Andrew C. McCarthy over at National Review made a very good point. In all the mess that’s been coming from the Mueller investigation as the special counsel attempts to nail President Trump, his campaign staff, and current members of the White House for colluding with the Russians, nobody seems to be asking about the Russians themselves.
Shouldn’t we be there by now? Granted, it’s easier to start an investigation from the inside to find connections of the outside, but one would think we’d be hearing of what the Russians actually did. So far, we’ve heard about communications between some Russians and various participants associated with Trump, but where do we stand on the alleged Russian “hack” of the 2016 election? Even if it was an attempted “hack,” we should have an idea of what that was by now. For Trump’s team to have colluded with the Russians, they need to have colluded towards some nefarious end. Outside of some botched media reports of collusion, we’ve seen pretty much nothing.
Here’s what McCarthy had to say:
We have paid too much attention to the so-called collusion component of the probe — speculation about Trump-campaign coordination in Russia’s perfidy. There appears to be no proof of that sort of collusion. Because it has been our focus, though, Mueller has gotten a free pass on a defect that would be fatal to any related prosecution theory: He cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Russia is guilty of hacking the Democratic National Committee and prominent Democrats.
This doesn’t mean it didn’t happen — like the U.S. intelligence agencies, I’m assuming it did, and that Russia should continue to be the subject of intense government counterintelligence efforts. The point is that Mueller can’t prove it in court, which is the only thing for which a prosecutor is needed. If he can’t establish to the required standard of proof that Russia conducted an espionage attack on the election, it is impossible to prove that anyone conspired with Russia to do so. There is no criminal case.