National Security

Mueller: Russia sought to help Trump win but did not collude with campaign


Special counsel Robert Mueller said in his highly anticipated report that Russia sought to help President Trump win the 2016 presidential election, but that the Trump campaign did not directly assist in that process.

“Although the investigation established that the Russian government perceived it would benefit form a Trump presidency and worked to secure that outcome, and that the Campaign expected it would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts, the investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities,” Mueller wrote in his report released Thursday.

{mosads}Mueller said that while his investigation “identified numerous links between individuals with ties to the Russian government and individuals associated with the Trump campaign,” there was not enough evidence to bring forward any criminal charges on that front.

“Among other things, the evidence was not suffice to charge any Campaign official as an unregistered agent of the Russian government or other Russian principal. And our evidence about the the June 9, 2016 meeting and WikiLeaks’s releases of hacked materials was not sufficient to charge a criminal campaign-finance violation,” he wrote.

“Further, the evidence was not sufficient to charge that any member of the Trump campaign conspired with representatives of the Russian government to interfere in the 2016 election.”

While investigators have previously stated that Russia interfered in the presidential election, Mueller’s report offers a new look at the breadth and depth of those efforts.

The special counsel outlined the steps taken by the Internet Research Agency (IRA), a Russian troll farm linked to the Kremlin, to sow discord on social media, as well as Russian military officers’ hacks on the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC).

Mueller previously indicted 12 Russian military officers in the DNC hack.

“By February 2016, internal IRA documents referred to support for the Trump Campaign and opposition to candidate Clinton,” the report reads, saying the group at one point received the direction to “use any opportunity to criticize Hillary [Clinton] and the rest (except Sanders and Trump – we support them).”

Mueller wrote that the IRA targeted members of the Trump campaign, and later his administration, and tracked whenever prominent figures promoted their content. 

The report also detailed communications between WikiLeaks, which distributed stolen Democratic emails, and the Russian military officers who possessed the hacked materials. The officers contacted WikiLeaks under other personas, including the Twitter accounts for DCLeaks and Guciffer 2.0.

Mueller said his investigation examined several publicly reported incidents, including former Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s contacts with Russian officials during the campaign, but determined that they were not substantive.

The report said that after the 2016 election, Russian officials sought to quickly create connections with the Trump administration as they lacked contacts.

“The most senior levels of the Russian government encouraged these efforts. The investigation did not establish that these efforts reflected or constituted coordination between the Trump Campaign and Russia in its election-interference activities,” Mueller wrote.

Tags Donald Trump Jeff Sessions Robert Mueller
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