Special Counsel Robert Mueller does not give interviews or press conferences, and there are no leaks of information coming out of his office. When he communicates, it is by legal filings made in a court of law. And on Tuesday he claimed in such a filing that election meddling operations like those conducted by Russia during the 2016 presidential election are still occurring.
In the filing Mueller stated that “Uncharged individuals and entities are still engaging in operations similar to those charged” in a prior case. The case he was referring to was the one involving the 13 Russian nationals and three Russian entities that were the subject of special counsel indictments alleging they had illegally interfered in the political and election processes of the United States.
Tuesday’s claim by Mueller was made in a court filing that asked the judge to grant his request to protect evidence in that case. Mueller wants to prohibit any of the 16 defendants from reviewing the evidence against them until they appear in court in the United States.
After the 16 indictments were issued against Russian individuals and business entities it was widely believed that they were meaningless unless and until the defendants could be forced to appear before a U.S. court.
In his filing Mueller acknowledged that to show the defendants what evidence had been gathered against them would allow them to make changes to their illegal operations to the detriment of the United States. The FBI and Department of Justice often have secret and confidential evidence gathering methods that they must keep secret in order to protect the integrity of their investigations. This is necessary not only to secure convictions but also to stop the ongoing criminal activities of the defendants.
Mueller also said that releasing evidence “would assist foreign intelligence services” — especially intelligence operatives from Russia.
“The substance of the government’s evidence identifies uncharged individuals and entities that the government believes are continuing to engage in interference operations like those charged in the present indictment,” Mueller said in the filing.
He also admitted that he is concerned that revealing his sources and methods of obtaining evidence could “allow foreign actors to learn of these techniques and adjust their conduct, thus undermining ongoing and future national security investigations.”
All the defendants in the case involving the 13 Russian nationals and three entities are charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States. Five also face identity theft charges, and three are charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud.
Despite the claims of President Donald Trump, Bob Mueller and his team of prosecutors know that Russian meddling is not a “hoax.” In fact they have the evidence to prove that it happened extensively in 2016, and that it is still happening today.
The special prosecutor is not on a “witch hunt.” The special prosecutor is working hard to protect and preserve democracy in the United States and to protect our country from being further harmed by hostile foreign powers. It would be good if our president shared these goals also.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.