The indictments of Russian nationals for meddling with the election could “make the Clinton Campaign a potential target,” according to a California lawyer.
In an opinion piece for Law & Crime, Robert Barnes said that Robert Mueller indicted of 13 Russians and three Russian companies because they did not register as foreign agents or record financial expenditures to the Federal Elections Commissions.
“They were foreign citizens; they tried to influence an election; and they neither registered under the Foreign Agents Registration Act nor reported their funding to the Federal Elections Commission,” he wrote.
Under this claim, there are three things that “make the Clinton Campaign a potential target,” according to Barnes.
The first one is that they knew Christopher Steele, the author of the infamous Russia-Trump dossier, was a foreign citizen.
According to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s press conference on the indictments, the Russians “used stolen or fictitious American identities, fraudulent bank accounts and false identification documents” to hide their activities.
The next potentially criminating thing is that the Clinton campaign “knew, and paid, Steele to influence an election.”
Similarly, the indictments showed that twelve defendants worked for a company called Internet Research Agency, LLC, based in St. Petersburg. It reportedly operated through Russian shell companies.
“It employed hundreds of people in its online operations, ranging from creators of fictitious personas, to technical and administrative support personnel, with an annual budget of millions of dollars,” Rosenstein said.
Lastly, the Clinton campaign “knew, and facilitated, Steele” not registering as a foreign agent or reporting that he was being funded by the Clinton campaign to the Federal Election Commissions. He instead disguised the payments as a “legal expense.”
Steele himself, based on Mueller’s theory, is a criminal under the same guidelines as the Russian indictments. He is a foreign citizen, was paid to influence an election, and never registered as a foreign agent or listed his expenditures.
The Clinton campaign is not the only potential target under Mueller’s theory. The DNC, Perkins Coie and Fusion GPS could also be targeted for indictment, according to Barnes. However, Barnes said not to expect an indictment of any of these people or organizations.
“Mueller chose his targets because he knows they will never appear in court, never contest the charges, and cannot be arrested or extradited as Russian citizens,” he wrote.
Barnes is a California-based trial attorney who focuses on Constitutional, criminal and civil rights law.