‘The Mueller Report’ by Robert S. Mueller III

Initial Rating: Required Reading  (How I Rate Books)

Goodreads

pdf format

Free Audiobook

Genres: Nonfiction, Politics, Law

 

I decided to do my civic, patriotic duty and actually read the Mueller Report. I listened to the Audible audiobook version.

This is going to be a non-review, because I can’t in good faith provide narrative judgement about the contents therein. However I will try to explain some of the conclusions reached by the Special Council investigation. I am not a lawyer, so don’t take my words as legal in any way. I just read the document and I do suggest you read it yourself too. I’m writing this non-review not to change minds, but to help me come to my own conclusions.

The Special Council Investigation was tasked to look into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election, as well as all related matters which came up in the investigation. In this report the Special Council provides their conclusions, namely that there was a lot of attempts by various Russian actors attempting to manipulate the election.

  • For example, Russia successfully launched multiple social media campaigns with the goal of amplifying the amount of social disruption to dis-unify the american people.
    • Their overall goal was maximizing the amount of conflict in America, but their secondary goal was making Hilary Clinton lose the election.
      • Early on they used their social media campaigns to signal boost Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary, while in the general election they signal boosted Donald Trump. (To be clear Russia doesn’t like Bernie: he was just Clinton’s rival and supporting him hurt her.) They didn’t ever signal boost Clinton/run a campaign for her.
    • Russia paid for American political advertisements, reaching several million Americans during election season.
      • While it is doubtful that one such advertisement would be enough to convince someone to change their vote, it is possible that the straw broke the camel’s back.
      • I, your non-reviewer, will not speculate that this was enough to swing the election one way or the other, however.
    • Russia organized political rallies on both sides of the isle, claiming to be organizations such as Black Lives Matter and the Tea Party.
      • The largest of these were attended by several hundred people (meaning they were relatively small in my personal opinion).
      • Their goals were to sow dissent in America and maximize social conflict.
    • To my (me= the non-reviewer) knowledge, since the election the government has done nothing to tighten up our defenses to prevent a foreign power from doing this again. I find this alarming.
  • Another thing that Russia repeatedly did was try to reach out to various people in the Trump campaign orbit in an attempt to coordinate their efforts.
    • One such example is this, when certain Russian lawyers offered a trade to the Trump Campaign: stolen dirt on Hillary Clinton, and in return the repeal of the Magnitsky Act.
      • The Magnitsky Act- a law which put sanctions on powerful Russian Individuals
      • This would have been illegal, because Russia was offering stolen information. It is illegal to for a campaign to accept or solicit stolen property, including stolen information.
      • This meeting did not lead to such an illegal trade, however based on the documentary evidence the Trump Campaign clearly were more than willing to break the law and accept this illegal trade. When the press confronted the Presidency about this, they denied this ever occurred.
    • Another example would be when a Russian actor tried to get Mr. Trump to come speak at a Russian event in Russia itself.
      • Nothing came of this as well. However the Trump Campaign completely denied this happened as well.
    • There are other examples, which I suggest you find out about by reading the document yourself.
  • What bugged me the most were the efforts of some people in Trump’s orbit to solicit stolen information from foreign powers.
    • Some people spent thirty thousand dollars in an effort to suborn America’s electoral process, professing a willingness to work with America’s enemies and rivals (Iran, Russia, China…) in order to make the Republican team win instead of the Democratic team.
      • Do these people so distrust the Democratic Party, that they trust our known enemies more than fellow Americans? Is this what we’ve sunk to?
    • Or Trump himself openly requesting that hackers ‘find the missing 30,000 emails.’
      • This is in reference to missing emails on Hillary Clinton’s private email server, emails which were public property from her time as the Secretary of State.
      • After Trump made this request on national television, the next day known Russian hackers started renewing their search for said emails.

Net total, while there was a large amount of evidence of dirty dealing on the parts of both Russia and the Trump Campaign, the case for the Trump Campaign explicitly committing criminal conspiracy with Russia doesn’t exist.

  • Based on the documentary evidence, my interpretation is that the Trump Campaign at points wanted to commit criminal conspiracy. However because Russia never brought home the Anti-Hillary goods the Trump Campaign never sealed the deal.
  • They got close to colluding, and it’s clear they would have colluded if Russia had those goods, but in the end the Trump Campaign never entered into a criminal conspiracy with a foreign power in an effort to suborn America’s electoral process.

If you want to be forgiving and are willing to tolerate a massive amount of amoral and unethical behavior on the part of the Trump Campaign, the campaign never broke the law. Some people (not me) will make the argument that because they never technically broke the law that everything is fine and that the Trump presidency is above board.  However, I believe that America deserves to have a president whose campaign isn’t so willing to break the law in order to get elected.

 

The report also goes into the case for Obstruction of Justice on the part of the President of the United States. And the case for this is quite convincing. While the Trump Campaign clearly and repeatedly behaved unethically vis-a-vis Russia, they never quite colluded. HOWEVER the same cannot be said for Obstruction of Justice. The President of the United states repeatedly and knowingly tried to Obstruct Justice.

  • President Trump repeatedly tried to ask Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions to un-recuse himself so Sessions could take control of the Russia investigation. (And by repeatedly I mean at least 10 times it seems like. Read the report yourself to find out the details.)
    • This is Obstruction of Justice because Trump is trying to exert political pressure to influence someone into stop a lawful investigation. It is Obstruction for a politician to use their political power to end an investigation into themselves.
  • President Trump decided to fire former FBI Director James Comey, wrote up a letter stating that Comey was fired, but then was told by his aides to not publish said letter. Instead his advisers suggested that Trump find an excuse for firing Comey. Rod Rosenstein provided that excuse, saying Comey handled the Clinton Investigation poorly. Using this excuse, Trump fired Comey. Trump and his administration then tried to point all fingers for firing Comey at Rosenstein afterwards, using Rosenstein as cover, saying that the idea to fire Comey was Rosenstein’s all along. The administration did not acknowledge that the original decision had come from the White House.
    • This is Obstruction of Justice because firing the FBI director who is investigating you is obstruction of justice (see the Saturday Night Massacre).
    • The fact that they tried to use Rosenstein as cover demonstrates they realize what they’re doing is wrong and they’re trying to cover it up.
  • President Trump went on TV and stated that former FBI Director James Comey was fired because ‘of that Russia thing.’
    • This is the president admitting that he’s committing Obstruction of Justice on account of the Russia Investigation.
  • President Trump told Russian individuals that because James Comey was fired, a lot of  the pressure was taken off of him.
    • This is President Trump admitting that the purpose for him firing the FBI director who is investigating him was to reduce the pressure on him. This is Obstruction of Justice.
  • President Trump tried to get the Special Council taken off the case based upon ‘conflicts of interest.’
    • This is the president trying to shut down the Special Council investigation, itself another form of Obstruction of Justice.
    • The Department of Justice reviewed the Special Council’s conflicts of interest, and concluded that the Special Council had no conflicts of interest pursuant to the Russia Report.
  • White House Council McGahn stated that Trump tried to repeatedly get him to pull the strings required to quash the Russia investigation. McGahn refused. When the press reported this refusal, Trump tried to get McGahn to deny that Trump ever asked McGahn to quash the investigation. McGahn refused to deny.
    • It is Obstruction of Justice for a politician to use their political power to end an investigation into themselves. The president was trying to use his power as the president to stop the investigation into himself.
  • Donald Trump was attempting to create a Trump Tower in Moscow throughout the election. When confronted by this fact, the Campaign and then the Administration denied that the Trump Organization ever wanted to build such a tower. Later on it was revealed that this was a lie to the American Republic, and that the Trump Organization was continuing to attempt to build that tower long past the election process, up until election day if not after.
    • When President Trump’s lawyer Cohen testified about this event to congress, he initially lied about the truth. Lying to congress is a felony. President Trump allegedly ordered Cohen to make this testimony.
    • Russia could have used the Trump Tower Moscow project as a bribe to control the president. That is why this is a big deal.

 

To repeat myself, I am not a lawyer and what I present here is just my opinion of what I read in the document. This document is written in legal-ese, so maybe my interpretation is flawed. However, I doubt my interpretation is that flawed.  I believe that I got the main thrust of the report summarized. It might be in legal-ese, but honestly it’s approachably enough written that even non-lawyer me could easily read most of it. You should read it too.

If you are an American citizen you should read the report yourself and form your own conclusions. I tried to summarize what I read, but as I am human I most certainly left large swaths of what I read out. There was simply too much newsworthy stuff to talk about.

Finally, if you are a patriotic American, I appeal to your better nature to read the report yourselves. You can get the pdf for free all over the place, or you can read the free audiobook like me (link available above), or you can pick up an e-book or paperback. Don’t let anyone else (me included) try to change your mind or control your opinion on this matter. This is just too important to not read.

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