Svab's crucial point in this regard is that conspiracy can be charged even without a substantive crime actually being committed--as long as some step, some overt act in furtherance of the alleged conspiracy, is taken. One step will do. That means that only a circumstantial case need be made as to the underlying conspiracy and, crucially, the one step in furtherance of the conspiracy does not itself have to be a criminal act. Here's Svab's concise explanation of how significant Team Mueller's failure to allege a conspiracy on Trump's part was:
When the final report of then-special counsel Robert Mueller stated that it couldn’t establish that anyone from the Trump campaign had conspired with Russia, many Americans may have failed to realize how revealing a statement that was.
The recent conviction of a former partner in the now-defunct consultancy firm of Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, former national security adviser to President Donald Trump, shows how easy it would have been for Mueller to bring charges even if he could piece together only a circumstantial case.
Yet he didn’t.
The point is that if conspiracy is relatively easy to charge, given the right circumstances, Team Mueller's failure in that regard is a strong indication of just how clean Trump was.
Despite its ominous sound, the federal charge of conspiracy has a low bar to clear. If two people agree to commit any federal crime and if they undertake any, however trivial, “overt act” to further the plan, they can be charged and sent to prison for up to five years, even if they never actually committed the contemplated crime.
“It is a low bar,” said David Duncan, criminal defense lawyer from the Boston law firm Zalkind Duncan & Bernstein. The “overt act” in particular can be something “minor or innocuous-looking,” he said.
By that standard, it appears that if anyone on the Trump team had agreed to do anything in the United States that could be seen as stealthily acting on behalf of the Russian government and took any, however small, step to carry it out—even if nothing came out of it—the Mueller team would have brought charges, even if it couldn’t directly prove Moscow was behind it.
Yet no such charges were brought by Mueller.
Let that sink in. And then think about another aspect of this. Duncan, the attorney, is thinking in terms of a criminal investigation in which the goal is to convict someone of a crime. However, in the case of President Trump, while that might have been the pie in the sky goal, the real goal was to simply force him out of office. For that, any allegation of a conspiracy, as long as it had the most superficial plausibility, would probably have been sufficient to flip a few GOP senators. This is what makes Team Mueller's failure to make such allegations so remarkable. You know that this failure didn't result from a lack of effort or imagination.
With that in mind, let me just recall the case theory that I've been pushing since last December. My theory of the case that was being ginned up to frame Trump. Central to that theory is the collusion narrative, and a key part of that was the Trump Tower meeting with the Russian lawyer, Veselnitskaya, in June, 2016. The point of that meeting was to entangle the Trump campaign in at least the appearance of a quid pro quo deal: the suggestion of sanctions relief for Russia in exchange for Russian dirt on Hillary for the Trump campaign. It didn't have to be an actual deal--even an expression of openness, of we'll-talk-again, anything of that sort would have been circumstantial evidence of a conspiracy to violate the Bribery Act, 18 USC 201. Or a federal fraud act, perhaps even the "honest services" fraud of 18 USC 1346.
Consider now how fortunate Trump was that his three aides at the meeting--Don Jr., Jared Kushner, and Paul Manafort--unequivocally refused to take the bait. Any equivocation could have been construed as circumstantial evidence of a conspiracy. That's why virtually every witness who was interrogated by Team Mueller reported that they were questioned closely about anything they might know about that meeting. And that's also why Team Mueller tried mightily to show that Trump himself had some knowledge--any knowledge--of that meeting. Or that he concealed or may have concealed such knowledge.
This was a very close call for Trump. I really hope that Barr/Durham get to the bottom of the Trump Tower meeting. Was DoJ involved? Andrew Weissmann was tight with the Hillary campaign, with Simpson. Was the FBI involved? Who was behind the special visa for Veselnitskaya and why? Lots of questions. This was too central to the plot to frame Trump to be coincidence. We need to know this.