Speed Reads

it's mueller time

The real reason Mueller just indicted 13 Russians

Special Counsel Robert Mueller was appointed last May to investigate the Russian government's efforts to interfere in the 2016 election, and on Friday he made a significant strike by indicting 13 Russian nationals and three Russian agencies tied to a shady Russian "troll farm" called the Internet Research Agency. The charges are serious, including that the defendants poised "as U.S. persons and [created] false U.S. personas," and that they had the "strategic goal to sow discord in the U.S. political system, including the 2016 U.S. presidential election."

There is a slim chance that any of the agents named in the indictment will be extradited, though, as Bradley P. Moss, a national security lawyer, points out. In addition to the Internet Research Agency being an explicitly pro-Kremlin propaganda machine, Moscow has vehemently denied involvement in the American election (its foreign ministry has already said the allegations Mueller made are "absurd"). President Trump said in November 2017 that he directly asked Putin if Russia had a hand in the 2016 election and "he said he absolutely did not meddle in our election ... I really believe that when he tells me that, he means it."

In fact, that might be the very reason for Mueller's indictment. While the chance of realistically pursuing justice against the agents named in the indictment is slim, "this is a public statement by Mueller that [the investigation] isn't a witch hunt and that there was Russian interference," Moss wrote.

Any way you look at it, it will be much more difficult for Trump to dismiss the investigation is an "artificial Democratic hit job" from here on out.