Here's what the Mueller report says about several 'unresolved' subplots in the Russia investigation
Republican Rick Santorum, former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania turned CNN political pundit and a staunch supporter of President Donald Trump, has dismissed special counsel Robert Mueller’s final report for the Russia investigation as a “nothing burger.” But for a “nothing burger,” the investigation detailed in the report led to criminal charges for some of Trump’s top associates, including former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. The report is 448 pages long, giving journalists and political pundits a wealth of things to discuss and evaluate. And Politico, in an article released on Tuesday, delves into some of the things that haven’t been receiving as much attention since Attorney General William Barr officially released Mueller’s report publicly on April 18.
For their in-depth piece, three Politico reporters, Darren Samuelsohn, Kyle Cheney and Natasha Bertrand, carefully went over the report and found a lot to discuss. Mueller’s report, they observe, not only discusses the Trump associates who faced criminal charges, it also discusses those who didn’t.
Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, for example, is among those who avoided perjury charges — unlike Flynn, who was prosecuted for lying to the FBI. Although Sessions met with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S. multiple times in 2016, Politico reports, those meetings weren’t “sufficient to prove” he knowingly gave false testimony during his Senate confirmation hearing in 2017.
Others who escaped indictments, Politico notes, include Donald Trump, Jr. and Jared Kushner — both of whom, in June 2016, attended a Trump Tower meeting in which dirt on Hillary Clinton was promised by Russian attorney Natalia V. Vladimirovna. According to Politico, “Mueller’s report said the office looked into whether the senior campaign leaders should face charges for violating laws banning foreign campaign contributions. But ultimately, they opted against pushing for indictments out of concern a conviction wasn’t a sure thing.”
The actions of Carter Page, a foreign policy adviser on Trump’s 2016 campaign, are also discussed in Mueller’s report. Mueller’s office, Politico reports, determined that “they could not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Page had been acting as a foreign agent” in 2016.
Page, according to Mueller’s report, e-mailed the Trump campaign in January 2016 and boasted that he could arrange a “direct meeting in Moscow” between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. And “what prompted Page’s initial outreach to the campaign hasn’t been explained,” Politico says—adding that Mueller’s team acknowledges in the report that “it still can’t ‘fully’ answer what Page was doing in Moscow in July 2016, a few months after he joined the Trump campaign.”
Politico’s piece also discusses Joseph Mifsud, who Mueller’s report describes as “a Maltese national who worked as a professor at the London Academy of Diplomacy in London.” Politico writes that an “unresolved” subplot “of the Russia investigation” involves Mifsud, who in April 2016, said that he had “dirt” on Hillary Clinton “in the form of thousands of e-mails” — and that was in April 2016, before the hacking of Democratic National Committee (DNC) e-mails was made public.