Russian indictments prove Trump won fair and square
After 18 months of Russia, Russia, Russia, we finally meet a cast of real Russians. But par for the convoluted course, they were pretending to be Americans.
The indictments obtained by special counsel Robert Mueller on Vladimir Putin’s attempts to create discord in the 2016 election and eventually support Donald Trump are important both for what they say and what they don’t say.
They offer huge victories for Trump — and thus more defeats for Hillary Clinton — but they don’t close the books on everything about 2016.
The very good news for the president is that the indictments are firm in saying that any Americans contacted by the 13 charged Russians, including Trump campaign associates, did not know they were dealing with Russians.
The indictments also state forcefully that despite their social media efforts, which ranged from creative to clumsy, the Russians had no impact on the election results.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced those findings in a flat monotone that belied their significance.
“There is no allegation in this indictment that any American was a knowing participant in this illegal activity,” he said. “There is no allegation in the indictment that the charged conduct altered the outcome of the 2016 election.”
Those are dramatic statements by any measure.
Rosenstein’s statements should end Clinton’s disgraceful claim that Trump stole the election.
She lost the old-fashioned way — by being a terrible candidate. Case closed, though I’m sure Clinton and her legion of dead-enders will find excuses to keep alive her campaign of victimhood.
Yet the indictments are hardly the final word, and the charges leave plenty of daylight for continued speculation on two fronts.
One is whether Trump or his associates conspired with top Russian government officials, as opposed to the low-level units carrying out the disruption scheme. So far, there is no public evidence of any connection except the discredited Steele dossier that Clinton paid for, but Rosenstein emphasized the limits of the case at hand by using the phrase “in the indictment.”
By the same token, the charges do not deal with whether Trump obstructed justice by firing FBI Director James Comey.
Presumably, those two issues are what’s left on Mueller’s plate, meaning America’s political nightmare continues.