The conclusion of Robert Mueller’s special report which exonerates Donald Trump and his associates of any collusion with Russia during the 2016 election has been described by some of Trump’s opponents as a “victory for Putin”. The reality could not be more different as the report exonerates Trump, his family and his associates but from what the world currently knows of the report, it crucially does not exonerate the Russian government.
“The Special Counsel did not find that the Trump Campaign, or anyone associated with it, conspired or coordinated with the Russian Government in these efforts, despite multiple offers from Russian-affiliated individuals to assist the Trump Campaign.”
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 25, 2019
As Trump specifically pointed out in a Tweet, Mueller found that the Russian government did try to influence the campaign but that it was unsuccessful in doing so as Trump and his colleagues did not entertain the Russian advances.
While Moscow will likely deny that the Russian government tried to influence the campaign and while the US will continue to state that the Russian government did so, the reality is that the Mueller report sets into stone a new narrative which is good for Trump, bad for his domestic opponents and very bad for Russia.
This is the case for the following reason:
1. Mueller’s report indicates that Trump’s denials of collusion were true
2. Mueller’s report likewise indicates that all suggestions, accusations and self-assured proclamations regarding Trump-Russia conclusion were lies
3. Mueller’s report indicates that rather than Russia and Trump conspiring together, Russia did in fact conspire but Trump maintained the high ground in spite of this
For Donald Trump this represents not only vindication but it now allows him to seize part of his opponents’ half discredited narrative and use it for his own gain. Because those who appeared to be 100% certain of Trump colluding with Moscow now have a great deal of egg on their face, Trump is now the last honest man standing by the logic of pertinent sections of Mueller’s report.
As such, Trump can doubly attack his domestic opponents and attack Russia without being accused of either hypocrisy nor of trying to distract from the Mueller investigation.
As a result, there will likely be more sanctions on Russia rather than less, Russia businesses (state owned or otherwise) in the US will probably be more regulated by Washington and most importantly, the US will now use its own energy might to do all that it can to undercut the Russian sale of oil and gas on international markets.
Unlike Barack Obama, Donald Trump never had much of an appetite for the non-profitable/materially costly antagonism of Russia in Syria or for the Kiev regime. Instead, Trump will seek to economically isolate Russia more than any previous US government had done, whilst using a pan-western hemisphere oil cartel that will be more or less de facto complete when and if there is regime change in Venezuela, in order to dictate global energy prices and influence global energy markets. By transforming the US into the world’s top energy exporter while co-opting the competition in the Americas, Trump’s goal is for America to replace the OPEC+ format (which in reality means Saudi Arabia and Russia) as the chief determiner of global energy prices.
Now that Trump can claim the upper ground in domestic politics (in spite of the attempts of his opponents to say otherwise), he can channel two years worth of anger at Russia (rightly or wrongly) in order to try his best to encircle Russia’s energy export dependent economy as much as possible.
Thus, while some are claiming that there are celebrations in Moscow due to Mueller’s findings, the opposite is the case and no one knows this better than Donald Trump himself.