This past Friday the 13th proven to be an unlucky day for the Trump administration and certain Republican members of Congress. Early that morning, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, announced the criminal indictments against 12 Russian military intelligence officers who masterminded and conspired to interfere with the 2016 presidential election. According to Rosenstein’s announcement statement: “Eleven of the defendants are charged with conspiring to hack into computers, steal documents, and release those documents with the intent to interfere in the election.” Rosenstein went on further to state “One of those defendants and a 12th Russian military officer are charged with conspiring to infiltrate computers of organizations involved in administering elections, including state boards of election, secretaries of state, and companies that supply software used to administer elections. According to the allegations in the indictment, the defendants work for two units of the main intelligence directorate of the Russian general staff known as the GRU.”
The essential facts of Rosenstein’s announcement and the actual text of Special Counsel’s Robert Mueller’s indictments give rise to a number of questions and observations:
- Rosenstein states “The indictment was returned today because prosecutors determined that the evidence was sufficient to present these allegations to a federal grand jury. Our analysis is based solely on the facts, the law, and Department of Justice policies. I briefed President Trump about these allegations earlier this week. The president is fully aware of the department’s actions today.”
In view of these indictments, despite calls by members of Congress and former members of the intelligence community, for the president to cancel his summit meeting with Valdemar Putin, he nonetheless has chosen to proceed to the summit. Exactly what the president will say to Putin will be unknown to the American public because the only persons in the meeting s will be two translators. Will Trump insist on extradition of those charged with criminal act against the United States? Will Trump threaten increased sanctions against Russia for its interference with our 2016 election and its ongoing efforts to interfere in the 2018 midterm elections? At the very least Trump should insist on third parties being present during these meetings. We know that both Trump and Putin are incessant liars. Whatever grand announcements come out of closed meetings will not be credible.
- The Mueller indictments essentially end the Trump administration and their Republican congressional sycophants from further distractions invoking the terms “witch hunt”, “hoax” and “fake news.” These terms no longer have any validity. The Russians interfered with the 2016 election. The facts bear this out. If you have any doubts, do yourself a favor and read The Mueller indictment. Spend a few moments reading it. It is important to the future of our democracy.
Furthermore, the continual charges of political “bias” by Congressmen Trey Gowdy (R-SC), Jim Jordan (R-OH), Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), the despicable Louis Gomert (R-TX) and the insufferable former mayor, Rudy Giuliani, should cease. I challenge them and anyone else to read the indictment and find any evidence of “bias.”
- Why has the Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen waited until now to address the issue of Russian interference in the 2018 midterms, stating there are no signs that Russia is targeting this year’s midterm elections with the same “scale or scope” it targeted the 2016 presidential election. Really? According to the Associated Press “Nielsen said her agency will help state and local election officials prepare their systems for cyberattacks from Russia or elsewhere. She said U.S. intelligence officials are seeing “persistent Russian efforts using social media, sympathetic spokespeople and other fronts to sow discord and divisiveness amongst the American people, though not necessarily focused on specific politicians or political campaigns.” Really? It has been obvious, to anyone paying attention, that Valdemar Putin’s agents have continued their attempts to interfere with the American election process in 2018. Speaking on CNN, “Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats raised the alarm on growing cyber-attack threats against the United States, saying the situation is at a “critical point” and coming out forcefully against Russia.” Coats went on to refer “ to the indictments and alluded to upcoming election threats but said focusing on the potential impact of these actions, on our midterm election, misses the more important point: These actions are persistent, they’re pervasive, and they are meant to undermine America’s democracy on a daily basis, regardless of whether it is election time or not. Russia actors and others are exploring vulnerabilities in our critical infrastructure as well.” Nielsen is handling this critical threat about as well as she has bungled the separation of migrant children from their parents. Have you figured that one out yet Kirstjen?
Finally, in order to provide some perspective on what the Mueller investigation has accomplished, consider this from The Washington Post
- There are 187 criminal charges in active indictments or to which individuals have pleaded guilty
- Another 23 counts against President Trump’s former deputy campaign manager Rick Gates were vacated when he agreed to cooperate with Mueller
- Thirty-two people and three businesses have been named in plea agreements or indictments
- Six guilty pleas from five defendants, including Gates, former national security adviser Michael Flynn, former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos, businessman Richard Pinedo and lawyer Alex van der Zwaan
- Former campaign chairman Paul Manafort faces 25 criminal counts
- Van der Zwaan served about four weeks in prison and has been deported to the Netherlands, his home country
- The indictments include charges of conspiracy against the United States; conspiracy to defraud the United States; conspiracy to obstruct justice; conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud; bank fraud; obstruction of justice; aggravated identity theft; failure to report foreign bank accounts; and tax fraud
- 52 counts of conspiracy of some kind
- 113 criminal counts of aggravated identity theft or identity fraud
- Four guilty pleas for making false statements
- 25 Russian nationals have been charged with crimes along with three Russian business entities. Those individuals were charged in two indictments, one focused on Russia’s alleged effort to foster divisiveness on social media (indicted in February) and one focused on alleged hacking (indicted Friday)
- 13 individuals believed to be linked to Russian intelligence agencies have been charged, including Manafort’s longtime associate Konstantin Kilimnik, a resident of Ukraine
- Four individuals working directly for or acting as advisers to Trump’s 2016 campaign have been indicted; three have pleaded guilty
The probe has been active for 422 days.
These are the facts of the Mueller investigation to date. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein ends his statement on what really matters in this investigation and where any American should keep her or his focus:
“There will always be adversaries who seek to exacerbate our divisions and try to confuse, divide, and conquer us. So long as we are united in our commitment to the values enshrined in the Constitution, they will not succeed. A partisan warfare fueled by modern technology does not fairly reflect the grace, dignity, and unity of the American people. The blame for election interference belongs to the criminals who commit election interference. We need to work together to hold the perpetrators accountable, and we need to keep moving forward to preserve our values, protect against future interference, and defend America.”
One thing is certain. The Mueller probe isn’t over by any means. He has dealt with the Russians and their attack on America for the time being. Next up will be disclosure of who the Americans were that conspired with the Russians. Stay on this channel.