The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has abandoned its two-year investigation of a Russian company that was indicted by former Special Counsel Robert Mueller for allegedly carrying out an organized social media campaign that was intended to benefit Donald Trump in the 2016 election, according to the Washington Post:
“Assistants to U.S. Attorney Timothy Shea of Washington and Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers cited an unspecified ‘change in the balance of the government’s proof due to a classification determination,’ according to a nine-page filing accompanied by facts under seal.”
Additionally, DOJ prosecutors said it would be nearly impossible to make the Russian company in question, Concord Management and Consulting, comply with subpoenas, therefore making further legal action pointless.
In the brief filed with the court, federal prosecutors wrote:
“Upon careful consideration of all of the circumstances, and particularly in light of recent events . . . the government has concluded that further proceedings as to Concord . . . promotes neither the interests of justice nor the nation’s security.”
One of the social media platforms targeted by Concord Managment and the Internet Research Agency was Facebook, and its former chief security officer, Alex Stamos, said he was disappointed the DOJ had dropped its prosecution of the Russian company:
“The unclassified evidence I have seen with my own eyes, and that Facebook provided to DOJ in 2017, demonstrates that the Internet Research Agency conducted an influence operation aimed at driving political divisions in the U.S. If this activity is illegal, then I don’t understand why the prosecution would turn on a classification decision.”
This is just the latest move by Attorney General William Barr to undercut or overrule findings from the report filed by Mueller. That report made it clear that Russia did indeed work diligently to assure that Trump won the 2016 presidential election, the Post notes:
“Before President Trump’s longtime political confidant Roger Stone was sentenced last month to more than three years in prison for lying to the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation of Russian interference, four career prosecutors withdrew in apparent protest of Barr’s decision to water down Stone’s sentencing recommendation.
“Critics said the department’s top political appointees appeared to be intervening in cases involving the president’s friends and aides. That perception was fed when the Justice Department tasked five outside prosecutors to review the criminal case against former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn and other politically sensitive prosecutions in the office.”
Barr has repeatedly denied that he is working to protect President Trump or delegitimize the Mueller investigation.
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