, his family of grifters, and his billionaire buddies and diminishes the lives of normal Americans, and that something I simply cannot support.

President John Adams was the first American president to live in the White House. On November 2, 1800, he wrote to his wife Abigail, “I pray Heaven to bestow the best of Blessings on this House and on all that shall hereafter inhabit it. May none but honest and wise Men ever rule under this roof.” John Adams is surely doing Olympic caliber somersaults in his grave at who is profaning that sacred place today.