A new version of the 448-page Russiagate investigation report delivered by former special counsel Robert Mueller in March 2019 has shed light on the DoJ’s investigation of WikiLeaks, Assange and former Trump campaign adviser Roger Stone, as well as the trio’s possible connection to the hacking of emails from the DNC in 2016.
The new version includes 14 newly declassified pages, showing the DoJ wanted to charge one of the three entities as co-conspirators alongside the 12 Russian nationals Mueller filed indictments against in 2018, accusing them of being military intelligence agents behind the moniker “Guccifer 2.0.”
The declassified pages were the product of a Freedom of Information Act request filed by BuzzFeed News last month after US President Donald Trump attempted to force the DoJ to declassify all documents related to the Russiagate probe.
“The Office determined, however, that it did not have admissible evidence that was probably sufficient to obtain and sustain a Section 1030 conspiracy conviction of WikiLeaks, Assange, or Stone,” Mueller’s team wrote. The report goes on to note that they regarded WikiLeaks as equivalent to a “fence,” or someone who finds buyers for stolen goods, exploring the various legal ramifications of that framing, but again concluded they had no basis for bringing charges forward.
Ultimately, Mueller’s conclusion was based on an inability to prove any of the three knew the material had been hacked or that hacks were continuing. Of course, Stone was later revealed to have had no involvement in the dissemination of the DNC emails at all, despite his plentiful bluster about being in communication with Assange about it over the summer of 2016.
Mueller’s team also looked at whether or not WikiLeaks publishing the roughly 50,000 DNC emails over the summer and fall of 2016 violated campaign finance laws because it materially benefited Trump’s election campaign. However, they again found insufficient evidence to bring charges on those grounds.
The admission deals yet another crushing blow to the Russiagate narrative and undermines one of the key factors in turning the corporate media against WikiLeaks and Assange, who now stands charged with 18 counts related to the publishing of US government materials stolen by former US Army analyst Chelsea Manning that revealed a US war crimes cover-up.
In a January 3, 2017, interview with Sean Hannity, Assange told the Fox News host WikiLeaks’ source for the emails “is not the Russian government and it is not a state party.” The emails aired the dirty laundry of the Democratic Party’s central leadership, revealing a party deeply indebted to its then-presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, who received ample help rising to that position from the DNC itself.
Moreover, former senior US intelligence officials have cast serious doubts on the idea the DNC server was hacked by anyone. Bill Binney, a cryptographer and former technical director at the US National Security Agency (NSA), told Sputnik in August that all evidence pointed to the emails being physically transported to WikiLeaks on a disk or thumb drive, not by internet download, meaning they were stolen by someone inside the DNC and not hacked from without. In fact, the incident was more likely linked to US intelligence officials than Russian ones, Binney said.
Even in his report, Mueller remains uncertain the Russian GRU hacked the DNC, only saying it “appears” it did so.
This has not stopped the corporate media from building a case against Assange and WikiLeaks for Mueller. As accusations and indictments rolled out of his investigation, mainstream outlets like the Associated Press, Newsweek and the Washington Post steadily turned against an organization that had provided them with years of blockbuster headlines, turning Assange from a hero into a villain who had supposedly helped Russian President Vladimir Putin help Trump steal the election.