The Report on the Investigation into Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Election”—a.k.a. The Mueller Report—may be the most-cited yet least-read government document ever produced. President Trump and many Republicans claim it proves he was not involved in the Russian government’s efforts to throw the election his way. Many Democrats assert that it doesshow such coordination, as well as presidential efforts to obstruct justice. Yet few people on either side actually have made their way through the 448 pages of legalese, tiny footnotes and onslaught of names presented with little context.
Since the report’s publication in April, there have been attempts to repackage this material in more digestible versions — a graphic novel here, a staged reading there, a CliffsNotes-like summary over there — but we still lacked one that was comprehensive. So I took a crack at it, imagining that Robert Mueller had become so fed up with partisan efforts to undercut his conclusions that he created his own people’s version of his report. His narration is the only fiction in the book The Special Counsel: The Mueller Report Retold. Everything else is absolutely true…and often terrifying.
Pulling also from related indictments and news reports, this brisk retelling conveys the full extent of the Russian military’s massive, deceptive social-media campaign to spark pro-Trump/anti-Hillary Clinton activities, as well as the hacking and coordinated release of sensitive materials from Democratic leadership computers. It also breathes life into White House dramas and betrayals such as the president’s actions against FBI director James Comey, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Mueller himself. This is history as political thriller, as well as information necessary to process the impeachment proceedings. As Republicans push an unfounded conspiracy theory that pins 2016 election interference on Ukraine instead of Russia, you should know how former Trump campaign chair (and current federal inmate) Paul Manafort passed confidential campaign data to pro-Putin Ukrainian oligarchs, including at least one to whom he was in debt.
I was a longtime Chicago Tribune reporter who wrote the award-winning nonfiction book The Foie Gras Wars and has contributed to Chicago magazine and The New York Times. Considering my journalistic background and how much time I’ve spent digesting the Mueller report, I thought I might be able to help answer any questions about its relevance to either the recent impeachment proceedings or the current news cycle.
Thanks for hearing me out, and please AMA!
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