News Release

On Russia, Did Mueller Overstate His Own Report?


AARON MATÉ, aaronmate at, @aaronjmate

In his closing press conference, Special Counsel Robert Mueller asserted “that there were multiple systemic efforts to interfere in our election,” by Russia, efforts that amounted to “the central allegation of our indictments.” But journalist Aaron Maté of The Nation argues that Mueller has not substantiated his central allegation, and that the Mueller report displays a lack of certainty about whether Russian GRU officers actually stole the DNC [Democratic National Committee] emails.

Maté highlighted a passage of the report where Mueller writes that “[GRU] officers appear to have stolen thousands of emails and attachments” from the DNC. “If Mueller knows that the officers stole the emails,” Maté argues, “why use the qualifier ‘appear’?” Maté also points out that Mueller, as the report notes, “cannot rule out that stolen documents were transferred to WikiLeaks through intermediaries who visited during the summer of 2016.”

“So not only does Mueller not know for sure if the GRU stole the emails, he also does not know for sure how those emails were supposedly transferred to WikiLeaks,” Maté says. In terms of the other main component of the alleged Russian interference effort, Maté argues that Russian social media posts were “juvenile clickbait that was minuscule in reach and mostly unrelated to the election.”

He has written extensively for The Nation magazine about Russiagate, for which he recently won the Park Center for Independent Media at Ithaca College’s Izzy Award (named after I. F. Stone) for outstanding achievement in independent media. Maté was cited for “meticulous reporting for The Nation [that] consistently challenged the way the public was being informed about the Mueller investigation and related issues.” Commented the judges: “Aaron Maté bravely offered a factual and sober approach to the story while urging a focus on President Trump’s provable assaults on U.S. democracy.”

[Meanwhile, Consortium News reports: “The UN special rapporteur [expert] on torture has issued a stinging rebuke to the United States, Great Britain, Sweden and Ecuador for ‘deliberately’ exposing WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to years of ‘cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment,’ which can only be described as ‘psychological torture.’ … Rapporteur Nils Melzer visited Assange at Belmarsh prison in London on May 9 with two doctors, expert in recognizing potential torture victims, who examined the WikiLeaks founder. Melzer’s statement makes no mention of Assange having been hospitalized in the prison…”

[Assange faces unprecedented charges under the Espionage Act for having published material exposing U.S. war crimes in Iraq. Mueller attacked WikiLeaks on Wednesday for publishing material which showed the DNC worked to undermine the 2016 Bernie Sanders campaign, information which Mueller says WikiLeaks got from Russia. Consortium News will have a live web discussion on WikiLeaks at 4:00 ET.]