Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
Senior Contributor


Couldn't this same approach to the law apply to Hillary's rigging the democratic primaries?


The “conspiracy to defraud” approach, the Lawfare authors point out, “has been sitting in plain sight in the general conspiracy statute … since 1948 (and an earlier provision with substantially similar language dates to 1867). The statute makes it illegal for two or more persons to ‘conspire either to commit any offense against the United States, or to defraud the United States, or any agency thereof in any manner or for any purpose.’”

The authors add that “unlike conspiracy to commit an offense, conspiracy to defraud the United States need not be connected to a specific underlying crime,” and “defraud” is not defined by the law.

Mr. Mueller’s IRA indictment uses the statute specifically in context of U.S. election law and while its use is not popular, several federal circuit courts have heard cases based on the theory and allowed its application regarding federal election laws.

“Russia’s sustained, many-front effort to interfere in the 2016 election — a glimpse of which was shown in the indictment — is undoubtedly more complex and far-reaching than the plots that have previously been prosecuted as conspiracies to defraud the United States,” Ms. Kohse and Mr. Wittes write. “But that makes Mueller’s theory richer, not more novel.”

Because Mr. Mueller is alleging conspiracy to defraud the FEC, DOJ and State Department, some legal scholars say recent commentary about “collusion” between the Trump campaign and Kremlin is misdirected. Instead, he appears to be building a case with the FEC, DOJ and State Department at its core — not the Kremlin.