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Much Ado about Nothing on Mueller’s Indictment


I confess deep amusement at the enormous reaction of the U.S mainstream press to the 37-page federal grand-jury indictment that special prosecutor (and former FBI Director) Robert Mueller has secured against 13 Russians and three companies or, as the mainstream media puts it, against “Russia.”

Why am I so amused?

One reason is how reporters and editorial boards of the mainstream press are treating the indictment — as solid evidence of guilt. From reading all of the mainstream reporting and commentaries on the indictment, you would think that “Russia” had just been convicted of the heinous crime of “meddling” in a U.S. presidential election.

At the risk of raining on the anti-Russia parade, that’s pure nonsense.

The reason it’s pure nonsense is that that under our form of government, that 37-page grand-jury indictment is evidence of nothing, absolutely nothing.

A grand-jury indictment is nothing more than an accusation. That’s all. It’s not even sworn to. There are no affidavits or other sworn testimony attached to it. It is nothing more than a prosecutor-drafted document that sets forth prosecutorial accusations that a federal grand jury almost always automatically rubber stamps.

Consider this excerpt from the Pattern Jury Charge that every federal judge in the land is required to read to every jury in every criminal case just before the jury adjourns to deliberate the guilt or innocence of the accused:

The indictment brought by the government against the defendant is only an accusation, nothing more. It is not proof of guilt or anything else.

Why do federal judges issue that admonition to every jury in every criminal case? Because the law recognizes that the average American citizen has the same incorrect mindset as the average mainstream reporter and commentator — that a criminal indictment is evidence of guilt. The purpose of the admonition is to correct this misconception before the members of the jury begin deliberating.

Another reason the anti-Russia brouhaha over Mueller’s indictment is so funny is that the mainstream journalists and editorial writers continue to allege that the indictment proves that “Russia” meddled in the presidential election.

Yet, a close reading of the indictment reflects no such thing. Instead, it alleges that 13 Russian individuals and 3 companies bought Facebook ads, participated in political events, and undertook similar nefarious political deeds with the aim of getting Donald Trump, who, unlike his opponent Hillary Clinton, favored establishing normal relations with Russia, elected.

Now, one thing is for sure: Mueller and his well-paid legal team know how to craft a criminal indictment. No one doubts that. Such being the case, the question has to be asked: Why didn’t Mueller craft the indictment in such a way as to allege that those individuals and companies were operating as agents of the Russian government or operating in a conspiracy with the Russian government or at least with some Russian officials?

Now, it might well be that competent and relevant evidence will later establish in a criminal trial that the accused actually did what they are accused of doing. And it might well also establish that the accused were acting as agents of the Russian government or in a conspiracy with the Russian government.

But as of right now, we have a situation where the U.S. special prosecutor and his special prosecutorial team have secured an indictment, which they themselves crafted, which omits any allegation that the accused were acting as agents of the Russian government or as part of a conspiracy with the Russian government.

Mueller and his team have been conducting their investigation for more than a year. If they have evidence that those 13 individuals and 3 companies were acting as agents for the Russian government or in a conspiracy with the Russian government, then why not say it as part of the indictment? It seems to me that the logical inference to be drawn from their leaving out such an accusation is that Mueller and his team have come up with no evidence that the Russian government was involved with those 13 individuals and 3 companies.

Oh, they might believe it. They might be 100 percent convinced of it. But believing it or being convinced of it is a far cry from having relevant and competent evidence of it. The fact that they didn’t allege it in the indictment that they themselves crafted implies that they don’t have any evidence of it.

That, of course, hasn’t stopped the mainstream media from declaring that Mueller’s grand-jury indictment proves that “Russia” was involved in election meddling. To the mainstream media, Russian citizens and Russian companies and the Russian government are all one and the same. If a Russian citizen or a Russian company does it, that means that “Russia” did it.

There is something else important that is worth noting: No courtroom is ever going to see any evidence to support Mueller’s grand-jury indictment anyway. Why? Because he and his team know what the mainstream press doesn’t know: that there is no reasonable possibility that this case will ever come to trial. That’s because there is no reasonable possibility that Russia will agree to extradite any of the people who are charged in the indictment. No trial means no evidence will be presented in a trial. That means that Mueller’s 37-page indictment is nothing more than a nothing-burger.

Another amusing aspect of the anti-Russia brouhaha is the moral condemnation of Russia for daring to interfere with America’s electoral process by buying some ads and participating in some protests.

Why is such moral condemnation amusing? Because interfering with foreign elections is precisely what the Pentagon and the CIA have done ever since the U.S. government was converted into a national-security state after World War II. In fact, intervention into the domestic affairs of other countries has been the core feature of the Pentagon and the CIA since their very beginning.

Don’t believe me? Just read these three articles and you’ll see what I mean:

Russia Isn’t the Only One Meddling in Elections. We Do It, Too
The U.S. Is No Stranger to Interfering in the Elections of Other Countries
The Long History of the U.S. Interfering with Elections Elsewhere

Thus, when the mainstream media talks about how horrible “the Russians” are for intervening in America’s political system, they are, at the same time, implicitly condemning those horrible Americans who have been doing — and who continue to do — the same thing to other countries.

In fact, it must be asked: Why no indictment for U.S. officials who have interfered with the electoral processes in foreign countries, including, say, in Ukraine, where U.S. officials succeeded in one of their storied regime-change operations against a democratically elected regime to enable them to place U.S. missiles on Russia’s border? If it’s criminal for Russians to intervene in America’s political system by buying some Facebook ads, why isn’t also illegal for U.S. officials to intervene in foreign political systems, especially through bribery, coups, invasions, and assassinations, which, it seems to me, are a bit worse than buying some Facebook ads? (The CIA’s anti-democratic coups in Iran in 1953, Guatemala in 1954, and Chile in 1973 might also come to mind.)

By the way, check out this story on Telesur about how a group of Mexican senators publicly endorsed Hillary Clinton for president, wore pro-Clinton t-shirts, and issued pro-Clinton sentiments on Twitter. Moreover, according to the story, “Several Mexican personalities who live in the U.S. and have influence with Latino communities have urged Latinos to participate in large numbers in the Nov. 8 election and to vote for Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and reject Donald Trump, who has maintained racist rhetoric against Mexicans and immigrants since the beginning of his campaign.”

Now, I don’t wish to get anyone in trouble but the obvious question naturally arises: Why no indictment against them? Could it be because they aren’t Russkies (or communists)?

Robert Mueller’s indictment is just one more piece of pressure being brought against President Trump. As soon as he demonstrates that he has been fully absorbed into the Deep State by declaring, “I hate Russia” and then acting accordingly, the powers-that-be will finally leave him alone.

Unfortunately, Mueller’s indictment failed to estimate how many Americans, most of whom have been educated in U.S. public schools, were influenced by “the Russians” into voting for Donald Trump. (I’m proud to say that those crafty Russkies didn’t induce me to change my vote. Despite their best efforts to induce me to vote for their “Manchurian candidate,” I voted Libertarian anyway.)

One thing is for sure: In the entire anti-Russia brouhaha, U.S. officials should count themselves lucky that hypocrisy is not a criminal offense.

This post was written by:

Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. He was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, and received his B.A. in economics from Virginia Military Institute and his law degree from the University of Texas. He was a trial attorney for twelve years in Texas. He also was an adjunct professor at the University of Dallas, where he taught law and economics. In 1987, Mr. Hornberger left the practice of law to become director of programs at the Foundation for Economic Education. He has advanced freedom and free markets on talk-radio stations all across the country as well as on Fox News’ Neil Cavuto and Greta van Susteren shows and he appeared as a regular commentator on Judge Andrew Napolitano’s show Freedom Watch. View these interviews at LewRockwell.com and from Full Context. Send him email.