Inside The Mueller Report: Romney Responds, Huckabee Sanders Backtracks And More
This is the second entry in a multi-part series which takes an in-depth look at the Mueller Report. The first can be found here.
Freshman Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) offered harsh critique towards President Donald Trump’s administration after reviewing the Mueller Report. In the past, the former Republican nominee for President has openly chastised the actions and comments of President Trump, despite supporting many of the same policies.
I have now read the redacted Mueller report and offer my personal reaction: pic.twitter.com/ACnExskqXJ
— Senator Mitt Romney (@SenatorRomney) April 19, 2019
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders responded to her own admissions of lying within the Mueller Report. Despite such revelations, Huckabee Sanders is not expected to receive any punishment from the Trump administration. It’s likely her fabrications came from the direction of higher-ranking staffers in the administration.
GRU Believed to Be Behind DNC & DCCC Leaks
The Mueller Report identified the Main Directorate of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation (GRU) as the organization responsible for leaking stolen information from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) to WikiLeaks.
The GRU began stealing DCCC data shortly after it gained access to the network. On April 14, 2016 (approximately three days after the initial intrusion) GRU officers downloaded rar.exe onto the DCCC’s document server. The following day, the GRU searched one compromised DCCC computer for files containing search terms that included “Hillary,” “DNC,” “Cruz,” and “Trump.””
“The GRU’s operations extended beyond stealing materials, and included releasing documents stolen from the Clinton Campaign and its supporters. The GRU carried out the anonymous release through two fictitious online personas that it created—DCLeaks and Guccifer 2.0—and later through the organization WikiLeaks,” the document continues before detailing the role WikiLeaks founder and recently arrested Julian Assange played.
WikiLeaks, and particularly its founder Julian Assange, privately expressed opposition to candidate Clinton well before the first release of stolen documents. In November 2015, Assange wrote to other members and associates of WikiLeaks that “[w]e believe it would be much better for GOP to win … Dems*Media*liberals woudl [sic] then form a block to reign in their worst qualities. . .. With Hillary in charge, GOP will be pushing for her worst qualities., dems+media+neoliberals will be mute…. She’s a bright, well connected, sadisitic sociopath.”
The report would further detail how Assange seemingly attempted to deflect attention from the leaks coming from the GRU: “Beginning in the summer of 2016, Assange and WikiLeaks made a number of statements about Seth Rich, a former DNC staff member who was killed in July 2016. The statements about Rich implied falsely that he had been the source of the stolen DNC emails. On August 9, 2016, the @WikiLeaks Twitter account posted: ‘ANNOUNCE: WikiLeaks has decided to issue a US$20k reward for information leading to conviction for the murder of DNC staffer Seth Rich.'”
Wikileaks Correspondence With Donald Trump Jr.
During the 2016 campaign, WikiLeaks communicated several times with Donald Trump Jr. in October, several weeks before the election. The correspondence seemed to begin after the following action, when WikiLeaks publicly tweeted: “Let’s bomb Iraq’ Progress for America PAC to launch ‘PutinTrump.otg’ at 9:30am. Oops pw is ‘putintrump’ putintrump.org.” Several hours later, WikiLeaks sent a Twitter direct message to Donald Trump Jr.: “A PAC run anti-Trump site putintrump.org is about to launch. The PAC is a recycled pro-Iraq war PAC. We have guessed the password. It is ‘putintrump.’ See ‘About’ for who is behind it. Any comments?”
In the hours after, the Mueller Report details an email Donald Trump Jr. sent to several senior campaign staffers:
Guys I got a weird Twitter DM from wikileaks. See below. I tried the password and it works and the about section they reference contains the next pic in terms of who is behind it. Not sure if this is anything but it seems like it’s really wikileaks asking me as I follow them and it is a DM. Do you know the people mentioned and what the conspiracy they are looking for could be? These are just screen shots but it’s a fully built out page claiming to be a PAC let me know your thoughts and if we want to look into it.’
Trump Jr. attached a screenshot of the “About” page for the unlaunched site PutinTrump.org. The next day (after the website had launched publicly), Trump Jr. sent a direct message to WikiLeaks: “Off the record, I don’t know who that is but I’ll ask around. Thanks.”
The investigation outlined two other interactions Trump Jr. had with WikiLeaks through Twitter direct messaging.
On October 3, 2016, WikiLeaks sent another direct message to Trump Jr., asking “you guys” to help disseminate a link alleging candidate Clinton had advocated using a drone to target Julian Assange. Trump Jr. responded that he already “had done so,” and asked, “what’s behind this Wednesday leak I keep reading about?” WikiLeaks did not respond.
On October 12, 2016, WikiLeaks wrote again that it was “great to see you and your dad talking about our publications. Strongly suggest your dad tweets this link if he mentions us wlsearch. tk.” WikiLeaks wrote that the link would help Trump in “digging through” leaked emails and stated, “we just released Podesta emails Part 4.” Two days later, Trump Jr. publicly tweeted the wlsearch.th link.