Officially, Mueller investigated Trump’s alleged collusion and obstruction. We now know that there was collusion and obstruction — but not by Trump.
The investigation into Trump’s campaign began with the ludicrous hearsay (in some cases, multiple levels of hearsay) allegations compiled by Michael Steele, paid for by the DNC, provided to the FBI before the 2016 election, and briefed to every major media outlet as part of an “October surprise” that failed to derail Trump. It is worth quickly reviewing what those allegations were. To summarize the charges in the original Buzzfeed “report”:
- Trump was a Russian intelligence asset who had been working for Russian intelligence for at least seven years.
- Trump, who had no business interests in Russia, was being paid in Russian prostitutes for his services.
- Russian intelligence has a tape of Trump inviting prostitutes to his hotel room during the 2013 Miss Universe contest held in Moscow and so they could perform a “golden shower” on the bed.
- Trump was handling the payment of Russian assets in New York through a complicated money laundering scheme.
- Trump coordinated with Russian intelligence through Paul Manafort, Carter Page, George Papadopoulos, and his private attorney, Michael Cohen.
- Carter Page’s business trip to Russia in 2016 was cover for a meeting with Russian intelligence.
- The Trump campaign coordinated with Russia for the release of DNC emails hacked by Russian intelligence. Papadopoulos admitted to knowing this information in near real time, before it was made public by the DNC.
- Michael Cohen was subject to Russian influence through his Russian wife (she is not Russian, by the way). Cohen traveled to Prague to coordinate with Russian intel on behalf of Trump once Russian involvement in the campaign became public knowledge.
All involved denied those allegations. Moreover, Mueller’s $30 million-plus, two year-plus investigation either affirmatively disproved them or was unable to find any facts that might prove them. None are supported in the Mueller Report. And indeed, Mueller makes only passing reference to the Steele Dossier.
Now recall that, once it became apparent that the Steele Dossier did not provide probable cause for anything, because all of its wild allegations were affirmatively false or incapable of proof, a story appeared in the NYT on Dec. 30, 2017, based on a leak, that the investigation was warranted because Papadopoulos in fact knew of the theft of DNC emails before that theft was made public.
There’s only one problem with the NYT’s “bombshell of the moment”: Reviewing the FBI affidavit that supports charging Papadopoulos with the crime of lying to investigators, it is readily apparent that Papadopoulos had said nothing at all that tied the hacked DNC emails to Russia. As I wrote at the time, anyone paying attention to the Hillary email scandal suspected that Hillary’s emails had long before been hacked by foreign intelligence from her time as Secretary of State. [Read more…]