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The Russian Indictments
by Gary Fouse
With the indictments of 13 Russians, special prosecutor Robert Mueller confirms what we already knew: The Russians were meddling in our election. What remains at question is the central issue of Mr Mueller's task: Was Trump and/or his campaign colluding with the Russians to influence the election. These charges do nothing to advance that theory.
In addition, the individuals charged are sitting comfortably (presumably in front of their keyboards) in St Petersburg (Russia, not Florida), so they won't be sitting in any US courtroom. None of them is going to flip-that is cooperate with the prosecutors in the hopes of getting a lesser sentence. Mueller might just as well have indicted Vladimir Putin.
Which raises the question of why didn't he charge Mr Putin? After all, any meddling coming from Russia surely was done with his approval if not outright order.
But Putin is not at issue here. Sadly, after all the years of detente, the collapse of the Soviet Union, reset buttons, and what have you, Russia is still an adversarial nation. This is not to say that the efforts to improve relations, establish business ties, and drink vodka together have been treasonous. (I plead guilty to the last item.) Nor is this to say that crimes have not been committed. Paul Manafort's business affairs with the Russians may have crossed some line. Michael Flynn many have said something to the FBI that was not true though this week's revelations even put that into question.
But the central question remains: Did Trump and/or his campaign collude with the Russians to influence the election? The mainstream media can crow that the latest charges prove the Russians were culpable. They do not show us anything as to Trump and/or his campaign.
The questions still remain as to Mueller's actions, his obvious conflict of interest, especially as relates to his connections with James Comey, a central figure in this whole mess. Questions remain as to Mueller's choice of surrogates to work with him on this investigation, people with clear political biases and people whose own conduct has been called into question. Is this a search for truth or a concentrated effort to bring down Trump and remove him from office? The indictments this week do not alleviate those concerns.
Once again: The central question remains whether Trump and/or his campaign colluded with the Russians to influence the election. We still see nothing to show that was the case.
Other than that, job well done, Mr Mueller.