Dispatch March 22, 2019

What We Know About The Mueller Report So Far

The special counsel has already uncovered what historians consider the worst scandal in American history, with 37 indictments and 7 guilty pleas from the President’s closest associates. President Trump has also engaged in an unprecedented cover-up that continues to this day as he desperately dangles pardons for Paul Manafort and Roger Stone to prevent their cooperation. The fact that Russian President Putin almost certainly knows the facts that Trump has been trying to keep hidden is itself enough to compromise our national security, and to raise the alarm bells that Trump’s groveling to Putin and pro-Putin foreign policy are the result.

The Special Counsel investigation has uncovered an extensive and incredibly effective Russian election interference campaign to elect Donald Trump – which his campaign aided and abetted.

  • Russia’s campaign to elect Donald Trump was a multimillion-dollar, sophisticated, multifaceted campaign directed by the Kremlin.  And Trump’s campaign was in constant in constant contact with this Russian campaign, with at least 28 meetings and more than 100 contacts between Trump officials and Kremlin-linked figures.
  • Russia had multiple lines of communication with the Trump campaign and deployed intelligence assets to target conservative candidates and causes, including:
    • Joseph Mifsud, a Maltese professor who told the Trump campaign that Clinton’s emails had been hacked.
    • Konstantin Kilimnik, Paul Manafort’s longtime associate with ties to Russian intelligence. Kilimnik and Manafort remained in contact during the campaign, and Manafort allegedly passed polling data to Kilimnik in August 2016.
    • Maria Butina, who targeted the NRA and key GOP leaders ahead of the campaign.
  • At the June 9 Trump Tower meeting, high-ranking members of the Trump campaign sought to get the “dirt” Russia had on Clinton.
  • Russian military intelligence officers engaged in a year-long hacking campaign against Trump’s opponents. This wasn’t just an attack on Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, this was a widespread effort that targeted over 60 opponents of Trump — that we know of.
    • Russian intelligence offers hacked into DNC servers to access their analytics, field research, donor lists, and internal emails.
    • Through the Internet Research Agency (IRA), Russia had a digital team the size of a modern presidential campaign, with a multi-million dollar budget. They bought online ads, organized political rallies, and spread false and divisive information online – all to influence election coverage and boost Trump.
  • As Russia was attacking the U.S., Trump encouraged and defended this effort at every opportunity. He even publicly encouraged Russia to continue looking for Clinton’s emails. His campaign also coordinated with Wikileaks, a Russian intelligence cutout.
  • Since taking office, Trump has downplayed the Russian attack on our democracy at every turn.
    • He’s repeatedly attacked the intelligence community and the DOJ, calling investigations into his campaign and transition a “witch hunt”.
    • He’s done nothing to respond to foreign election interference. His administration has gutted task forces dedicated to securing U.S. elections, and Trump has implemented policies that benefit the Kremlin at every opportunity.

If DOJ does not indict Trump, it would not be surprising but would also not exonerate him.

  • DOJ policy has been not to indict a sitting president, so if Trump is not indicted, it would not be surprising.
  • This would not mean Trump is innocent, or blameless, simply that DOJ is following its long-standing policy.
  • It is also DOJ policy to not speak disparagingly about individuals not charged with any crimes, therefore it would be unsurprising if Trump is not mentioned, given DOJ policy of not indicting sitting presidents.

Even if the criminal investigation is complete, there was also a counterintelligence investigation that was handed off to the Special Counsel by the FBI.

  • In the letter empowering the Special Counsel office, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, handed over the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation into Trump.
  • Counterintelligence investigations often do not result in arrests or indictments. Unlike criminal investigations, the goal of a counterintelligence investigation is not to bring about criminal indictments, but rather to thwart the intelligence activities of hostile foreign adversaries. Arrests are a tool, but only one among a broad catalogue.
  • Trump’s campaign worked with Russia, and Russia knew about it, so we already know that the President of the United States has been compromised by a hostile foreign power. This is an ongoing national security crisis.