People saying Mueller’s probe caught a lot of guilty parties do not want these facts to come out.
This has been a weekend of hair pulling, pearl clutching, and/or teeth gnashing from many of the left. When you have over two years worth of expectation built upon the result of this Mueller Report, and you end up with the investigatory equivalent of a FireFest cheese-slice-on-toast, there is bound to be outrage. There has also been excessive amounts of justification — so much justification.
There is one particular thing you have not heard uttered in the past four days — the talking heads have been in constant chatter when the announcement was made of the report arriving on Friday afternoon. Since that moment the airwaves and social media have been choked with speculation and populated by panels of experts telling us what is so vital and important — while omitting a key facet in all of this. In the past few days think of it — hardly anyone has mentioned the Steele Dossier.
That document was the cornerstone of the investigation. It was what launched the FBI and DOJ on their crusade in the first place. Interesting how Mueller’s report has rendered that key piece of evidence as all but useless now. But that only means the stalwart believers in the controversy being real cannot reference the dossier; they have not quit their ardent desire of wrongdoing being real.
One of the common refrains from those incapable of accepting that no collusion took place was to point out that Mueller’s probe did in fact deliver a number of indictments and guilty pleas. The glib remark some have repeated is “For something alleged as a witch hunt they sure caught a lot of witches!” But did they?
For nearly 22 months Robert Mueller worked on this case, and it is said the investigation has led to 34 indictments, pleas, and convictions. That is a seriously inflated number as 26 of those are various members of Russian groups with little to no hope of facing their charges. Effectively Mueller has nabbed about nine figures. Their relevance to the election however is indirect, at best.
So sure, they have a number of convictions derived from the investigation, but how does one square that those convictions exist and yet the summation of the Mueller Report was there is no proof of collusion with the Trump campaign and Russia? That was the primary intent of calling for the probe in the first place. Here is the rundown of those pleas and convictions, and how they pertained to the Trump campaign.
He was Campaign Chairman for Trump for a few months in 2016 before he was forced to step down amid a flurry of accusations of him working as a lobbyist on behalf of Ukrainian interests. The Mueller probe brought 18 charges against Manafort, and he was found guilty on 8 of those charges. The hitch in all of this? Those charges all stem from personal banking, lobbying, and tax evasion issues that predated his work on the Trump campaign.
It was believed by many that Mueller was leaning heavily on Manafort to glean more details about the election and possible collusion. For a time Manafort did have a plea deal in place to begin cooperating with the investigation, but Mueller’s team said Manafort violated that deal, and he was subsequently sentenced to seven and a half years on his initial charges.
One of the key players of the Trump administration to come under charges, Flynn pled guilty to lying to FBI investigators, and he was said to be working with the investigation following his plea. Flynn was deemed as a crucial get for Mueller, since he was foreign policy adviser on the Trump campaign, moved on to the Presidential transition team, and was also Trump’s National Security Adviser. However, Flynn’s crime did not involve the campaign activities. He was found to have lied about meeting with a Russian ambassador in December 2016, after the election. His issue with that meeting was not collusion but the efforts of the Trump team to begin foreign policy work prior to the inauguration, undermining the work of the then in power Obama administration.
Trump’s former personal lawyer has made two largely disastrous appearances before Congress. His office was raided for records and he has testified on behalf of his work in brokering the deal with porn star Stormy Daniels. There is going to be an investigation into campaign finance issues. Nothing in Cohen’s involvement had anything to do with the election collusion. In fact, during his second visit with Congress he was asked directly about any involvement with Russia, and he testified that he has never witnessed anything regarding that country and the election.
One of the first pleas accomplished by the Mueller team involve this campaign worker. Regarded as the player who may have kicked off the investigation, “Papa D” was in a London bar in May 2016 and had gotten deep in his cups while drinking with an Australian diplomat, Alexander Downer. He began bragging about Russia claiming to have intel on Hillary, and later the Australian contacted the FBI with the information. It appears that some Russian players had reached out and attempted to schedule meetings with Papadopoulos, but it also appears those meetings never came to fruition. But one crucial detail emerges from his plea.
One of the key theories of the Russia probe was the Trump campaign supposedly encouraging the Russians to attempt targeting Hillary and the DNC. However the reason the Russian players had been speaking to Papadopoulos was that they had already hacked the emails servers of the DNC and John Podesta, in possession of the information. The crime George was guilty of was to the extent he had a jail sentence of fourteen days, and even that had been shortened.
Gates worked on the Trump campaign, and went on to serve as deputy chairman of the presidential inauguration committee. In February 2018 he pled guilty to charges that stemmed from the older Manafort financial charges. Gates was a longtime business partner of Manafort’s and it was through his plea deal that he worked with Mueller’s team to help bring the charges against his former partner. So his charges are also tied to activity prior to the election and not involving anything in the realm of collusion.
A Ukrainian who was a longtime employee of Manafort’s during those years before the election. He was charged with obstruction of justice regarding the Manafort investigation portion for lying to investigators and witness tampering, in an effort to shield his former partner.
Internet Research Agency
In February 2018 the media was in full tumescence over the notification that Mueller was about to announce some major indictments from his investigation. You could hear the sad trombone when it was revealed that he was indicting this company — regarded as a Russian troll farm — for the attempted meddling and influence they enacted on the 2016 election. Two additional shell companies and thirteen individuals were named in the 37 page indictment issued by Mueller. There is little to zero chance any of these individuals will ever see a U.S. courtroom. No connection to the Trump campaign has ever been alluded to.
Russian Military Hackers
Later in the summer of 2018, in another lengthy indictment likely to lead to nothing, the DNC email hack lead the Mueller team to indict twelve Russian military intelligence officers. The were found to have used phishing attacks to gain access to the servers. Later they brokered deals with Wikileaks, and Hillary’s emails were then made public. Again, no connection to the Trump campaign has ever been made.
Alex van der Zwaan
A Dutch attorney, Van der Zwaan was convicted of lying to FBI investigators. His crime was connected to the investigation into Rick Gates. This qualifies as the most tangential of convictions, as he was regarded as a witness to banking crimes predating the campaign, in an effort to convict Gates, to help them convict Manafort, and hopefully acquire more information.
A lobbyist who was a former associate of Manafort was also caught up in the financial transgressions that occurred years before the election. He also has business ties with Kilimnick. Patten was was charged with Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), a rarely used tactic Mueller has used repeatedly in his investigation. It is clear the the Patten charges are not election related but were another attempt to further the case against Manafort.
A largely forgotten name in the collusion investigation, and for good reason. He was discovered during the probe into the Russian hackers. He pled guilty to identity theft when he was charged with operating a website that generated false bank accounts attached to social media platforms. He was a baitfish they netted in trawling for a bigger catch.
This list should illustrate that those who are desperate to have enough to have something tangible to hang on the President’s neck are willing to put out the numbers, without actually providing the analysis. They will bleat about the dozens of indictments, but not note that the vast majority are Russians who will never face extradition. They will continue to point out the “sheer number of Trump associates” who are guilty, without detailing what specifically to what they were pleading guilty.
Mostly they will cling to the hope that enough people have been named in this probe to cast a dark cloud of assumption on the President and his campaign. The proof above shows they are more apt to believe their preconceived assumptions rather than objectively study the evidence.
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