Special Counsel Robert Mueller has submitted his report on Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and potential coordination between operatives and members of the Trump campaign to Attorney General William Barr.
Mueller’s probe has prompted anticipation, speculation and derision for nearly two years after the special counsel was appointed following the firing of former FBI Director James Comey, who was at the time leading an investigation into Russia’s activities after it was discovered that Russian military intelligence hacking groups Fancy Bear and Cozy Bear were responsible for hacks of the Democratic National Committee and other organizations and people associated with the Democrats and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
The investigation revealed a widespread and intricate influence campaign and has yielded a number of indictments, including one naming 12 Russian military intelligence officers, as well as convictions and guilty pleas for various transgressions – ranging from lying to investigators to fraud – from Trump campaign associates Rick Gates, Paul Manafort, Michael Cohen and George Papadopoulos. It has also unearthed potential connections between some of the people in President Trump’s inner circle and Russia, as well as between adviser and longtime friend Roger Stone and WikiLeaks, which during the last months of the presidential campaign leaked emails nicked from the DNC.
The president's son, Donald Trump, Jr., has also been scrutinized by investigators, particularly for his meeting in June 2016 in Trump Tower with a Russian lawyer who promised to deliver "dirt" on Clinton.
“We already know that the Mueller investigation has uncovered an enormous amount of wrongdoing by individuals associated with the Trump campaign,” said People For the American Way Executive Vice President Marge Baker, who called for the report to be released to the public. “It’s resulted in 199 criminal charges, 37 indictments or guilty pleas, and five prison sentences. But we also know that this isn’t the end of the story: it’s an investigation limited to criminality connected with the Russian interference in our elections."
Baker pointed to "separate and important investigations being led by a number of House committees into other aspects of this administration’s corruption—including potential cooperation with the Russians—as well as referrals to other U.S. Attorney offices, state cases and civil suits," saying that all "should continue to go forward.”
Anna Galland, executive director of MoveOn Civic Action, agreed the report should be released to the public, noting in a statement that the probe into wrongdoing doesn’t stop with the special counsel’s efforts. “Mueller’s work is exceptionally important, but doesn’t nullify the criminal investigations it has spun off, which have implicated “Individual One” in felony crimes, and the “high crimes and misdemeanors” that might not have been in his scope.”
The Mueller probe also pushed cybersecurity to top of the FBI’s priority list. Nation-state actors may not have brought the same chaos and disruption to bear during the 2018 midterms as Russian operatives did in the 2016 presidential election, but the U.S. is still under a relentless onslaught of cyberattacks and malign information efforts by foreign entities, FBI Director Christopher Wray said recently at RSA.