Mueller Report for Dummies

Volume I: Anatomy of Conspiracy

Here’s a drastically distilled version of Volume I, 199-page “Report On The Investigation Into Russian Interference In The 2016 Presidential Campaign”.

The appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller in May, 2017, authorized him to investigate “the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election,” including any links or coordination between the Russians and individuals associated with the Trump Campaign.

The framework of conspiracy law was applied because the often-used concept of collusion is “not a specific offense or theory of liability found in the United States Code”.  It’s a term of art, not of law.

Did the Russians interfere in the election?

“The Russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential election in sweeping and systematic fashion.”  The report supports this statement in equally sweeping and systematic fashion from detailing specific Russian “Active Measures”, aka, acts of “Political Warfare”, involving hacking and [data] dumping operations and how said purloined data was distributed (via WikiLeaks) to benefit the Trump campaign.

Key Trump campaign players are profiled with respect to their contacts with specific Russian operatives.  These include George Papadapoulos whose involvement is far more significant than generally reported.  Carter Page, who is pretty much a doofus who spent time in Russia as well as a brief stint on the Trump Campaign.  Profiles continue with Jeff Sessions, Michael Cohen, Paul Manafort, Dimitri Simes, Jared Kushner, Russian Ambassador Kislyak, Michael Flynn, Sergey Gorkov, etc.

Malfeasance, such as lying to the Grand Jury, is detailed in each applicable profile, i.e., Manafort, Flynn, Cohen, Gates, Papadapoulos…for example.

More than ten pages are devoted to documenting Manafort’s behavior ranging from the period before he became Chairman of the Trump campaign, during his Chairmanship and after his resignation.  It details his relationship, which includes financial entanglements, with former client and financier, Russian oligarch and billionaire Oleg Deripaska; also contacts with his former employee and reputed Russian intelligence officer, Konstantin Kilimnik.  Much of the detail is provided to the Grand Jury by Rick Gates, longtime Manafort business associate and deputy to Manafort when he served as Chairman of the Trump 2016 presidential campaign.  Findings that led to Manafort’s criminal convictions include eight felony counts; five for tax fraud, one for failing to file a report of foreign bank and financial accounts and two for bank fraud.  Apparently, these represented only a fraction of Manafort’s total criminal violations, the balance remaining undiscovered and/or uncorroborated due to Manafort’s repeated failure to be forthcoming and speak openly, completely and truthfully to the grand jury.

During the campaign, the total number of verifiable contacts between Trump campaign and Russian operatives approached 200.

Post-election outreach by wealthy Russians to the Trump administration continues and adds to the narrative.  It’s interesting, as in reading a novel, but inconclusive.  Key players, who famously met in the Seychelles, include American billionaire and Trump ally Erik Prince, George Nader, advisor the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and Kirill Dmitriev, Russian national, friend of Putin and head of Russia’s sovereign wealth fund.

Detail is provided on Jared Kushner’s meetings with Russian US Ambassador, Kislyak, and with Sergey Gorkov, who heads the Russian-government-owned bank VEB.

Russian contacts with and through Michael Flynn are chronicled as well as U S sanctions against Russia.

Again, the substance of these meetings, if known, was interesting, but inconclusive.  Unfortunately, much of what was discussed remains unknown.

The final twenty-five pages, eight of which are redacted, deal with legal arguments supporting Mueller’s decision to decline the decision to prosecute.  It’s titled, “Prosecution and Declination Decision”.
These final pages are impossible to “Dummify.”

The Report concludes, “The investigation did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities,” with the caveat, “A statement that the investigation did not establish particular facts does not mean there was no evidence of those facts.” 

The facts supporting conspiracy in Volume I’s main text and footnotes are voluminous and compelling, though inconclusive.

It appears the investigation was ended abruptly before conclusive evidence could be discovered.