When Russia investigation Special Counsel Robert Mueller submitted his report to U.S. Attorney General William Barr on Friday, many of Donald Trump’s supporters breathed a sigh of relief, as Forbes reported. His supporters say “the pro-Trump spin machine is out on the airwaves,” touting the apparent lack of any new indictments coming from Mueller.
But Barr released no specific details of the Mueller report. In fact, the letter he sent to congressional leaders announcing that Mueller’s investigation was complete may have contained a strong hint that the report contains details of Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election that could point straight to collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign, according to a column written by former federal prosecutor Harry Litman, and published by The Washington Post.
Litman noted that there is “some understandable concern” that Mueller’s still-secret report “consists of only the sketchiest information” focusing solely on the narrow issue of why Mueller chose to indict certain individuals and declined to indict others. But Barr’s letter, reported upon earlier by The Inquisitr, also “hints at a more detailed set of conclusions,” Litman wrote, by stating in its very first line that Mueller has “concluded his investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election.”
That line, Litman wrote, refers not to the criminal investigation conducted by Mueller — but to a wider-ranging, counterintelligence investigation, an investigation that would not result in indictments but would spell out exactly what happened between Trump’s campaign and Russia in greater detail than has been publicly revealed before. The counterintelligence investigation of Trump, as NBC News reported, began in May of 2017 after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, and was picked up by Mueller.
Another hint as to the focus of Mueller’s counterintelligence investigation came, Litman noted, from Andrew Weismann, Mueller’s top prosecutor in the case of Trump Campaign Chair Paul Manafort.
In a February hearing, Weismann told a judge that Manafort had lied to Mueller about a meeting he held with longtime business associate Konstantin Kilimnik, who was identified by Mueller in court documents as having direct ties to Russian intelligence, according to CNN.
That meeting, which Manafort attempted to conceal from Mueller by lying about it, “goes, I think, very much to the heart of what the special counsel’s office is investigating,” Weismann told the judge, according to a transcript posted by CNN.
Mueller later revealed that at that meeting, Manafort gave sensitive campaign polling data to the alleged Russian spy, according to a Washington Post report.
“That admission clearly is a reminder that Mueller’s focus has been on the possible links between the Trump campaign and Russia, a subject both far larger and fundamentally different from identifying criminal violations,” Litman wrote.
While the exact nature of that polling data has not been made clear, campaign polling information would have been useful to Russians who were targeting specific U.S. citizens with social media propaganda — another fact established by Mueller in a Justice Department indictment of 13 Russians in February of last year. But the Mueller counterintelligence report may contain more details, including whether Trump himself was aware of, or involved in, sending the confidential data to Russia through Kilimnik.