Did the Media Tell You the Russians Supported Bernie Sanders – Mueller Report?

I decided to actually carefully read the Mueller Report and write about it here, and one of the most relevant and non-reported fact findings of the official Russian election meddling report is the fact that the Russians didn’t just take independent, illicit but non-collusive steps to support Donald Trump. They also supported Bernie Sanders against Hillary Clinton. And here is the proof at Mueller Report, page 23, in the midst of some of the heaviest redaction of the Report, quoting an intercepted directive given to Russian agents attempting to intervene in our presidential election: “Main idea: Use any opportunity to criticize Hillary (Clinton) and the rest (except Sanders and Trump – we support them).”

Why has there been no media attention to the Russians support for Bernie Sanders? Other parts of the Mueller report show the Russians supporting “Black Lives Matters” protests. Where has been the reporting on that?

The fact is, the liberal main-stream media has long given up any pretense to fair and complete reporting, and their handling of the Mueller Report is emblematic of the current era of “new journalism” that is not really reporting, but rather, abusing facts based on “wishful thinking.” The wishful thinking here is to do everything possible to undermine President Trump and, damn the facts get him kicked out of office. The fact that the Russians tried to help Bernie Sanders too is just swept under the rug in the reporting and commentary because it does not help the Democrats. Pure politics.

I was what you could call a “Federal prosecutor” once in my life, when I served as General Counsel of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission during the Reagan administration, from 1987-1989. I managed a legal team and took violators of our nation’s product safety laws to court, and I worked with the Department of Justice in co-prosecuting cases as well. I know something about the various Federal Rules of Procedure. And I also understand the laws on which the Special Counsel’s charter is based.

Robert Mueller was appointed Special Counsel for a fairly narrow purpose: to investigate allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 election, and after collecting the facts, to make a decision to either prosecute, or decline to prosecute, alleged crimes. His charter included alleged crimes involving interference with his investigation. It is clear Mueller took his responsibility seriously. After two years, his investigation has issued 2,800 subpoenas, obtained 500 search warrants and 230 court orders for discovery, conducted 500 witness interviews, took 80 people before a Grand Jury, and ended up prosecuting some 33 individuals, most of them Russians who are still at large. Among the biggest prosecutions were those of former General Michael Flynn; former Trump Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort; Carter Page, a foreign policy advisor to the campaign; and George Papadopoulos, a volunteer foreign policy advisor. Political operative Roger Stone’s trial is scheduled to begin next November.

Yet none of the indictments or prosecutions relate to Russian collusion, which was the fundamental charge of the Mueller investigation. “(T)he investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.” Thus, there was no underlying crime found to support Mueller’s work. But the investigation did find that people lied to investigators in the process – including Page, Manafort, Papadopoulos and Flynn, and they have been prosecuted for doing so, even though they did not engage in Russian collusion, according to the Report. And some have been prosecuted for unrelated crimes, such as Manafort’s tax returns, bank fraud and failure to register as a foreign agent for Ukraine.

Russian interference wasn’t just about Trump according to the Mueller Report. It started in 2014, according to the Report, well before Trump had made any serious commitment of running for President in 2016. But those facts don’t serve the Democrat’s narrative. It became all about Trump’s collusion with Putin, and included the false statements of the likes of Rachel Maddow at MSNBC referring to the President as a “Russian asset.” As the collusion allegations spouted relentlessly by Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff and Senator Blumenthal, and echoed constantly in the liberal media, were snuffed in the Mueller report, Trump opponents have now shifted their attacks to “obstruction of justice.” They have seized on factual reports about Trump’s reported political responses, sometimes rather irate, to developments during the investigation, as well as the comment in the Report that though the Special Counsel was declining to prosecute Trump or anyone in the White House for “obstruction” of the investigation (which found no underlying crime committed), that the Report did not “exonerate” Trump.

This statement about “exoneration” is the saddest part of the Mueller Report, not because of its conclusion, but because of its inclusion in the Report. In law, the charge of the Special Counsel is to conduct a fact-finding investigation and then do one of two things: either prosecute, or decline to prosecute. Mueller declined to prosecute the President on obstruction of justice. In fact, the Report accurately states that the White House fully cooperated with the investigators, provided tons of documents as requested, and importantly that Trump did not invoke “executive privilege” as a device to impede the investigation or to deny it access to facts. Trump also answered written questions submitted by the Special Counsel, who decided that was enough information, and they did not have to conduct a personal interview with him because they felt they had all the facts they needed to make their final determinations of no collusion, and to decline to prosecute on obstruction.

In substance, the Special Counsel did everything necessary to, and did substantively “exonerate” the President. But the report says different on “obstruction.” How did the Special Counsel get away with that? They did by exceeding their own authority! It is not the role of the Special Counsel to make political statements in his investigation and conclusions. The Special Counsel statute and applicable rules, for example, did not charge Mueller with the role of “exonerating” Trump, or not. Instead, the question was very simple: do you prosecute, or decline to prosecute? Mueller flatly declined. This gave the Department of Justice the technical opportunity to also decide whether to prosecute the President for obstruction, but please ask yourself, if a well-funded independent investigation of Trump decided not to prosecute Trump on obstruction because they did not think the facts would support the prosecution, why would Trump’s own Attorney General think differently?

Clearly, the word no “exoneration” is used in the Mueller Report as a cheap political shot, and it does not belong there. This is a flaw in the Special Counsel law that allows for it to be used for politics. Now Democrats will jump on this unsubstantiated and unsupported statement (in law) to support calls for impeachment of the President, which is indeed a political process. I just hope they also might consider, at the same time, whether Bernie Sanders should also be co-impeached based on the Mueller Report’s finding that the Russians supported him for President too. What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.