US media sources are very divided on partisan lines, so I thought I’d read the whole Mueller report. Accordingly, I’ve just finished reading the redacted version.
First 20% was all about the relentless Russian campaigns to insert divisive ads in social media. That included spear phishing Democratic National Convention accounts, downloading sensitive documents and releasing them in batches timed to nullify release of news critical of Trump.
The next 30% catalogues Russian attempts to engage the Trump campaign staff (and most other candidate campaigns) leading up to, and just after the election. Some staff told lies about approaches related to asking support of action in Crimea and support of a UN resolution about Israeli settlements in the West Bank, and were duly prosecuted for perjury. That said, no real success, and no real effect.
The last half of the work related to Trump going completely unhinged and relentless attempts to meddle with the work of the investigation. Given the relatively clean bill of health to the main work, it’s difficult to rationalise the reason why. Trump has largely saved by his staff refusing to carry out the more contentious directives from him. You’re left wondering why Trump went so far given the relatively benign nature of the allegations, given that his reaction was so intense. Got to wonder why.
Nigel Farage is mentioned as having useful folks “in his orbit” in London in approaches to Wikileaks. Still curious on why he visited Assange in the Ecuadonian Embassy at the same time Russia where seeking support for their invasion of Crimea. There were separate threads on large influxes of data into Assanges servers that didn’t appear to come over a network at various times, the implication that carrying data around by hand was a thing. But more questions than answers.
The first 70 pages of the work are the most chilling, and the same behaviours on Social Media appear to happening in the UK right now. Still wondering who is bankrolling Farages campaign and his plane travel – but hopefully some good journalism will give some answers in time.
Overall, Mueller did a quality job in the most difficult of circumstances. I hope that we’ll get a similar exercise asking similar questions this side of the Atlantic. There are lessons to learn here too. In the interim, the same behaviours continue unchecked…