So we know this is just the beginning of Mueller’s investigation, and already he has indicted 13 Russians for meddling with the U.S. election.
Here are five thought-provoking things about the indictments and the alleged crimes surrounding them.
1. The Russian operation had huge staff and money: $1.25 million per month by September of 2016. Not only is that a lot more than most Republican presidential campaigns, but it means the Russians were heavily invested in undermining U.S. democracy and they did this in large part by propping up Donald Trump.
This Russian operation had staff in the hundreds, and a monthly budget of $1.25 mil PER MONTH by Sept. 2016 — for context, this is more manpower and resources than most Republican presidential campaigns.
— Elise Jordan (@Elise_Jordan) February 16, 2018
2. Collusion is not a Russian spy tactic. You are either an asset or not. As Adam Schiff pointed out today, “Importantly, the indictment sets out some of the U.S laws violated by the Russians, including various conspiracy counts. While it does not include an allegation that any U.S. persons conspired wittingly with the Russian actors, the indictment leaves open the vital question of whether Americans, including any associated with the Trump campaign, knowingly played a role in Russia’s active measures campaign.”
Worth reminding everyone that collusion does not exist as a Russian spy tactic. They seek to recruit and direct assets. You either work FOR Russian intelligence or not at all.
— Naveed Jamali (@NaveedAJamali) February 16, 2018
3. A very awkward date for Donald Trump:
Indictment: defendants began outlining campaign themes on Feb 10 2016. That is the date @realDonaldTrump won his 1st victory NH Primary. DOJ: Americans did not know they were communicating with Russians who organized rallies in the U.S. to help Trump disparage Hillary Clinton
— Andrea Mitchell (@mitchellreports) February 16, 2018
4. If there is “no collusion”, as Donald Trump claims, then why has he refused to enforce sanctions against Russia, a country that is now unimpeachably established as having attacked the United States:
How about some sanctions now, Mr President?
— Preet Bharara (@PreetBharara) February 16, 2018
5. The attack is not over. Not only are the 2018 and 2020 elections going to be attacked by Russia, but they are still undermining our democracy by sowing division and they do this by siding with egregiously deplorable right wing platforms, like being so pro-gun that even a massacre won’t slow their hysteria down. For example:
— AM Joy w/Joy Reid (@amjoyshow) February 16, 2018
Dark humor cherry on top of these thoughts: The Russians know our weaknesses.
"Ultimately, it all comes down to Waukesha County." A cartoon by Paul Noth, from 2016. pic.twitter.com/MrjubqHeUH
— The New Yorker (@NewYorker) February 16, 2018
The thing the indictments did not do? Exonerate Donald Trump.
1/ Sweet Jesus the MAGAS, the clickservatives, and Gentry Breitbart think he's exonerated. It's freaking spectacular. SPEC-TAC-ULAR.
— Rick Wilson (@TheRickWilson) February 16, 2018
Update 9:49 PM Make it six things.
6. Yes, it impacted the election.
DOJ statement and indictments reveal the extent and motivations of Russian interference in 2016 election. Claims of a “hoax” in tatters. My take: Implausible that Russian actions did not influence the views and votes of at least some Americans.
— John O. Brennan (@JohnBrennan) February 16, 2018
Ms. Jones is the editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.