Sputnik: What do we know? What can we expect? It looks like Donald Trump won't receive any political damage to his image, because of course the report doesn't recommend any further indictments. What's your stance?
Earl Rasmussen: Obviously there are certain elements, mostly in the mainstream media that's been stoking this, and certain members on the Hill, in Congress, that were hoping for something, because we heard over and over again that the next bombshell was coming.
But you're correct, there's nothing explosive, and with no new indictments coming out, and really if you look at the indictments that were there, there's nothing related at all to any type of conspiracy or collusion as far as the six people indicted who are US citizens. And the Russians that are indicted are questionable. Let's face it, Concord Management tried to file discovery, and now [prosecutors are] trying to block information, saying it's 'classified'.
Sputnik: For now of course, no one really knows what's in the report, how long it is, how much it actually deals with the president's own actions. However, a lot of political and perhaps emotional capital was invested in this Mueller probe. Is this a bit of an anticlimax?
Earl Rasmussen: I think for many it is an anticlimax, absolutely. There's so much invested here. Two plus years, millions of dollars, political capital on both sides, and you've got people who have lost their livelihoods. A lot of the people that were brought in, their names exposed, their reputations were damaged. We've got the six people that have been charged [for] things that happened ten years ago; some are financially ruined now; some will spend time in jail for lying to Congress or lying to the FBI over minor financial things that may have gone unnoticed without this.
You look at the other side too, and we've got damage to international relations, not just with Russia, where what has occurred is just outrageous, but also Europe. I mean we forced Europe to follow through on sanctions that there's no evidence for. They've lost business as a result of that, so I'm sure the Europeans will be quite interested in seeing more and learning more about what's coming out of this as well.
Sputnik: US Attorney General William Barr is going to now summarise the report and decide on how much to share with Congress. What can we expect?
Earl Rasmussen: Personally I think the whole report should be released to the public at some point in time. He'll release it to Congress, I think most of it will probably be provided to Congress. There should be nothing there that they don't already know. They've been doing their own investigations, have called in their own witnesses, so there really should be no surprises there. Obviously the parties will probably try to manipulate the report [against the other party] in order to potentially posture for the 2020 presidential elections.
Listen to Earl Rasmussen's complete interview with Sputnik here:
Earl Rasmussen is the executive vice president of the Eurasia Centre, an independent, non-profit Washington-based think tank specialising in European and Asian political and economic issues. The views expressed by Mr. Rasmussen do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.