The Mueller report will take some time to digest. Patribotics will break it down in a series of posts. Here is our first reaction:
- It seems obvious that Mueller was not ready to finish and that Barr asked him to move it along. As lawyer NYCSouthpaw pointed out on Twitter, the footnotes showed that Mueller’s team was investigating Peter Smith as recently as last month.
- It seems obvious that my contention about the content of Barr’s letter and the method that Mueller used was correct. As I wrote in my last piece speculating that the ‘mystery witness’ is Sputnik, the report states openly that a criterion for Mueller prosecuting cases himself was ‘if it can be prosecuted effectively anyplace else, we will hand it off.’
- There will be, as we reported exclusively, “dozens of sealed indictments”. Mueller’s Appendix D lists fourteen matters referred for investigation or prosecution. That need not mean just 12 new indictments. While Team Trump might argue that a referral need not result in charges, Mueller also stated that he only referred matters out if he felt there was evidence of a crime, that it was a matter worth prosecuting, and that the government would succeed in convicting. It is highly, highly unlikely that after Mueller determined that all those factors applied, the referred-to Federal office would decline to prosecute.
- The number to come will be more than 14. A ‘matter’ can involve multiple individuals. Mueller also said that his office had ongoing cases or matters, some of which are redacted. More on those in a later story.
- Thus, it is safe to say that we can expect ‘dozens’ of sealed indictments.
- Mueller’s being cut off by Barr means that on the main issue of coordination and collusion, his team had not proven Americans colluded yet. He was still looking in March, as noted above. The report states that a lack of something being proven in this report does not mean there is no evidence of it.
- For this reason, Julian Assange of Wikileaks becomes an absolutely key witness for Mueller’s successors at the FBI and National Security Division. More on this in another story.
- Mueller’s brief was to investigate coordination and collusion with Russia in the 2016 election. Just because he did not indict Americans on this yet does not mean they are off the hook for it. Again, Bill Barr ceded the point on Wikileaks, perhaps unwittingly, at his press conference; if the publisher was involved in the hack, distributing their propaganda becomes a crime.
- Barr pretty much told us that the redacted passages show Americans colluding in the distribution of hacked material. Barr is trying to make the case that this was not illegal. It is not a line I believe he will be able to hold.
- Most importantly, perhaps, for foes of Donald Trump, it seems to me to be extremely likely that one of the redacted cases listed in the Appendices is for the three eldest Trump children, who may have been indicted under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Last month, we reported exclusively that they were indicted for money laundering. What is in the report appears at first glance to sustain that view.
For some years, this reporter and this blog have been criticized for promising that there were dozens of sealed indictments. The Mueller report’s appendices indicate that there are dozens of sealed indictments on matters arising from the Trump Russia collusion, and it further indicates, in its redactions, that collusion and coordination will also be indicted. The difference is that Julian Assange’s prosecution, which will reveal how he knowingly worked with the GRU, and conspired with them to hack the United States, needs to take place first to establish Mr. Barr’s “Condition for Collusion” – namely that Julian Assange and Wikileaks conspired with Russia in the GRU’s hack of America. Mr. Barr may think that he was terribly clever in requiring this, as it’s clear – again, Barr’s own remarks are the greatest confirmation – that redacted parts of the Mueller report did find coordination in distribution. But Barr is not as smart as he thinks he is. One does not need to be too much of a Five Eyes fanboy to acknowledge that the timing of Assange’s expulsion from the embassy lined up awfully conveniently with the release of the report. It would be ironic indeed if it is William Barr who, with his zeal to excuse, spin and distort, is the one who winds up signing Team Treason’s collusion convictions.