The Mueller Report Volume 1

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When the Mueller Report was released, the media scrambled to read and disseminate it. Quotes from the report abounded on the news. Volume 2 seemed to be the highlight. All of the evidence of potential crimes was allegedly contained therein. However, I find the Mueller Report Volume 1 to be very informative.

In this article I will highlight the quotes I found to be significant. I will not do so in order of appearance. Rather, I will organize them into corresponding topics addressing questions that I had prior to reading the report. Let’s get straight to it, since this will be a lengthy article.

Was Russia responsible for the hacking of DNC servers?

The answer is an emphatic and resounding “yes”. The report identifies specific departments of Russian government agencies involved. In the section on the indictment of those Russians, the report says the following.

The indictment also describes how, in staging the releases, the defendants used the Guccifer 2.0 persona to disseminate documents through WikiLeaks.

Page 498

Were the Russian efforts specifically to help Trump get elected according to the Mueller Report Volume 1?

Yes.

“Main idea: Use any opportunity to criticize Hillary [Clintonl and the rest (except Sanders and Trump– we support them).”

Furthermore, upon Trump having won the election, these were the words of an undisclosed person to a high ranking Russian.

At approximately 2: 40 a.m. on November 9, 2016, news reports stated that candidate Clinton had called President- Elect Trump to concede. At [= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =] 1014 [= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =] wrote to Dmitriev, “Putin has won.”

Did the Russian interference influence the election?

The report doesn’t, and perhaps can’t state that one way or the other. However, there is this interesting quote.

Later that day, Sater followed up: Donald doesn’t stare down, he negotiates and understands the economic issues and Putin only want to deal with a pragmatic leader, and a successful business man is a good candidate for someone who knows how to negotiate. “Business, politics, whatever it all is the same for someone who knows how to deal” I think I can get Putin to say that at the Trump Moscow press conference. If he says it we own this election. Americas most difficult adversary agreeing that Donald is a good guy to negotiate. . . . We can own this election. Michael my next steps are very sensitive with Putins very very close people, we can pull this off. Michael lets go. 2 boys from Brooklyn getting a USA president elected. This is good really good. 328

This quote shows that the Russians clearly thought they could influence the election. Moreover, the next quote shows they had help from some of the highest ranking American sources.

Similarly, numerous high- profile U.S. persons, including former Ambassador Michael McFaul, 72 Roger Stone, 73 Sean Hannity, 74 and Michael Flynn Jr., 75 retweeted or responded to tweets posted to these IRA- controlled accounts.

Sean Hannity, wittingly or not, was involved in spreading the Russian troll messages. Hannity has the highest rated cable news show. Therefore, I can reasonably conclude that he has a pretty good grasp on what will move the needle. Furthermore, he has a vast audience. Thus, I can conclude the following things.

  1. Hannity believed the Russian efforts would help to elect Trump.
  2. Sean’s vast audience was exposed to the Russian propaganda by someone they trusted.

Hence, to conclude that Russian interference did not help Trump get elected is to conclude that Hannity either is out of touch or ineffective.

Mueller Report Volume 1

Does The Mueller Report Volume 1 give us any idea how many people were reached by Russian bot social media accounts?

In November 2017, a Facebook representative testified that Facebook had identified 470 IRA- controlled Facebook accounts that collectively made 80,000 posts between January 2015 and August 2017. Facebook estimated the IRA reached as many as 126 million persons through its Facebook accounts. 6

Did the Trump campaign directly assist Russia in their efforts.

I had assumed the answer would be “not that we can prove”. However, I was surprised to see an emphatic “yes”.

While certain campaign volunteers agreed to provide the requested support (for example, agreeing to set aside a number of signs), the investigation has not identified evidence that any Trump Campaign official understood the requests were coming from foreign nationals.

Does the Mueller Report Volume 1 address the Seth Rich conspiracy theory.

This was an embarrassing episode for FOX News. Sean Hannity used his platform to spread this nonsense. Moreover, Mueller addresses Hannity’s work in this regard.

Beginning in the summer of 2016, Assange and WikiLeaks made a number of statements about Seth Rich, a former DNC staff member who was killed in July 2016. The statements about Rich implied falsely that he had been the source of the stolen DNC emails. On August 9, 2016, the @WikiLeaks Twitter account posted: “ANNOUNCE: WikiLeaks has decided to issue a US$20k reward for information leading to conviction for the murder of DNC staffer Seth Rich.”180 Likewise, on August 25, 2016, Assange was asked in an interview, “Why are you so interested in Seth Rich’s killer?” and responded, “We’re very interested in anything that might be a threat to alleged Wikileaks sources.” The interviewer responded to Assange’s statement by commenting, “I know you don’t want to reveal your source, but it certainly sounds like you’re suggesting a man who leaked information to WikiLeaks was then murdered.” Assange replied, “If there’s someone who’s potentially connected to our publication, and that person has been murdered in suspicious circumstances, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the two are connected. But it is a very serious matter . . .that type of allegation is very serious, as it’s taken very seriously by us.”181

Sean Hannity is beginning to look more and more like a Russian agent.

What was Veselnitskaya doing in the country?

This is another right wing conspiracy theory. Basically, some claim that Obama snuck her into the country to approach Trump so they could open an investigation into Russian collusion. The Mueller Report Volume 1 thoroughly debunks this.

Veselnitskaya was in New York on June 9, 2016, for appellate proceedings in the Prevezon civil forfeiture litigation. 714

Did Trump’s request to Russia to find Hillary’s emails result in any direct action by the Russians?

Earlier that day, candidate Trump made public statements that included the following: “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.” 183 The “30,000 emails” were apparently a reference to emails described in media accounts as having been stored on a personal server that candidate Clinton had used while serving as Secretary of State. Within approximately five hours of Trump’s statement, GRU officers targeted for the first time Clinton’s personal office.

Did the Trump Campaign think that the Trump Tower Moscow project would help the campaign?

November 3, 2015, the day after the Trump Organization transmitted the LOI, Sater emailed Cohen suggesting that the Trump Moscow project could be used to increase candidate Trump’s chances at being elected, writing: Buddy our boy can become President of the USA and we can engineer it. I will get all of Putins team to buy in on this, I will manage this process. . . . Michael, Putin gets on stage with Donald for a ribbon cutting for Trump Moscow, and Donald owns the republican nomination. And possibly beats Hillary and our boy is in. . . . We will manage this process better than anyone. You and I will get Donald and Vladimir on a stage together very shortly. That the game changer. 327

Mueller Report Volume 1

Was the meeting between the Trump Campaign and the Russian lawyer collusion with Russia?

The answer is an emphatic “yes”. Was it criminal conspiracy? After all of their rantings about Hillary not getting charged, Trump supporters are going to hate this.

There are reasonable arguments that the offered information would constitute a “thing of value” within the meaning of these provisions, but the Office determined that the government would not be likely to obtain and sustain a conviction for two other reasons: first, the Office did not obtain admissible evidence likely to meet the government’s burden to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that these individuals acted “willfully,” i.e., with general knowledge of the illegality of their conduct; and, second, the government would likely encounter difficulty in proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the value of the promised information exceeded the threshold for a criminal violation,

I found the quote “did not obtain admissible evidence” to be interesting. In many other places Mueller states “we found no evidence”. This was highly unusual wording.

Did members of the Trump Campaign and/or Administration fully cooperate?

Not even close.

While the government has evidence of later efforts to prevent disclosure of the nature of the June 9 meeting that could circumstantially provide support for a showing of scienter, see Volume II, Section II.G, infra, that concealment occurred more than a year later, involved individuals who did not attend the June 9 meeting, and may reflect an intention to avoid political consequences rather than any prior knowledge of illegality.

Further, the Office learned that some of the individuals we interviewed or whose conduct we investigated— including some associated with the Trump Campaign— deleted relevant communications or communicated during the relevant period using applications that feature encryption or that do not provide for long- term retention of data or communications records.

Mueller Report Volume 1

Did the Mueller Report Volume 1 find evidence that President Trump attempted to thwart the investigation?

President Trump reacted negatively to the Special Counsel’s appointment. He told advisors that it was the end of his presidency, sought to have Attorney General Jefferson (Jeff) Sessions unrecuse from the Russia investigation and to have the Special Counsel removed, and engaged in efforts to curtail the Special Counsel’s investigation and prevent the disclosure of evidence to it, including through public and private contacts with potential witnesses. Those and related actions are described and analyzed in Volume II of the report.

This thoroughly debunks Trump’s narrative of total cooperation.

Was Jeff Sessions wrong to recuse himself?

I realize that this is a ridiculous question. However, President Trump has said this so much that many of his supporters believe it. Moreover, I didn’t realize the full extent of the necessity to recuse until the end of volume 1.

Accordingly, the Office concluded that the evidence was insufficient to prove that Sessions was willfully untruthful in his answers and thus insufficient to obtain or sustain a conviction for perjury or false statements. Consistent with the Principles of Federal Prosecution, the Office therefore determined not to pursue charges against Sessions and informed his counsel of that decision in March 2018.

President Trump complained that some of the people investigating him had donated to Hillary. This is laughable, of course, because so had he. However, he claimed that this involvement should exclude them from investigating his campaign. Yet he wanted Sessions, who was part of the campaign to investigate it. Now we learn that Sessions would have been in charge of an investigation into Sessions had he not recused himself.

Now in closing, I want to point out something questionable I found. The ambiguity in regards to Sessions testimony was the wording of the question. Sessions claimed he thought that he was being asked if he met with Russians in his capacity with the campaign and that’s why he answered “no”.

Sessions said that he believed he was doing the Campaign a service by meeting with foreign ambassadors, including Kislyak.

Therefore, by his own admission, his answer was a lie even assuming he understood it as he claimed to. It seems to me that Jeff Sessions should have been charged with perjury.

Mueller Report Volume 1 wrap up.

Obviously, this barely scratches the surface of the information included in the report. However, I didn’t want to make this too long. Hopefully this will give more information to those who lack either the time or the inclination to read the entire report.

The Mueller Report Volume 1 establishes emphatically that the Trump Campaign did collude with Russia. However, it did not uncover evidence that they conspired. Hence, there were no charges. They establish 4 occasions where information was exchanged between foreigners and the campaign.

  1. Manafort giving polling data to a Russia connected Ukrainian. This wasn’t charged because the investigation couldn’t determine what was done with the data.
  2. The Trump tower meeting.
  3. Kushner received info from Russians, however it wasn’t used by the campaign and the person he received it from lied about it’s origins.
  4. Campaign signs were provided to a Russian group organizing a political rally. The campaign was unaware of their nationality.

In other words, they didn’t conspire because all of their attempts to do so failed. This is ultimately the conclusion of the report.

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