Russian Intelligence Played a Long Game -- But So Does Robert Mueller

A former FBI special agent uses the first sentence handed down in Robert Mueller’s investigation to lay out Russian intelligence's byzantine efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election. Clint Watts presents a sophisticated overview of Moscow’s intricate long-game moves in a smart NYT opinion piece: “For Russia, Trump Was a Vehicle, Not a Target.”   

Watts, who has been studying Russia’s infiltration of U.S. elections since 2014, testified before the Senate intelligence committee with a primer on the Russian tactics a year ago. Now Mueller’s sentencing memorandum for Alex Van Der Zwann, son-in-law of a Russian oligarch and a now-former Skadden Arps lawyer, has detailed direct communications between Trump campaign officials and a Russian intelligence agent.

Combined with revelations from other Mueller indictments, Watts deftly connects dots that most people can’t even see.    


Allison Silver