During his one year leading the probe into the alleged misdeeds of President Trump and his associates, Special Counsel Robert Mueller has issued a number of indictments, including against 13 Russian nationals who will likely never find their way into US custody. But as the Hill pointed out Tuesday, there's one election-related crime that Mueller has apparently been reluctant to pursue: That is, the hacking of the Democratic National Committee's emails by Guccifur 2.0, a hacker who has been tenuously linked to the Russian GRU.
Some legal experts say Mueller could be holding off on an indictment for the end of the investigation because going public would be too damaging. It's possible that it could reveal "the information they might posses to prove the case," said Mark Zaid, a Washington attorney specializing in national security issues.
Others said an indictment for the DNC hack could've been filed under seal so the target wouldn't be aware of the charges - and thus might unwittingly travel to a jurisdiction where they could be extradited to the US.
And for what it's worth, Roger Stone, an early Trump political advisor who once bragged about his direct contact with Wikileaks, has been saying that he expects to be indicted by Mueller. One of the major unanswered questions when it comes to the DNC hack is whether Mueller can link it to an American suspect or suspects.
"If there are Americans involved, whether or not they have anything to do with the campaign, then I would expect an indictment," said Steven Cash, a lawyer at Day Pitney.
While leaks in recent months have suggested that Mueller does, in fact, have enough evidence to bring charges related to the DNC hack, the DOJ hasn't produced anything conclusive to link Russia to the incident. Furthermore, the sophisticated Russian "disinformation campaign" carried out through Facebook and other social media through the placement of "fraudulent" ads bearing controversial messages has also been exposed as a gross exaggeration.
Even if Mueller had an iron-clad case, pursuing charges against a Russian national - Russia is not obligated to extradite its citizens - would be a futile exercise, since they would likely just modify their behavior to avoid traveling to jurisdictions where they'd be vulnerable. Still, rumors persist that Mueller has identified senior Russian officials who were somehow involved in the hack. US media reported that Guccifer 2.0, the hacker responsible for the attack, was working for Russia's GRU.
Of course, there has been plenty of suspicious activity by Democrats that might deter Mueller from looking too closely. If the Democrats were, in fact, victimized by Russians, why did they refuse the FBI access to their servers?
Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, which famously found no conclusive evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, said he expects Mueller to indict the people behind the DNC hack.
The only question, Schiff says, is whether the indictment will be limited to Russians, or will also include US citizens.