Reprinted with permission from Shareblue.
The Department of Justice didnât name any Americans in the indictmentÂ handed down on Friday, but according to former CIA Director Michael Hayden, thereâs good reason to believe that more indictments are coming â and that Americans may be among those charged.
Appearing on CNNâs âThe Lead with Jake Tapperâ on Friday, Hayden said the charges brought against 12 Russian intelligence officers earlier in the day made him even more confident that prosecutors are laying the groundwork for future indictments against a âwidening circleâ of co-conspirators.
âThe longer this goes on, the richer in detail we get, the more I begin to believe that weâre going to see a widening circle [of indictments] here,â Hayden told host Jake Tapper.
While theÂ White HouseÂ and Trumpâs attorneyÂ Rudy GiulianiÂ tried to spin the indictment as âgood newsâ and proof that no Americans were involved in the criminal conspiracy, Hayden said thatâs not the case at all.Â He pointed to the DOJâs careful wording, which deliberately did not deny the involvement of Americans, but rather said there are no allegations about potential American co-conspiratorsÂ in thisÂ indictment.Â
âThe indictment clearly says, âwe take no view on whether Americans were involved,’â he explained. âIt doesnât say âthere were no Americans involved.â It just says âweâre not talking about that now.’â
Hayden said he doesnât expect this will be the last set of indictments â but it very well may be âthe last indictment we see thatÂ doesnâtÂ mention an American.â
The indictment filed on Friday charged 12 Russian intelligence officersÂ withÂ âconspiracy to commitÂ an offense against the United States.â
The goal of that conspiracy, according to the indictment, was âto hack into the computers of U.S. persons and entities involved in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, steal documents from those computers and stage releases of the stolen documents to interfere with the 2016 U.S. presidential election.â
Legal expertsÂ sayÂ that any American who aided that effort by facilitating the release of the stolen documents or attempting to benefit from their release could be charged for participating in the conspiracy â even if they didnât know the identity of the person(s) they were working with.
We know that Americans were, in fact, involved in the effort.Â According toÂ Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, âseveral Americansâ corresponded with the indicted Russians âduring the course of the conspiracy,â though the DOJ is not currentlyÂ alleging thatÂ those Americans âknew that they were corresponding with Russian intelligence officers.â
However, that doesnât mean those Americans wonât be charged with a crime â and as Hayden noted, the indictment actually suggests that special counsel Robert Muellerâs team may be setting the stage to do just that.
And heâs not the only one who thinks Mueller may be moving in that direction.
Former federal prosecutor Renato MariottiÂ saidÂ Fridayâs indictment lays out âwhat might be the clearest path towards an indictment charging an American with knowingly aiding the Russian effort.â
âIf an American joined the conspiracy, he/she would be liable for all of it even if the American wasnât aware of all of it,â Mariotti wrote in aÂ tweet. Furthermore, heÂ added, âany American who knew about the criminal activity and helped make it succeed would be criminally liable for aiding and abetting, regardless of whether they joined the conspiracy.â
Clearly, the White House wants to declare âcase closed,â but the DOJ had the chance to say exactly that in Fridayâs indictment â and it very pointedly left it wide open instead.
Published with permission of The American Independent.