Firstly, I’d like to apologize for giving Barr the benefit of the doubt and encouraging you all to do the same. To his (limited) credit, he did release a lightly redacted report that’s full of damning information on POTUS. Not so much to his credit, he lied his ass off about it for a month before he released it.
Second: I’m going to break this down similarly to the actual Mueller Report. It will be in 3 sections. The first two sections will be big and/or new information, with some of my thoughts on the evidence Mueller disclosed on the Russian interference / coordination front. Part 3 will be all about obstruction.
Ok, with that out of the way, on to the actual report. It’s a doozy. All quoted material comes directly from the report, which you can read in it’s entirety here.
If you want the “too long; didn’t read” version of the story, basically just take everything Barr said and flip it 180. It’s that bad. I don’t know what he was thinking with that presser today. This report is a clear referral for impeachment from Mueller, even if Mueller *didn’t* say that.
“The social media campaign and the GRU hacking operations coincided with a series of contacts between Trump Campaign officials and individuals with ties to the Russian government. The Office investigated whether those contacts reflected or resulted in the Campaign conspiring or coordinating with Russia in its election-interference activities. Although the investigation established that the Russian government perceived it would benefit from a Trump presidency and worked to secure that outcome, and that the Campaign expected it would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts, the investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.”
It’s important here to realize that the bar Mueller set for himself was high – as it should have been. I, on the other hand, would argue that this *is* tacit agreement of conspiracy to defraud the United States. If two parties understand a relationship to be mutually beneficial and engage in acts that further that relationship, that would seem to be, by definition, coordination.
“Wikileaks began releasing Podesta’s stolen emails on October 7, 2016, less than one hour after a US media outlet released video considered damaging to candidate Trump.”
Old news, but worth repeating.
“Campaign foreign policy advisor George Papadopoulos made early contact with Joseph Mifsud, a London-based professor who had connections to Russia and traveled to Moscow in April 2016. Immediately upon his return to London from that trip, Mifsud told Papadopoulos that the Russian government had “dirt” on Hillary Clinton in the form of thousands of emails.”
We’ve all heard about the famous meeting in May of 2016, where a drunk Papadopoulos shot off his mouth to Alexander Downer, Australia’s high commissioner to the UK, and told Downer that the Russians had dirt on Hillary Clinton. Australia finally publicly confirmed this meeting for the first time. This wasn’t the first time Papadopoulos attempted to conspire with Russia, as seen above.
Oh, and for everyone who said the Five Eyes didn’t do anything to help us: Australia originally alerted the FBI to what Papadopoulos was doing.
Russian Active Measures
We all know the Russians actively tried to influence the election via propaganda on social media, but the scope of the operation is actually pretty staggering to see laid out in one place.
“Using these accounts and others, the IRA provoked reactions from users and the media. Multiple IRA-posted tweets gained popularity. U.S . media outlets also quoted tweets from IRA-controlled accounts and attributed them to the reactions of real U.S. persons. Similarly, numerous high-profile U.S. persons, including former Ambassador Michael McFaul, Roger Stone, Sean Hannity, and Michael Flynn Jr., retweeted or responded to tweets posted to these IRA controlled accounts. Multiple individuals affiliated with the Trump Campaign also promoted IRA tweets.”
You guys probably know how I feel about coincidences. I don’t like ’em – not even in the best of times. Multiple people who ended up in Trump’s administration, or on his list of biggest supporters spreading propaganda from a hostile foreign intelligence service is decidedly not “best of times.” This stinks to me.
“The investigation identified two different forms of connections between the IRA and members of the Trump Campaign. (The investigation identified no similar connections between the IRA and the Clinton Campaign.) First, on multiple occasions, members and surrogates of the Trump Campaign promoted-typically by linking, retweeting, or similar methods of reposting-pro-Trump or anti-Clinton content published by the IRA through IRA-controlled social media accounts. Additionally, in a few instances, lRA employees represented themselves as U.S . persons to communicate with members of the Trump Campaign in an effort to seek assistance and coordination on IRA-organized political rallies inside the United States.“
“Implantation of Malware on DCCC and DNC Networks
Unit 26165 implanted on the DCCC and ONC networks two types of customized malware, known as “X-Agent” and “X-Tunnel”; Mimikatz, a credential-harvesting tool; and rar.exe, a tool used in these intrusions to compile and compress materials for exfiltration. X-Agent was a multi-function hacking tool that allowed Unit 26165 to log keystrokes, take screenshots, and gather other data about the infected computers (e.g., file directories, operating systems). XTunnel was a hacking tool that created an encrypted connection between the victim DCCC/DNC computers and ORU-controlled computers outside the DCCC and ONC networks that was capable of large-scale data transfers. ORU officers then used X-Tunnel to exfiltrate stolen data from the victim computers.”
I’m not going to get into the hacking bit too much, but it is impressive – and it makes Russia really nervous – exactly how much information about their operation we learned, and how quickly we were able to learn it.
“On July 27, 2016, Unit 26165 targeted email accounts connected to candidate Clinton’s personal office. Earlier that day, candidate Trump made public statements that included the following: “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.”
“Within approximately five hours of Trump’s statement, GRU officers targeted for the first time Clinton’s personal office. After candidate Trump’s remarks, United 26165 created and sent malicious links targeting 15 email accounts including an account belonging to Clinton aide [REDACTED]. The investigation did not find evidence of earlier GRU attempts to compromise accounts hosted on this domain. It is unclear how the GRU was able to identify these email accounts, which were not public.”
Turns out they were listening.
We know from previous public comments that Russia was also able to target – and mostly access – the voting systems in all 50 states.
“The Trump campaign showed interest in WikiLeak’s releases of hacked materials throughout the summer and fall of 2016 [REDACTED due to ongoing matter]”
The new information here is that they’re still investigating the campaign’s interest in WikiLeaks. My first thought was this was related to Roger Stone, but Mueller’s team directly says “Trump Campaign” here, so I don’t think so.
“Manafort also [REDACTED] wanted to be kept apprised of any developments with WikiLeaks and separately told Gates to keep in touch [REDACTED] about future WikiLeaks releases.
According to Gates, by the late summer of 2016, the Trump campaign was planning a press strategy, a communications campaign, and messaging based on the possible release of Clinton emails by WikiLeaks.”
So let’s look at this logically. Candidate Trump TOLD Gates that more releases of damaging information would be coming. The campaign was planning their strategy around these releases. How in the actual hell is that not collusion? Answer: it is.
“Donald Trump Jr. had direct electronic communications with WikiLeaks during the campaign period. On September 20, 2016, an individual named Jason Fishbein sent WikiLeaks the password for an un launched website focused on Trump’s “unprecedented and dangerous” ties
o Russia, PutinTrump.org. WikiLeaks publicly tweeted: “‘Let’s bomb Iraq ‘ Progress for America PAC to launch “PutinTrump.org’ at 9:30am. Oops pw is ‘putintrump’ putintrump.org.” Several hours later, WikiLeaks sent a Twitter direct message to Donald Trump Jr. , ” A PAC run anti-Trump site putintrump.org is about to launch. The PAC is a recycled pro-Iraq war PAC. We have guessed the password. It is ‘putintrump.’ See ‘About’ for who is behind it. Any comments?
Several hours later, Trump Jr. emailed a variety of senior campaign staff:
Guys I got a weird Twitter DM from wikileaks. See below. I tried the password and it works and the about section they reference contains the next pic in terms of who is behind it. Not sure if this is anything but it seems like it’s really wikileaks asking me as I follow them and it is a DM. Do you know the people mentioned and what the conspiracy they are looking for could be? These are just screen shots but it’s a fully built out page claiming to be a PAC let me know your thoughts and if we want to look into it.
Trump Jr. attached a screenshot of the “About” page for the un launched site PutinTrump.org. The next day (after the website had launched publicly), Trump Jr. sent a direct message to Wiki Leaks: ” Off the record, I don’t know who that is but I’ll ask around. Thanks.”
On October 3, 2016, WikiLeaks sent another direct message to Trump Jr., asking “you guys” to help disseminate a link alleging candidate Clinton had advocated using a drone to target Julian Assange. Trump Jr. responded that he already “had done so,” and asked, “what’s behind this Wednesday leak I keep reading about. WikiLeaks did not respond. On October 12, 20 16, WikiLeaks wrote again that it was ” great to see you and your dad talking about our publications. Strongly suggest your dad tweets this link if he mentions us wlsearch.tk. WikiLeaks wrote that the link would help Trump in “digging through” leaked emails and stated, “we just released Podesta emails Part 4. Two days later, Trump Jr. publicly tweeted the wlsearch.tk link.”
Here is the part I really wanted to discuss in Pt. 1. Barr essentially claimed that members of the campaign can’t be charged with colluding with WikiLeaks because WikiLeaks didn’t execute the hack themselves. My response? Try accepting money from a guy who says he got it from a guy who robbed a bank. See how that goes for you.
Flynn goes fishing
“After candidate Trump stated on July 27, 2016, that he hoped Russia would “find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” Trump asked individuals affiliated with his Campaign to find the deleted Clinton email. Michael Flynn- who would later serve as National Security Advisor in the Trump Administration- recalled that Trump made this request repeatedly, and Flynn subsequently contacted multiple people in an effort to obtain the emails.”
Trump made multiple requests to people besides Flynn to “find Hillary’s emails” because he doesn’t know how computers work and doesn’t mind demanding that people break the law. His requests weren’t ignored, by Russia or his campaign:
“Just weeks after Trump’s July 2016 request to find the Clinton emails. however. Smith tried to locate and obtain the emails himself. He created a company, raised tens of thousands of dollars, and recruited security experts and business associates. Smith made claims to others involved in the effort (and those from whom he sought funding) that he was in contact with hackers with “ties and affiliations to Russia” who had access to the emails, and that his efforts were coordinated with the Trump Campaign.”
I understand that Mueller didn’t feel this information raised to the level of actual conspiracy, but the amount of coordination between the Trump campaign, Russia, WikiLeaks, and outside sources looking for damaging information on Hillary should seriously worry every American. This was a multipronged attack on our election process. Full stop.
Everyone knows the Moscow project continued all through the election and Trump lied to the American people about it, so I won’t cover that here.
“The Office investigated another Russia-related contact with Papadopoulos. The Office was not fully able to explore the contact because the individual at issue-Sergei Millian-remained out of the country since the inception of our investigation and declined to meet with members of the Office despite our repeated efforts to obtain an interview.”
I’m also going to skip Carter Page, because we all know he had about 7 million Russian contacts during the campaign. It appears the only reason he didn’t get charged with anything is because he’s absolutely crazy.
The amount of people in the Trump campaign, or on the transition team who didn’t get charged because they were crazy – or just plain stupid – is pretty discouraging, I must admit. But again, Mueller’s work isn’t done by a long shot.
This one is long enough. I’m going to stop here for now – part 2 will include the Trump Tower meeting, the Flynn stuff, and anything else covered by Mueller up to the obstruction section of the report.