Just Say No.

I like to write, I like to argue, and having the last word has always been satisfying, but after reading the Mueller report, not even the whole thing, it’s right there in black and white- my online behavior contributed to some seriously damaging criminal activity. I’m not blaming myself or anyone else who participated in the heated back-and-forth regarding the 2016 election. I blame Mark Zuckerberg. Anyway, NAMASTE. This is a heads-up for the good guys to know that one of the ways the bad guys hijacked the election was by piggybacking our Facebook threads.

With the 2024 presidential election right around the corner, the United States of America is poised, yet again, to nosedive into the same sludgy, hate-infused rhetoric we treaded back in 2016, so now is as good a time as any to highlight the extremely credible findings revealed in the Robert Mueller report. Former FBI Director Robert S Mueller III was assigned to investigate possible Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election by United States Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein after then-President Trump dismissed James Comey, the acting Director of the FBI under his administration. The findings in a nutshell; The Russian government interfered in the 2016 election in a ‘sweeping and systematic fashion.’ That last part bears repeating- Sweeping and Systematic.

The report starts out like this, ‘US Treasury sanctions…individuals and entities in connection with the Russian occupation of Crimea and the conflict in Ukraine.’. Then continues, ‘In 2014, employees within the Russian Intelligence Committee created and shared internal documents presented as an instructive how-to-manual distributed for the sole purpose of creating distrust toward American candidates and a general way to change our political system.’ Included were plans to find out where the Hispanic vote would end up with the understanding that, ‘all primaries are purchasable’.

Just a few excerpts from the report singled out by the American Constitution Society;

‘Senior members of the Trump campaign took a June 9, 2016 meeting with Russian Nationals at Trump Tower in New York.’

‘Major avenues of attack included a social media ‘information warfare’ campaign that ‘favored’ candidate Trump and the hacking of Clinton-campaign-related databases and consequent release of stolen materials through Russian-related entities and Wiki-leaks.’

‘Russia targeted databases in many states related to gaining access to the information of millions of registered voters.’

‘The report describes multiple occasions when Trump associates contacted Russian Nationals. Trump associates Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, George Papadopoulos, Rick Gates, and Michael Cohen lied to federal investigators and Congress about the communication happening between themselves and the Russians.’

‘Roger Stone faces trial this fall for obstruction of justice, five counts of making false statements, and one count of witness tampering.’ Roger Stone is a conservative American political consultant. Just as a side, Roger’s list of accomplishments include having worked on Richard Nixon’s presidential campaign.

‘Special Counsel Mueller declined to exonerate then President Trump and instead reported multiple episodes in which he engaged in obstructive conduct…The report states that if the Special Counsel had felt ‘they could have cleared the president of wrongdoing they would have done so, instead, the report explicitly states, ‘does not exonerate’…meaning that it is impossible to extract him from all criminal activity.

‘A statement signed by over 1000 former prosecutors concluded that if any other American engaged in the same efforts to impede federal proceedings the way Trump did, they would likely be indicted for multiple charges of obstruction of justice.’ This is just a sampling, as the actual report is 400+ pages.

What Mueller accomplished in the ongoing investigation not only proved the obvious connection between the Trump administration and Russian operatives, but also uncovered a distinct pattern of criminal offenses perpetrated by those closest to the (then) seated president of the United States. If you’re one of the holdouts that says it’s all political dinner theater, I say the problem with that take is- if you think he doesn’t mean half of what he says, the people listening to him do. That is the point. Why do they hire actors? It does get away from you.

It’s been painfully insightful to see how white women would not vote for a white woman in a presidential election, and how black people can’t vote the way whites do. Hate crimes against people of color, LGBTQ+. and Asian Americans have steadily risen since Trump was in office. Anti-Semitism is on the rise. Emboldened by Trump, hate groups have gone mainstream.

Even as I type this I can hear the virtual footfall of fiscally conservative Republicans running up behind me, yelling, ‘You love China!’. Without throwing shade at the people of either country, because we’re talking about one authoritarian regime and another that’s run by a dictator, plus, millions of us do not want to be affiliated with the GOP, there is no doubt in my mind that the Chinese government would love to get as cozy with our White House as the Russians have managed to do. If that happened, our American Department of Justice, with its American strong arm, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and its counterpart, the CIA, the agency responsible for gleaning information from all threats domestic and foreign hellbent on crippling us, would be ON IT. The former Director of the FBI has called out the Trump administration. Please listen.

By all accounts and despite numerous arrests, not to mention a report magnifying incidents of Russian tampering in itemized detail, Trump stands to be the GOP’s presidential forerunner. Even if he doesn’t end up being the nominee, we still have a systemic problem that upends civil discourse in this country. I know there are victims on all sides of this. Truly. Fellow Americans have been ignored for a long time, and that is as reprehensible as it has been damaging. The other thing is, we should speculate on what happens to a member of Congress when they try to set boundaries with their benefactor.

If we don’t keep the conversation going, we’re succumbing to an ongoing threat. Yeah, no. No. Absolutely no pardon me fucking way. No, no, no. In the words of Ms. Elaine Benes, played by the incomparable Julia Louis-Dreyfus, ‘I’m not asking. I’m telling.’ I do not want this mess in Congress. And you’re American, so neither do you.