Disinfo: Charges of Russian meddling in US elections collapsed after release of Mueller report

Summary

US officials and pro-Democratic media have spent well over three years accusing President Trump of being a Kremlin agent, and claiming that Moscow was engaged in an aggressive pro-Trump interference campaign in 2016. These allegations, collectively known as ‘Russiagate,’ essentially collapsed in April 2019, after the release of a 400+ page report by special counsel Robert Mueller.

Mueller, who spent over two years examining alleged coordination between the Kremlin and the Trump campaign in 2016, found no evidence of collusion. Furthermore, Mueller’s charges regarding instances of actual alleged ‘Russian meddling’ were limited to Facebook and Twitter trolling campaigns whose effectiveness and significance have repeatedly been called into question.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative denying Moscow's interference in the 2016 US presidential election.

Before the Mueller report was published, Russian meddling in the 2016 election had already been established by US intelligence agencies. Thus, the Special Investigation was primarily concerned with "whether any Americans […] joined the Russian conspiracies to influence the election" (p.2).

Robert Mueller makes clear in his report that "collusion" is not a legal concept under US federal law, and that gathering evidence thereof would have fallen outside the scope of the special counsel investigation (p. 2). The report does, in fact, identify "numerous links between individuals with ties to the Russian government and individuals associated with the Trump campaign" (p. 9).

Given its focus on the criminal component of Russian efforts to influence the 2016 presidential poll, Mueller's team did not aim to assess the impact of these campaigns on US voter behaviour. The investigation ascertained that "Russia's two principal interference operations […] violated US criminal law" (p. 9) and were carried out in "sweeping and systematic fashion" (p. 1), noting that 13 Russian nationals implicated in these operations have been charged with "conspiracy to defraud the United States" (p. 174).

For more information on Russia's interference in Western democratic processes, see the EUvsDisinfo Elections page.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 185
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 21/02/2020
  • Language/target audience: English
  • Country: Russia, US
  • Keywords: election meddling, Robert Mueller, Democratic Party (US), Manipulated elections/referendum, Donald Trump, Elections
  • Outlet: Sputnik News
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