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Saturday, July 13, 2019

DOJ Attorney Says Russian Government Had Nothing To Do With Troll Farms

There are a lot of things we thought we knew that just are not true.

“Russia interfered in the election” became such an established truth of the mainstream press that expressing skepticism would be labeled a “conspiracy theory.” But now, in open court, an attorney representing the Department of Justice has admitted that the Russian government had nothing to do with the internet troll farm case.

Mueller and Barr’s reckless publicity of unproven “Russian interference” allegations as “established” confronted federal Judge Dabney L. Freidrich with a challenge to her authority to preside over a trial to determine whether Concord is guilty of anything. Again, the Mueller report publicly pronounced that the Mueller team “established that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election through the ‘active measures’ social media campaign.” Really? So why are we even bothering to have a trial if the government has already “established” that Concord is guilty?

A newly released transcript reveals details of a humiliating hearing that took place the day before Mueller’s puzzling press conference. The judge asked the prosecutor, “Can you address also the specific tie to the Russian government, which is the overarching comment that the attorney general made tying both this case and then the case involving the hacking and the release of the e-mails, the GRU case, to the Russian government?”

Buckle up, buttercup, because you’re not going to believe DOJ’s response: “The report doesn’t say that.” What? I thought we “knew” that the Russian government committed an act of war by posting politically charged information on the internet. Now the DOJ is backing away from any tie between the internet troll farm and the Russian government?

The DOJ has now admitted that the Mueller report “itself does not state anywhere that the Russian government was behind the Internet Research Agency [and Concord] activity.” Whoa. The judge then asked, “So it is the government’s position that tying Concord and its co-defendants to the Russian government is not prejudicial?”

“By attributing [the conduct] to ‘Russia’-as opposed to Russian individuals or entities—the report suggests that [Concord’s internet activities] were undertaken on behalf of, if not at the direction of the Russian government,” she wrote. Remember, the government has now denied in court that it even alleged Concord worked for the Russian government to post political messages on the internet.

The government, Freidrich found, “violated a standing court rule” by making these public pronouncements that intruded upon the question to be tried in her courtroom. To save Mueller’s team from “criminal contempt,” Freidrich exercised her discretion to decline to “initiate criminal contempt proceedings in response to the government’s Rule 57.7 violation.”

With the benefit of these newly unsealed documents from Judge Freidrich’s court, we now can see that Mueller’s May 29, 2019 press conference, held the day after the hearing on Concord’s contempt motion, must have been a desperate but successful effort to avoid the wrath of a judge whose authority Mueller insulted by “concluding” the guilt of defendants yet to be tried. And in that desperate effort, the U.S. government threw overboard the key assumption that the Russian government (as opposed to freelancing Russians) was behind the dubious internet troll case.

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