It was reported yesterday that the House of Representatives has concluded their Russian probe and found no proof at all of any colluding with Russia (or their leader Vladimir Putin) by President Donald Trump. However, don’t tell that to Special Council Robert Mueller, because he has “invoked” what the Washington Times called the “unusual” charge of “conspiracy to defraud the government” in order “to ensnare a Russian cyber network.”
Of course, there are two ways to look at this fact. On one hand, the U.S. does know that the Kremlin had made attempts to meddle in America’s elections, so if the idea isn’t to try and paint Mr. Trump as the culprit (he was likely running a TV show at the time that this hacking was planned by Russia), it could make sense.
The Times writes that only last month, Mueller “indicted 13 Russian nationals connected to the Internet Research Agency (IRA) Russian ‘troll farm.‘” He accused “the IRA of interfering in the 2016 U.S. presidential election by spreading fake news stories through U.S. social media.” While this may be the case, it is clear that George Soros was thrown out of Russia for basically doing the same sort of deeds, so the shock should not be high that Putin returned the gesture, no matter how foul.
It is said that Russia acted in a criminal fashion “by preventing agencies of the U.S. government from carrying out the duties.” Accenting this, Lawfare wrote that Special Council is using all of this data to mold “into a powerful instrument with respect to both foreign and domestic actors.”
This sounds quite noble, and since Mueller is a republican, all of this could be seen as a positive development for Mr. Trump since he played no part in it. However, a great many G.O.P. members [such as Senator John McCain (R-AZ)] detest the Commander in Cheif and their agenda shows quite vividly in the actions of Mueller.
This “conspiracy to defraud the government” approach gives Mueller “significant flexibility in trying to build a case against Mr. Trump and members of his 2016 campaign.” The observation was made by “Emma Kohse, Harvard International Law Journal editor-in-chief; Benjamin Wittes, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution; and the Lawfare blog’s top editor.”
The Russians are charged with “improper campaign expenditures, failing to register as foreign agents carrying out political activities, and also deceitfully obtaining visas.” All of this is said to have made it impossible for the Federal Election Commission, the State Department, and others from doing what their jobs demanded of them.
Mueller also found that some of the defendants “traveled to the United States under false pretenses for the purpose of collecting intelligence.” Their goal was to help the “troll farm” conduct their schemes.
“To allege that a new conspirator had joined such a conspiracy, Mueller would have to allege only that such a person — presumably a new defendant — had agreed to participate in a scheme of deceit by which the FEC, the Justice Department, or the State Department was deprived of its regulatory authority,” wrote both Kohse and Wittes. U.S. citizens may now be netted in this investigation as a result of this charge.
What is likely to be discovered is what so many who have followed the 10-month witchhunt have already deduced. It does appear that Russia wanted to have their nose in U.S. elections, but it is very unlikely that President Donald Trump had anything to do with.
With Mueller also knowing this but wanting to save face, it is hard to imagine what his next move will be.