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Definitely going to be reading the #MuellerReport. May wind up putting highlights and summary thoughts in this thread depending on how much of interest is in there. 448 pages!
Setting the tone. First sentence of the #MuellerReport (after recitals of legal status).
Just the executive description (summary), but you can begin to see the contours of the #MuellerReport findings: (i) Russia hacked/influenced, (ii) Trump campaign knew about hacking/influencing, (iii) no proof ("did not establish") that Trump campaign helped hacking/influencing.
Big stuff here (which has been discussed a bit by the media). "Collusion" is not a federal crime. Conspiracy is, and would be supported by "coordination", which the #MuellerReport defines as tacit or express agreement; not simply acting with knowledge of another's illegal acts.
Again, executive findings, but here we see the main claim against the IRA (as well as redactions suggesting continuing DoJ investigations of both process and individuals). The #MuellerReport *does* find that the Russian social media campaign became pro-Trump in 2016.
And the GRU did the hacking, at the same time that the IRA did the "grass roots" social media promotion.
Basically stuff we know (as it was all public), but the #MuellerReport is being careful here to "set the tone" both (i) to establish that the timing of the releases was beneficial to the Trump campaign, and (ii) that the Trump Campaign was accepting of the benefits of the hack.
As mentioned in the #MuellerReport summary (of the summary), they do not find conspiracy or coordination. Instead they describe the contacts between Russia and the Trump Campaign as follows:
Interesting note, as one would expect an international power to have such conversations in any circumstance. The #MuellerReport certainly seems interested in insinuating nefarious action by the Trump campaign, even w/ coordination out of reach. Here it seems a bit unwarranted.
Principal findings of the #MuellerReport: (i) Russia committed crimes, (ii) members of Trump campaign had "links" to Russia, bit no provable crimes, (iii) members of the Trump Campaign lied to the Special Counsel (Manafort is the last campaign official listed in the third entry).
Note the #MuellerReport redactions above as well. It would seem there's at least one more individual who may have lied to the Special Counsel, and additional information the DoJ has on Russian interference activities.
Sounds nefarious (and it could be), but given the timeline here (where the most substantive issues occur in mid-late 2016, and Special Counsel isn't hired until May 2017) any 60/90 day auto-deletion program will have scrubbed information before the start of the investigation.
As anticipated, there are still a few open items left from the #MuellerReport. It is likely, however, that they are related to the redactions under the headings for Russian interference and lies to the Special Counsel, as there were no redactions regarding the campaign.
We'll get to the hacking and e-mail transmission components of this whole thing, but at least in respect of the IRA Social Media push, it's always nice to reflect on the positive. The #MuellerReport did not find any Americans that intentionally helped the Russians on this.
Most of the IRA section of the #MuellerReport looks like this (as one might expect from a counterintelligence effort).
Clearly the best, most concise page of the #MuellerReport.
This mirrors what could be gleaned from the original IRA indictment, but suffice it to say the #MuellerReport basically settles on "unwitting accomplice" to IRA activities from pro-Trump groups and campaign folks across the country.
On to the Clinton hacks, two interesting things here: (i) they note that this was targeted and not solely opportunistic, and (ii) the main method described is that of "spearphishing" (or using publicly available personal information to gain unauthorized access to a network).
If you are like me, you usually think of "hacking" as sophisticated code writing (perhaps while spinning around in a phone booth), but this serves as a reminder that much is of the "This is Bill from IT, can you please input your password so we can refresh your Windows?" variety.
Yeah, you don't want to see that.
Interesting reminder of the timing here. In April 2016, Ted Cruz had not yet left the race and Trump was not quite the presumptive Republican nominee (that would come in early May).
So according to the #MuellerReport, from April to June 2016 the GRU uses DCLeaks to disseminate the hacked information, from June to October they use Guccifer 2.0, and also at some point during that time they coordinate with Wikileaks (under the Guccifer persona).
No "agreement" or coordination, but this passage in the #MuellerReport is designed to highlight by implication that Russia acted as a result of Trump's statement.
The Special Counsel's office wasn't tasked with finding evidence of direct election hacking like the one described here, but there a few instances like this in the #MuellerReport which suggest that both the FBI and State governments might have more to say on topics like this.
Given the #MuellerReport's overall stance that the "collusion" activities investigation is concluded, this is an odd section (regarding the Trump Campaign and the hacked materials). Even the heading is redacted!
Expected activity from an opposition campaign (and worth noting that the Clinton private server e-mails were not the ones compromised to the GRU according to the #MuellerReport), but also another indication of lack of coordination.
Conclusions of the #MuellerReport in respect of the GRU hacking (at least some of the redactions appear in placement to relate to Julian Assange and Wikileaks).
Here we see more framework as to what was meant by "tacit agreement" as being sufficient to establish coordination. The fact that the #MuellerReport does not claim to have established even an understanding of future favorable treatment is significant.
Pages and pages of detail on Trump campaign officials w/ ties to Russia (usually in respect of business dealings). The #MuellerReport does not establish any tie of those contacts to the IRA/GRU activities, though loyalty questions (not directly covered) are raised by implication.
Reiterating what was implied above, according to the #MuellerReport, no Trump affiliates were charged in connection with the IRA (social media manipulation), because they had no knowledge that the parties were engaged in criminal activity.
Though they did accidentally nail an identity thief.
And for those of you wondering why handling, use, or sharing of stolen e-mails might not be "trafficking" or other related stolen property concepts, I give you Footnote 1278 (!); the US Code doesn't fully cover intangible materials.
A lot of redaction again right when they are talking about unauthorized access and particularly Wikileaks. Perhaps these sections all relate to Assange?
Campaign Finance Laws are complex and difficult to prosecute (Exhibit 1000). The #MuellerReport seems to come close to charging a violation based on the famed Trump Tower meeting, but effectively says it would be too difficult.
It's always the cover-up that gets you.
As discussed in the executive summary, the #MuellerReport makes clear that there is no crime of "collusion", so they have applied the standards for conspiracy instead. Such a crime requires an agreement of some sort, which the Special Counsel did not find.
Further, in respect of another possible avenue of liability, fraud, the Special Counsel did not find any knowing participation with the primary fraud-based crime (the IRA Social Media manipulation scheme).
The #MuellerReport then turns it's attention to whether any of the Trump Campaign advisory were acting as unregistered agents of a foreign government/body (Russia).
On the "foreign agent" question, the #MuellerReport did find evidence of unregistered foreign work in violation of the various statutes by Paul Manafort and Richard Gates on behalf of Ukraine, and by Michael Flynn on behalf of Turkey.
In a victory for Trump, the Special Counsel did not find sufficient proof that any official was acting as an agent for Russia. Note, however, that the standard for such a case is very high (beyond a reasonable doubt), and the #MuellerReport makes special mention of that fact.
On the campaign finance questions (which IMO was always going to be the hardest to really go after), one thing does jump out. An entire scenario, one of the two the Special Counsel felt most deserving of scrutiny, has been redacted. Not sure what that is.
The #MuellerReport establishes the basics of US finance law (as it relates to Russia): (i) a foreign national cannot give money or anything of value, and (ii) a foreign national cannot spend money (or make a gift) to influence an election.
Declining to charge anyone for the Trump Tower situation, the Special Counsel determined it would be difficult to prove intent and/or the value of the information. It is noteworthy how our byzantine campaign finance rules themselves hurt the notion of violating them willfully.
Interesting discussion in the #MuellerReport on whether the transmittal of information consisting of "opponent research" could be considered a thing of value for purposes of campaign finance violations. You can see how a conservative approach effectively requires declination.
And as one can imagine, where the prosecutor himself isn't sure whether a court would deem something illegal, it becomes almost impossible to charge a layperson with a crime that requires them to act in "knowing and willful" disregard to the law.
Finally, the #MuellerReport lays out obstruction cases against certain of the President's inner circle (except for the President, who gets his own volume!).
They got George Papdopoulos for making false statements.
There's a redacted obstruction claim.
They got Michael Flynn for not properly detailing his contacts with Russia (and their ambassador).
They got Michael Cohen for lying about the Trump/Russia business project.
They did not charge Jeff Sessions, as they lacked proof of intention to lie.
And that concludes VOLUME 1!

A few thoughts:

*For the most part, before we get to the obstruction of justice stuff (which I suspect will be worse for him given the size of the volume), this is about as good a result as Trump could hope for given a full investigation.
In particular:

*Russia did bad stuff with the IRA and GRU, but (i) no one helped with the social media stuff and (ii) though they were accepting of the fact that someone had stolen the Clinton e-mails that didn't rise to the level of "tacit agreement" per the Special Counsel.
Note that this really does mirror some of the discussions legal scholars have had in respect of "collusion" under antitrust law. Particularly whether "tacit collusion" is a thing that exists for purposes of the Sherman Act.
* They find no coordination, no fraud, and where foreign agents are implicated the Special Counsel did not find them working for Russia.

*Further, they found the campaign finance avenue to be a dead end primarily due to willfulness requirements.
Finally, and we will get into this more when we discuss Volume 2, the major charges against Trump campaign officials (outside of the foreign agent items above) relate to obstruction and lying in respect of a case that largely exonerates the campaign
That said, it's always the cover-up and not the crime. So tune in for our discussion of Volume 2, where I suspect some bad news for Trump awaits.

200 pages down. 200 to go!
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