A US District court judge has dealt a major blow to special counsel Robert Mueller's theory that the Kremlin engaged in "sweeping and systematic" meddling in the 2016 US election.
Judge Dabney L. Friedrich ruled this week that the Special Counsel's indictment of a Russian troll farm "does not link the defendants to the Russian government," and "alleges only private conduct by private actors."
Following the February, 2018 indictment of three Russian firms and 13 Russian nationals, Mueller's office was caught off guard when some of the Russians actually showed up in US court to defend themselves.
I don’t think anyone (including Mueller) anticipated that any of the defendants would appear in court to defend against the charges. Rather, the Mueller prosecutors seem to have obtained the indictment to serve a public relations purpose, laying out the case for interference as understood by the government and lending a veneer of respectability to the Mueller Switch Project. -Powerline Blog
Mueller accused Concord Management and Consulting, LLC of producing propaganda, pretending to be U.S. activists online and posting political content on social media in order to sow discord among American voters. Concord was also accused of "knowingly and intentionally" conspiring to interfere with the 2016 US election.
In doing so, Mueller's office attempted to link Concord to the Kremlin so as to suggest that the Russian meddling came directly from the top.
Not so fast...
Judge Friedrich writes "It is significant and prejudicial that the government itself drew a link between these defendants and the Russian government," adding "In short, the Court concludes that the government violated Rule 57.7 by making or authorizing the release of public statements that linked the defendants' alleged activities to the Russian government..."
This is a major blow not just to Mueller but to the entire "Russian Active Measures" talking point. As the judge acknowledges, the IRA (which, btw, put out juvenile clickbait mostly unrelated to the election) is a private entity & Mueller never establishes a Kremlin connection. pic.twitter.com/WT2n5nZ5Fy— Aaron Maté (@aaronjmate) July 9, 2019
This inconsistency, confirmed by a DC judge, raises new Qs about the validity of Mueller's claim of a "sweeping and systematic" Russian gov't interference campaign. If Mueller was disingenuous in falsely trying to link it to Russian gov't, what else was he disingenuous about?— Aaron Maté (@aaronjmate) July 9, 2019
And as Journalist Aaron Maté further points out, "it's not just a judge recognizing that the Russian troll farm did not act for Russian gov't -- it's one of Mueller's own prosecutors. At May 28 hearing, Jonathan Kravis said: "The report does not say that the Russian government participated in" the troll farm's activity."
Update: it's not just a judge recognizing that the Russian troll farm did not act for Russian gov't -- it's one of Mueller's own prosecutors. At May 28 hearing, Jonathan Kravis said: "The report does not say that the Russian government participated in" the troll farm's activity: pic.twitter.com/PUgNMbk27z— Aaron Maté (@aaronjmate) July 11, 2019
As for the actual meddling, let's revist a tidbit from February, 2018 - right around the time the Russians were indicted:
Facebook VP of advertising, Rob Goldman, tossed a major hand grenade in the "pro-Trump" Russian meddling narrative in February when he fired off a series of tweets the day of the Russian indictments. Most notably, Goldman pointed out that the majority of advertising purchased by Russians on Facebook occurred after the election, were hardly pro-Trump, and they was designed to "sow discord and divide Americans", something which Americans have been quite adept at doing on their own ever since the Fed decided to unleash a record class, wealth, income divide by keeping capital markets artificially afloat at any cost.
The main goal of the Russian propaganda and misinformation effort is to divide America by using our institutions, like free speech and social media, against us. It has stoked fear and hatred amongst Americans. It is working incredibly well. We are quite divided as a nation.— Rob Goldman (@robjective) February 17, 2018
Shortly thereafter, Goldman issued a Galilean recant of his statement - effectively saying he shouldn't have challenged the special counsel's sweeping authority and investigative powers. Shocking.