The special counsel Robert Mueller delivered a report late Friday to Attorney General William Barr bringing to a conclusion a 22-month investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 US elections. No details of the content of the report have yet been made public.
Barr notified the leaders and ranking members of the House and Senate Judiciary committees, Democrats Jerrold Nadler and Dianne Feinstein, and Republicans Lindsey Graham and Doug Collins, in an official Department of Justice letter. Barr wrote that he is reviewing the confidential report and “may be in a position to advise you of the Special Counsel’s principal conclusions as soon as this weekend.”
Under the terms of the Special Counsel regulations, the Attorney General is required to notify Congress of any proposed action in Mueller’s report that he has vetoed because it is “so inappropriate or unwarranted under established Departmental practices that it should not be pursued.” Barr wrote that there are no such instances in the Special Counsel’s investigation.
The Special Counsel law also gives Attorney General Barr discretion in determining how much of the report will be shared with Congress and the public. He wrote that he is “committed to as much transparency as possible” and that this determination will be made in the course of his review.
Shortly after Mueller made his submission, NBC News reported that an unnamed senior justice department official confirmed that there are no sealed or further criminal indictments coming out of the probe. This means that no one in the Trump campaign has or will be charged with carrying out any criminal act in conjunction with Russia.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) rejected claims that no further indictments would be forthcoming, saying to CNN he would call Mueller before a House panel for questions, indicating that the internecine conflict between different factions of the ruling establishment is not over.
Throughout the entirety of the Mueller probe, the Democratic Party has engaged in an unending McCarthy-style campaign of unsubstantiated charges that the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians during the 2016 elections, even suggesting that “Russian meddling” was responsible for Trump’s Electoral College victory.
If the end result of the Mueller probe is to confirm Trump’s incessant claims of “no collusion,” it would be a political debacle for the Democratic Party and the faction of the military-intelligence apparatus which is aligned with the Democrats in the campaign against Trump.
The individuals closest to Donald Trump that have been indicted—such as George Papadopoulos, Paul Manafort, Michael Flynn and Michael Cohen—were charged with lying to federal investigators, tax and bank fraud in their personal business dealings and campaign finance violations, not collusion with either the Russian government or Russian businessmen.
The indictments from the Mueller probe regarding cyber activities during the 2016 presidential elections have been entirely of Russians, not members of the Trump camp. Even if one accepts the indictments as true—and they have not been tested in any court proceeding and will not be—the 13 Russian nationals and three Russian business entities charged with “information warfare” during the 2016 US elections were engaged in online activity that had minimal if any impact on voting results.
Furthermore, neither the Russian businessmen nor the 12 alleged Russian intelligence officers who were indicted for hacking the servers of the Democratic National Committee before the elections have been directly connected to anyone in the Trump campaign or White House.
To the extent that the details of the Special Counsel’s report are made public, it will no doubt reveal the depth of the attacks on democracy within the American political establishment and the tendencies toward authoritarianism. Among the byproducts of the entire “Russian interference” campaign at the heart of the Mueller probe has been a steady drive by both capitalist parties, the state intelligence agencies and the internet technology industry toward online censorship under the guise of fighting “fake news” and “misinformation.”