An Indictment in All But Name

Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s long-awaited report, released to the public in a redacted version on April 18, lays out in meticulous detail both a blatantly illegal effort by Russia to throw the 2016 presidential election to Donald Trump and repeated efforts by President Trump to end, limit, or impede Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference. Trump’s efforts included firing or attempting to fire those overseeing the investigation, directing subordinates to lie on his behalf, cajoling witnesses not to cooperate, and doctoring a public statement about a Trump Tower meeting between his son and closest advisers and a Russian lawyer offering compromising information on Hillary Clinton.

Attorney General William Barr, who has shown himself to be exactly the kind of presidential protector Trump wanted Jeff Sessions to be, did his best to whitewash the report. Almost four weeks before it was released to the public, Barr wrote a four-page letter to Congress purporting to summarize its findings. But as The New York Times’s Charlie Savage has shown, in the letter Barr took Mueller’s words out of context and omitted all mention of the damning evidence that courses through the report.* Just before releasing the report to the public, Barr also held a press conference in which he again distorted its conclusions, stating that it found no collusion with the Russians and no obstruction of justice by the president. Both statements are profoundly misleading.

The Mueller report did not address “collusion,” a term that has no legal definition, but the narrower question of criminal conspiracy. It found no evidence that Trump campaign officials conspired with the Russians’ disinformation campaigns or hacking of computers belonging to the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign. But it describes extensive contacts between the Trump campaign and the Russians, many of which Trump campaign officials lied about. And it finds substantial evidence both “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.” Russian intelligence agency hackers targeted Hillary Clinton’s home office within five hours of Trump’s public request in July 2016 that the Russians find her deleted e-mails. And WikiLeaks, which was in close touch with Trump advisers, began releasing its trove of e-mails stolen by the Russians from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta one hour after the Access Hollywood tape in which Trump bragged about assaulting women was made public in October 2016.

Trump has repeatedly dismissed the investigation as a “witch hunt.” But Mueller found “sweeping and systematic” intrusions by Russia in the presidential campaign, all aimed at supporting Trump’s election. He and his team indicted twenty-five Russians and secured the convictions or guilty pleas of several Trump campaign officials for lying in connection with the investigation, including campaign chairman Paul Manafort, top deputy Rick Gates, campaign advisers Michael Flynn and George Papadopoulos, and Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen. Trump’s longtime friend Roger Stone faces multiple criminal charges arising out of his attempts to conceal his contacts with WikiLeaks. If this was a witch hunt, it found a lot of witches...

Read the full piece in The New York Review of Books here.

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certainquirk

This all leads to Hillary Clinton, and no one else. I'm quite amazed that you can't see that. Maybe a little less money in your coffers will help you to wake up. Consider my donations gone.

Disgusted

Wow ! Guess you didn't know that Trump is our president and not Hillary ! That this investigation was about Trump , not Hillary ! Wikileaks found Hillary's 30,000 e-mails for Donny boy when he asked Russia to find them for him ! But But But Hillary Hillary Hillary !!! You just can't get over the fact that Hillary has been investigated more then any person in history and nothing has been found ! Instead of worrying about Hillary , why don't you ask what Trump and Congress are doing to prevent Russia from interfering in our election again ! That is what should be on every American's mind !

Ed

It is well documented that Trump has lied to us over 9000 times since his inauguration (and he even lied about the inauguration), but certairquirk wants us to believe that s/he has, in the past, donated to ACLU.

Ms. Gloria Anasyrma

" ...whitewash the report." That's racialist.

57915712

As a dues paying member I object to you using the ACLU resources to postulate your personal views. I pay dues to the ACLU to protect civil liberties, not to act as a shill for the Democratic Party.

Anonymous

The ACLU stated facts, not opinions.

Anonymous

The ACLU has been a tool of the Democratic Party for generations to manipulate the constitution to fit leftist policy preference from abortion “rights” to marriage “rights”.

Anonymous

From a constitutional view, this seems to the overall context: In the late 1960’s the U.S. Supreme Court started to destroy the letter & spirit of the 4th Amendment in the failed War on Drugs. 4th Amendment gone! Then the George W. Bush Administration and compliant GOP Congress exploited those illegal search powers to destroy the remaining 9 amendments of our Bill of Rights plus the 14th Amendment plus Article VI. (Reminder: it takes a constitutional amendment to do that). Then the Espionage Act of 1917 was exploited to indict journalists and non-spies. About 90% of EA indictments happened after 2001 and used on non-spies. On a constitutional level, Trump simply walked into that lawless Wild West legal environment! The big question is how do we get that power-grab returned to the American people?

Ms. Clara Franks

If I wanted to read a more biased piece, I would go to CNN. There is no proof of any wrong doing other than your opinion. However , you have the right to express your opinion and I don't agree with it.

Ms. Gloria Anasyrma

Welcome to the ACLU blog.

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