It’s a major day in the neverending Mueller investigation.  They found some witches but they’re all in Russia.

The full indictment is here.   I’ve had some time to read through it and it’s striking how consistent it is with the “troll farm” indictments from February.  I wrote this at the time:

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?

25 comments

  1. One thing I have never understood with the logic on the left when it comes to removing Trump from office.

    Before and since the election, I’ve heard, and read from multiple liberals that Pence is worse than Trump. They said he would turn the US into a Theocracy, and attributed all sorts of character flaws, and evil motives to him. They flat out stated that he would be worse than Trump as a President.

    These very same people are the ones that have been calling for Trump’s impeachment. They do realize who becomes President if Trump is removed from office…right?

  2. They think that if it can be proven Trump somehow stole the election, then Pence will also have to step down and the presidency will be handed to Hillary Clinton by Paul Ryan. I’d say they were thinking ahead, but that would imply that they’re thinking rationally. I don’t want to do that.

  3. One thing I have never understood with the logic on the left when it comes to removing Trump from office.

    There is no logic to it. You will never see me advocate removing Trump despite how bad I think he is. Mike Pence would not be an improvement and he is probably more competent.

    These very same people are the ones that have been calling for Trump’s impeachment.

    Not necessarily. You would have to do some kind of Venn diagram of everyone discussing it. I am on “the left” and I certainly don’t advocate for a Pence presidency.

    Pence will also have to step down and the presidency will be handed to Hillary Clinton by Paul Ryan

    Almost no one actually thinks that. Liberals said the same thing when “Impeach Obama” came up. Did you think that?

  4. Almost no one actually thinks that.

    I can’t quantify how many people think that, but they do exist. Come on, when do I ever make “all liberals believe x” type arguments?

    And yes, there was a fringe belief on the right that because Obama was born in Kenya, his election and every law and appointment he made would be rendered void.

    Zurvan’s point that Pence is scarier to liberals than Trump stands. I can’t wait for the first time I hear sometime in the 2020’s from a Democrat about how “Trump never would have done what the current Republican president is doing!”

  5. Come on, when do I ever make “all liberals believe x” type arguments?

    My knee is fully jerked from the DJ Thread. I know that you don’t make sweeping assumptions.

    Zurvan’s point that Pence is scarier to liberals than Trump stands.

    Pence is a liberal’s nightmare, but I doubt he ever gets the job unless Trump dies in office.

  6. My knee is fully jerked from the DJ Thread.

    Christ, same here. I’m feeling a bit like this at the moment.

  7. Not necessarily. You would have to do some kind of Venn diagram of everyone discussing it.

    That could prove tricky to do it with specific individuals, as I was just talking generally, but I’m willing to dig deeper since it’s my premise.

    We can start with Vanity Fair:

    Omarosa is Right: Why President Pence could be more terrifying than President Trump

    Followed by headlines such as:

    “TRUMP’S IMPEACHMENT STRATEGY COMES INTO FOCUS”

    “DONALD TRUMP IS NO LONGER HIDING HIS IMPEACHMENT STRATEGY”

    Which includes the line, “the special counsel’s report will almost certainly become the basis for articles of impeachment, a political drama that will play out in Congress rather than a courtroom.” This is written by the same woman who wrote the first article above saying Pence would be worse than Trump.

    “DEMOCRATS ARE HEADED FOR A MAJOR CLASH OVER IMPEACHMENT”

    “WILL 2018 BE THE END OF THE TRUMP PRESIDENCY?”

    So yeah, a lot of cognitive dissonance going on at Vanity Fair. I’d keep going because there are other articles on Google, but I ran into their pay-wall and there’s no way in hell I’m paying for that level of stupidity.

    There’s bound to be others, as I found that after about 30 seconds of googling. I’ll see what else I can find, if only for my own curiosity.

  8. There’s bound to be others, as I found that after about 30 seconds of googling. I’ll see what else I can find, if only for my own curiosity.

    It is worthwhile research. Editorial board must not be vetting the articles for consistency. I guess that makes sense for opinion pieces, but obviously not for news.

  9. The Democrats should be focusing on fighting battles they think they can win-child separations, the environment, etc. Instead, they’re still fixated on all Trump, all the time, and now there are signs it will cost them in the elections. Notice how they’re not really talking about impeachment these days so much as trying to prove that somehow, somewhere, Trump broke the law. But it looks like he didn’t, or if he did anything shady then it’s not really criminal. They wanted Russians, well, here they are.

  10. the dumbfuck that freelanced guccifer for the hacked data is a Florida Republican.

    I also think you are either incredibly confused, maybe ignorant, or deliberately obfuscating the investigation. Mueller asked for 100 more sealed indictments, its hardly over. The Americans will be indicted last, probably in september.

    But I’m sure you knew that too, you big Oracle you! Lmaoooo

  11. the dumbfuck that freelanced guccifer for the hacked data is a Florida Republican.

    Did he win? I genuinely don’t know who it is.

    But I’m sure you knew that too, you big Oracle you! Lmaoooo

    Trump is railing against Mueller now so that when the investigation concludes and he comes out clean, you and the rest of the pussy hat brigade won’t be able to bitch about how Mueller was unfair or biased. You’re being trolled and don’t even know it. Trump is in no danger and he’s fully aware of it.

    Is this not obvious? I’m only going to rub it in your face, nobody else’s, when Mueller quits and leaves Democrats with nothing to impeach with if you don’t understand that you’re being played.

  12. Trust me we’ve been reading for years how you WANT this to end, but unfortunately (by the tone of the revenge you are waiting so desperately to strike) I think you know deep down this isn’t going to end well.

    Guccifer 2.0 is s very high profile target, and those indictments corroborate what the intelligence community said all along: it was a multi-user account that was run by Russian intelligence houses in Russia and Eastern Europe. Breitbart reporters have been bragging for years that guccifer was their secret weapon. Stranahan BRAGGED that he was receiving information from guccifer, and bragged on twitter he’d been connected to him by roger stone (and mentioned him in the tweets to dispel any myths).

    You could be right, but I’m calling the bet, and if I win YOU will never hear the end of it either. To me, this was a sucker bet from the beginning, and even if trump is not personally indicted, we’re at about 12 members of his team that are (so far) and there more coming.

    I really think you should expand where you take your news and opinions from, it couldn’t hurt. It’s at least worth the mental exercise to read the other side about it.

    The Florida Republican is Brian mast. Don’t know and don’t care if he won.

  13. Aaron nevins was the “Republican political blogger and operative” btw. Allegedly*

  14. Trust me we’ve been reading for years how you WANT this to end, but unfortunately (by the tone of the revenge you are waiting so desperately to strike) I think you know deep down this isn’t going to end well.

    Go watch Rosenstein’s statements on both this and the “bot farm” indictments. I have every reason to be confident about the outcome, particularly when he says that no Americans were involved. And even if I were wrong about Rosenstein’s intentions and that he is willing to target Trump, it wouldn’t matter because of two words: Peter Strzok.

    I want to strike revenge because you’re being such a blind dill-hole about everything and acting like a Reddit troll every step of the way. I want to drink deeply of the schadenfreude. You won’t be able to say you weren’t warned.

    To me, this was a sucker bet from the beginning, and even if trump is not personally indicted, we’re at about 12 members of his team that are (so far) and there more coming.

    Have any of the indicted been charged with anything actually related to Trump? Nope. Donald Trump is your president.

  15. I guess the indictment did mention him after all.

    Yup. And he committed no crimes. It means jack shit. Congratulations. You’ve seen your hopes dashed.

    It’s the same as Stone. Funny thing, but it’s not illegal to talk to Russians who are pretending to be Romanians. Who knew?

  16. I really think you should expand where you take your news and opinions from, it couldn’t hurt.

    “Hurr durr, you need to start reading the same dipshit lefty sites I do to be informed and stuff.”

    Yeah, I read the indictment for myself and listened to what Rosenstein had to say so I could interpret it without anyone else’s biases. Maybe you should start reading this blog more than you shitpost on it.

  17. You sound so…… triggered! Lmao!

    You sounded so sure of yourself! The chapter is not over on Lee, he may fold under questioning (to quote a line from goodfellas)!

  18. You sound so…… triggered! Lmao!

    You know what? I am.

    I research and write on my time, for free I might add, and I enjoy having conversations about things with people who have a variety of grown-up perspectives on topics.

    You step onto every one of my posts and ignore what I write and shit all over every discussion. I’ve given you consideration since you’re a founding member of this blog, but if you don’t care then I don’t either. You’ve decided to be a cancer around here so I’m going to administer some treatment. You haven’t been getting the hints, so I’m going to take the next logical step.

    Next time you drop some of your Reddit-tier bullshit under one of my posts like you’ve been doing for the past year or so, I’m just going to delete your comments. EIther start adding value to conversations around here, or keep it to yourself.

  19. EIther start adding value to conversations around here, or keep it to yourself.

    Well he did let us know what the only diet that is certified Dredd approved is. And it took him at least two comments to claim you were wrong in that thread, and he didn’t mention Trump once. So there’s hope.

  20. Well he did let us know what the only diet that is certified Dredd approved is. And it took him at least two comments to claim you were wrong in that thread,

    That wasn’t one of my posts though. It was one of Rich’s.

    Just in case anyone reading thinks I’m being heavy-handed I’ll ask that you go read the threads on some of my previous posts and see how he jumps in with the same predictable insults, attempts to hijack the discussion, or otherwise makes it clear that he didn’t even the read the post he’s responding to because he mischaracterizes what I said or responds to an argument that nobody is making. Most of the time he disappears after one comment and doesn’t respond to me when I challenge his points.

    It doesn’t hurt my delicate feelings when somebody disagrees with me, but I think my tolerance and patience have been taken advantage of by someone who doesn’t have this community’s best interests at heart and would instead rather troll and degrade it.

    I can’t allow it anymore.

  21. *Sigh* I’ll pick this one up…. Thanks a lot JDPS

    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.

    So that’s not what he said.

    “The conspirators corresponded with several Americans during the course of the conspiracy through the internet,” Rosenstein said. “There’s no allegation in this indictment that the Americans knew they were corresponding with Russian intelligence officers.”

    What’s happened here is that Muller has evidence that the crime happened. Something that everyone except the GOP faithful accepted months ago. So now we know that the Russian Government enacted an act of cyber warfare on the US.

    What would you like your president to do about it?

    There is no logic to it. You will never see me advocate removing Trump despite how bad I think he is.

    So I’m going to fully piss on your chips here Pfluff, and say that’s exactly what I’m advocating. IF Trump has committed a crime or crimes then he should be removed. No matter how much I’d ideologically disagree with the administration that’s left in it’s place.

    That;’s because this isn’t about who gets to put another Supreme Court justice on the bench, or whether ACA survives (I recognise that not living in the States affords me this privilege) This is because if any foreign power can use subterfuge and trickery to influence another nations policies then that needs to be nipped in the bud. It’s bigger than Roe vs Wade. If it’s found that this is all a coincidence, then fine, but my question to the right is… imagine a world where the Putin/Trump collusion is real. Do you think he did it because he really believes in States rights and thought Gorsuch would be a better fit? Or that he hoped that Trumps wall would ease the immigration fears of the white midwest? Or that he’s against gun control (spoiler, he’s quite into ‘background checks’).

    If there is reason to impeach Trump (….IF) then absolutely Pence should be president. Because I’d want to see the Muller investigation reach it’s conclusion if it was a Hillary presidency, or had Obama been colluding. Because Western Democracy is bigger and more important than which team I’m on. And Pence being president is how the agreed system works.

    And equally – I’d love the right to be skeptical of Trump. Because you’ve got to admit, it looks a little suspicious. If it is just all a coincidence, and there was a huge conspiracy against this reality TV star’s presidential bid by the depths of the US intelligence community – then fine. We’ll find that out and I’ll be wrong as wrong can be.

    But if there is something to it…. the Trump Tower Meetings, the Roger Store contacts, the Poppadolalus drunkenness, the Manafort Connections, the shift in GOP policy to pro-Russia, the etc etc etc etc etc

    IF there is something to it, then isn’t it worth making sure that this isn’t something that’s easy to do again? (also – that’s actually what Muller is investigating – the Trump stuff is secondary).

    I see what’s going on as extremely suspicious. And of course I would given my point of view about Trump the man. But when you lot went on about Obama being a secret Muslim, Kenyan imposter, I at least was wanting to hear the accusations (keen to hear Trumps proof from Hawaii, still, by the way..). Had it been show. that he was in fact a Kenyan, I would have fully supported him being removed. All I’m asking is that all my small Government, American First, Pro Western, anti communist, sovereignty, 2nd amendment, Government distrusting, professional skeptics, elite hating, Staes rights friends just show a little bit of skeptisism…. even of this guy who we all know to be a paragon of virtue and honesty… 😉

  22. “The conspirators corresponded with several Americans during the course of the conspiracy through the internet,” Rosenstein said. “There’s no allegation in this indictment that the Americans knew they were corresponding with Russian intelligence officers.”

    To be clear, the indictment says that the Russians posed as Guccifer 2.0 when they were communicating with Stone, Stranahan, and the congressional candidate. The indictment essentially gives them an “out” and says that they didn’t know because they had every reason to believe they were talking to a Romanian rather than Russian intelligence.

    What would you like your president to do about it?

    I think Trump should acknowledge that foreign governments do, and for a long time have, tried to influence our elections in various ways. I’d like to see Trump acknowledge that there is a threat if voter rolls can be accessed and push for legislation to harden our defenses so it isn’t just left to the states to do what they can in piecemeal fashion.

    Further, I’d like to see Trump push for reforms in foreign lobbying and donations for political candidates and causes to ensure that no country is unduly influencing US policy (*cough* Israel *cough*). If it’s just a matter of enforcing the existing laws (which it is with Manafort and appears to have been used as leverage with Flynn), then do it.

    Like, one thing I’ve been wondering is if the push for confrontation with Russia isn’t the result of Ukrainian money and influence swirling around in DC and among the media. It doesn’t make sense to me on any other basis.

    The president could also push for other laws prohibiting foreign actors from providing opposition research during American election campaigns or make it a crime for a politician or one of his surrogates to ask. This would make the Trump Tower meeting and the hiring of Steele a crime.

    As the capstone, I would also like to see firm rules put in place for voting in federal elections, but that’s more of an immigration argument and I won’t go into it here.

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