Mueller has issued his report, but a key issue remains: is Trump an asset of the Kremlin?by Calder Walton / March 29, 2019 / Leave a comment
The Russians did it; Trump did not conspire with them; he may have obstructed justice.
These are the conclusions of special counsel Robert Mueller’s two-year long Russia probe investigation, according to Trump’s attorney general, William Barr. At this point, the actual Mueller report has not been disclosed. After five days, the Department of Justice finally disclosed that the report is more than 300 pages long.
Without the report, as opposed to Barr’s four-page summary of it, there is a major part of the Trump-Russia saga that remains a mystery: the results of a US counter-intelligence investigation launched into whether Trump is a Kremlin asset, working under its influence. This scenario could fall short of a criminal conspiracy but still pose a dire US national security threat.
Not collusion—but support?
It is good news for Americans that Trump did not conspire with the Kremlin to win his 2016 election. However, by focusing on “collusion,” there is a serious risk of distracting attention from arguably the greatest scandal in US history, first reported by US intelligence, and now confirmed by Mueller and Barr: Russia carried out a sophisticated cyber-attack on the 2016 US election aiming to get its favoured candidate, Donald Trump, elected.
Russian intelligence hacked into the Democratic National Convention, released private emails from it to discredit Hilary Clinton, and employed a troll army to spread disinformation on social media and influence US voters against her. Amid all this, Trump publicly welcomed Russia’s hacking of Clinton’s emails.
He went on to win the election by a meagre 80,000 votes. A recent academic study concluded that he probably would not be US president without Russian help.
The question now is how much was push, and how much pull. Mueller has found Trump’s team did not conspire with Russia—or rather, Mueller did not find sufficient evidence to charge such a criminal conspiracy.
That is not necessarily the same as there not being any evidence of the Trump campaign conspiring with the Kremlin. There may be strong evidence of them doing so, which nevertheless falls short of the high standards of proof required by criminal law: beyond reasonable doubt. If there is any doubt at all about its nature, source, or admissibility, Mueller would be obliged to advise…