The grand jury indictments against Russian nationals secured by special counsel Robert Mueller make a strong case that foreign interference in American politics thrives. They make no such case regarding collusion between the Trump campaign, or the campaigns of Bernie Sanders or Jill Stein for that matter, and foreign interests.
“By 2016, Defendants and their co-conspirators used their fictitious online personas to interfere with the 2016 U.S. presidential election,” the indictment reads. “They engaged in operations primarily intended to communicate derogatory information about Hillary Clinton, to denigrate other candidates such as Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, and to support Bernie Sanders and then-candidate Donald Trump.”
Mueller provides evidence supporting this claim. But, to his credit, he also offers evidence of the foreigners organizing activities in support of Clinton and against Trump.
Consider this important passage on page 23:
After the election of Donald Trump in or around November 2016, Defendants and their co-conspirators used false U.S. personas to organize and coordinate U.S. political rallies in support of then president-elect Trump, while simultaneously using other false U.S. personas to organize and coordinate U.S. political rallies protesting the results of the 2016 U.S. presidential election. For example, in or around November 2016, Defendants and their co-conspirators organized a rally in New York through one group designed to “show your support for President-Elect Donald Trump” held on or about November 12, 2016. At the same time, Defendants and their co-conspirators, through another group, organized a rally in New York called “Trump is NOT my President” held on or about November 12, 2016. Similarly, Defendants and their co-conspirators organized a rally entitled “Charlotte Against Trump” in Charlotte, North Carolina, held on or about November 19, 2016.
While the preponderance of the document indicates that the alleged conspirators did not want Hillary Clinton elected president, this aim seems secondary to the primary objective of sowing discord among Americans. In this sense, the Russians in 2018 do not differ much from their forebears in 1918.
The indictments indicate a 2014 start date, which predated Donald Trump’s candidacy, to the conspiracy. But one might point to this effort beginning a century ago.
From the Comintern providing millions of dollars to journalist John Reed and other Americans in the immediate aftermath of the Russian Revolution, to paying Congressman Samuel Dickstein, who ironically launched the House Committee on Un-American Activities, as an agent, to so many other examples, the Russians exhibit a long and expensive, albeit not always effective, history of attempting to influence American politics.
Liberals turned a blind eye to this sordid history for much of the 20th century. In the 21st century, they show all the zeal of Joe McCarthy. Carl Hatch, Pat McCarren, and Martin Dies would be proud.
Better late than never, one supposes.