Why Mueller Didn’t Indict the Russians For Meddling In the Presidential Election

Why Mueller Didn’t Indict the Russians For Meddling In the Presidential Election, by John Hinderaker.

Robert Mueller’s indictment of 13 Russian citizens and three Russian companies. The indictment is an odd one, as I pointed out:

Its very first paragraph recites that it is against the law for foreign nationals to spend money to influence US elections, or for agents of foreign countries to engage in political activities without registering.

But no one is charged with these crimes. Instead, the indictment is devoted mostly to charging a “conspiracy to defraud the United States.”

Normally, that would refer to defrauding the U.S. out of, say, $10,000 in Medicare benefits. Its application to the 2016 election seems dubious. Beyond that, the indictment charges relatively minor offenses: bank fraud (opening accounts in false names) and identity theft.

I have continued to puzzle over why Mueller chose not to indict the Russians for their most obvious offenses. …

Uh oh:

The Russians obviously violated this statute [52 U.S.C. §30121, which covers “meddling” in U.S. elections by foreign nationals]; they spent millions of dollars to promote the candidacies of Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump and Jill Stein, and to oppose the candidacies of Hillary Clinton, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. So why weren’t they charged with the most pertinent crime they committed?

Because Christopher Steele arguably violated the same law. He is a foreign national, and he contributed a “thing of value” to the Hillary Clinton campaign, namely the fake dossier.

Note, too, Section (2): it is a crime to “solicit, accept, or receive” such a contribution from a foreign national. Isn’t that what the Perkins, Coie law firm, the Clinton campaign, the DNC, and probably Hillary herself, did? …

Too many people know the facts behind the Steele dossier, and if he had charged the Russians with meddling in the presidential election under §30121, he soon would have faced questions about why he didn’t indict Steele – and Glenn Simpson, Perkins, Coie, Clinton campaign officials, and perhaps Clinton – for the same offense. …

At the end of the day, I freely acknowledge that my hypothesis is speculative and may be wrong. But if so, the question remains: why did Mueller recite in the indictment’s first paragraph that it is against the law for foreign nationals to spend money to influence U. S. elections, implicitly recognizing that that was the essence of what the Russians did, and then not charge them with that crime? I, at least, haven’t seen a better answer.