As of this writing, here is what we know for certain about special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 election: He has delivered the report to attorney general William Barr. A senior Justice Department official also told reporters that Mueller is not recommending any additional indictments. Barr told congressional leaders that he is now reviewing the report and “may be in a position to advise you of the special counsel’s principal conclusions as soon as this weekend.” So now, we wait.
Unless you are a member of resistance-fantasy Twitter, that is. A loose cohort of online activists and quasi-journalists has spent the last few years creating the digital equivalent of a bulletin board covered in yarn, thumbtacks, and photos of everyone who has ever shaken hands with Donald Trump. And unsurprisingly, some of its biggest stars seemed preeeeetty sure on Friday night that “no new indictments” could mean only one thing: tons of new indictments.
Louise Mensch, a British blogger and former member of Parliament, spent much of Friday evening watching MSNBC and reacting either in horror or jubilation to its experts’ speculation. When Sen. Richard Blumenthal said that the full account was likely to include wrongdoing not covered by any indictments, Mensch interpreted that as a coded prediction: “It’s almost like the Democrats on the key committees are confident of more indictments.” When Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, referred to Mueller’s office as a “small contractor” to the Department of Justice, she translated it as an implication that the office “couldn’t handle the volume” of indictments to come. (She capped off her tweet with a smiley.) Toward the end of the evening, Mensch was retweeting follower replies including a photo of an Adam Schiff doll crocheted by a fan.
Mensch also tweeted out a March 7 post from her blog, Patribotics, boasting an “exclusive” that Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump, Ivanka Trump, and Jared Kushner will all be indicted. This report is so exclusive that no reputable news organizations have reported it yet, but Mensch’s post confidently attributes it to “multiple sources with links to the intelligence communities of more than one five eyes nation.” (Mensch is best known for 2017 “exclusive” reporting that “the Marshal of the Supreme Court” had spoken with Trump about his supposedly impending impeachment.)
Another crucial member of the paranoid left, Eric Garland, tweeted after the report’s delivery on Friday afternoon that he was “about to roll with fun stuff.” Garland is best known for a wide-ranging 127-tweet thread on Russian influence in America anchored by the phrase “Time for some game theory,” so he knows from fun stuff. Unfortunately, he now saves most of his tweets for a “troll-free, disinformation-free” locked Twitter account called Game Theory Today, which you can only access for $10 a month. His views on the report remain known only to his 543 subscribers.
Seth Abramson, a University of New Hampshire writing professor, tweeted three days ago that he was embarking on a Twitter break to finish his book, Proof of Conspiracy. But a higher duty called, and Abramson returned to post a 51-tweet “essay” on the report on Friday afternoon. The thread starts sensibly enough, with a reminder that Mueller’s mandate was capacious, and his office’s work is not over. By the 15th tweet, he begins darkly alluding to how “some in the media decided—I do not know why” to associate only certain kinds of collusion cases with Mueller. He then imagines a scenario where Roger Stone flips. He also talks at length about the difference between 90 percent proof of collusion versus 81 percent versus 69. And he finishes off, naturally, with another plug for his book and an assurance to his followers that his “hundreds of hours of professional research … leave no doubt for me” that Trump has acted criminally. And he may be right. But why wait a few more days for more concrete information from Mueller’s office when you’ve got a brand to build and legions of followers to fill with anxious hope?