Byron York tries to talk sense about Robert Mueller’s Russia indictment.
Byron York summarizes why the accusations in the Russia indictment never represented an attack as serious as that of Pearl Harbor, but for the loss of life. He does a great job, though it might be improved by a survey of all the ways that we know of so far that the United States deep state has interfered in Russian elections.
Byron York writes for the Washington Examiner, “A non-alarmist reading of the Mueller Russia indictment.”
There’s been no shortage of breathless reaction to Trump-Russia special prosecutor Robert Mueller’s indictment of 13 Russians and three Russian organizations for their efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election. “An attack that — but for the loss of life — is as bad as Pearl Harbor,” tweeted veteran journalist Jonathan Alter.
That’s one way to look at it. Another is that, combining the 37-page indictment with testimony from social media executives before congressional intelligence committees — and there isn’t much in the indictment that the intel committees didn’t already know — the Russian operation, while warranting serious U.S. punishment, emerges as a small, poorly funded operation with a level of effectiveness that is impossible to measure but could be near zero.
The Russia operation has been discussed almost exclusively in terms of Donald Trump, but it did not start out that way. According to the indictment, it began in May 2014 with “the purpose of interfering with the U.S. political and electoral processes, including the presidential election of 2016.”
The indictment says three of the Russian defendants traveled to the U.S. to “collect intelligence for their interference operations.” That didn’t seem to be a Trump-specific operation; one trip, a three-week visit, was in June 2014, the other, a four-day visit, was in November of the same year.
The group’s work was done through social media — Facebook, Instagram, Twitter. Most of it consisted of buying ads or posting messages and keeping track of their spread through the social media world.
The indictment quotes an unspecified Russian document saying the job was to create “political intensity through supporting radical groups, users dissatisfied with [the] social and economic situation and oppositional social movements.” That involved focusing on angry fringes and hot-button issues: immigration, the Black Lives Matter movement, religion.
When attention turned to the 2016 race, the Russians “engaged in operations primarily intended to communicate derogatory information about Hillary Clinton, to denigrate other candidates such as Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, and to support Bernie Sanders and then-candidate Donald Trump.”
The whole piece is much more cogent than the mainstream media hysteria:
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