June 8, 2019

FIRST IMPEACHMENT, THEN PRISON:

4 Disturbing Details You May Have Missed in the Mueller Report: Some troubling-to-outright-damning episodes have been lost in the noise around its release. (Quinta Jurecic, June 7, 2019, NY Times)

Coordinating with WikiLeaks?
(VOLUME I, PP. 52-54)

How much did Mr. Trump personally know about Russian efforts to assist his campaign, and when did he know it? Three pages of heavily redacted text provide hints.

Rick Gates, a top adviser, said that the campaign was "planning a press strategy, a communications campaign, and messaging based on the possible release" of Hillary Clinton emails by WikiLeaks. After receiving a call during a drive to La Guardia Airport, Mr. Trump "told Gates that more releases of damaging information would be coming." The details are redacted, and the redactions are marked "harm to ongoing matter," perhaps related to the prosecution of Roger Stone. Mr. Mueller has alleged that Mr. Stone, a Trump affiliate, sought to obtain information about WikiLeaks' planned release of anti-Clinton material and pass that information to the campaign.

Mr. Mueller found "insufficient evidence" to charge a criminal conspiracy between the Russian government and the campaign. But the campaign was clearly keeping a close eye on Russia-linked hacking and leaking efforts and expecting to benefit from them.

This section suggests that Mr. Trump may have been in the loop on the campaign's efforts to get a heads-up about what WikiLeaks had planned. And that is a very long way from "no collusion."

Looking for Clinton's "missing" emails
(VOLUME I, PP. 49, 62-63)

At a July 27, 2016, campaign rally, Mr. Trump said, "Russia, if you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing" -- referring to Clinton emails reportedly stored on a personal server. "Within approximately five hours" of Mr. Trump's remarks, according to the Mueller report, Russian military intelligence began a cyberattack against "Clinton's personal office."

After his July 27 comment, the report states, Mr. Trump "asked individuals affiliated with his campaign to find the deleted Clinton emails" -- including Michael Flynn.

Mr. Flynn, in turn, reached out to a Republican Senate staffer and a party operative who worked separately to obtain the emails. The operative raised money to support the project, which he marketed as "coordinated with the Trump campaign," and told others that he was in communication with Russian hackers who had access to emails he believed were Mrs. Clinton's. But Mr. Mueller "did not establish" that the operative had actually made contact with any real Russian hackers. And while the staffer obtained emails, an effort funded by a businessman close to the campaign found that they were not really Mrs. Clinton's either.

"Collusion" has no legal definition. But if the term means working behind the scenes with Russian actors to obtain hacked information damaging to Mrs. Clinton, then this section of the report describes just that -- collusion that took place at Mr. Trump's request. It just wasn't successful.

Posted by at June 8, 2019 6:30 AM

  

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