When did Robert Mueller know that President Trump did not collude with the Russians?
Depending upon whom you ask, the answers range from immediately to December 2017, at the very latest.
The Last Refuge’s Sundance offers one of the more interesting takes on the Russia collusion story. He discusses what he believes the FBI, Rod Rosenstein, Robert Mueller, his investigators and all the others were trying to accomplish. Although it is lengthy, and I’ll be summarizing it here, the entire article is fascinating and well worth the read.
Sundance believes “all the characters knew there was no Russian collusion/conspiracy, ever. They knew the narrative was created; they participated in the creation; the Russian conspiracy narrative was a necessary element toward the goal of eliminating Trump.”
He points to Peter Strzok’s text message to Lisa Page which has now become familiar to anyone who has followed this story. This message was sent on May 19, 2017 which was two days after Mueller was appointed to the Special Counsel. Strzok wrote ”you and I both know the odds are nothing. If I thought it was likely, I’d be there no question. I hesitate in part because of my gut sense and concern there’s no big there there.”
These investigative participants created the collusion narrative behind one-way glass that constructs their bubble. They have no idea that we, the unwashed masses, were/are looking at them; watching them.
These superior investigative minds cannot fathom that we have watched each part of the construct. Their current status is like the Wizard of Oz after Toto pulled back the curtain…They are still yelling into the microphone. In depositions and testimony they have to pretend not to know things. It looks silly to us, but not to them.
We know from FBI lawyer Lisa Page’s testimony that they had no evidence of collusion in July 2016, nor did have anything by May 2017 when Rod Rosenstein made the decision to appoint Mueller to the Special Counsel. His decision to do so was inappropriate.
Trump’s former lawyer, John Dowd, described the moment Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein blindsided everyone with the Special Counsel. (Interview Link at 49:00) Attorney General Jeff Sessions was in the oval office when White House counsel Don McGhan informed President Trump of the public announcement. A shocked Jeff Sessions immediately apologized to the President and offered to resign.”
Sundance’s version of the Deep State’s grand plan makes quite a bit of sense.
The same people who created the 2016 Russia collusion narrative, now pivoted to an obstruction narrative. Rod Rosenstein, Robert Mueller and his team of Democrats spent the next 22 months trying to goad Trump into committing an act of obstruction around which they could build their case. Obstruction, being an impeachable offense, would allow them to achieve their collective end goal which was to remove the President from office.
They received plenty of assistance.
The people inside DOJ and FBI headquarters who redacted the Lisa Page and Peter Strzok text messages; removed messages and communication antithetical to their goals; kept key documents and information away from Congress; stalled any effort to expose the unlawful aspects of “SpyGate’ and the fraudulent foundation behind the Carter Page FISA application; and undermined any adverse discoveries in the leak investigations (James Wolfe) writ large.
In order to provoke Trump into a misstep, Mueller and Rosenstein targeted Paul Manafort, George Papadopoulos, Carter Page, Michael Flynn and Michael Cohen.
Mueller targeted these individuals on other issues, any issues, because he needed to shut them down, hide the fraudulent origin of the original operation…. and thereby protect his obstruction investigation… For Mueller’s purposes:
1. The Obstruction investigation, building toward the impeachment narrative, was always the original goal of Mueller and Rosenstein. Therefore…
2. The Obstruction investigation needed the precursor of the Trump-Russia investigation to remain standing; However,….
3. The structure of the Trump-Russia investigation, the underlying evidence to support the effort, is predicated on the “Steele Dossier”. Therefore…
4. Mueller needed to protect the Steele Dossier from scrutiny and deconstruction.
“These targets would generate pressure points against President Trump. If they could not deliver direct evidence against Trump (on any criminal angle) they could be used to bait Trump into taking actions that would assist the obstruction case.”
Impeachment would require a Democrat controlled House. In September 2018, Trump announced he would declassify documents. Rosenstein pressured him to not do so, telling him it would impede the Mueller investigation. Rosenstein knew if any of the FISA documents became public, it would undermine their need for a Democratic majority in the house. There is no doubt the shadow of the Mueller investigation hurt Republicans in the midterms.
Sundance said that as Rosenstein and Mueller worked on building the obstruction case, they had to maintain the appearance of working on the Russian collusion case. Thus, every so often, they would indict some Russians whom they knew would never see the inside of a US courtroom.
While President Trump’s legal team were asking what was taking so long, the real program was for Mueller’s team to build the ‘obstruction’ case, which would be the launching point for the impeachment.
Andrew Weissmann and team were continually trying to bait and provoke President Trump into making statements, or taking action that could be added to the ‘obstruction’ file; while Mueller is simultaneously telling Trump’s legal team they were only a subject-witness in the Russia investigation.
They hoped that the predawn raids on Manafort and Cohen, the repeated postponements of Michael Flynn’s sentencing, and the appearance of investigating Trump’s children would “draw a reaction from Trump, which they would add to the obstruction file.”
Once Democrats had achieved victory in November, the Mueller team ordered the outrageous raid on Roger Stone.
Still, Trump did not provide them with the obstruction they were waiting for.
Finally, when “William Barr showed up and refused to participate,” they realized it was over.
This would explain why a disgruntled Weissmann and Mueller team punted on the obstruction decision to AG William Barr. It was their last desperate effort, amid a failure to construct a solid legal case, to politicize the possibility and innuendo, and force Barr to be the one to say: “no obstruction.”
However, it’s also likely William Barr realized this was going to be one hell of a mess to clean up and he wasn’t going to let Rosenstein exit without participating in the process.
Once it became obvious Barr was not going to tolerate this agenda, that’s when Nancy Pelosi shifted her public tone on impeachment. However, it’s probable the salacious, unused and innuendo material is still inside the Mueller report; that’s why Nadler and Schiff want to get hold of it.
I would add that, included in the Mueller report will be an attempt to spin the wrongdoing of FBI and DOJ officials. They will try to justify why all these investigations were necessary, that there were reasons for their suspicions. It will surely be unflattering to President Trump.
I also agree with Sundance that their refusal to clearly exonerate Trump for obstruction of justice was deliberate.