"In general, this sort of qualified, sneaky language applies to pretty much the entirety of the entire Mueller's team work from the beginning," Maté, who is also the former host and producer at Democracy Now and The Real News, told Radio Sputnik's Loud & Clear.
"If you look at the indictments that they've [the Mueller team] handed down during this Trump-Russia saga, they gave the appearance to many people, especially in cable news and politicians who wanted to build a case for this fictitious Trump-Russia conspiracy, [that Russia was behind the hack]. They use language that gave the impression there might be something there — it's sneaky," Maté told hosts John Kiriakou and Brian Becker.
"If you look at what they're actually saying, they were never charging anybody with a Trump-Russia conspiracy, and they were never accusing anyone of lying to cover up one. But the language they used gave an appearance of otherwise. That extends also to how they talk about even their core charge that Russia engaged — in Mueller's words — in a systematic interference effort."
According to Mueller, Russian intelligence officers, who were part of Russia's Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff, or GRU, launched a "concerted attack" on the US "political system," allegedly using "sophisticated cyber techniques" to hack into computers and networks used by the Clinton campaign. The emails retrieved during the hack were then published by WikiLeaks on July 22, 2016, just before the 2016 Democratic National Convention.
"If you look at the report, the Mueller team is talking about this critical aspect of the theft of the Democratic Party emails, and he lays out this long timeline, and he's talking about the GRU allegedly hacking into the DNC. When it gets down to the part where he's talking about the actual stealing — taking the emails from the DNC server — he says that the GRU officers ‘appear' to have stolen thousands of emails. The use of the word ‘appear' there is interesting, because if Mueller knows that they actually stole the emails, he wouldn't have to add that qualifier," Maté explained.
"The use of that qualifier shows that Mueller, himself, does not definitively know that the Russian military officers stole [the emails]. And that's why he says later on… that the office cannot rule out the possibility that the emails were transferred to WikiLeaks, which means he does not know definitively how the emails were transferred to WikiLeaks, otherwise he wouldn't feel the need to add that qualifier."
"Couple that with the fact that we don't know the basis for the information that Mueller is citing when he accuses the Russian Military Intelligence of stealing those emails. It cannot have come from the NSA [US National Security Agency], because to come from the NSA, that would have had to be declassified by the president, which wasn't the case here," Maté continued.
Former Donald Trump campaign adviser Roger Stone was charged with one count of obstructing a proceeding, one count of witness tampering and five counts of making false statements to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence in 2017, all of which concern his alleged communications with WikiLeaks seeking information about when the hacked Democratic National Committee emails would be released to the public. According to Maté, Stone's attorneys have claimed in a May 10 motion that the US government relied solely on reports by CrowdStrike Inc., the cybersecurity firm that the DNC hired to investigate the hack of the DNC's computer systems. The motion states that Stone be provided unredacted reports by CrowdStrike to build his defense against the DNC.
"These reports contain information that has been relied on by the government and media sources to claim that the DNC was a victim of a hostile former government, aka Russia," Stone's attorneys wrote in their filing, also adding that Stone "is entitled to full access of these reports as the issue of whether or not the DNC was hacked is central to the defendant's defense."
"Roger Stone's attorneys are saying in their lawsuit that [reports of the hack] came from CrowdStrike, a DNC contractor. If that turns out to be true, that raises huge red flags right there for a number of reasons: we are relying on a private firm, a firm whose leadership is openly very critical of Russia. We know that the Steele Dossier which alleged the Trump-Russia conspiracy — that came from another DNC contractor, Christopher Steele. So, there are a million reasons to just question the providence of Mueller's claims, amplified by the fact that he himself does not use definitive language when he makes the allegations," Maté explained.
In 2016, Christopher Steele, a former head of the Russia Desk for British Intelligence, compiled a series of 17 memos alleging conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. Private investigative firm Fusion GPS hired Steele to compile the documents. The firm was also hired by attorneys for Hillary Clinton's campaign and the DNC to investigate Donald Trump, who was at the time running for president as a Republican.
"I think we need to see evidence from WikiLeaks [regarding the DNC links]," Maté told Sputnik.
"We haven't been given the opportunity to see evidence from WikiLeaks. [WikiLeaks founder] Julian Assange has offered to talk to Mueller. He offered to talk to Congress. There were even negotiations going on between WikiLeaks and the DoJ [Department of Justice] to work with Assange, because he was going to release those Vault 7 documents," he said, referring to a series of documents published by WikiLeaks on March 7, 2017, that outline the US Central Intelligence Agency's capabilities and activities related to electronic surveillance and cyberwarfare.
"He [Assange] was also willing to discuss information that he said would rule out the involvement of certain actors in the theft of the DNC emails. Those talks were proceeding, and according to a report in the Hill by John Solomon, James Comey, then director of the FBI, personally intervened to stop those discussions. And Mueller himself never tried to speak to Assange," Maté added.