The Mueller report revisited

The investigative affiliate of RealClearPolitics has posted Aaron Maté’s long examination of key findings in the Mueller report: “CrowdStrikeOut: Mueller’s Own Report Undercuts Its Core Russia-Meddling Claims.” Among other things, according to Maté, largely undisputed headline assertions that the Kremlin worked to secure Donald Trump’s victory are unsupported by evidence or other publicly available sources for that matter. As set forth in the summary provided by RCP, Maté finds that:

• The Mueller report’s qualified language reflects lack of certainty whether Russian intelligence officers stole Democratic Party emails, or how those emails were transferred to Wikileaks.

• The report’s timeline of events appears to defy logic. According to its narrative, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange announced the publication of Democratic Party emails not only before he received the documents but before he even communicated with the source that provided them.

• There is strong reason to doubt Mueller’s suggestion that an alleged Russian cutout called Guccifer 2.0 supplied the stolen Democratic Party emails to Assange.

• Mueller’s decision not to interview Assange – a central figure who claims Russia was not behind the hack – suggests an unwillingness to explore avenues of evidence on fundamental questions.

• U.S. intelligence officials cannot make definitive conclusions about the hacking of Democratic National Committee computer servers because they did not analyze those servers themselves. Instead, they relied on the forensics of CrowdStrike, a private contractor for the DNC. It was not a neutral party, much as dossier compiler Christopher Steele, also a DNC contractor, was not a neutral party.

• Mueller’s report conspicuously does not allege that the Russian government carried out a nefarious social media campaign. Instead it blames “a private Russian entity” known as the Internet Research Agency. (Ed.: Is it conceivable, however, that the agency acted on its own? Maté doesn’t address this question.)

• Then CIA Director John Brennan played a seminal and overlooked role in all facets of what became Mueller’s investigation: the suspicions that triggered the initial collusion probe; the allegations of Russian interference; and the intelligence assessment that purported to validate those allegations, which Brennan himself helped generate. Yet Brennan has since revealed himself to be, like CrowdStrike and Steele, a partisan with a deep animus toward Trump.

Maté concedes that the Mueller report’s core finding of “sweeping and systematic” Russian government election interference is not necessarily false, but argues that the report presents insufficient evidence to substantiate the thesis. That leaves serious doubt about the genesis and perpetuation of Russiagate and the performance of those tasked with investigating it.

Maté is a left-wing journalist and former host/producer for The Real News as well as Amy Goodman’s execrable Democracy Now! program. He has a long record of skepticism toward the Russiagate conspiracy reflected in his work for the Nation, compiled here. Even though Maté’s RCP piece in part revisits familiar ground, I thought that some readers would find it of interest, as I did.

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