Mueller Time

Special Counsel, Robert Mueller has submitted his report to the Attorney General, William Barr. Barr is expected to release the report to Congress as early as this weekend. We can’t tell you what Mueller concluded but here’s what to expect. (updated).

While it’s tempting to think of Trump-Russia as a single crime like a jewelry heist with the American Presidency substituting for priceless gems, it is not that simple. In reality, the operation was a series of interconnected, simultaneous crimes, all setting up the right conditions for the taking of the most powerful throne on the planet.

There is no crime called “Stealing the American Presidency,” so Mueller’s first task is to identify whether a crime was committed to effect the election result for the benefit of the conspirators. To continue our jewelry heist analogy, this would be akin to our jewelry thieves disrupting traffic to create a distraction so they can slip past police with the loot. Because of this, Mueller’s case will be largely circumstantial and we don’t expect a smoking gun.


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Mueller’s second task is to determine if the crime was a conspiracy. To qualify as one, Mueller needs to show two or more parties conspiring in the execution of a crime. Conspirators usually try to hide their involvement from being detected by using cut-outs or intermediaries to execute their crime. Mueller may not have any direct evidence that Putin and Trump were directly conspiring but he will likely have evidence their subordinates did.

Important note, even if the actual crime was never carried out, the very fact that two or more parties planned to execute an offense together makes it a conspiracy.

Mueller’s third task is to prove the involvement of Russia or its agents or agencies on the one hand, and the Trump campaign or its associates on the other hand, in the execution of this conspiracy and crime. That is the scope of Mueller’s mandate.

Special Counsel, Robert Mueller has submitted his report to the Attorney General, William Barr.  Barr is expected to release the report to Congress as early as this weekend.  We can't tell you what Mueller concluded but here's what to expect.
Donald Trump at the 2016 Republican National Convention, flanked by his campaign deputy chairman Rick Gates (left) and chairman Paul Manafort (right).

Does Mueller have the goods?

If Mueller can determine Trump-Russia was a conspiracy, he’ll need to show a coordinated operation to defraud America and its citizens during the 2016 Presidential Election. There’s an actual law called “Conspiracy to Defraud the United States” (923.18 U.S.C Section 371) as defined by Hammerschmidt v. United States as:

To summarize, Mueller needs to determine if a crime was committed, whether it was a conspiracy and if it involved Russia and the Trump campaign or their delegates. Fortunately, Mueller already has a significant amount of evidence, and most of it has already been tested before grand juries and judges through various indictments and hearings.

Other countries, interest groups, politicians, organizations – criminal or otherwise – and some very wealthy people may also have been involved in the planning and execution of the conspiracy and the underlying crime or crimes. All told, we may find the number of people with direct knowledge of the crime to be in the hundreds or more, but Mueller’s primary interest is specifically Russia and the Trump Campaign.

Special Counsel, Robert Mueller has submitted his report to the Attorney General, William Barr.  Barr is expected to release the report to Congress as early as this weekend.  We can't tell you what Mueller concluded but here's what to expect.
The Trump-Russia operation was a series of interconnected, simultaneous crimes, all setting up the right conditions for the taking of the most powerful throne on the planet.

One operation, many conspiracies.

Trump-Russia was one operation consisting of a many possible crimes, or conspiracies. These include known operations to influence the NRA, the use of stolen Facebook data to shift sentiment, an attempt to hand over dirt on HRC’s campaign and could even include the mysterious death of a GOP operative in Chicago.

Each of these operations appears to have their own conspiracies and their own crimes but one operation stands out among them as having the clearest connective tissue between the Russian state and the Trump campaign, and that is:

The DNC hack and the subsequent publication of emails by WikiLeaks is likely to be ground zero of Mueller’s report.

This operation has it all. Donald Trump himself pleading for help from Russia and WikiLeaks, an actual intrusion into the DNC servers by cyber hackers at Russia’s military intelligence, GRU, and a motley crew of Trump associates with a demonstrable timeline of contacts with WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange, including Roger Stone and the president’s son.

There are four known key nodes of this operation.

  • The GRU hack of DNC servers. Twelve GRU officers were already indicted as part of this conspiracy.
  • The publication of the contents from the hacked servers by WikiLeaks.
  • Coordination between Trump associates and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange including regular contact with Paul Manafort and Roger Stone.
  • The GRU also coordinated its activities with a troll farm in St. Petersburg which spread fake news on social media.

Mueller’s indictment of the 12 GRU officers gives us a clear indication of the many crimes that could fall under this conspiracy. “From phishing attacks to gain access to Democratic operatives, to money laundering, to attempts to break into state elections boards, the indictment details a vigorous and complex effort by Russia’s top military intelligence service to sabotage the campaign of Mr. Trump’s Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton,” says the New York Times.

A note on the front page of Roger Stone’s indictment from January 24, 2019, refers to his possible inclusion in a more significant case of conspiracy. The related case number refers to the indictment of the twelve GRU officers. “The Stone indictment was a conspiracy indictment without any conspirators,” says legal analyst Glenn Kirshner.

In today’s announcement we learned that Stone’s prosecution will continue in November albeit under a different office. Another strand of prosecution into the inauguration committee will also continue.

We can’t tell you when Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report will drop, but we can tell you what to look for when it does.

Expect no more indictments from Mueller

Mueller let it be known today that there would be no further indictments from his office but this doesn’t preclude further indictments as a result of the remaining investigations or state investigations. Thos are still likely according Rep Adam Schiff and Senator Richard Blumenthal, who told MSNBC: “I think there’s a strong possibility of additional indictments, including the president’s family.”

We know that Paul Manafort’s deputy at the Trump Campaign, Rick Gates, has provided extensive cooperation to state investigator particularly in New York. The SDNY is also investigating campaign finance violations resulting from Michael Cohen plus other investigations.

One big question that remains unanswered is the involvement of Saudi Arabia, UAE and Israel in the Trump-Russia conspiracy. Mueller’s team has been investigating this thread but has obviously chosen not to indict anyone. Why he declined to prosecute will be an area of interest.

Mueller may also issue his findings on whether there was a Conspiracy to Obstruct Justice in the firing of James Comey. We will also watch with interest Michael Flynn’s involvement in an upcoming case relating to Turkey.

The investigation into the Trump campaign’s possible crimes does not end with the Mueller report, nor does it end with state or congressional investigations. Judgement on Trump will likely only be delivered at polling booths in 2020.

Special Counsel, Robert Mueller has submitted his report to the Attorney General, William Barr.  Barr is expected to release the report to Congress as early as this weekend.  We can't tell you what Mueller concluded but here's what to expect.
Will Mueller indict any of the Trump children? It looks unlikely but remember there are many more investigations outside of the Mueller probe. Senator Richard Blumenthal told MSNBC: “I think there’s a strong possibility of additional indictments, including the president’s family.”

Will Mueller indict Donald Trump?

This is the big question. Mueller has evidence Trump was aware of the hacking, timing and context of the publication of the hacked material. This was one of the biggest revelations to emerge from Michael Cohen’s testimony before the House Oversight Committee.

Trump also publicly conspired when he called on Russia and Wikileaks to help during the campaign. This suggests Trump could be an un-indicted co-conspirator but it seems likely he will escape exposure in the report. That does not mean he will escape indictment by the SDNY.

This has been a long road, and whatever Mueller decides, perhaps one of the most important results of the entire process is that he be allowed to complete it. It is actual proof that we still have a functioning Justice Department and that the “rule of law” still prevails in the U.S. Many challenges lie ahead, but Mueller’s decision needs to be peacefully accepted for what it is, no matter what it is.

We need to give investigators time to complete their work. Our impatience shouldn’t have any more influence over the timing of Mueller’s work than Donald Trump’s indignance. As one old proverb puts it, the wheels of justice turn slowly but grind exceedingly fine.


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