It’s a major day in the neverending Mueller investigation. They found some witches but they’re all in Russia.
This was a small scale effort, from what I can tell. Almost comical. But look around you and see how this whole Russia narrative has deepened divisions between Americans, undermined the election results, trashed the reputation of the FBI (much of this was self-inflicted but wouldn’t otherwise have gotten this much attention), and sowed distrust for the American press. They got a lot out of it for what they put in.
What I gathered from Rosenstein is that he wants to get the truth out about the 2016 Election and put us back on the path to restoring faith in our institutions. Does this help? I think so. In fact, this particular development makes me think it’s even less likely that Mueller is going to lay a glove on Trump. It’s hard to imagine anything that would create greater discord in American society than an impeachment.
On that basis, it shouldn’t be any surprise that DAG Rosenstein has declared that no American citizen committed any crime associated with the hacking or leaking of the DNC and Podesta emails. The tale of collusion is busted and will live on as conspiracy theory like so much “fire can’t melt steel”. This has to be the beginning of the end for Mueller’s investigation. Unless I’m missing something.
“What about obstruction?” you might say. What about it? The IG report has come and gone and fully exposed how justifiable Comey’s firing was. Also, if Mueller wants to go after Trump for it, then Rosenstein will have to recuse himself since he’s a witness in the case as the author of the memo that laid out the case for firing Comey. Rosenstein isn’t going to do that.
So that’s about it for Trump-Russia-Possible Collusion. Don’t get me wrong, I know it’s not over until Mueller goes back into retirement. So I’ll save the post-mortem analysis for another day.
What I’d like to do is look at a few things in the indictment that I found interesting. One was this:
As a reminder, critics of Wikileaks have been saying for a couple of years now that it’s an arm of Russian intelligence. That doesn’t appear to be DOJ’s view. In this, Wikileaks (Organization 1) thought they were talking to a Romanian hacker, not a Russian intelligence unit. I thought that was noteworthy.
But hadn’t Wikileaks been implying that Seth Rich or someone else on the inside in the DNC had been the source of the documents? Why yes, they did. Someone should ask them about that. Wait, somebody did.
The indictment pretty damningly makes the case that the Russians created the now-defunct DCLeaks site to distribute information. I’m curious to know why they’d need to use Wikileaks, but we’ll see.
I’m leery about most of the findings in the indictment related to the hacking because I know the FBI was using Crowdstrike’s information. In the unlikely event that any of these Russians gets extradited, we’ll get to find out how the DOJ gleaned all of this information.
One thing I do think we deserve to know is who the hell this is:
The identity of which congressional candidate asked a hacker for information on his opponent is as relevant to the public interest as, well, anything Wikileaks published from the DNC/Podesta emails.
You’ve probably heard that Roger Stone makes an appearance in there. He’s not named, but it’s another one of those “person thought he was talking to a Romanian hacker, not a Russian spy” things. It’s weaksauce, but there’s a lot being made about it. Stone isn’t getting indicted. They’d have done it at the same time as the Russians.
Now all of this isn’t to say that I’m perfectly happy with everything. The timing, falling right between Strzok’s disastrous Congressional hearing and Trump’s meeting with Putin is very curious, to say the least. I don’t think Trump has any choice but to spend most of his time discussing this.
It will be the first of many talks, as Trump is the President of the United States and that isn’t going to change anytime soon. Can we please put the election behind us now or do we have to wait for Mueller to go away?