Read & Comment on the Mueller Report - Live Updates
How do you feel about the Mueller report?
by Causes | 4.18.19
Special counsel Robert Mueller's full report can be found here: https://www.justice.gov/storage/report.pdf
The color-coded 400-page report includes four types of redactions: grand jury information, classified information, material about ongoing investigations, and material affecting peripheral third parties.
We will continue to update this story with highlights of the report.
KEY FINDINGS OF THE MUELLER REPORT
*Note: Page numbers are the page numbers in the PDF linked to above, not those seen in the actual report.
Sanders admitted comment on “countless” FBI agents opposing Comey was false (p. 284)
"Sanders told reporters that the President, the Department of Justice, and bipartisan members of Congress had lost confidence in Comey "[a]nd most importantly, the rank and file of the FBI had lost confidence in their director. Accordingly, the President accepted the recommendation of his Deputy Attorney General to remove James Comey from his position."
When asked about these comments by the special counsel, "Sanders told this Office that her reference to hearing from 'countless members of the FBI' was a 'slip of the tongue.' She also recalled that her statement in a separate press interview that rank-and-file FBI agents had lost confidence in Corney was a comment she made 'in the heat of the moment' that was not founded on anything."
Barr heavily redacted evidence about the Trump campaign’s outreach to WikiLeaks (p. 62)
Trump tried to get former-Attorney General Jeff Sessions to reverse his recusal and investigate Hillary Clinton (p. 321)
"On December 6, 2017, five days after Flynn pleaded guilty to lying about his contacts with the Russian government, the President asked to speak with Sessions in the Oval Office at the end of a cabinet meeting. During that Oval Office meeting...the President again suggested that Sessions could "unrecuse," which [staff secretary Rob] Porter linked to taking back supervision of the Russia investigation and directing an investigation of Hillary Clinton. According to contemporaneous notes taken by Porter, the President said, "I don't know if you could un-recuse yourself. You'd be a hero. Not telling you to do anything. Dershowitz says POTUS can get involved. Can order AG to investigate. I don't want to get involved. I'm not going to get involved. I'm not going to do anything or direct you to do anything. I just want to be treated fairly."
14 cases have been sent to other jurisdictions for investigation. We only know about 2 (Michael Cohen and Gregory Craig).
Mueller: Trump’s aides resisted president’s efforts to influence Russia probe (p. 370)
“The President's efforts to influence the investigation were mostly unsuccessful, but that is largely because the persons who surrounded the President declined to carry out orders or accede to his requests. Corney did not end the investigation of Flynn, which ultimately resulted in Flynn's prosecution and conviction for lying to the FBI. McGahn did not tell the Acting Attorney General that the Special Counsel must be removed, but was instead prepared to resign over the President's order. Lewandowski and Dearborn did not deliver the President's message to Sessions that he should confine the Russia investigation to future election meddling only. And McGahn refused to recede from his recollections about events surrounding the President's direction to have the Special Counsel removed, despite the President's multiple demands that he do so. Consistent with that pattern, the evidence we obtained would not support potential obstruction charges against the President's aides and associates beyond those already filed.”
The Republican National Committee (RNC) platform change on Ukraine wasn't done "at the behest" of Trump or Moscow (p.18)
“[T]he investigation did not establish that one campaign official's efforts to dilute a portion of the Republican Party platform on providing assistance to Ukraine were undertaken at the behest of candidate Trump or Russia."
Mueller says obstruction of justice laws do apply to presidents who use their executive powers corruptly (p.390)
"[W]e were not persuaded by the argument that the President has blanket constitutional immunity to engage in acts that would corruptly obstruct justice through the exercise of otherwise-valid Article II powers protecting the integrity of its own proceedings and the proceedings of Article III courts and grand juries."
Trump’s legal team advised Michael Cohen on his testimony to Congress, but there's no evidence Trump told him to lie (p.365)
"With regard to Cohen’s false statements to Congress, while there is evidence, described below, that the President knew Cohen provided false testimony to Congress about the Trump Tower Moscow project, the evidence available to us does not establish that the President directed or aided Cohen’s false testimony."
Trump's legal team advised Cohen to keep his statements to Congress “short and tight, not elaborate, stay on message, and not contradict the President.”
Mueller on what made this a unique obstruction of justice investigation (p. 219)
“Several features of the conduct we investigated distinguish it from typical obstruction-of-justice cases. First, the investigation concerned the President, and some of his actions, such as firing the FBI director, involved facially lawful acts within his Article II authority, which raises constitutional issues discussed below. At the same time, the President's position as the head of the Executive Branch provided him with unique and powerful means of influencing official proceedings, subordinate officers, and potential witnesses-all of which is relevant to a potential obstruction-of-justice analysis. Second, unlike cases in which a subject engages in obstruction of justice to cover up a crime, the evidence we obtained did not establish that the President was involved in an underlying crime related to Russian election interference. Although the obstruction statutes do not require proof of such a crime, the absence of that evidence affects the analysis of the President's intent and requires consideration of other possible motives for his conduct. Third, many of the President's acts directed at witnesses, including discouragement of cooperation with the government and suggestions of possible future pardons, took place in public view. That circumstance is unusual, but no principle of law excludes public acts from the reach of the obstruction laws. If the likely effect of public acts is to influence witnesses or alter their testimony, the harm to the justice system's integrity is the same.”
Rosenstein refused to reference Russia in Comey firing letter. (p. 279-280)
“According to notes taken by a senior DOJ official of Rosenstein’s description of his meeting with the President, the President said, “Put the Russia stuff in the memo.” Rosenstein responded that the Russia investigation was not the basis of his recommendation, so he did not think Russia should be mentioned. The President told Rosenstein he would appreciate it if Rosenstein put it in his letter anyway. When Rosenstein left the meeting, he knew that Comey would be terminated, and he told DOJ colleagues that his own reasons for replacing Comey were “not [the President’s] reasons.”
Trump viewed Russian interference narrative as an effort to undermine his presidency (p. 23)
“Several advisors recalled that the President-Elect viewed stories about his Russian connections, the Russia investigations, and the intelligence community assessment of Russian interference as a threat to the legitimacy of his electoral victory. Hicks, for example, said that the President-Elect viewed the intelligence community assessment as his "Achilles heel" because, even if Russia had no impact on the election, people would think Russia helped him win, taking away from what he had accomplished. Sean Spicer, the first White House communications director, recalled that the President thought the Russia story was developed to undermine the legitimacy of his election. Gates said the President viewed the Russia investigation as an attack on the legitimacy of his win. And Priebus recalled that when the intelligence assessment came out, the President-Elect was concerned people would question the legitimacy of his win.”
Trump ordered White House counsel Don McGahn to claim that stories about the president wanting to fire Mueller were false (p. 218)
"In early 2018, the press reported that the president had directed McGahn to have the special counsel removed in June 2017 and that McGahn had threatened to resign rather than carry out the order. The president reacted to the news stories by directing White House officials to tell McGahn to dispute the story and to create a record stating he had not been ordered to have the special counsel removed. McGahn told those officials that the media reports were accurate in stating that the president had directed McGahn to have the special counsel removed. The president then met with McGahn in the Oval Office and again pressured him to deny the reports. In the same meeting, the president also asked McGahn why he had told the special counsel about the president’s effort to remove the special counsel and why McGahn took notes of his conversation with the president. McGahn refused to back away from what he remembered happening and perceived the president to be testing his mettle."
Mueller: Sessions didn’t commit perjury about Russian contacts (p. 206)
“With respect to Sessions's statements that he did "not recall any discussions with the Russian Ambassador . .. regarding the political campaign" and he had not been in contact with any Russian official "about the 2016 election," the evidence concerning the nature of Sessions's interactions with Kislyak makes it plausible that Sessions did not recall discussing the campaign with Kislyak at the time of his statements. Similarly, while Sessions stated in his January 2017 oral testimony that he "did not have communications with Russians," he did so in response to a question that had linked such communications to an alleged "continuing exchange of information" between the Trump Campaign and Russian government intermediaries. Sessions later explained to the Senate and to the Office that he understood the question as narrowly calling for disclosure of interactions with Russians that involved the exchange of campaign information, as distinguished from more routine contacts with Russian nationals. Given the context in which the question was asked, that understanding is plausible. Accordingly, the Office concluded that the evidence was insufficient to prove that Sessions was willfully untruthful in his answers and thus insufficient to obtain or sustain a conviction for perjury or false statements.”
Mueller declined to prosecute Donald Trump, Jr. (p. 196)
"Taking into account the high burden to establish a culpable mental state in a campaign-finance prosecution and the difficulty in establishing the required valuation, the Office decided not to pursue criminal campaign-finance charges against Trump Jr. or other campaign officials for the events culminating in the June 9 meeting." Mueller's team explained, "The Office ultimately concluded that, even if the principal legal questions were resolved favorably to the government, a prosecution would encounter difficulties proving that Campaign officials or individuals connected to the Campaign willfully violated the law."
Russian reached out to Cohen about fake ‘Miss Universe’ tapes (p. 239-240 footnotes)
“Comey’s briefing included Steele reporting’s unverified allegation that the Russians had compromising tapes of the President involving conduct when he was a private citizen during a 2013 trip to Moscow for the Miss Universe Pageant. During the 2016 presidential campaign, a similar claim may have reached candidate Trump. On October 30, 2016, Michael Cohen received a text from Russian businessman Giorgi Rtskhiladze that said, "Stopped flow of tapes from Russia but not sure if there's anything else. Just so you know .... ". Rtskhiladze said "tapes" referred to compromising tapes of Trump rumored to be held by persons associated with the Russian real estate conglomerate Crocus Group, which had helped host the 2013 Miss Universe Pageant in Russia. Cohen said he spoke to Trump about the issue after receiving the texts from Rtskhiladze. Rtskhiladze said he was told the tapes were fake, but he did not communicate that to Cohen.”
McGahn refused to initiate firing of Mueller (p. 216)
"On June 17, 2017 the president called McGahn at home and directed him to call the acting attorney general and say that the special counsel had conflicts of interest and must be removed. McGahn did not carry out the direction, however, deciding that he would resign rather than trigger what he regarded as a potential Saturday Night Massacre."
Trump reaction to special counsel appointment: "I'm f**ked" (p. 290)
"[W]hen Sessions told the president that a special counsel had been appointed, the president slumped back in his chair and said "Oh my god. This is terrible. This is the end my presidency. I'm fucked. I'm fucked." The president became angry and lambasted the attorney general for his decision to recuse from the investigation, stating "How could you let this happen, Jeff?" The president said the position of attorney general was his most important appointment and that Sessions had "let (him) down," contrasting him to Eric Holder and Robert Kennedy. Sessions recalled that the president said to him, "You were supposed to protect me," or words to that effect. The president returned to the consequences of the appointment and said, "Everyone tells me if you get one of these independent counsels, it ruins your presidency. It takes years and years and I won't be able to do anything. This is the worst thing that ever happened to me."
Mueller writes that Congress has the ability to charge Trump with obstructing justice (p.220 )
"With respect to whether the President can be found to have obstructed justice by exercising his powers under Article II of the Constitution, we concluded that Congress has the authority to prohibit a President's corrupt use of his authority in order to protect the integrity of the administration of justice."
Mueller was unable to conclude that "no criminal conduct occurred" (p. 394)
"If we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state. Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, however, we are unable to reach that judgment. The evidence we obtained about the President's actions and intent presents difficult issues that prevent us from conclusively determining that no criminal conduct occurred. Accordingly, while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him."
Mueller: Trump campaign "expected" benefit from illegal actions by Moscow (p.9)
"Although the investigation established that the Russian government perceived it would benefit from a Trump presidency and worked to secure that outcome, and that the campaign expected it would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts, the investigation did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in the election interference activities," the report said.
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