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26 February, 2018

Something for everyone: Mueller indictment a boon for partisan status quo

The bipartisan support Mueller’s appointment received is even more telling given that he is the definition of a Washington insider. The power elites across the political spectrum seemed to trust him to, above all, protect their position at the head of the table.

by Whitney Webb

Part 2 - A “show” indictment with something for everybody

The indictment released last Friday really did have “something for everybody,” as McAdams noted. The indictment itself details an effort by Russian nationals to “defraud the United States impairing, obstructing and defeating the lawful functions of the government […] for the purpose of interfering with the U.S. political and electoral processes.

The establishment-left widely praised the indictment as the indictment asserted that the Russians charged “were instructed […] to use any opportunity to criticize Hillary and the rest (except Sanders and Trump […]),” lending support the one of Clinton’s many “What Happened” narratives. The establishment-right was similarly pleased, as it “put Russia on notice.

The president and his supporters also applauded the indictment because it showed no evidence of collusion with the Trump campaign, and crowed that the current administration had been vindicated of the accusation that Trump and/or his campaign had knowingly worked with a foreign government to alter the outcome of the election.

Partisan politics aside, there are many interesting facets of the indictment that have largely been glossed over by the mainstream press. Chief among these is the fact that no evidence was presented that shows that the Russian nationals were acting at the behest of the Russian government. They were foreign nationals who, as some have pointed out, were making internet memes and social media groups prompted by an economic motivation as opposed to having been motivated by a Russian intelligence operation to interfere in the U.S. political process.

Furthermore, journalist Adrian Chen, who in 2015 investigated the so-called “Russian troll farm” at the center of the indictment, has noted that its operations were unsophisticated and “ineffective,” and that its employees “have a bare grasp of the English language.” Also noteworthy is the fact that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein noted that the “troll farm’s” efforts did not affect the outcome of the 2016 presidential election, buoying Chen’s claims of the group’s ineffectiveness.

In addition, none of the 13 Russian nationals named in the indictment will ever face trial in the U.S. — meaning that Mueller and his team will never need to prove their case against them, as the evidence laid out in the indictment will never be scrutinized in a legal setting. Thus, the American public is unlikely to ever know if this recent indictment is fact-based or not. As McAdams pointed out, “prosecutors often lie and they may be lying here.

Other criticisms of the indictment include the fact that, of the ads and social media campaigns allegedly produced by the Russian nationals, many were aired after the election and 25 percent were never seen at all — while some included content promoting Hillary Clinton, progressive causes like Black Lives Matter and even puppies.

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