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Bob Muellers Investigation Is Largerand Further AlongThan You Think

President Trump claimed in a tweet over the weekend that the controversial Nunes memo “totally vindicates” him, clearing him of the cloud of the Russia Investigation that has hung over his government for a year now.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

In fact, if something, the Mueller investigation appears to have been picking up steam in the past three weeks–and homing in on a series of targets.

Last summer, I wrote an analysis exploring the “known uncharteds” of the Russia investigation–unanswered but knowable questions regarding Mueller’s probe. Today, given a week that ascertained stupendous sturm und drang over Devin Nunes’ memo–a document that seems purposefully designed to obfuscate and muddy the waters around Mueller’s investigation–it seems usefulnes querying the opposite topic: What are the known knowns of the Mueller investigation, and where might it be manager?

The first thing we know is that we know it is large.

We speak about the “Mueller probe” as one entity, but it’s important to understand that there are no fewer than five( known) separate investigations under the broad umbrella of the special counsel’s place–some strands of these investigations may overlap or intersect, some may be completely free-standing, and some possible targets may be part of several threads. But it’s important to understand the differences among “buckets” of Mueller’s probe.

As special counseling, Mueller has broad expert to analyse “any associations and/ or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with awareness-raising campaigns of President Donald Trump, ” as well as “any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation, ” a catch-all word that allows him to pursue other criminality he may stumble across within the parameters of the investigation. As the acting united states attorney general administering Mueller, Rod Rosenstein has the ability to grant Mueller the ability to expand his investigation as necessary and has been briefed regularly on how the job will stretch. Yet even without being john to those discourses, we have a good sense of the purview of his investigation.

Right now, we know it involves at least five separate investigative angles TAGEND

1. Preexisting Business Batches and Money Laundering. Business address and fund laundering relevant to Trump campaign staff, including former safarus chief Paul Manafort and former expedition aide Rick Gates, are a major target of the investigations. While this phase of the investigation has already led to the indictment of Gates and Manafort, it almost certainly will continue to bear further return. Gates appears to be heading toward a plea enter into negotiations with Mueller, and there is expected to be a so-called “superseding” prosecution that may are in addition to or refine the already existing fees. Such summons are common in federal prosecutions, particularly in involved financial the circumstances in which added ground may surface. Mueller’s team is believed to have amassed more than 400,000 documents in this region of the investigation alone. There have also been reports–largely advanced through intriguing reporting by Buzzfeed–about suspicious fees pennant by Citibank that surpassed through the accounts of the Russian embassy in the United States, including an abnormal attempted $150,000 currency withdrawal by the delegation just days after the election.

2. Russian Report Operations. When we speak in shorthand about the “hacking of the election, ” we are actually talking about unique and definite campaigns, with varying degrees of coordination, by different entities associated with the Russian authority. One of these is the “information business”( bots and trolls) that twirled around the 2016 election, focused on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, perhaps with improved coordination or involvement of the Trump campaign’s data unit, Cambridge Analytica.

Presumably these so-called active measures were conducted by or with the coordination of what’s known colloquially as the Russian troll factory, the Internet Research Agency, in St. Petersburg. The range to which these social media exertions affected the outcome of the election is still a open question, but according to Bloomberg these social media sites are a “red hot” focus of Mueller’s team, and he obtained search warrants to examine the records of companies like Facebook. In recent weeks, social media scaffolds like Facebook and Twitter have begun working to notify more than a million users they suppose interacted with Russian trolls and propaganda.

3. Active Cyber Intrusions. Separate from the trolls and bots on social media were a series of active operations and cyber intrusions carried out by Russian intelligence officers at the GRU and the FSB against political targets like John Podesta and the DNC. We know that Russian knowledge likewise penetrated the Republican National Committee, but nothing of those emails or documents were made publicly available. This yarn of the investigation may also involve unofficial or official safarus the relations with WikiLeaks or other safarus consultants, like Roger Stone, as well as the warning–via the Australian government–that former foreign policy consultant George Papadopoulos appeared to have foreknowledge of the hacking of Democratic emails.

Western intelligence, exclusively the Dutch intelligence service AIVD, is clearly been observing for years the “Advanced Persistent Threats”–government-sponsored intruders who make up the Russia crews known as Fancy Bear and Cozy Bear, which were responsible for the attacks on Democratic targets. AIVD even plainly managed to imbue a certificate camera in the workspace of Cozy Bear, near Red Square in Moscow, and make screenshots of those working for the team. Harmonizing to The Wall Street Journal, there are at least six Russian intelligence officers who may already be identified as personally responsible for at least some of these intrusions. Wreaking criminal charges against these types would be consistent with the practices established over the past five years by the Justice Department’s National Security Division, which indicted–and in some cases even arrested–specific governments armed intruders from nation-states like Iran, China, and Russia.

4. Russian Campaign Contact. This angle of the investigation continues perhaps “the worlds largest” inscrutable appearance of Mueller’s probe, as inquiries continue to swirl about the links and contacts among Russian nationals and officials and Trump campaign staff, including Carter Page, the subject of the FISA authorize that was the focus of the Nunes memo. Numerous expedition( and now government) officials have lied about or failed to disclose contacts with both Russian nationals and Russian government officials, from meets with Ambassador Sergey Kislyak to government banker Sergey Gorkov to the loathsome Trump Tower meeting arranged by Donald Trump Jr. with Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer Natalia V. Veselnitskaya.

At least members of the campaign–Papadopoulos and former national defence adviser Michael Flynn–have already pleaded guilty to lying to federal investigators about these contacts. But many other Trump aides front scrutiny, including Attorney General Jeff Sessions, White House adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner, and Donald Trump Jr. Some of these contacts may go back times; Page himself originally surfaced in January 2015 as “Male # 1” in the accusation of three Russian SVR operators, working undercover in New York City, who had tried to recruit Page, an oil and gas adviser, as an ability resource, simply to decide that he was too scatterbrained to be a useful source.

5. Hazard of Justice. This is the big kahuna–the question of whether President Trump clogged justice by pressuring FBI director James Comey to “look past” the FBI’s investigation of Michael Flynn and whether his firing in May was in any way held to Comey’s refusal to stop the investigation. This weave, as far as we know from public reporting, remains the only part of the investigation that stretches directly into the Oval Office. It likely centres is not simply on the President and the FBI director but also on a handful of related questions about the FBI investigation of Flynn and the White House’s statements about the Trump Tower meeting. The chairwoman himself has said publicly that he fired Comey over “this Russia stuff.”

There’s fresh reason to believe that this is an active criminal investigation; lost amid the information of the Nunes memo on Friday was a court ruling in a suit where I and a handful of other reporters from outlets like CNN and Daily Caller are litigating the Justice Department to secrete the “Comey memos”: The ruling held that, based on the FBI’s private indication to the court–including evidence from Michael Dreeben, one of the leaders of the special counsel’s office–releasing the memo would jeopardize police investigations. “Having hear this, the Court is now deeply convinced that exposure’ could reasonably be expected to interfere’ with that ongoing investigation, ” the gues wrote in our case.

Even the most generous explain of the Nunes memo–which has been widely discredited by serious advisers–raises questions only around the fourth strand of this investigation, insofar as it focuses on Carter Page, the one-time foreign policy adviser who appears to be ancillary to most of the rest of the Russia probes. All of the other boulevards continue unsullied by the Nunes memo.

The second stuff that we know is that large parts of the investigation continue out of seeing. While we’ve identified four summons or guilty pleas, they are commit yarns one( money laundering) and four( Russian expedition contacts ). We haven’t experienced any public moves or commissions by Mueller’s team regarding the information operations, the active cyber intrusions, or the impediment of right investigation.

We also know there’s significant relevant evidence that’s has still not been public: Both Flynn and Papadopoulos sold cooperation and knowledge as part of their respective request batches, and nothing of the information that they rendered has become public yet.

We are also aware that, despite the related period of gentle since Flynn’s guilty request in December, Mueller is moving rapidly. While parts of the case will likely unfold and continue for years, especially if some accuseds head for trial, Mueller has in recent weeks been interviewing senior and center fleshes, like Comey and Sessions. He’s likewise begun working to interrogation President Trump himself. Rendered that its procedure was necessary to interrogation the primary figure in an investigation last–when all relevant considerations is gathered–it seems likely that such interest means that Mueller is confident he knows what he needs to know for the blockage suit, at least.

All of these parts of public ground, the “known knowns, ” point to one conclusion: Bob Mueller has a busy few weeks ahead of him–and the sturm und drang of the last week will likely exclusively intensify as more of the investigation comes into public view.

Mueller Time

What happens if Robert Mueller goes shot? The investigation won’t suddenly stop, that’s for sure

Despite the hype, the Nunes memo intent up not saying much at all

Then again, the #ReleaseTheMemo campaign was always disingenuous at best

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Bob Muellers Investigation Is Largerand Further AlongThan You Think


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