Disinfo: No evidence of Russian meddling in 2016 US presidential election


When Mueller’s final report came out, in the spring of 2019, it found zero evidence of collusion but insisted there had been Russian meddling in the election. The only trouble was that he had no proof of meddling, basing it entirely on US intelligence community “assessments and his own indictments.


Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative denying Moscow's interference in the 2016 US presidential election and, by extension, other well-documented instances of such meddling in Western democracies (see the section on Elections). The Mueller report is not based on the January 2017 ICA (intelligence community assessment). It arrives at similar conclusions, but is based on its own body of investigative and counterintelligence evidence-gathering. During its two-year investigation, "the [Special Counsel's] Office issued more than 2,800 subpoeanas; [...] executed nearly 500 search-and-seizure warrants; [...] obtained more than 230 orders for communications records; [...] and interviewed approximately 500 witnesses, including almost 80 before a hgrand jury" (Mueller report, p. 13). Moreover, the report did not conclude that the probe had found "zero evidence of 'collusion,'" simply because that is not what Mueller's team was looking for. The report states that collusion is "not a specific offense or theory of liability found in the United States Code, nor is it a term of art in [US] federal criminal law," (p. 2) and therefore gathering evidence of it fell outside the scope of the Special Counsel investigation. The aim of the probe was not merely to ascertain contacts between the Trump Campaign and Russia-linked individuals during the election period, but to establish whether these interactions were deliberate enough on the part of Trump Campaign officials to sustain charges of conspiracy (ibid). Mueller's report explicitly identifies "numerous links between individuals with ties to the Russian government and individuals associated with the Trump Campaign" (p. 9). Furthermore, the Mueller report decisively concluded that Russian interference in the 2016 election was “sweeping and systemic.” For a factsheet of key conclusions, see here.


  • Reported in: Issue 198
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 12/05/2020
  • Language/target audience: English
  • Country: Russia, US
  • Keywords: election meddling, Robert Mueller, Manipulated elections/referendum, Elections


Cases in the EUvsDisinfo database focus on messages in the international information space that are identified as providing a partial, distorted, or false depiction of reality and spread key pro-Kremlin messages. This does not necessarily imply, however, that a given outlet is linked to the Kremlin or editorially pro-Kremlin, or that it has intentionally sought to disinform. EUvsDisinfo publications do not represent an official EU position, as the information and opinions expressed are based on media reporting and analysis of the East Stratcom Task Force.

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Poland reached mutual agreement with Nazi Germany and participated in the partition of Czechoslovakia after the Munich Pact

Moscow considers the attempts by the Polish authorities to blame the Soviet Union for the outbreak of the Second World War unacceptable. Poland reached a mutual agreement with Nazi Germany and participated in the partition of Czechoslovakia after the Munich Pact.


This message is a part of the ongoing Russian disinformation campaign against Poland claiming that Poland was an ally and partner of Nazi Germany and was the main instigator of WWII. The article suggests that it was the Munich Agreement of September 1938 that triggered WWII, a recurrent pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative that seeks to relativise and erode the disastrous historical role of the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact (the Treaty of Non-Aggression between Germany and the Soviet Union) and its secret protocols, which divided Eastern and Central Europe into German and Soviet spheres of influence. The Munich Pact has historically been seen as a symbol of dangerous “appeasement policy"; it has been widely criticised for its disastrous consequences. Great Britain and France, without inviting Czechoslovakia, decided that for the sake of peace in Europe, the Czechoslovak Sudetenland region, which was predominantly inhabited by Germans, must be surrendered to Germany. The claim that Poland was “an ally of Nazi Germany” goes against all available historical documents. German-Polish Non-Aggression Pact of 1934 was a standard international agreement aimed at the mutual recognition of borders and a declaration that existing political conflicts would be solved through diplomatic tools. There is no historical evidence that this pact contained any secret protocols which assumed common aggressive actions of Germany and Poland against third parties. Moreover, before WWII, Poland had tense political relations with Nazi Germany, which had open territorial claims to Poland (revision of the status of the Free City of Danzig and control over the “Polish Corridor”). The government in Warsaw consistently rebuffed Hitler’s demands that Poland publicly confirm its subservience to German foreign policy by adhering to the anti-Comintern pact. A theme that recurs in pro-Kremlin propaganda related to the Munich Agreement is that Poland has no right to “currently position itself as an innocent victim of two predators – Hitler and Stalin”, because in autumn 1938, when Czechoslovakia was breaking down, Poland “got its hands” on individual borderland territories. However, Poland has apologised to its neighbour for this action in 1938. For instance, in 2009, the president of Poland Lech Kaczyński called the participation of pre-war Poland in the division of Czechoslovakia “not only a mistake, but a “sin”." Read previous cases claiming that Poland and Western democracies cooperated with Hitler and that Europe is not yet prepared to admit that Poland and other European countries colluded with Nazi Germany.

The undemocratic nature of Brussels appears: it is controlled by a few hidden billionaires

As the European Union sinks into paralysis, its undemocratic – not to say oligarchic – nature appears. In Brussels, pressure groups have taken over the people. Non few billionaires, who are not elected, now secretly control humanity. The most single-minded is George Soros who infiltrated European institutions and advocates for migrants. Bill Gates is a kind of health minister of this secret government. And he doesn’t have any medical diploma!


This is a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about "secret elites" or a global "shadow" government controlling the world. As explained in this overview of common pro-Kremlin narratives, the notion of "evil elites" that are out of touch with ordinary people is a well-known populist trope used to provoke distrust in institutions and the political establishment - which is one of the primary aims of the Kremlin's disinformation campaign. George Soros and Bill Gates are both frequent targets of pro-Kremlin disinformation: Soros for his financing of NGOs supporting human rights and democracy (read more here) and Gates for his work on public health, which has triggered multiple conspiracy theories in context of the COVID-19 pandemic that the pro-Kremlin media has actively promoted (read more here). Philanthropic efforts by billionaires like Soros and Gates are no evidence of "global control". In democratic states, including the EU, the activities of lobbies are carefully regulated.

Russian media is more independent than its American counterpart

It has been the practice in the White House to invite representatives of the US media, and to give them some “advice” about what to focus on and what to neglect. In Moscow there is no such tradition, and any journalist or analyst has the right to write whatever they want.


Recurring pro-Kremlin narrative on Western media not being independent and biased while Russia protects freedom of speech and the press. Contrary to the claim, the Kremlin organises regular briefings with the leading media outlets to hand out instructions on how to write and about what.

According to the 2020 World Press Freedom Index, Russia is in 149th place out of 180 countries. On the other hand, the US according to the same index, ranks in 45th place.