Despite the way it is taken by both the president’s critics and his supporters, special prosecutor Robert Mueller ‘s investigation is not aimed primarily at President Trump. Its initial purpose was to investigate Russia’s alleged attempts to influence America’s elections. And now Mueller has indicted 12 agents of Russian military intelligence for doing just that.
From Katelyn Polantz and Stephen Colllinson, 12 Russians Indicted in Mueller Investigation, CNN:
The Justice Department announced indictments against 12 Russian nationals as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election, accusing them of engaging in a “sustained effort” to hack Democrats’ emails and computer networks.
All 12 defendants are members of the GRU, a Russian federation intelligence agency within the main intelligence directorate of the Russian military, who were acting in “their official capacities.”The revelations provide more detail on the sophisticated assault on the US election in 2016, including the release of emails designed to damage Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. . . .
The Justice Department says the hacking targeted Clinton’s campaign, Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, with the intention to “release that information on the internet under the names DCLeaks and Guccifer 2.0 and through another entity.”Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said the indictment does not name any American citizen, but told reporters that defendants “corresponded with several Americans during the course of the conspiracy through the internet.”“There is no allegation in this indictment that any American citizen committed a crime,” Rosenstein said at a news conference. “There is no allegation that the conspiracy altered the vote count or changed any election result.”[Keep reading. . .]
This does not mean that the side that the Russians were trying to help was part of the conspiracy. President Trump is not to blame just because Vladimir Putin wanted him to win.
Mueller’s investigation had expanded into question of whether there was “collusion” between President Trump’s campaign and the Russians, and then whether President Trump was “obstructing justice” in interfering with the investigation.
We do want to know if President Trump was a “Manchurian Candidate” (read the book or see the movie), if Putin is pulling Trump’s strings, using him to wreck NATO and destroy the western alliance.
But that is highly unlikely, to say the least. And even if Trump were found to be in Putin’s pocket, Americans have every right to elect an ally of Russia. Unless President Trump committed a crime in office–which is why Mueller has been looking into extraneous questions, such as obstruction of justice–there would be no basis for removing a sitting president.
Defenders of the president say that Mueller has found no evidence of such collusion. Of course, we really don’t know what evidence Mueller has. But the main target of his investigation needs to be Russians.
That Mueller has actually identified the specific agents involved is impressive work. Tracing an internet hack and peeling back the deceptions of espionage are both extremely difficult and Mueller had to do both at the same time. (The hackers live in Russia, making them pretty much impossible to bring to trial, though President Trump needs to demand their extradition in his upcoming meeting with Putin.) So Mueller and his team deserve credit for that.
But in getting to the bottom of the Russian conspiracy, naming names, and connecting them to the Russian government, Mueller has accomplished the purpose of his investigation.
Now our government needs to decide how to retaliate against this act of aggression.
And Mueller can close out his investigation.
Illustration, “Hacker” by DigitalArtist via Pixabay, CC0, Creative Commons