New Indictments from Mueller

While we were mourning the deaths in Florida, the Bob Mueller investigation has continued. So far we don’t know if anything the Russians did had any effect, and there’s no new word about hacking. But there’s no question the Russians were doing something. Here is some Hot news :

A federal grand jury has indicted 13 Russian nationals and three Russian entities for alleged interference in the 2016 presidential elections, during which they boosted the candidacy of Donald Trump, special counsel Robert Mueller‘s office said Friday.

The indictment says that a Russian organization called the Internet Research Agency sought to wage “information warfare” against the United States by using fictitious American personas and social media platforms and other Internet-based media.

The Russians posed as Americans to troll social media, buy advertising and hold rallies. Some of the Russians posed as Black Lives Matter. They also promoted Jill Stein. You do remember Stein.

One of the defendants is  Yevgeniy Prigozhin, who is profiled in the New York Times:

Despite his humble, troubled youth, Mr. Prigozhin became one of Russia’s richest men, joining a charmed circle whose members often share one particular attribute: their proximity to President Vladimir V. Putin. The small club of loyalists who gain Mr. Putin’s trust often feast, as Mr. Prigozhin has, on enormous state contracts. In return, they are expected to provide other, darker services to the Kremlin as needed.

On Friday, Mr. Prigozhin was one of 13 Russians indicted by the United States special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, for interfering in the American election.

According to the indictment, Mr. Prigozhin, 56, controlled the entity that financed the troll factory, known as the Internet Research Agency. He has denied involvement.

I understand there’s no indication in the indictments that any U.S. person knew what was going on. However,

In August 2016, Russian operatives communicated with Trump campaign staff in Florida through their “” email addresses to coordinate a series of pro-Trump rallies in the state, according to Mueller, and then bought advertisements on social media to promote the events.

Also, too,

Former Trump campaign adviser Rick Gates is finalizing a plea deal with special counsel Robert Mueller’s office, indicating he’s poised to cooperate in the investigation, according to sources familiar with the case.

Gates has already spoken to Mueller’s team about his case and has been in plea negotiations for about a month. He’s had what criminal lawyers call a “Queen for a Day” interview, in which a defendant answers any questions from the prosecutors’ team, including about his own case and other potential criminal activity he witnessed.

10 thoughts on “New Indictments from Mueller

  1. Maha, 

    The way I took Rosenstein's comment, was that he seemed to say "no indication in 'this' indictment that any U.S. person knew what was going on.'

    I suspect that we'll discover that there were.

    Knowing Putin, in this scheme and pretty much any other one , he would and could find people in the US to use.  He doesn't strike me as the kind of (evil) leader who leaves anything to chance.

    Especially not a scheme as important as this one, one in which he could severely diminish the US's reputation internationally. 

    • The way I took Rosenstein’s comment, was that he seemed to say “no indication in ‘this’ indictment that any U.S. person knew what was going on.’

      Yeah, that’s my take, also.

  2. gulag…Remember that early on in Congressional inquiries James Clapper made the statement that he suspected that collusion with the Russians could have been done either wittingly or unwittingly..

    I wouldn't be at all surprised if Trump unwittingly colluded with the Russians not with the intentions of winning the electing, but to advance his financial empire with connections to Russian money, and his public image as being a player in the big leagues. I highly suspect Trump knew about Russian involvement but didn't have the foresight to see how it would all shake out. That the Russians were running a different game If Trump didn't win the election everything would be roses for Trump. Trump the chump!

  3. gulag… and I think you were the one who pointed out the similarity of the Trump campaign to the movie.. The Producers. Same idea I'm trying to convey.

  4. Mueller is good at compartmentalizing, I suspect. He's only showing the cards he wants Trump to see.  There's been a question whether a computer in Trump Towers which was linked to a computer at a Russian bank was sending micro-targeting voter data which Kushner may have had access to (pre-election). The computer link is proven – what data was being exchanged I do not know.

    Late last year Mueller added a computer expert w/ background in hacking. It's VERY hard to do international transactions and not leave a trail if you know where to look for the trace. My guess is that Mueller is not expecting to 'get' any Russians. He is going to document them as the recipients of "stolen goods" – that being various hacks and maybe connecting those same Russian entities (later) to being the recipients of data from the Trump campaign. (I'm guessing.)

    If I'm guessing right, Mueller is introducing the Russian players and their roles. If Mueller shows who the Russians were and how they functioned as agents of the Kremlin and THEN Mueller adds the links to Trump people, operating at Trump's direction to those entities, President Bone Spurs is in a world of ship. 

    I dearly hope Trump knows some of the names of some of the Russians Mueller tagged today. Mueller may be hinting to Trump that he's connected the dots and knows the flow of information (assuming Trump was working with the Kremlin). 

    Gates was with the campaign longer than Manifort. He was the vice-chair of the inauguration committee. That might be interesting if a Maddow story is on target. Trump's committee has been avoiding a public accounting of how money was spent – a record amount (over 100 million) was collected and not that much was spent, by estimates. Tens of millions should have been left over. On the day of the FL shooting, they released a statement – 25 million went to a company formed a month before the inauguration by a friend of Trump's wife. Yeah, nobody is covering it but Gates is in a position to know if Trump designed the scam to siphon millions to a friend? Or into his pocket? Gates may know and Gates is talking.

    Trey Gowdy is demanding info on White House security clearances. Gowdy is the only Republican to see the underlying evidence of the FISA warrant behind the memo.  The day after Gowdy saw the FISA application, he announced he's not running in a totally safe district and now he's doing his job impartially re the White House. Go figure.

    Bannon is talking to Mueller (20 hrs this week) and he's not talking to House Intel, where that testimony would go to the White House – Bannon is stonewalling per WH direction, but is Bannon's motive to protect the confidentiality of what he's spilling to Mueller? 

    Is there any way all this stuff won't peak just in time for the mid-terms? If it is what I think it is, and Democrats own the House and have the evidence from Mueller in 2019, is there any way they won't begin impeachment proceedings for the theatre? (GOP in the Senate won't convict.) Trump won't admit guilt or failure by not running and the GOP will be hoisted by their own complicity – rather painfully, I imagine.

    What a year to buy stock in Orville Redenbacher!!

  5. I do remember Jill Stein. She was the only acceptable presidential candidate on my ballot. That was why I voted for her. I didn't need the Rooskies to encourage me.

    • MisterB — Sorry, but in my book Stein is a ditz and nothing but a vanity candidate. However, I don’t blame her for clinton’s loss; Clinton is why Clinton lost.

  6. The louder that Trump shouts about no collusion the more convincing he is that there was collusion. Keep your eye on Cambridge Analytica because they are going to show up as a big tool in the Russian interference.

  7. I've been involved with the (US) Green Party for decades.  I've met Jill Stein, and she's no ditz, though I can understand how sensible progressives would view her that way.  I donated to her campaign in 2012, but not 2016.  At a nearby campaign speech during the 2016 Primaries (she had little competition but ran hard anyway), I shook her hand and implored her to deal with the "Spoiler" thing & make IRV (*) a top issue.  She seemed distracted (always late for the next event? or disagreed but had the sense not to argue?), smiled, & moved on.  Obviously, she didn't take my advice to heart. 

    I can't imagine that Jill Stein was silly enough to believe that she really had a chance to win the election.   But I do suspect that she enjoyed (the illusion of) being taken seriously which is apparent in the picture of her at table with Putin, Flynn, etc that Maha posted.

    (*) Most Greens I know agree that the US tradition of "Plurality Wins" election law is a big problem, and that we need to switch to Instant Runoff Voting ("IRV") or some similar method, but few rate the issue as a high priority.  Greens – like most progressives? – are often distracted by the latest glaring political headlines.  Worse, many Greens are so pissed off at the Democratic Party that they are quite willing to throw out the baby with the bathwater. 

    • “I’ve met Jill Stein, and she’s no ditz,”

      Then she’s really good at playing one on TV.

      “Most Greens I know agree that the US tradition of “Plurality Wins” election law is a big problem, and that we need to switch to Instant Runoff Voting (“IRV”) or some similar method, but few rate the issue as a high priority. ”

      Which is why the Green Party is a complete waste of time.

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