This morning, Attorney General William Barr, released the Mueller Report, findings of the nearly two year long investigation by Special Counsel, Robert Mueller, regarding possible collusion between President Donald Trump and the Russians during the 2016 elections.
The report energized the President who claimed victory and complete exoneration. That’s not what the report said but that’s what he declared.
Instead, Mueller said there wasn’t enough to move forward with criminal charges but stated that Congress could look into the matter further.
It’s interesting reading, written in a fashion that puts you in the room of some of these meetings between Trump staffers and Russian operatives in the months leading up to and after the 2016 elections.
Here is what I took away:
There wasn’t a lot that we didn’t already know: There was a lot of good work by journalists who were covering this investigation. A lot of information that wasn’t already documented in previous news reports would have been surprises otherwise.
It paints an unflattering picture of the President, but one that didn’t do anything wrong: From dropping “F Bombs” after finding out Mueller was appointed, to staffers and operatives telling Mueller they just ignore him sometimes, Trump didn’t look good. Given scenarios likely war-gamed by the administration, they won’t care about appearances this time and will take the muddy victory.
Russian field trips and social media efforts: While most of the attention will ultimately land on the President’s mentions in the report and the meetings with Russians, the social media efforts by the St. Petersburg based Internet Research Agency were an interesting read. From trips to the United States to get close to campaigns to “trolling” efforts through social media accounts, it adds an interesting angle and will hopefully elevate awareness of what people read online.
We need to bolster cybersecurity efforts. Everywhere: The progress the Russians were able to make over cyberspace is worrisome and demonstrate that this is indeed a battleground where we’re vulnerable. We need to take measures to protect ourselves.
My flashback to the 2016 document leak: When I was working in news everyday, those leaked documents mentioned in the report regarded several local races including the Congressional District 9 and 10 contests. When those attachments hit inboxes, no one wanted to touch them. Ultimately, no “game changing” events came from them, but it’s something people in the atmosphere still talk about today.
It’s not over, at least for opponents of the President: Democratic 2020 Presidential candidates are calling for resignations, there are calls for an unredacted report, and Mueller left the door open for Congressional hearings, which Barr did not object to in the press conference held before the report was released, and those could take place in just over a month.