Attorney General William Barr has concluded that the Russian government interfered in the 2016 election
While every major media outlet in the U.S., including the New York Times, seems content with variations of the the headline, “No Collusion between Trump and Russia,” something critical has gotten lost.
Namely, this part of the opening of Barr’s memo, where he states without equivocation that the Russian government interfered with the 2016 election.
The Special Counsel’s investigation determined that there were two main Russian efforts to influence the 2016 election. The first involved attempts by a Russian organization, the Internet Research Agency (IRA), to conduct disinformation and social media operations in the United States designed to sow social discord, eventually with the aim of interfering with the election. As noted above, the Special Counsel did not find that any U.S. person or Trump campaign official or associate conspired or knowingly coordinated with the IRA in its efforts, although the Special Counsel brought criminal charges against a number of Russian nationals and entities in connection with these activities.
The second element involved the Russian government’s efforts to conduct computer hacking operations designed to gather and disseminate information to influence the election. The Special Counsel found that Russian government actors successfully hacked into computers and obtained emails from persons affiliated with the Clinton campaign and Democratic Party organizations, and publicly disseminated those materials through various intermediaries, including WikiLeaks. Based on these activities, the Special Counsel brought criminal charges against a number of Russian military officers for conspiring to hack into computers in the United States for purposes of influencing the election. But as noted above, the Special Counsel did not find that the Trump campaign, or anyone associated with it, conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in these efforts, despite multiple offers from Russian-affiliated individuals to assist the Trump campaign.
But that admission means something critical. Namely, it shows a problem with the narrative that’s emerged. According to Barr, no one from the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in these efforts.
Except, we have multiple people who worked from the Trump campaign who were already indicted, and some who plead guilty.
George Papadopoulos, a foreign policy advisor to the Trump campaign, served 14 days in jail for lying to the FBI about his efforts to coordinate with the Russian government.
Roger Stone was arrested this year, and his indictment indicates that Stone tried to conceal his contacts with Wikileaks, the agency that acted as the intermediary between Russia and the Trump campaign.
Somehow, we have to accept that coordination, and attempts at coordination, between the Trump campaign and Russian intelligence agents and assets are not, actually, coordination or attempts at coordination.
If you find this baffling, once you see it, just know it’s a sign that you’re still sane.