Jeff is a computer professional who takes a great interest in politics and tries to always distinguish fact from opinion.
Read the Mueller Report
There are a lot of misconceptions about the Mueller Report due to the fact that Donald Trump and his supporters falsely claim that the report clears Trump and his campaign of any wrongdoing. In fact, it does quite the opposite. Much of the information in the Mueller Report is very damning of Trump and his campaign.
Please don’t take my word for any of this. I encourage you to download the full Mueller Report and verify for yourself that everything in this article is accurate using the page numbers I've included.
1. Trump Believed the Mueller Investigation Would Destroy His Presidency
When Attorney General Jeff Sessions told President Trump that a Special Counsel had been appointed, the President slumped back in his chair and said, "Oh my God. This is terrible. This is the end of my Presidency. I'm fucked." Trump also told Sessions that “you were supposed to protect me.” (Mueller Report, Volume II, Page 78)
Trump’s obsessive fear of the investigation was also evident in his public statements for the entire two years that the Mueller investigation was going on. In addition to his constant whining about the investigation and repeating “no collusion, no collusion,” he personally attacked Robert Mueller and the other investigators, falsely claiming they were “Trump haters” and that Mueller had a conflict of interest. Trump’s advisers told him that the alleged “conflicts of interest” of Mueller were meritless. (Volume II, page 4)
The Russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential election in sweeping and systemic fashion.
— The Mueller Report, Introduction to Volume I
2. Russian Interference in the Election Was Greater Than We Ever Knew
Russia used several different methods to interfere in the 2016 election. Volume I of the Mueller report includes many pages dedicated to discussing the efforts of the Internet Research Agency (IRA), based in St. Petersburg, Russia.
The report makes it clear that Russia was firmly committed to getting Trump elected president. An email to Donald Trump Jr. from the son of a Russian real estate developer stated that they wanted to meet with Trump to discuss incriminating information about Hillary Clinton as "part of Russia and its government's support for Mr. Trump." The president’s son, Donald Trump Jr., responded to the offer by saying, “I love it.” This resulted in the June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower in New York City. (Mueller Report, Volume I, page 110)
3. Russia Engaged in “Information Warfare” to Help the Trump Campaign
The Mueller Report says that Russia called their social media campaign “Information Warfare.” It involved purchasing political advertisements on social media. Also, Facebook identified 470 Russian-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 platform.
In January 2018, Twitter announced that it had identified 3,814 Russian-controlled Twitter accounts and notified approximately 1.4 million people Twitter believed may have been in contact with an IRA-controlled account. (Volume I, pages 14–15)
4. Russia Hacked Private Servers to Help Trump Win
Early in 2016, the Russian intelligence service hacked the emails of Clinton campaign volunteers and employees as well as the DNC. In May 2016, Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos said that the Trump campaign received word from the Russian government that they could assist the Trump campaign through the release of information damaging to Hillary Clinton. (Volume I, Page 1)
"Around the time that the DNC announced in mid-June 2016 the Russian government's role in hacking its network, the GRU (Russian Intelligence) began disseminating stolen materials through the fictitious online personas "DCLeaks" and "Guccifer 2.0." The GRU later released additional materials through the organization WikiLeaks." (Mueller Report, Volume I, Page 4)
Although Donald Trump claims he knew nothing of the Russian hacking, at a July 2016 news conference, he said, “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.” (Volume I, page 49)
5. Russians Staged Political Rallies for Trump in the United States
The Mueller Report states that Russians posed as US grassroots organizers to work with Trump supporters and Trump campaign officials to organize rallies. The investigation could not prove that these Trump campaign officials knew they were working with Russians. (Mueller Report, Executive Summary to Volume I, page 4)
6. Russia Made Direct Offers of Help to Senior Members of the Trump Campaign
Volume I of the Mueller Report details multiple contacts between Russians and members of the Trump campaign beginning in April 2016 and continuing through the November 2016 election. Paul Manafort, Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, George Papadopoulos, Carter Page, and others all had multiple contacts with assorted Russians who offered to help with the campaign. Trump’s campaign manager, Paul Manafort, even shared analytical polling data with suspected Russian spy Konstantin Kilimnik that could be used to help Russia target their interference in our election. (Mueller Report, Volume I, page 7)
7. Yes, There Was Plenty of Evidence of Collusion Between the Trump Campaign and Russia
The Mueller Report makes it explicitly clear that the Trump campaign not only knew about Russian efforts to help Trump win, but members of the campaign worked with the Russians. Paul Manafort even gave the Russians analytical polling data that could help them target their interference. (Volume I, page 7)
The broadest definition of collusion is “secret cooperation in order to cheat or deceive others.” The cooperation between the Russian government and the Trump campaign certainly meets that definition of collusion, but as the Mueller Report explains, collusion "is not a specific offense or theory of liability found in the United States Code, nor is it a term of art in federal criminal law.”
The actual crime that Mueller was investigating was conspiracy, which is harder to prove. According to Mueller, the cooperation between Russia and the Trump campaign did not meet the definition of a conspiracy because the Trump campaign did not expressly ask Russia for their help. (Volume I, page 180)
8. Mueller Was Prohibited From Concluding That the President Was Guilty
Donald Trump repeatedly claimed that, since the Mueller investigation did not indict him, he is completely innocent of any wrongdoing. In reality, before the investigation began, it was decided that Mueller would not make any conclusion about the president’s guilt or innocence.
Volume II of the Mueller report states that the Office of Legal Counsel issued a statement that the Justice Department could not indict or prosecute a sitting president because it would undermine the ability of the president to do his job.
Furthermore, it was decided at the beginning of the investigation that they would not make a conclusion as to whether the president committed a crime. However, a president does not have immunity after leaving office and may be prosecuted at that time. This investigation collected evidence so that it could be used after the president leaves office. (Mueller Report, Volume II, Page 1)
"We considered whether to evaluate the conduct we investigated under the Justice Manual standards governing prosecution and declination decisions, but we determined not to apply an approach that could potentially result in a judgment that the President committed crimes." (Mueller Report, Volume II, Page 2)
While others could be indicted and prosecuted, as far as the president is concerned, Mueller could only gather evidence about potential wrongdoing that could be used by Congress or by prosecutors after he leaves office.
9. Mueller Found Plenty of Evidence That Trump Committed Crimes
If you read nothing else, at least read Volume II, pages 1 through 8 of the Mueller Report. Here are the highlights of those 8 pages.
- Trump directed his aides to conceal emails about the June 9 Trump Tower meeting.
- Trump edited a press statement about the Trump Tower Russia meeting by removing a reference to an offer of information helpful to the campaign and changing it to read that the meeting was about adoptions of Russian children.
- Trump repeatedly tried to get Attorney General Jeff Sessions to stop the investigation.
- Trump expressed the belief that the Attorney General should “protect” him.
- Trump told Don McGahn to call the Acting Attorney General and get him to fire Mueller. Then, in early 2018, Trump pressured McGahn to deny that Trump ordered him to have the special prosecutor fired.
- After Michael Flynn began cooperating with the investigation, Trump’s lawyers asked for a “heads up” if Flynn knew of any information that implicates the president. When Flynn’s lawyer declined to do that, Trump’s lawyers told Flynn that reflected “hostility” toward the president. (Volume II, Page 6)
- While Paul Manafort was on trial, Trump publicly praised him and called him the brave man for refusing to “break."
- Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, lied to Congress to minimize Trump’s involvement in the Trump Tower Moscow project. Trump’s personal counsel asked Cohen to stay on message and not contradict the president.
- After the FBI found evidence that Cohen lied, Trump privately messaged him to “stay strong” and not “flip." Cohen also discussed pardons with the president’s personal counsel.
- After Cohen began cooperating with the investigation, Trump called him a “rat” and suggested that his family members committed crimes.
Based on everything in those 8 pages, there is only one inescapable conclusion: President Trump engaged in multiple acts of obstruction of justice and witness tampering by encouraging people to lie, concealing evidence, firing or attempting to fire people who were investigating him and dangling pardons for people who don’t “turn” on him.
10. Mueller’s Final Summary Was Very Damning of Trump
Since Mueller was prohibited from making any conclusion about the president’s guilt, he chose his words very carefully. The following 2 quotes are from Volume II, page 7:
“The President's position as the head of the Executive Branch provided him with unique and powerful means of influencing official proceedings, subordinate officers, and potential witnesses-all of which is relevant to a potential obstruction-of-justice analysis.”
“Many of the President's acts directed at witnesses, including discouragement of cooperation with the government and suggestions of possible future pardons, took place in public view. That circumstance is unusual, but no principle of law excludes public acts from the reach of the obstruction laws.”
Here is Mueller’s final word about Trump and Obstruction of Justice.
“If we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state. Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, we are unable to reach that judgment. Accordingly, while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.” (Mueller Report, Volume II, page 8)
11. Mueller Says It Is up to Congress to Determine if the President Committed a Crime
Near the end of the Mueller Report, there is a lengthy section about Congress’s responsibility to take action when a president commits a crime like obstruction of justice. It is explicitly clear that this investigation was not allowed to determine the president’s guilt or innocence of any crime and that only Congress can do that. The purpose of the investigation was only to collect the evidence, present it in the report and let Congress decide what to do with that information.
“Congress has Article I authority to define generally applicable criminal law and apply it to all persons – including the President.” (Volume II, Page 174)
“The final step in the constitutional balancing process is to assess whether the separation of-powers doctrine permits Congress to take action within its constitutional authority notwithstanding the potential impact on Article II functions. In the case of the obstruction-of-justice statutes, our assessment of the weighing of interests leads us to conclude that Congress has the authority to impose the limited restrictions contained in those statutes on the President's official conduct to protect the integrity of important functions of other branches of government.” (Volume II, Page 177)
In other words, Congress, the ball is in your court now.
12. Attorney General Barr Completely Misrepresented the Findings of the Mueller Report
If you’re wondering why so many people believe the Mueller Report clears Trump of wrongdoing, it's because, long before anyone else had been allowed to see the report, Attorney General Barr released a 4-page memo that wrongly stated the Mueller Report found no wrongdoing by President Trump. After Barr released his summary of the Mueller Report, Robert Mueller sent him a letter stating that Barr’s 4-page summary was misleading and did not accurately represent the findings of that investigation.
As mentioned previously, Donald Trump wanted an Attorney General who would protect him. It looks like he found one in Robert Barr. Instead of being impartial and objective, as his job requires, Barr deliberately and repeatedly tried to spin the Mueller report to favor the president even though the report reveals a lot of illegal and dishonest activities by Trump and his campaign.
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
Questions & Answers
Question: Is it at all possible for the military to not follow the disgraceful and inhumane orders of trump to betray our allies, the Kurds?
Answer: My understanding is that the military must follow the orders of the Commander in Chief as required by the US Constitution, as long as those orders are legal and Constitutional.
They can't simply refuse to comply just because the president makes bad policy or poor decisions.