Friday, June 14, 2019

HEAR YE, HEAR YE! (American Civic Virtues)

HEAR YE, HEAR YE!
Regarding Trump, anti-Trump, I've determined "there are good people on both sides." But the good people on the pro-Trump side, while remaining friends and "good people" and folks who in trouble could come to me for whatever aid I could render, HAVE NO POLITICAL CREDIBILITY FOR ME. They have been enthralled in a way that has left their other admirable moral qualities intact BUT HAS FATALLY COMPROMISED those qualities SPECIFICALLY when it comes to Donald Trump. Feel free to post whatever :poop: you want in discussion but I'LL NOT TAKE YOU SERIOUSLY until you convince ME that supporting Donald Trump is supporting American Civic Virtues. I defy anyone to make a convincing argument that Trump evidences ANY of the following virtues. And, be warned, I SPECIFICALLY left "politeness" off the list based on 200+ years of the American experiment. American Civic Virtues: In political discussion or coordinated political action, I commit to and INSIST on: Evidence-based discussion Telling the truth Demonstrating compassion Demonstrating moral integrity Respect for the written rule of law Adherence to the unwritten norms of civic virtue The nurturing of civil democratic institutions such as families, the workplace, and other voluntary associations. #TheNakedEmperor #AmericanCivicVirtues

Sunday, June 09, 2019

On The Investigation Into Russian Interference In The 2016 Presidential Election
Trump / Russia / Mueller with Historical Context

Introduction by Bill B

Shortly after the 2016 election I began studying the alt-right, which led me to Aleksandr Dugin and his fascist understanding of history as a struggle between Western “Atlanticism” and Eastern “Eurasianism,” which led me to Putin and Russia’s foreign policy in the millenium.

When Mueller’s report came out I read Vol. 1 on the Russian attack on our election and I was both astonished and alarmed at how closely interactions dovetailed with the Trump campaign as well as Putin’s earlier successes in his partial annexation of Ukraine and his interference in the Brexit vote.

I hope folks reading this will agree and start learning how to communicate what is at stake here for future generations of Americans and how poorly this could go long after Donald Trump is gone.

This document, which began life as a Google Slides presentation, is in the public domain. In using this to craft one’s own telling of the tale all I ask is that we are scrupulous in communicating the best version of the truth we can find without succumbing to the temptation of propaganda, which is sadly becoming the coin of the realm in online discussion and messaging by American politicians who damn well should know better.
  • Bill Bekkenhuis 06/09/2019 #MuellerRussia

Part One: The Backstory of Trump and Russia

Once upon a time, in a land far-away…

“Between 2000 and 2004, Putin apparently engaged in a power struggle with some oligarchs, reaching a "grand bargain" with them. This bargain allowed the oligarchs to maintain their powers, in exchange for their explicit support of – and alignment with – Putin's government. Many more business people have become oligarchs during Putin's time in power, and often due to personal relations with Putin… “

“During Putin's presidency, a number of oligarchs came under fire for various illegal activities, particularly tax evasion in the businesses they acquired. “

Once upon a time, in a land far-away…
“Billionaire, philanthropist, art patron and former KGB agent Alexander Lebedev has criticized the oligarchs, saying "I think material wealth for them is a highly emotional and spiritual thing. They spend a lot of money on their own personal consumption." Lebedev has also described them as "a bunch of uncultured ignoramuses", saying "They don't read books. They don't have time. They don't go to [art] exhibitions. They think the only way to impress anyone is to buy a yacht." He also notes that the oligarchs have no interest in social injustice.”


At the same time, in the 1990’s…

“Aleksandr Gelyevich Dugin … is a Russian political analyst and strategist known for his fascist views.

“He has close ties with the Kremlin and the Russian military ... Dugin was the leading organizer of the National Bolshevik Party, National Bolshevik Front, and Eurasia Party. He is the author of more than 30 books, among them Foundations of Geopolitics (1997) and The Fourth Political Theory (2009).

At the same time, in the 1990’s…
“In his 1997 article "Fascism – Borderless and Red", Dugin proclaimed the arrival of a "genuine, true, radically revolutionary and consistent, fascist fascism" in Russia. ... while Russian fascism is a combination of natural national conservatism with a passionate desire for true changes." "Waffen-SS and especially the scientific sector of this organization, Ahnenerbe," was "an intellectual oasis in the framework of the National Socialist regime", according to him."

At the same time, in the 1990’s…
“Dugin claims to be disapproving of liberalism and the West, particularly American hegemony. He asserts that "We are on the side of Stalin and the Soviet Union". He calls himself a conservative and says, "We, conservatives, want a strong, solid State, want order and healthy family, positive values, the reinforcing of the importance of religion and the Church in society". He adds, "We want patriotic radio, TV, patriotic experts, patriotic clubs. We want the media that expresses national interests".“

At the same time, in the 1990’s…
"In principle, Eurasia and our space, the heartland Russia, remain the staging area of a new anti-bourgeois, anti-American revolution ... The new Eurasian empire will be constructed on the fundamental principle of the common enemy: the rejection of Atlanticism, strategic control of the USA, and the refusal to allow liberal values to dominate us. This common civilizational impulse will be the basis of a political and strategic union."
— The Basics of Geopolitics (1997)

At the same time, in the 1990’s…
“Before war broke out between Russia and Georgia in 2008, Dugin visited South Ossetia and predicted, "Our troops will occupy the Georgian capital Tbilisi, the entire country, and perhaps even Ukraine and the Crimean Peninsula, which is historically part of Russia, anyway."“

At the same time, in the 1990’s…
“Afterwards he said Russia should "not stop at liberating South Ossetia but should move further," and "we have to do something similar in Ukraine." In 2008, Dugin stated that Russia should repeat the Georgian scenario in Ukraine, namely attack it. In September 2008, after the Russian-Georgian war, he did not hide his anger towards Putin, who "dared not drop the other shoe" and "restore the Empire."“


At the same time, in the 1990’s…
“In Foundations of Geopolitics, Dugin calls for the United States and Atlanticism to lose their influence in Eurasia and for Russia to rebuild its influence through annexations and alliances.[2]
The book declares that "the battle for the world rule of Russians" has not ended and Russia remains "the staging area of a new anti-bourgeois, anti-American revolution". The Eurasian Empire will be constructed "on the fundamental principle of the common enemy: the rejection of Atlanticism, strategic control of the USA, and the refusal to allow liberal values to dominate us."“

At the same time, in the 1990’s…
“Military operations play relatively little role. The textbook believes in a sophisticated program of subversion, destabilization, and disinformation spearheaded by the Russian special services. The operations should be assisted by a tough, hard-headed utilization of Russia's gas, oil, and natural resources to bully and pressure other countries.“

"Foundations of Geopolitics" (Wikipedia)

At the same time, in the 1990’s…
RUSSIAN GEOPOLITICAL THINKING circa 1997
“"Within the United States itself, there is a need for the Russian special services and their allies "to provoke all forms of instability and separatism within the borders of the United States (it is possible to make use of the political forces of Afro-American racists)" (248).“

At the same time, in the 1990’s…
“"It is especially important," Dugin adds, "to introduce geopolitical disorder into internal American activity, encouraging all kinds of separatism and ethnic, social and racial conflicts, actively supporting all dissident movements-- extremist, racist, and sectarian groups, thus destabilizing internal political processes in the U.S. It would also make sense simultaneously to support isolationist tendencies in American politics" (367)." “

“"Aleksandr Dugin's Foundations of Geopolitics" (pub. 1997)
by Dunlop, John B. Demokratizatsiya 12.1 (Jan 31, 2004): 41.

“John B. Dunlop is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. His current research focuses on the conflict in Chechnya, Russian politics since 1985, Russia and the successor states of the former Soviet Union.“

At the same time, in the 1990’s...
““In principle, Eurasia and our space, the heartland Russia, remain the staging area of a new anti-bourgeois, anti-American revolution ... The new Eurasian empire will be constructed on the fundamental principle of the common enemy: the rejection of Atlanticism, strategic control of the USA, and the refusal to allow liberal values to dominate us. This common civilizational impulse will be the basis of a political and strategic union.”“

“— The Basics of Geopolitics (1997)“

“Aleksandr Dugin” (Wikipedia)

Donald Trump in the ‘90s & ‘00s
“...Trump was all but finished as a major real-estate developer, in the eyes of many in the business, and that’s because the U.S. banking industry was pretty much finished with him. By the early 1990s he had burned through his portion of his father Fred’s fortune with a series of reckless business decisions. Two of his businesses had declared bankruptcy, the Trump Taj Mahal Casino in Atlantic City and the Plaza Hotel in New York, and the money pit that was the Trump Shuttle went out of business in 1992.“

Donald Trump in the ‘90s & ‘00s
“Trump companies would ultimately declare Chapter 11 bankruptcy two more times. When would-be borrowers repeatedly file for protection from their creditors, they become poison to most major lenders and, according to financial experts interviewed for this story, such was Trump’s reputation in the U.S. financial industry at that juncture.“

Donald Trump in the ‘90s & ‘00s
“Trump eventually made a comeback, and according to several sources with knowledge of Trump’s business, foreign money played a large role in reviving his fortunes, in particular investment by wealthy people from Russia and the former Soviet republics. This conclusion is buttressed by a growing body of evidence amassed by news organizations, as well as what is reportedly being investigated by Special Counsel Robert Mueller and the Southern District of New York.“

Donald Trump in the ‘90s & ‘00s
“It is a conclusion that even Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., has appeared to confirm, saying in 2008—after the Trump Organization was prospering again—that “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets.”“  

Donald Trump in the ‘90s & ‘00s
“Trump’s former longtime architect, Alan Lapidus, echoed this view in an interview with FP this month. Lapidus said that based on what he knew from the internal workings of the organization, in the aftermath of Trump’s earlier financial troubles “he could not get anybody in the United States to lend him anything. It was all coming out of Russia. His involvement with Russia was deeper than he’s acknowledged.”“


Putin’s Social Media, CyberWarfare, and “Little Green Men”

“Putin’s Foreign Policy Strategy
“John Herbst, former Ambassador to Uzbekistan and Ukraine, and Director of the Atlantic Council’s Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center, spoke next. According to Herbst, Putin’s objectives are coherent enough to amount to a grand strategy, which is focused on overturning the post-Cold War order. 

Russia’s foreign policy goals and behavior include five main elements.“

Putin’s Social Media, CyberWarfare, and “Little Green Men”

“First, Russia seeks a sphere of influence, at minimum, within the borders of the post-Soviet space. Second, Russia is responsible for the protection of ethnic Russians abroad. Third, the Eurasian Union should be constructed as a counter to the European Union. Fourth, the concept of state sovereignty is not absolute. The sovereignty of powerful states (including Russia) trumps the right to sovereignty of other states.“

Putin’s Social Media, CyberWarfare, and “Little Green Men”

“Finally, the concept of frozen conflicts plays a major role. In these, Russia sides with minorities in conflicts in neighboring countries in order to push majorities toward Moscow-friendly policies. This strategy has been applied since the 1990s but has been expanded under Putin.“


Putin’s Social Media, CyberWarfare, and “Little Green Men”
“"Until recently, Western governments focused on state-to-state negotiations with Putin’s regime largely missed Russian state-to-people social media approaches. Russia’s social media campaigns seek five complementary objectives to strengthen Russia’s position over Western democracies:“

Putin’s Social Media, CyberWarfare, and “Little Green Men”
“* Undermine citizen confidence in democratic governance;

“* Foment and exacerbate divisive political fractures;

“* Erode trust between citizens and elected officials and democratic institutions;

“* Popularize Russian policy agendas within foreign populations;

“* Create general distrust or confusion over information sources by blurring the lines between fact and fiction.“

Putin’s Social Media, CyberWarfare, and “Little Green Men”

"In sum, these influence efforts weaken Russia’s enemies without the use of force. “


Russia’s Attack on Ukraine

“On 22–23 February 2014, Russian president Vladimir Putin convened an all-night meeting with security service chiefs to discuss the extrication of the deposed Ukrainian president, Viktor Yanukovych. At the end of the meeting Putin remarked that "we must start working on returning Crimea to Russia"“.

Russia’s Attack on Ukraine
“On 23 February, pro-Russian demonstrations were held in the Crimean city of Sevastopol. On 27 February, masked Russian troops without insignia[7] took over the Supreme Council (parliament) of Crimea, and captured strategic sites across Crimea, which led to the installation of the pro-Russian Aksyonov government in Crimea, the conducting of the Crimean status referendum and the declaration of Crimea's independence on 16 March 2014. Russia formally incorporated Crimea as two federal subjects of the Russian Federation with effect from 18 March 2014.“

Russia’s Attack on Ukraine
“Ukraine and many world leaders condemned the annexation and consider it to be a violation of international law and Russian-signed agreements safeguarding the territorial integrity of Ukraine, including the Belavezha Accords establishing the Commonwealth of Independent States in 1991, the Helsinki Accords, the Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances of 1994 and the Treaty on friendship, cooperation and partnership between the Russian Federation and Ukraine. It led to the other members of the then G8 suspending Russia from the group, then introducing the first round of sanctions against the country.“

Russia’s Attack on Ukraine
“The United Nations General Assembly also rejected the vote and annexation, adopting a non-binding resolution affirming the "territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognised borders". The UN resolution also "underscores that the referendum having no validity, cannot form the basis for any alteration of the status of [Crimea]" and calls upon all States and international organizations not to recognize or to imply the recognition of Russia's annexation.“

Russia’s Attack on Ukraine
“In 2016, UN General Assembly reaffirmed non-recognition of the annexation and condemned "the temporary occupation of part of the territory of Ukraine—the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol"“.

Russia’s Attack on Ukraine
“The Russian Federation opposes the "annexation" label, with Putin defending the referendum as complying with the principle of self-determination of peoples. In July 2015, Russian prime minister Dmitry Medvedev said that Crimea had been fully integrated into Russia.“


BREXIT: Russia’s Attack on Great Britain and the European Union

Social media
“Russian interference in the Brexit referendum included the promotion of misinformation through both fake social media accounts and state-sponsored media outlets such as RT and Sputnik. In addition to interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, Russian trolls have previously been documented promoting fake claims of election fraud after the 2014 Scottish independence referendum and attempting to amplify the public impact of terrorist attacks, with Prime Minister Theresa May accusing the Russian government of “deploying its state-run media organisations to plant fake stories and photo-shopped images in an attempt to sow discord in the West and undermine our institutions”.“

BREXIT: Russia’s Attack on Great Britain and the European Union
RT
“According to a US senate report, Russian state media channel RT covered the referendum campaign extensively and offered "systematically one-sided coverage". A parliamentary inquiry into disinformation and 'fake news' cited research estimating the value of anti-EU Russian state media during the EU referendum campaign at between £1.4 and 4.14 million.“

BREXIT: Russia’s Attack on Great Britain and the European Union
Twitter bots
“Data released by Twitter in 2018 identified 3,841 accounts of Russian origin affiliated with the Internet Research Agency, as well as 770 potentially from Iran, which collectively sent over 10 million Tweets in "an effort to spread disinformation and discord", according to The Telegraph, with a "day-long blitz" on the day of the referendum.“

BREXIT: Russia’s Attack on Great Britain and the European Union
“One study, with a sample of 1.5 million tweets containing hashtags relating to the referendum, found that almost a third of all tweets had been generated by just 1% of the 300,000 sampled accounts. They found that both pro-Leave and pro-Remain bots existed but that "the family of hashtags associated with the argument for leaving the EU dominates", with pro-Leave bots tweeting more than three times as often.“

BREXIT: Russia’s Attack on Great Britain and the European Union
“In November 2017, The Times reported that researchers from Swansea University and UC Berkeley had identified around 150,000 accounts with links to Russia that tweeted about Brexit in the run-up to the referendum. Others at City, University of London had previously documented a network of 13,493 accounts that tweeted about the referendum, “only to disappear from Twitter shortly after the ballot”. A working paper for the National Bureau of Economic Research claims the influence of Twitter bots may have been significant enough to impact the result, roughly calculating that automated accounts may have ultimately been responsible for around 1.76 percentage points of the 'Leave' vote share.“

“An analysis by cybersecurity firm F-Secure indicated that "suspicious activity" relating to Brexit-related posts on Twitter has continued after the referendum and into 2019, with Professor Jason Reifler of the University of Exeter commenting that the observed patterns of activity are consistent with tactics used by Russian troll farms.“


Part Two: Mueller, Vol. 1: The Russian Attack

Introduction

“WARREN: I read into the night, into the next morning. When I hit page 448, it was clear to me. We knew three things. The first one was a hostile foreign government attacked our 2016 election for the purposes of helping Donald Trump get elected.
Part two, candidate Donald Trump welcomed the help.
Part three, when the federal government tried to investigate part one and part two, Donald Trump did everything he could to derail, stop, halt, obstruct that investigation.
Elizabeth Warren: If Donald Trump Were Not President He Would Be In Handcuffs And Indicted”


America 2014 - ?: Russia’s “sweeping and systematic” attack on American democracy.


Source:

“The Russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential election in sweeping and systematic fashion. Evidence of Russian government operations began to surface in mid-2016. In June, the Democratic National Committee and its cyber response team publicly announced that Russian hackers had compromised its computer network. Releases of hacked materials—hacks that public reporting soon attributed to the Russian government—began that same month.” (Mueller, Vol. 1, p. 1)

Papadopoulos

”In late July 2016, soon after WikiLeaks’s first release of stolen documents, a foreign government contacted the FBI about a May 2016 encounter with Trump Campaign foreign policy advisor George Papadopoulos. Papadopoulos had suggested to a representative of that foreign government that the Trump Campaign had received indications from the Russian government that it could assist the Campaign through the anonymous release of information damaging to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. That information prompted the FBI on July 31, 2016, to open an investigation into whether individuals associated with the Trump Campaign were coordinating with the Russian government in its interference activities.” (Mueller, Vol. 1 p.1)

The Internet Research Agency (IRA)

”The Internet Research Agency (IRA) carried out the earliest Russian interference operations identified by the investigation — a social media campaign designed to provoke and amplify political and social discord in the United States. The IRA was based in St. Petersburg, Russia, and received funding from Russian oligarch Yevgeniy Prigozhin and companies he controlled. Prigozhin is widely reported to have ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin…” (Mueller, Vol. 1. P. 4)

Russia “Votes”

”The IRA later used social media accounts and interest groups to sow discord in the U.S. political system through what it termed “information warfare.” The campaign evolved from a generalized program designed in 2014 and 2015 to undermine the U.S. electoral system, to a targeted operation that by early 2016 favored candidate Trump and disparaged candidate Clinton…” (Mueller Vol. 1, p. 4)

The GRU Attacks
”At the same time that the IRA operation began to focus on supporting candidate Trump in early 2016, the Russian government employed a second form of interference: cyber intrusions (hacking) and releases of hacked materials damaging to the Clinton Campaign. The Russian intelligence service known as the Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff of the Russian Army (GRU) carried out these operations.” (Mueller, Vol. 1, p. 4)

Russia - Wikileaks - Trump
”The presidential campaign of Donald J. Trump (“Trump Campaign” or “Campaign") showed interest in WikiLeaks’s releases of documents and welcomed their potential to damage candidate Clinton. Beginning in June 2016, ■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■ forecast to senior Campaign officials that WikiLeaks would release information damaging to candidate Clinton. WikiLeaks’s first release came in July 2016.” (Mueller, Vol. 1, p. 5)

Russia - Wikileaks - Trump
”July 2016 was also the month WikiLeaks first released emails stolen by the GRU from the DNC. On July 22, 2016, WikiLeaks posted thousands of internal DNC documents revealing information about the Clinton Campaign. Within days, there was public reporting that U.S. intelligence agencies had “high confidence” that the Russian government was behind the theft of emails and documents from the DNC. And within a week of the release, a foreign government informed the FBI about its May 2016 interaction with Papadopoulos and his statement that the Russian government could assist the Trump Campaign. On July 31, 2016, based on the foreign government reporting, the FBI opened an investigation into potential coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the Trump Campaign.”

Russia - Wikileaks - Trump
”Around the same time, candidate Trump announced that he hoped Russia would recover emails described as missing from a private server used by Clinton when she was Secretary of State (he later said that he was speaking sarcastically). ”

[REDACTED] WikiLeaks began releasing Podesta’s stolen emails on October 7, 2016, less than one hour after a U.S. media outlet released video considered damaging to candidate Trump. Section III of this Report details the Office’s investigation into the Russian hacking operations, as well as other efforts by Trump Campaign supporters to obtain Clinton-related emails.”

Russian assault on the Trump campaign

”The social media campaign and the GRU hacking operations coincided with a series of contacts between Trump Campaign officials and individuals with ties to the Russian government. The Office investigated whether those contacts reflected or resulted in the Campaign conspiring or coordinating with Russia in its election-interference activities. ”

Win-Win

”Although the investigation established that the Russian government perceived it would benefit from a Trump presidency and worked to secure that outcome, and that the Campaign expected it would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts, the investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.” (Mueller, Vol. 1, pp. 4-5)

Trump Tower Moscow

“2015. Some of the earliest contacts were made in connection with a Trump Organization real-estate project in Russia known as Trump Tower Moscow. Candidate Trump signed a Letter of Intent for Trump Tower Moscow by November 2015, and in January 2016 Trump Organization executive Michael Cohen emailed and spoke about the project with the office of Russian government press secretary Dmitry Peskov. The Trump Organization pursued the project through at least June 2016, including by considering travel to Russia by Cohen and candidate Trump.” (Mueller, Vol. 1, p. 5)

Trump Tower Moscow
”I don't know anything about it. I can tell you, I think if I came up with that, they'd say, 'Oh, it's a conspiracy theory,' it's ridiculous. I mean I have nothing to do with Russia. I don't have any jobs in Russia. I'm all over the world but we're not involved in Russia."”


Papadopoulos 2
“Spring 2016. Campaign foreign policy advisor George Papadopoulos made early contact with Joseph Mifsud, a London-based professor who had connections to Russia and traveled to Moscow in April 2016. Immediately upon his return to London from that trip, Mifsud told Papadopoulos that the Russian government had “dirt” on Hillary Clinton in the form of thousands of emails.“

Papadopoulos 2
“One week later, in the first week of May 2016, Papadopoulos suggested to a representative of a foreign government that the Trump Campaign had received indications from the Russian government that it could assist the Campaign through the anonymous release of information damaging to candidate Clinton. Throughout that period of time and for several months thereafter, Papadopoulos worked with Mifsud and two Russian nationals to arrange a meeting between the Campaign and the Russian government. No meeting took place.“ (Mueller, Vol. 1, p. 6)

Trump campaign gives “green light” to Russian government
“Summer 2016. Russian outreach to the Trump Campaign continued into the summer of 2016, as candidate Trump was becoming the presumptive Republican nominee for President. On June 9, 2016, for example, a Russian lawyer met with senior Trump Campaign officials Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, and campaign chairman Paul Manafort to deliver what the email proposing the meeting had described as “official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary.”“

Trump campaign gives “green light” to Russian government
“The materials were offered to Trump Jr. as “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.” The written communications setting up the meeting showed that the Campaign anticipated receiving information from Russia that could assist candidate Trump’s electoral prospects, but the Russian lawyer’s presentation did not provide such information.“ (Mueller, Vol. 1., p.6)

Carter Page

“In July 2016, Campaign foreign policy advisor Carter Page traveled in his personal capacity to Moscow and gave the keynote address at the New Economic School. Page had lived and worked in Russia between 2003 and 2007. After returning to the United States, Page became acquainted with at least two Russian intelligence officers, one of whom was later charged in 2015 with conspiracy to act as an unregistered agent of Russia. Page’s July 2016 trip to Moscow and his advocacy for pro-Russian foreign policy drew media attention. The Campaign then distanced itself from Page and, by late September 2016, removed him from the Campaign.“ (Mueller, Vol. 1, p. 6)

Manafort and Kilimnik

“Separately, on August 2, 2016, Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort met in New York City with his long-time business associate Konstantin Kilimnik, who the FBI assesses to have ties to Russian intelligence. Kilimnik requested the meeting to deliver in person a peace plan for Ukraine that Manafort acknowledged to the Special Counsel’s Office was a “backdoor” way for Russia to control part of eastern Ukraine; both men believed the plan would require candidate Trump’s assent to succeed (were he to be elected President).“

Manafort and Kilimnik
“They also discussed the status of the Trump Campaign and Manafort’s strategy for winning Democratic votes in Midwestern states. Months before that meeting, Manafort had caused internal polling data to be shared with Kilimnik, and the sharing continued for some period of time after their August meeting.“ (Mueller, Vol. 1, pp. 6-7)

Russian Follow Up

“Post-2016 Election. Immediately after the November 8 election, Russian government officials and prominent Russian businessmen began trying to make inroads into the new administration. The most senior levels of the Russian government encouraged these efforts.“ (Vol. 1, p. 7)

Seychelles

“Kirill Dmitriev, the chief executive officer of Russia’s sovereign wealth fund, was among the Russians who tried to make contact with the incoming administration. In early December, a business associate steered Dmitriev to Erik Prince, a supporter of the Trump Campaign and an associate of senior Trump advisor Steve Bannon. Dmitriev and Prince later met face-to-face in January 2017 in the Seychelles and discussed U.S.-Russia relations. During the same period, another business associate introduced Dmitriev to a friend of Jared Kushner who had not served on the Campaign or the Transition Team. Dmitriev and Kushner’s friend collaborated on a short written reconciliation plan for the United States and Russia, which Dmitriev implied had been cleared through Putin. The friend gave that proposal to Kushner before the inauguration, and Kushner later gave copies to Bannon and incoming Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.“

Seychelles
“During the same period, another business associate introduced Dmitriev to a friend of Jared Kushner who had not served on the Campaign or the Transition Team. Dmitriev and Kushner’s friend collaborated on a short written reconciliation plan for the United States and Russia, which Dmitriev implied had been cleared through Putin. The friend gave that proposal to Kushner before the inauguration, and Kushner later gave copies to Bannon and incoming Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.“ (Mueller, Vol. 1, p. 7)

“Kirill Dmitriev, the chief executive officer of Russia’s sovereign wealth fund, was among the Russians who tried to make contact with the incoming administration. In early December, a business associate steered Dmitriev to Erik Prince, a supporter of the Trump Campaign and an associate of senior Trump advisor Steve Bannon. Dmitriev and Prince later met face-to-face in January 2017 in the Seychelles and discussed U.S.-Russia relations. During the same period, another business associate introduced Dmitriev to a friend of Jared Kushner who had not served on the Campaign or the Transition Team. Dmitriev and Kushner’s friend collaborated on a short written reconciliation plan for the United States and Russia, which Dmitriev implied had been cleared through Putin. The friend gave that proposal to Kushner before the inauguration, and Kushner later gave copies to Bannon and incoming Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.“

Additional Sanctions
“On December 29, 2016, then-President Obama imposed sanctions on Russia for having interfered in the election. Incoming National Security Advisor Michael Flynn called Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak and asked Russia not to escalate the situation in response to the sanctions. The following day, Putin announced that Russia would not take retaliatory measures in response to the sanctions at that time. Hours later, President-Elect Trump tweeted, “Great move on delay (by V. Putin).” The next day, on December 31, 2016, Kislyak called Flynn and told him the request had been received at the highest levels and Russia had chosen not to retaliate as a result of Flynn’s request.“ (Mueller, Vol. 1, p.7)

The Investigation Becomes Public

“Then-FBI Director James Comey later confirmed to Congress the existence of the FBI’s investigation into Russian interference that had begun before the election. “

* * *

“The investigation continued under then-Director Comey for the next seven weeks until May 9, 2017, when President Trump fired Comey as FBI Director — an action which is analyzed in Volume II of the report.“ (Mueller, Vol. 1, p. 8)

“Then-FBI Director James Comey later confirmed to Congress the existence of the FBI’s investigation into Russian interference that had begun before the election. “

* * *

“The investigation continued under then-Director Comey for the next seven weeks until May 9, 2017, when President Trump fired Comey as FBI Director — an action which is analyzed in Volume II of the report.“

Appointment of the Special Counsel following Comey’s Firing

“On May 17, 2017, Acting Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed the Special Counsel and authorized him to conduct the investigation that Comey had confirmed in his congressional testimony, as well as matters arising directly from the investigation, and any other matters within the scope of 28 C.F.R. § 600.4(a), which generally covers efforts to interfere with or obstruct the investigation.“ (Mueller, Vol. 1, p. 8)

“No Collusion, No Obstruction”?

“President Trump reacted negatively to the Special Counsel’s appointment. He told advisors that it was the end of his presidency, sought to have Attorney General Jefferson (Jeff) Sessions unrecuse from the Russia investigation and to have the Special Counsel removed, and engaged in efforts to curtail the Special Counsel’s investigation and prevent the disclosure of evidence to it, including through public and private contacts with potential witnesses. Those and related actions are described and analyzed in Volume II of the report.“ (Mueller, Vol. 1, p. 8)