This is part 3 of my review. I skip over a lot of pages here because it goes into legal precedent and basically sounds like a lot of whining on the part of Mueller because he cannot go beyond the law.
Nothing in this ever offers any hard evidence proving Russian hacking or how Mueller came to such a conclusion that any such thing happened.
I don’t even bother with the Manafort allegations because it has been extensively covered in independent media, especially by The Duran, so there’s nothing I can add to it more effectively. They have done a great job on it.
Again, page numbers reference PDF page number and I highlight important statements in bold. I did start adding an asterisk (*)before my own comments to make them easier to identify.
Pg 92- During the meeting, Polonskaya offered to help Papadopoulos establish contacts in Russia and stated that the Russian ambassador in London was a friend of hers. Based on this interaction, Papadopoulos expected Mifsud and Polonskaya to introduce him to the Russian ambassador in London, but that did not occur.
Pg 92- The topic of the lunch was to arrange a meeting between us and the Russian leadership to discuss U.S.-Russia ties under President Trump. They are keen to host us in a “neutral” city, or directly in Moscow. They said the leadership, including Putin, is ready to meet with us and Mr. Trump should there be interest. Waiting for everyone’s thoughts on moving forward with this very important issue.
*This statement, about a meeting which took place in March 2016, obliterates any claims of previous collaboration between Trump and Russia. Now, wait for later developments regarding any later collaboration.
Pg 93- Clovis ‘s response to Papadopoulos , however, did not reflect that shift.
Replying to Papadopoulos and the other members of the foreign policy advisory team copied on the initial email, Clovis wrote :
This is most informative. Let me work it through the campaign. No commitments until we see how this plays out. My thought is that we probably should not go forward with any meetings with the Russians until we have had occasion to sit with our NATO allies, especially France, Germany and Great Britain. We need to reassure our allies that we are not going to advance anything with Russia until we have everyone on the same page.
*This is not sounding like anything but diplomacy. Nothing treasonous about it.
Pg 101- When interviewed, Papadopoulos and the Campaign officials who interacted with him told the Office that they could not recall Papadopoulos ‘s sharing the information that Russia had obtained “dirt” on candidate Clinton in the form of emails or that Russia could assist the Campaign through the anonymous release of information about Clinton. Papadopoulos stated that he could not clearly recall having told anyone on the Campaign and wavered about whether he accurately remembered an incident in which Clovis had been upset after hearing Papadopoulos tell Clovis that Papadopoulos thought “they have her emails. “ The Campaign officials who interacted or corresponded with Papadopoulos have similarly stated, with varying degrees of certainty , that he did not tell them. Senior policy advisor Stephen Miller, for example, did not remember hearing anything from Papadopoulos or Clovis about Russia having emails of or dirt on candidate Clinton. Clovis stated that he did not recall anyone , including Papadopoulos , having given him non -public information that a foreign government might be in possession of material damaging to Hillary Clinton .
Pg 102- No documentary evidence, and nothing in the email accounts or other communications facilities reviewed by the Office, shows that Papadopoulos shared this information with the Campaign .(bold mine)
*Before this part, Mueller goes on for numerous pages building up to claiming the exact opposite. In addition, Mueller details Papadopoulos having meetings, emails and so forth with people making claims of being in Russian government positions. No evidence those people are who they claim. Even if they were, the Trump campaign deferred any meetings until after the election. Once again, that is diplomatic process.
Still no evidence of hacking, just claims being stated. Besides, I’ll say it again, if hacking occurred (not sold on it in the least), Russia didn’t write the emails. It is what is contained in the emails that matters.
Pg 103- Carter Page worked for the Trump Campaign from January 2016 to September 2016. He was formally and publicly announced as a foreign policy advisor by the candidate in March 2016. 516 Page had lived and worked in Russia, and he had been approached by Russian intelligence officers several years before he volunteered for the Trump Campaign. During his time with the Campaign, Page advocated pro-Russia foreign policy positions and traveled to Moscow in his personal capacity. Russian intelligence officials had formed relationships with Page in 2008 and 2013 and Russian officials may have focused on Page in 2016 because of his affiliation with the Campaign. However, the investigation did not establish that Page coordinated with the Russian government in its efforts to interfere with the 2016 presidential election. (bold mine)
*Mueller goes on for a long time detailing how Page attempted to make contacts and arrangements which were mostly of benefit to himself. He tried to arrange for Trump to speak at a Russian energy meeting but the campaign declined.
Mueller never mentions that Page was an FBI asset.
Taking the above into account, I’ll skip everything else regarding Carter Page. It amounts to nothing.
Pg 114–115 *(This is regarding Center for the National Interest-CNI, a Washington think tank with business and political ties to Russia, mostly because the head of the group was born in Russia and moved here in the 70’s. The group has been around since it was established by Richard Nixon. In fact, it was originally called the Nixon Center for Peace and Freedom.
Wikipedia says, “ The center has a staff of approximately twenty people supporting six main programs: Energy Security and Climate Change, Strategic Studies, US-Russia Relations, U.S.-Japan Relations, China and the Pacific, and Regional Security (Middle East, Caspian Basin and South Asia). In 2006 it had an annual budget of $1.6 million. The Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program of the Foreign Policy Research Institute ranked it as one of the top 30 think tanks in the United States in 2007, and it has consistently earned similar praise since then. According to the 2014 Global Go To Think Tank Index Report (Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program, University of Pennsylvania), the Center is number 43 (of 60) in the “Top Think Tanks in the United States”)
On April 25, 2016, Saunders booked event rooms at the Mayflower to host both the speech and a VIP reception that was to be held beforehand . Saunders understood that the reception at which invitees would have the chance to meet · candidate Trump — would be a small event. Saunders decided who would attend by looking at the list of CNI’ s invitees to the speech itself and then choosing a subset for the reception. CNI’s invitees to the reception included Sessions and Kislyak. The week before the speech Simes had informed Kislyak that he would be invited to the speech, and that he would have the opportunity to meet Trump.
When the pre -speech reception began on April 27, a receiving line was quickly organized so that attendees could meet Trump. Sessions first stood next to Trump to introduce him to the members of Congress who were in attendance. After those members had been introduced , Simes stood next to Trump and introduced him to the CNI invitees in attendance , including Kislyak. Simes perceived the introduction to be positive and friendly, but thought it clear that Kislyak and Trump had just met for the first time. Kislyak also met Kushner during the prespeech reception. The two shook hands and chatted for a minute or two, during which Kushner recalled Kislyak saying , “we like what your candidate is saying … it’s refreshing. “
Several public reports state that, in addition to speaking to Kushner at the pre-speech reception, Kislyak also met or conversed with Sessions at that time. Sessions stated to investigators, however, that he did not remember any such conversation. Nor did anyone else affiliated with CNI or the National Interest specifically recall a conversation or meeting between Sessions and Kislyak at the pre-speech reception. It appears that , if a conversation occurred at the pre-speech reception, it was a brief one conducted in public view , similar to the exchange between Kushner and Kislyak.
The Office found no evidence that Kislyak conversed with either Trump or Sessions after the speech, or would have had the opportunity to do so. Simes, for example, did not recall seeing Kislyak at the post -speech luncheon, and the only witness who accounted for Sessions’s whereabouts stated that Sessions may have spoken to the press after the event but then departed for Capitol Hill. Saunders recalled, based in part on a food-related request he received from a Campaign staff member, that Trump left the hotel a few minutes after the speech to go to the airport.
In the wake of Sessions’ s confirmation hearings as Attorney General, questions arose about whether Sessions’s campaign-period interactions with CNI apart from the Mayflower speech included any additional meetings with Ambassador Kislyak or involved Russian -related matters. With respect to Kislyak contacts , on May 23, 2016, Sessions attended CNI ‘s Distinguished Service Award dinner at the Four Seasons Hotel in Washington, D.C. Sessions attended a pre-dinner reception and was seated at one of two head tables for the event. A seating chart prepared by Saunders indicates that Sessions was scheduled to be seated next to Kislyak, who appears to have responded to the invitation by indicating he would attend the event. Sessions, however , did not remember seeing, speaking with, or sitting next to Kislyak at the dinner. Although CNI board member Charles Boyd said he may have seen Kislyak at the dinner, Simes, Saunders, and Jacob Heilbrunn — editor of the National Interest-all had no recollection of seeing Kislyak at the May 23 event. Kislyak also does not appear in any of the photos from the event that the Office obtained. (bold mine)
*That explains the whole Sessions thing. (Don’t act like I defend Sessions. I nickname him “Gollum.”) When you seek the truth, you must be willing to accept facts which are inconvenient.
Pg 116- Between the April 2016 speech at the Mayflower Hotel and the presidential election, Jared Kushner had periodic contacts with Simes. Those contacts consisted of both in-person meetings and phone conversations , which concerned how to address issues relating to Russia in the Campaign and how to move forward with the advisory group of foreign policy experts that Simes had proposed. Simes recalled that he, not Kushner, initiated all conversations about Russia, and that Kushner never asked him to set up back-channel conversations with Russians. According to Simes, after the Mayflower speech in late April, Simes raised the issue of Russian contacts with Kushner, advised that it was bad optics for the Campaign to develop hidden Russian contacts, and told Kushner both that the Campaign should not highlight Russia as an issue and should handle any contacts with Russians with care. Kushner generally provided a similar account of his interactions with Simes.
*I hate seeming like I defend Kushner as well but none of this is my wording, this is all Mueller.
Pg 118- On June 9, 2016, senior representatives of the Trump Campaign met in Trump Tower with a Russian attorney expecting to receive derogatory information about Hillary Clinton from the Russian government. The meeting was proposed to Donald Trump Jr. in an email from Robert Goldstone, at the request of his then-client Emin Agalarov, the son of Russian real-estate developer Aras Agalarov . Goldstone relayed to Trump Jr. that the “Crown prosecutor of Russia … offered to provide the Trump Campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia” as “part of Russia and its government ‘s support for Mr. Trump.” Trump Jr. immediately responded that “if it ‘s what you say I love it,” and arranged the meeting through a series of emails and telephone calls.
Trump Jr. invited campaign chairman Paul Manafort and senior advisor Jared Kushner to attend the meeting, and both attended. Members of the Campaign discussed the meeting before it occurred, and Michael Cohen recalled that Trump Jr. may have told candidate Trump about an upcoming meeting to receive adverse information about Clinton , without linking the meeting to Russia. According to written answers submitted by President Trump, he has no recollection of learning of the meeting at the time, and the Office found no documentary evidence showing that he was made aware of the meeting — or its Russian connection-before it occurred.
The Russian attorney who spoke at the meeting, Natalia Veselnitskaya, had previously worked for the Russian government and maintained a relationship with that government throughout this period of time. She claimed that funds derived from illegal activities in Russia were provided to Hillary Clinton and other Democrats. Trump Jr. requested evidence to support those claims, but Veselnitskaya did not provide such information. She and her associates then turned to a critique of the origins of the Magnitsky Act, a 2012 statute that imposed financial and travel sanctions on Russian officials and that resulted in a retaliatory ban on adoptions of Russian children. Trump Jr. suggested that the issue could be revisited when and if candidate Trump was elected . After the election , Veselnitskaya made additional efforts to follow up on the meeting, but the Trump Transition Team did not engage.
*Much as some want to make the issue of DJT Jr having this meeting to gain negative information about Hillary, I will refer back to Hillary/DNC/FBI actually paying for the Steele Dossier. Yet in this case, there is not even the accusation of money changing hands from the Trump team to the Russian lawyer and, if not for the FBI and Mueller, it would have amounted to nothing and we would have never discussed it at all.
Also, compared to the Steele Dossier, nothing about this was ever “leaked” to the press by the Trump campaign or anyone associated with his campaign.
BTW, there is no “crown prosecutor of Russia” because there is no fucking crown!!!!
Pg 131- Trump Campaign officials met with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the week of the Republican National Convention . The evidence indicates that those interactions were brief and non-substantive. During platform committee meetings immediately before the Convention, J.D. Gordon, a senior Campaign advisor on policy and national security, diluted a proposed amendment to the Republican Party platform expressing support for providing “lethal” assistance to Ukraine in response to Russian aggression. Gordon requested that platform committee personnel revise the proposed amendment to state that only “appropriate” assistance be provided to Ukraine. The original sponsor of the “lethal” assistance amendment stated that Gordon told her (the sponsor) that he was on the phone with candidate Trump in connection with his request to dilute the language. Gordon denied making that statement to the sponsor, although he acknowledged it was possible he mentioned having previously spoken to the candidate about the subject matter. The investigation did not establish that Gordon spoke to or was directed by the candidate to make that proposal. Gordon said that he sought the change because he believed the proposed language was inconsistent with Trump ‘s position on Ukraine.
*I don’t really have anything to add to this.
Pg 133- (Regarding changes to RNC platform)
On July 11, 2016, delegate Diana Denman submitted a proposed platform amendment that included provision of armed support for Ukraine. The amendment described Russia’s “ongoing military aggression” in Ukraine and announced “support” for “maintaining (and, if warranted , increasing) sanctions against Russia until Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity are fully restored” and for “providing lethal defensive weapons to Ukraine ‘s armed forces and greater coordination with NATO on defense planning.” Gordon reviewed the proposed platform changes, including Denman ‘s . Gordon stated that he flagged this amendment because of Trump’s stated position on Ukraine, which Gordon personally heard the candidate say at the March 31 foreign policy meeting-namely, that the Europeans should take primary responsibility for any assistance to Ukraine, that there should be improved U.S.-Russia relations, and that he did not want to start World War III over that region. Gordon told the Office that Trump’s statements on the campaign trail following the March meeting underscored those positions to the point where Gordon felt obliged to object to the proposed platform change and seek its dilution.
*Um, how is this supposed to be an indictment against Trump?!! I think Mueller got lost here!!!
Pg 135- Ambassador Kislyak continued his efforts to interact with Campaign officials with responsibility for the foreign-policy portfolio-among them Sessions and Gordon-in the weeks after the Convention. The Office did not identify evidence in those interactions of coordination between the Campaign and the Russian government.
*Once again, there’s nothing I can add to this.
Pg 191- The investigation did not, however, yield evidence sufficient to sustain any charge that any individual affiliated with the Trump Campaign acted as an agent of a foreign principal within the meaning of FARA or, in terms of Section 951, subject to the direction or control of the government of Russia, or any official thereof. In particular, the Office did not find evidence likely to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Campaign officials such as Paul Manafort, George Papadopoulos , and Carter Page acted as agents of the Russian government-or at its direction control, or request-during the relevant time period.
As a result, the Office did not charge (redacted) any other Trump Campaign official with violating FARA or Section , or attempting or conspiring to do so, based on contacts with the Russian government or a Russian principal. (bold mine)
*This was pretty much the whole basis of the Mueller probe and it failed to make that objective.
Pg 191 to 192- Several areas of the Office’s investigation involved efforts or offers by foreign nationals to provide negative information about candidate Clinton to the Trump Campaign or to distribute that information to the public, to the anticipated benefit of the Campaign. As explained below , the Office considered whether two of those efforts in particular — the June 9, 2016 meeting at Trump Tower (redacted) constituted prosecutable violations of the campaign-finance laws. The Office determined that the evidence was not sufficient to charge either incident as a criminal violation. (Bold mine)
*So, this was found not criminal and nothing from it was ever used by the Trump campaign because of lack of hard evidence, unlike the Steele Dossier.
Pg 394- (Mueller’s conclusion, which is basically word for word the same as his press conference.)
Because we determined not to make a traditional prosecutorial judgment, we did not draw ultimate conclusions about the President ‘s conduct. The evidence we obtained about the President’s actions and intent presents difficult issues that would need to be resolved if we were making a traditional prosecutorial judgment. At the same time , if we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state. Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, we are unable to reach that judgment. Accordingly, while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.
*The entire job of a special prosecutor is to find if a crime was committed. To come to a conclusion. His role is to state conclusively if any crime, including obstruction, was committed. To state he was unable to reach a conclusion leaves the entire issue exactly where it began, meaning he wasted two years of our time for the express purpose of leaving the door open to more “investigations”.