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This could take hours, days, or maybe I won't ever make it to the end, but this begins my final PDF breakdown of Robert Mueller's work on behalf of our U.S. democracy. 448 pages. starting with the cover. Volume 1 of 2?? They already promising sequels? How George RR Martin-esque!
page 2 is blank. reminding me of my childhood book reports I wanted to make so nice and beautifully formatted. I remember trying to get those plastic bindings to loop through and mostly i just went with a binder clip. I wonder if Mueller used the plastic loopies.
the table of contents is five pages. for those who've seen me do this before i continue to be impressed with the organizational structure of these legal documents! Roman numerals. Indenting. Clarity matters when outlining foreign attacks. Wish I could change to a sans font tho
I don't like that they used a computer to make it, then printed it on paper, then scanned it back into a computer and made it dumber. This might help with redactions but means I can't search for "tower" or "black lives matter" or "coupon" (maybe there are coupons i dunno!!??)
The TOC (table of contents) shows we'll learn about the social media disruption efforts, hacking and dumping of docs, campaign contacts, and prosecution decisions. I'm not skipping to the end. I want to respect the artist's intent or digest in order.
the introduction is a nice "previously on Democracy Deathwatch" kind of recap. We're reminded of how the investigation started in the first place, with George Papadopoulos saying things he shouldn't have to people he shouldn't have.
the nature of the russian attack is laid bare. two parts 1) social media campaign to help trump and hurt hillary 2) russian computer intrusion against hillary and the dems to steal and release docs 3) lots of Trump campaign contacts with russians.
"although the investigation established that the russian government perceived it would benefit from a trump presidency & worked hard to secure that outcome, & 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." So THAT SEEMS IMPORTANT but for me it's not the "no collusion" conclusion but rather this:
A U.S. presidential campaign KNEW it would benefit from Russian attacks on the U.S. and yet, I'm not seeing the part where that campaign goes to U.S. national security to report such an attack. We know only because Papadopoulous bragged about it. That's not very "America First"
Here that part is directly. Let me know if you see the part where the Trump Campaign itself tells the FBI it's aware of a foreign attack. Maybe it's redacted later so the humble folks on the Trump campaign aren't seen painting themselves as heroes?
The introduction further explains how the report came to conclusions or didn't based on the evidence. "a statement that the investigation did not establish particular facts does not mean there was no evidence of those facts." That feels important. Flagging.
and here's the part where Mueller is like "COLLUSION is not a thing" and explains the investigation used the actual legal definition of CONSPIRACY to assess the activities of team trump. The report also defines "coordination" since there's no real legal definition of that either
for team mueller, COORDINATION requires "an agreement--tacit or express--between the Trump campaign and the Russian government on election interference." it's not enough that they took actions "informed by or responsive to" the other's actions or interests. aka HIGH BAR.
basically, Trump campaign folks could knowingly benefit from illegal Russian activities (aka attacks on the U.S.) and could take actions based on and in response to those illegal actions, but that doesn't meet the bar of COORDINATION or CONSPIRACY.
oooooh and here we get the explanation of volume 1 versus volume 2. thank goodness. I don't think I could handle several hundred more pages. Basically vol 2 is about how Trump reacted to the FBI and special counsel investigations. aka possible obstruction stuff.
now to the executive summary to volume 1...
(side note: yes I'm aware of optical character recognition technology which would allow the text to be searchable. @qz and other media outlets will do this. i just think the government I pay for shouldn't add this extra step and i like complaining ok)
executive summary opens with a reminder about the russian internet research agency which Putin's friend funded and OMG WE HAVE OUR FIRST REDACTION!! (i feel like there's likely a Redaction Field that floats around Putin at all times).
then we find out that the russian operation goes back as far as 2014 not with internet actions but sending IRL humans to the U.S. to-- OMG ANOTHER REDACTION WHAT WERE THEIR INSTRUCTIONS!?
the executive summary further summarizes part two of the russian effort, the hacking of clinton and democratic party computers and release of that information. And there are more redactions around Trump campaign knowledge of these releases
next in the summary: russian contacts with the campaign which were NUMEROUS.
stepping aside from the text because @qz pointed me to the searchable version and I just have to check that out for a minute…
Search results for

tower: 147
black lives matter: 2
coupon: 0 (really disappointing cause I like discounts)
dog: 1 !! (what's the dog reference? maybe roger stone?? going to investigate)
The "dog" search leads to footnote # 297: Trump complaining that Jeff Sessions wasn't controlling the investigation enough. "the president had been told his entire life that he needed to have a great lawyer, a 'bulldog'" Now he has William Barr, a more obedient dog than Sessions
ok now back to those campaign contacts from the executive summary.
2015 contacts: all about that Trump Tower which Trump pursued through June 2016. I don't have to say, "If Hillary had signed a letter of intent to do business in Russia right before announcing her run for president..." because no one cares
Spring 2016: Papadopoulos gets tip that Russia has "dirt" on Hillary, brags about it, and tries hard to set up a campaign-russia meeting. Seems one reason we have no conspiracy/coordination charge is that Trump campaign people were EAGER TO ENGAGE IN- but also BAD AT CRIME
Summer 2016: that June 9 Trump Tower meeting based on the email to Don Trump Jr. that said in writing was "part of Russia and its government support for Mr. Trump." That meeting didn't produce the materials, but Jr. set it up EXPECTING adversarial foreign government help
July 2016: Carter Page pushes pro-Russian policy. It gets awkward for the campaign and they drop him. Also Wikileaks drops first GRU-stolen emails. After that drop, the foreign government that Papadopoulous was bragging to reported it to the FBI
I repeat, it was a foreign government that reported these Russian attacks to the FBI, not the American (Papadopoulos) or any Americans he worked with/for (Trump campaign).
Many folks in Trump world eagerly sought to benefit from crime or tried to commit crimes and so far, I see no evidence they tried to stop or report crime. This from the campaign that was vilifying immigrants and proposing Muslim bans and walls to stop those unproven crimes.
moar contacts: August 2, 2016 Paul Manafort and Kilimnik meet to talk about giving Russia control of part of Ukraine. So basically Pauly boy is doing some foreign policy negotiation for Trump who IS NOT YET PRESIDENT Sooooo not cool.
also Manafort "caused internal polling data to be shared with Kilimnik" and the report says this in the same breath as his discussion of Midwestern strategies for the campaign. But because it's not EXPRESS or TACIT it's not "coordination" I guess.
Fall 2016: the perfectly timed release of wikileaks podesta-stolen emails on the day of the Access Hollywood tape and the Homeland Security announcement that Russia was behind all this in an effort to interfere with the U.S. election.
After the election: the russians wasted no time trying to influence the incoming Trump administration. Sounds like they had policies they wanted ready to go. Much like corporate lobbyists who write their own (de)regulatory bills. They just gave them to Kushner pass on
Final round of contacts captured: Michael "Lock Her Up Unless She Supported A Russian Attack On The U.S." Flynn and his request to Ambassador Kislyak for Russia not to retaliate to Obama imposing sanctions over this Russian attack. Message was received. Russia didn't retaliate.
After these contacts the summary explains the origins of the various investigations at the department of justice and in the US Capitol and importantly makes clear Trump's immediate efforts to impede the special counsel investigation.
that wraps the part about russian contacts. Next section deals with the charging decisions of the special counsel and why certain folks aren't in handcuffs right now.
Some important definitions right off the top: conduct had to meet federal crime definition, have enough evidence to "obtain and sustain" convictions, serve substantial federal interest, and not be better pursued elsewhere or through non-criminal alternatives (like therapy?)
there are three parts to the charging decisions.
1) the Russian social media attacks, hacking, and dumping involved crimes which have been charged. I broke this down months ago and it's still pinned to my profile.
2) there were hella links between Trump campaign and Russia but not enough evidence to charge folks with crimes such as a) being unregistered foreign agent, b) committing campaign finance violations or c) conspiracy
3) Lots of Trump world folks lied and that hurt the investigation. These liars include Flynn, Manafort, Cohen. SOme of that work is ongoing.
then there's a section about a bunch of other links and contacts that were looked at but ultimately dismissed like such as changing the Republican position on Ukraine at the RNC or the Sessions and Kislyak meeting
the report also lays out that they couldn't build a complete picture of what happened because some folks didn't cooperate or some information was covered by legal privilege and a super-awesomely-named TAINT TEAM kept it from investigators
So I'm definitely looking forward to the Netflix series TAINT TEAM which I assume is already in pre-production
and SUPER IMPORTANT qualifier. Some Trump folks (despite having been described by Barr as fully cooperative generally) deleted documents or used encrypted apps so WE MAY NEVER KNOW WHAT REALLY HAPPENED HERE HOORAY I FEEL GREAT ABOUT THAT
That ends the summary, and I'm taking a break for a while. I'm still here at TED and this report isn't going anywhere and my smart phone is telling me I need to stand so my taint doesn't cramp up.
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