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Thread: Seth Abramson breaks down the new Mueller indictments against 12 Russians

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    Seth Abramson breaks down the new Mueller indictments against 12 Russians

    (THREAD) BREAKING NEWS: This thread is a *live reading* of the new Mueller indictments against 12 Russians connected to Russian intelligence (the GRU) for hacking into the DNC, DCCC, and Clinton campaign.


    1/ The indictment names 12 names, some of which we may have come across before in the Russian investigation. All will now be researched by major media and independent digital journalists to see if they intersect with the Steele dossier or anyone connected to the Trump campaign.


    2/ Count 1 is Conspiracy to Commit An Offense Against the US and lists the defendants and mentions *unindicted co-conspirators*, which of course leaves open the possibility that some of these were American—and connected to the Trump campaign—though the indictment does not say so.

    3/ It says some of the unindicted co-conspirators are "known" to the grand jury and some are "unknown," so that suggests there are others who could be indicted or will be indicted for this conspiracy and, again, we do not know their nationalities yet.

    4/ Trump will falsely say these indictments have nothing to do with him. Per usual, he's wrong—it's that we don't *know* if the grand jury has found those connections yet. They may well have. But we know his phrase "rigged witch hunt" is henceforth GRU propaganda—and he knows it.

    5/ The fact that GRU began planning to release intel it netted from "monitoring" Democratic computers/employees in April 2016—at the conclusion of which month Trump publicly offered a "good deal" to Russia on sanctions at the Mayflower Hotel—means the effort started long before.

    6/ The indictments confirm "DCLeaks" and "Guccifer 2.0" were GRU front operations, meaning top Trump aide Roger Stone was in communication with Russian intelligence (and praised them) during the presidential campaign. One wonders if Stone is one of the unindicted co-conspirators.

    7/ The indictments confirm "Organization 1"—which is clearly WikiLeaks—acted as an agent of GRU, which means that Donald Trump Jr. was in contact with Russian agents (besides those at Trump Tower) during the presidential election and (like Stone) praised/encouraged their efforts.

    8/ The indictments imply *both* the named conspirators *and* the unindicted co-conspirators "made false statements about [the] identities" of DCLeaks/Guccifer. Many will miss that if Stone/Don Jr. are found to have known these entities were GRU, they *are* the co-conspirators.

    9/ Many of us—but yes, me quite loudly—have been saying that Trump Jr., Trump Sr., Stone, and others could be found to have "aided and abetted" the Russian conspiracy by deliberately "making false statements about the identities" of the criminals in public after they knew better.

    10/ POTUS is actually in this respect in *more* danger than others—as his private briefings confirmed for him the Russians were involved in cyberattacking America as *late* as August 2016. Yet he continued misidentifying the attackers after that—which I've said could be criminal.

    11/ The indictments lay out a command-and-control structure by which different GRU generals were in control of different facets of the attack on America—i.e., the attack was laid out, in all respects, as a military operation, which makes sense as it was a modern-warfare invasion.

    12/ This detailed description of the command-and-control structure—establishing a military-style operation—will be critical in the coming months, as we learn that Trump campaign staff or even Trump himself were aware of this effort before, during or after the main Russian attack.

    13/ I *cannot* stress this enough: every time Trump uses the phrase "rigged witch hunt" going forward he is knowingly misidentifying the perpetrators of a military-style cyber-invasion of America by Putin's Russia—in order to knowingly aid and abet Russian crimes against America.

    14/ Moreover, there is evidence from Rosenstein that Trump was informed of these indictments *before today* and *nevertheless* used the phrase "rigged witch hunt" in an official presidential declaration to tens of millions of Americans (as the WH confirms his Twitter feed to be).

    15/ It is fine for us to keep debating if Trump coordinated with Russia—by aiding and abetting by any of various means before, during or after the Russian attack on America—while in-campaign, but from this day on, any more "witch hunt" talk is OPEN AND PUBLIC AIDING AND ABETTING.

    16/ The indictments underscore this fact by noting that part of the Russians' criminal conspiracy was "making false statements" about the identities of perpetrators. Aiding and Abetting statutes don't require Trump to know crimes were committed—only a "high likelihood" they were.

    17/ Trump had in August '16—and has now—a "high likelihood" knowledge of who those who attacked America were/are, yet he has *continued* to attempt to taint the U.S. jury pool in public statements to tens of millions of people in an attempt to ensure these men don't meet justice.

    18/ The indictments list many of the fake names these Russian military officers used in their spear-fishing efforts. This is a good place to note (again) that this many Russian military officers could never engage in a coordinated campaign of this sort without Putin's knowledge.

    19/ What this means is Trump is about to meet with the mastermind of Russia's attack on us and has called that meeting "easy"—already offering up *concessions* to that mastermind without asking anything in return. He's also made preparations to have much of their talk be secret.

    20/ Trump is having this secret chat with the mastermind of the Russian conspiracy against the U.S.—which conspiracy is now confirmed in public filings by DOJ—at a time when either he or agents of his or both may well be the unindicted co-conspirators in the Mueller indictments.

    21/ If, in the opinion of Mueller's grand jury, any acts Trump and/or his agents have previously taken have aided or abetted the Russian conspiracy, the secrecy of the meeting coming up in Helsinki may well mark it as an "act in furtherance" of the conspiracy Trump is a party to.

    22/ But this is speculation—we don't know, but will eventually learn, what role the grand jury thinks Trump and/or his associates did/didn't play in helping the Kremlin cover up this conspiracy or receive unilateral financial benefits (like an end to sanctions) in payment for it.

    23/ The indictment makes clear the *latest* the attack started was March '16—right as it was clear Trump would be the nominee, and as new Trump hire and direct/indirect Putin agent Manafort began hiring the men (Page and Papadopoulos) who'd act as intermediaries with the Kremlin.

    24/ No investigator would find it random that Trump's pro-Putin Campaign Manager started hiring Trump-Russia intermediaries right as the Kremlin was launching the cyberattack whose fruits it'd try to give to the Trump campaign as part of talks with those very same intermediaries.

    25/ One of the spearphishing emails was sent to Clinton's campaign just 4 days after—in what looks like a planned encounter—Kremlin agent Joseph Mifusd met Trump agent George Papadopoulos in Italy as part of a campaign trip Trump had (based on what we know) sent Papadopoulos on.

    26/ The day the Russians stole 50,000 emails from Clinton's Campaign Chairman was the day Trump announced George Papadopoulos as a member of his national security team. 10 days later Papadopoulos would—face to face with Trump at the TIHDC—tell Trump he was a Kremlin intermediary.

    27/ So by the time Papadopoulos told Trump—in person—that he'd been cleared to negotiate Trump-Russia meetings by a Kremlin agent (Mifsud), the Russians already had the emails that Mifsud would discuss with Papadopoulos just a few days later. All these events are aligned in time.

    28/ But understand this, too: per the indictments, the Russians began the main thrust of their attack *within two weeks* of pro-Putin foreign agent Paul Manafort coming aboard the campaign of Donald Trump. Criminal investigators *do not believe* in time-coincidences of this sort.

    29/ Timeline: Manafort hired; Papadopoulos hired; Russian attack starts; Russia gets Clinton dirt; Russia opens negotiations via Papadopoulos (Papadopoulos tells Trump this); Trump offers Russia a "good deal" on sanctions at the Mayflower (with Kislyak in the front row as a VIP).

    30/ The indictment says the second major Russian attack on Clinton occurred less than a week after Papadopoulos told Trump he was acting as a Russian intermediary and—per accounts of those at the meeting—Trump was engaged and interested. It appears that after the second attack...
    31/ ...Trump made Papadopoulos part of the editing team of his Mayflower speec
    h, at which he said he'd be good to Russia if Russia was good to "us" and offered Russia a "good deal" on sanctions. He had Richard Burt—an anti-sanctions Russian-pipeline advocate—co-write the speech.

    32/ What I'm saying is that the timeline laid out in the indictments strongly suggests at least some of the unindicted co-conspirators are American.

    33/ Now here comes a bombshell.

    34/ The Kremlin DIRECTLY RESPONDED to Trump's public call to try to get Clinton's "missing" emails WITHIN HOURS of him making the request—WITHIN HOURS. Either Trump was coordinating OR he KNEW he had sufficient pull with the Russians that his words could have this sort of effect.

    35/ How would Trump know he had this pull with the Kremlin? Because by this time EIGHT OR MORE of his top aides had had DIRECT contact with the Russians, during which contacts it was made CLEAR how much Russia wanted to help Trump's campaign. He knew what he was doing on July 27.

    36/ But here's what really matters here: Mueller is firing across Trump's bow. He knows, we know, the *world* knows what Trump did on July 27—so to use the phrase "after hours" and "for the first time" would *seem* to be Mueller beginning to draw a direct Trump-Russia connection.

    37/ And Mueller *also* notes that a *second* new, massive attack on Clinton *directly* followed Trump asking Russia for help. This is astounding news—and the major media better pick up on it immediately, because you can be certain Trump's criminal defense team will. And Congress.

    38/ (IMPORTANT) Rosenstein said Trump *knew before today* that this was coming. What are the chances Trump's *stooges in Congress* also knew this was coming—and that the way they conducted themselves with Strzok yesterday was an attempt to blunt the blow from today's indictments?

    39/ I'm not going to run through every aspect of the Russian op—this "talking indictment" offers a large number of details, which indictments do not always—except to say that the *earliest* recorded attack appears to have been on the very *day* that Papadopoulos met Mifsud. Wow.

    40/ I have been saying for a year now that the two key events in the 2016 Trump-Russia story are the March 31, 2016 "TIHDC meeting" of Trump's NatSec team and the Mayflower Hotel speech on April 27, 2016. It now appears the BULK of the Russian op happened between those two dates.

    41/ Per the indictments the four major Russian pushes were these:

    1. Right after Manafort's hire;
    2. Between the TIHDC/Mayflower events;
    3. Right around the June Trump Tower meeting;
    4. Right after Trump publicly begs Russia for assistance.

    The time-coincidences are astounding.
    42/ *Please* remember what happened on March 31, 2016: Papadopoulos told Trump he was a Kremlin intermediary and Trump was *OK with it*. The 21 days after that contain the *bulk* of Russia's attack on the United States to assist Trump in winning the presidency. Not a coincidence.

    43/ Many won't recognize April 19, 2016 as key beyond what we just learned—that's when the Kremlin created "DC Leaks." If I'm not mistaken, it's also the day that Paul Manafort took over the Trump campaign officially from Corey Lewandowski. These days are lining up in scary ways.


    https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1...045635072.html
    So keep your candles burning

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    But but but ... fake news!
    As a nation, we began by declaring that "all men are created equal." We now practically read it "all men are created equal, except negroes."
    When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read "all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics."
    When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretense of loving liberty
    -- to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocrisy.
    - ABRAHAM LINCOLN, letter to Joshua F. Speed, August 22, 1855





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    Quote Originally Posted by Rusha View Post
    But but but ... fake news!
    Russians indicted. Russians.

    I said, Russians.

    No Trump people, you dope.

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    Quote Originally Posted by annabenedetti View Post
    Seth Abramson..........
    LOL. Only the most pathetic desperate loser would quote that ignoramus.

    Oh, I forgot.... ...sorry.

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    so....


    this is gonna stop trump from packing the scotus with conservative judges, how?

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    Quote Originally Posted by CatholicCrusader View Post
    Russians indicted. Russians.

    I said, Russians.
    I guess the Mueller probe isn't such a waste of time and resources after all
    “To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.”

    ― Theodore Roosevelt

    Malo periculosam, libertatem quam quietam servitutem

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    New Mueller Indictment: Russian Hackers Stole Info Of 500,000 Voters


    A federal grand jury on Friday handed down an indictment in special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation that provided new details about Russia hackers’ attempted, and in at least one case, successful infiltration of state and local election systems.

    According to the indictment, the personal information of approximately 500,000 voters was stolen in a July 2016 hack, led by a Russian military officer, of an unnamed state’s board of elections website.
    So keep your candles burning

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    Mueller Indictment Alleges Candidate For Congress Asked Guccifer 2.0 For Stolen Docs

    A congressional candidate requested and received documents allegedly stolen from Democratic Party entities by Russian intelligence operatives during the 2016 election, a federal indictment filed Friday alleged.

    The indictment brought by special counsel Robert Mueller alleges that the unidentified candidate made the electronic request on Aug. 15, 2016, and in return received “stolen documents related to the candidate’s opponent.”

    This gob-smacking detail was one of many in the 29-page indictment, which alleged that the Russian military intelligence agency or GRU engaged in “large-scale cyber operations to interfere with the 2016 U.S. presidential election.” The 12 Russians indicted allegedly hacked the computer networks of the Democratic National Committee and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and email accounts of Hillary Clinton campaign officials, and publicly disseminated the stolen information. They concealed their tracks by inventing fake personas including “Guccifer 2.0,” a rogue Romanian hacker who claimed to be behind the hacks, prosecutors alleged.
    So keep your candles burning

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rusha View Post
    But but but ... fake news!
    Another related fact: We know that Sean Hannity has been in direct contact with Julian Assange. Assange is the man behind Wikileaks, which the indictment now alleges is functioning as a GRU front. And he also regularly talks to Trump.

    Ergo...

    The most popular pundit in the entire country has a direct connection to Russian intelligence.

    We're deep in the soup.

    If we were to make one of those cute "crime family" charts he's so fond of, you could put Hannity in the center of one, draw a direct link to Trump, Assange, and Michael Cohen, which would then connect to the GRU at least once. And unlike when Hannity makes those graphs, none of that is speculation.
    Global warming denialists are like gravity denialists piloting a helicopter, determined to prove a point. We may not have time to actually persuade them of their mistake.

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    WHAT ROBERT MUELLER KNOWS—AND 9 AREAS HE'LL PURSUE NEXT

    The special counsel has collected a mountain of evidence in the Trump-Russia investigation, but so far only a tiny amount of it has been revealed in official indictments. Here are nine areas where we should expect answers as the inquiry unfolds.

    The sheer volume of what Robert Mueller knows is staggering[. Perusing his various court filings since last September makes clear he knew the individual changes Paul Manafort made in a specific Microsoft Word document; he knew that Dutch lawyer Alex van der Zwaan was lyingabout what he did on behalf of Manafort and Gates; he knew the specific times Russia military intelligence officers were searching specific wordsway back in 2016; he knew the specific cryptocurrency transactions used to register the Russian intelligence agency accounts; he knows what the hired trolls at the Internet Research Agency were writing in emails to their family members in 2017; he knew the messages[FONT=&amp] Manafort was sending on encrypted messaging services.

    Mueller’s four buckets of indictments—stretching from the IRA’s information operations to the Russian intelligence active cyber attacks to the Kremlin-backed business deals of Paul Manafort to the 2016 Trump campaign contacts of George Papadopoulos and Michael Flynn—appear to outline the possible four corners of a conspiracy that stretches from the Kremlin to Trump Tower, one that involves Putin-friendly oligarchs, the Russian military, and senior level campaign and transition officials whose motives weren’t necessarily “America first.”

    What lies in between those four corners is presumably what Mueller and Rosenstein know—and we can expect that the next round of indictments to begin to connect those dots, particularly in regard to the role of Americans who participated, wittingly or unwittingly, in the attacks. Rosenstein has been careful to point out that neither the the indictments aimed at the GRU—Russian’s main intellegence arm—nor the IRA allege the involvement of Americans, yet those words seem carefully chosen to stave off President Trump’s immediate outrage while preserving the possibility that future indictments will very much target Americans.

    While it’s entirely possible that some investigative avenues for Mueller’s team won’t pan out into criminal charges, we do know that he and the FBI have had sustained, sometimes even years-long interest in the following lines of inquiry—none of which have yet appeared publicly in court:

    Spoiler

    1. How do Erik Prince, the Seychelles, and the inauguration fit in?
    The Blackwater mercenary founder (and brother to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos) traveled to the remote islands in the Indian Ocean just before Trump’s inauguration to have a secret meeting with a Kremlin official. He’s denied the meeting had anything to do with Trump—saying it was a routine business meeting for himself—but the FBI met him at Dulles to question him, and Mueller has reportedly gathered Prince’s telephone records. Similarly, Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg, who—oddly—attended Trump’s inauguration just days after meeting with Trump lawyer Michael Cohen at Trump Tower and was at the infamous RT TV dinner in Moscow in 2015 with Putin, Michael Flynn, and Jill Stein, was surprised on the tarmac at a US airport by FBI agents from Mueller’s team when he visited the US.

    2. How do the UAE, Qatar, and Jared Kushner fit in?
    While we’ve mostly talked about Mueller’s probe as focusing on Russia, there are clearly some adjacent questions about other foreign influence in Washington involving Republican donor Elliott Broidy, among others. A key Middle East go-between, Lebanese-American businessman George Nader, is both cooperating with Mueller’s investigation and has testified before his grand jury—indicating a line of inquiry that hasn’t resulted in any public charges but is somehow central to Mueller’s underlying investigation.
    Qatar itself evidently gathered information about the UAE’s campaign to influence Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner but opted against handing it over to Mueller. The special counsel has also been looking into Kushner’s friend Rick Gerson, in part over another, separate meeting in the Seychelles in 2017. Unlike the probe into Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, Mueller hasn’t handed this thread of the investigation off to another office, which appears to indicate that in ways not yet clear to the general public, the UAE and Qatari questions are related to the underlying Russia probe. This open line of inquiry could be related to why Kushner has still not been able to receive the highest level of security clearance for his work at the White House.

    3. What role did Sergey Kislyak, the GOP convention, and the finances of the Russian Embassy play?
    The former Russian ambassador to the US (who was replaced in September by Anatoly Antonov) has been a puzzling figure over the nearly 18 months since the investigation began. It was his meetings with now-Attorney General Jeff Sessions, on the sidelines of the Republican National Convention—a convention that saw still unexplained attempts to make the platform more pro-Russia—that led to Rosenstein taking charge of the investigation. And ongoing revelations about meetings with Sessions and Jared Kushner and telephone calls with Michael Flynn have given him a shadowy Rasputin-like presence in the entire affair.
    As the full scope of the Russian effort becomes clear, it’s all but certain that such a high-level, coordinated attack would have never been attempted against the US without Kislyak’s knowledge; he was—and is—a well-wired, savvy, loyal, longtime diplomat, a native Ukrainian who chose to remain Russian when the Soviet Union broke apart and whose term as ambassador coincided with increased espionage efforts against the US (at least one of which involved attempting to recruit future Trump aide Carter Page).
    Add to all of that the news from Buzzfeed that Mueller is scrutinizingnumerous suspicious payments and cash withdrawals from the embassy as well as hints about how Russians like Alexander Torshin might have sought to cultivate the National Rifle Association and Mueller’s apparent interest in the NRA’s funding, and it seems like the special counsel is zeroing in on the way Russian money might have flowed through the American campaign illegally. Indeed, Torshin appears to be a central figure in a new criminal complaint, filed Monday, charging a 29-year-old Russian gun rights advocate Maria Butina with acting as an unregistered foreign agent, as part of a conspiracy to make connections and influence the NRA and the GOP.

    4. How do Roger Stone, Wikileaks, and other Americans and Brits fit into the GRU indictment?
    As Rosenstein noted, the GRU indictment stopped short of charges against anyone who interacted with the Russian hackers who masqueraded as “Guccifer 2.0,” but there are lots of bread crumbs about those interactions in the indictment that could, with additional facts, be grounds for possible criminal charges. A US congressional campaign solicited and received files on its opponent from Russia. Guccifer 2.0 interacted with “another entity,” certainly Wikileaks, about leaking the stolen Democratic files and the best timing to do so.

    And longtime Trump aide Roger Stone says he thinks his interactionswith Guccifer 2.0 are mentioned in the indictment too—perhaps not surprising, since Stone notably tweeted in August 2016 that it will soon be “Podesta’s time in the barrel,” months after the GRU had stolen Podesta’s emails but months before they were released publicly.
    There are numerous previous indications that Mueller is keenly focused on Wikileaks and Stone. At least seven Stone associates have been questioned by Mueller’s team, including Stone’s social media aide last month and the sometimes-twitchy Trump adviser Sam Nunberg back in March.

    FBI agents that same month intercepted another informal adviser at the airport in Boston to ask about Wikileaks and Stone. Stone himself has even made the odd statement that he’s “prepared” to be indicted. Stone associate Michael Caputo, another Trump campaign aide, told ABC back in March after being interviewed by Mueller’s team that the questions posed to him were focused on Stone: “In general they're talking about, you know, Guccifer and DCLeaks and Wikileaks. They’re talking about the timing of some things that happened at the campaign and at the convention.”

    Beyond just Stone, there are numerous open questions about Wikileaks, identified only as “Organization 1” in Friday’s indictments. Relatedly, Mueller appears to have zeroed in on British politician Nigel Farage and other self-described “Bad Boys of Brexit,” including businessman Aaron Banks, who met repeatedly with the Russian ambassador in the UK as the Brexit campaign unfolded.

    5. What did Mueller learn from George Papadopoulos, Rick Gates, and Michael Flynn?
    Perhaps the most notable unanswered question in the Trump investigation so far is what Papadopoulos (whose loose lips kicked off the entire original FBI probe), former Manafort business partner Rick Gates, and former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn all traded for leniency in their own guilty pleas. Mueller has handed out nearly 200 criminal charges so far against dozens of targets. And yet—by all appearances—not a single one of those charges have stemmed from information provided by his cooperating witnesses. What did they give Mueller?
    At the same time, the special counsel appears to be moving toward sentencing Papadopoulos, meaning that his role in the investigation might be nearing an end, while Flynn’s role will apparently continue into the fall. At the same time, though, it seems clear that Flynn is under the impression that he will off scot-free: His team announced this past week, prematurely it appears, that he plans to join a new DC consulting firm—not exactly the behavior of someone who thinks he’s heading to federal prison.

    6. What’s in those 291,000 Michael Cohen documents?
    The investigation into Trump lawyer and consigliere Cohen was spun off to New York federal prosecutors and appears to be moving quickly—a federal judge put Stormy Daniels’ lawsuit against Cohen on hold because of the likelihood he will soon be indicted. We know that prosecutors seized upward of 291,000 items from Cohen and that Cohen has been steadily dropping hints in recent days that he’s preparing to cooperate with prosecutors, including changing his Twitter bio to reflect he’s no longer Trump’s lawyer. What crimes will Michael Cohen be charged with—and what can he tell prosecutors in exchange for leniency?

    7. What’s up with that Trump Tower meeting?
    The email to Donald Trump Jr. from Rob Goldstone that kicked off the now infamous Trump Tower meeting in June 2016 has always appearedas if it were picking up on a previous conversation. Goldstone wrote, in part, “This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump,” a phrase that seems to indicate that he knows Don Jr. is already aware that Russia is supporting his father. Why was it phrased that way? And what transpired at the meeting with Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer Natalia V. Veselnitskaya—and after?
    Nearly every Trump campaign figure of consequence was in the room—Manafort, Kushner, and Don Jr.—and we now know the meeting came just as Russia ramped up its efforts with the IRA and GRU to hurt Hillary and help Trump. The fallout from that meeting, as it became public last summer, appears to be a central part of Mueller’s investigation into obstruction of justice. If Mueller’s probe can be thought of as five distinct inquiries, this final obstruction question is the only one he has left uncharged—for now.

    8. How relevant is Cambridge Analytica and was there a coordinated effort by the Trump campaign or associates to gather intelligence or untoward opposition research on Hillary Clinton?
    We know that Mueller has been examining the notorious—and now defunct—data firm behind Trump’s victory that was funded by top GOP donor Robert Mercer, including interviewing former employees and the banks that worked with it. Investigators have evidently told those one-time employees that their focus is on the firm and “associated US persons,” a phrase that seems to imply interest in as-yet-unknown Americans coordinating with the British firm.
    But that’s just one part of a spate of loose threads regarding the tech efforts of the Trump campaign in 2016, including a series of Wall Street Journal interviews with longtime Republican operative Peter Smith (just days before he killed himself last spring) in which he outlined how he’d assembled a team to find Hillary’s stolen emails in the summer of 2016. Smith said at the time he was working with Flynn, but there are more unanswered questions than answers about the entire effort.
    Focusing on the same timeframe, Mueller’s GRU indictment seems to go out of its way to connect Trump’s famous July 2016 “Russia if you’re listening” comments to the fact that the GRU hackers began to attack Clinton’s personal email accounts after business hours that same day. Given that federal indictments are carefully written and edited mercilessly, it seems impossible to imagine that that phrasing was included by happenstance.

    9. Do people like Carter Page and Felix Sater matter?
    It’s hard to keep track of the numerous figures who float in and out of the Trump-Mueller-Russia investigation orbit; some, like Michael Caputo, may not end up mattering at all in the final outcome. Yet there are others, like Carter Page—who was a target of a federal counterintelligence surveillance warrant through much of 2016—and Felix Sater, a one-time intelligence asset himself, who may be bit players in the entire matter or may end up proving to be consequential figures.
    THESE NINE DISTINCT areas of open questions are hardly encyclopedic—this list doesn’t even count unanswered questions about, for instance, the role of the Russian intelligence service FSB in its own attacks on Democratic targets (an operation known as Cozy Bear) or loose endsfrom previous indictments, like the activities of DC superlobbyists Tony Podesta and Vin Weber. And it doesn’t count the numerous salacious questions still unproven in the Steele dossier, like what exactly happened at the Moscow Ritz?

    Potentially most consequentially of all, these nine questions are separate from one of the central questions of the Mueller probe: Is Bob Mueller done with Paul Manafort? The former Trump campaign chairman is moving toward trial later this month on charges related to a money laundering scheme apparently unrelated to the Trump campaign—and he’s in jail pending trial after allegedly attempting to tamper with witnesses while out on bail—but that doesn’t mean that Mueller won’t bring additional charges or that Manafort won’t decide to cooperate with Mueller in exchange for leniency. Manafort is in his late sixties, facing hundreds of years in prison, and, if convicted on an even a few charges in what experts say is a particularly strong case by Mueller, might never walk free again—unless, that is, he has something big to offer the special counsel.

    Does he? That’s a question Rosenstein himself may not yet know the answer to, but you can be sure that the deputy attorney general knows most of the answers to the rest of these questions already.

    After all, the signature lesson of Mueller’s inquiry at every turn has been that his investigators knows far, far, far more than anyone in the public expected. Just ask the GRU military intelligence officers who are sitting in their office wondering how Mueller knew that on June 15, 2016, between 4:19 pm and 4:56 pm Moscow local time, they searched the web for the English phrase “company’s competence” hours before it appeared in the inaugural blog post by “Guccifer 2.0”?


    So keep your candles burning

    a.k.a. starchild, starburst, stardust, sweetpea, and dumber than dirt.

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