web analytics
a

Facebook

Twitter

Copyright 2015 Libero Themes.
All Rights Reserved.

8:30 - 6:00

Our Office Hours Mon. - Fri.

703-406-7616

Call For Free 15/M Consultation

Facebook

Twitter

Search
Menu
Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "Trump, Donald J"

The Mueller Report Is 448 Pages Long. You Need to Know These 7 Key Things.

ImageWestlake Legal Group 18dc-takeaways-articleLarge The Mueller Report Is 448 Pages Long. You Need to Know These 7 Key Things. Trump, Donald J Special Prosecutors (Independent Counsel) Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Presidential Election of 2016 Justice Department Flynn, Michael T Federal Bureau of Investigation Comey, James B Cohen, Michael D (1966- )

Television reporters in front of the Justice Department on Thursday.CreditGabriella Demczuk for The New York Times

The special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, produced a report of more than 400 pages that painted a deeply unflattering picture of President Trump but stopped short of accusing him of criminal wrongdoing. Here are seven takeaways.

When Attorney General Jeff Sessions told Mr. Trump that a special counsel had been appointed in May 2017, Mr. Trump grew angry: “I’m fucked,” he said, believing his presidency was ruined. He told Mr. Sessions, “This is the worst thing that ever happened to me.”

Mr. Trump began trying to get rid of Mr. Mueller, only to be thwarted by his staff. In instance after instance, his staff acted as a bulwark against Mr. Trump’s most destructive impulses. In June 2017, the president instructed Donald F. McGahn II, the White House counsel, to remove Mr. Mueller, but Mr. McGahn resisted. Rather than carry out the president’s order, he decided he would rather resign.

One of the unanswered questions of the past two years — which helped fuel the F.B.I. investigation, congressional inquiries and journalistic scrutiny — is why so many people lied, changed their stories and issued misleading statements to both the public and federal authorities.

The report recaps one false statement after another. Just a few examples:

Mr. Trump was livid when journalists revealed that he had unsuccessfully ordered Mr. Mueller’s firing. The president tried to get Mr. McGahn to say publicly that was false, but Mr. McGahn refused, saying that the news reports were accurate. Mr. Mueller’s report notably declared that Mr. McGahn was “credible.”

Mr. Trump also pressed the deputy attorney general, Rod J. Rosenstein, to give a news conference about the firing of the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey. The White House press office wanted Mr. Rosenstein to say it was his idea. Mr. Rosenstein told the president that a news conference was a bad idea “because if the press asked him, he would tell the truth.”

The White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, admitted issuing a statement to the news media “in the heat of the moment that was not founded on anything.”

No, F.B.I. agents didn’t actually call the White House offering support for Mr. Comey’s firing. (Vol. II, Page 72)

Mr. Mueller can’t explain why the stories about Mr. Comey’s firing keep changing. (Vol. II, Page 77)

President Trump speaking Thursday at the White House about the special counsel’s report.CreditErin Schaff/The New York Times

The president has spent the past two years denouncing the news media. He has repeatedly accused reporters of making up sources to destroy his presidency. The report, though, shows not only that some of the most unflattering stories about Mr. Trump were accurate, but also that White House officials knew that was the case even as they heaped criticism on journalists.

In May 2017, for instance, The New York Times disclosed that Mr. Trump had asked Mr. Comey to end the F.B.I.’s investigation into the president’s national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn. Mr. Trump tweeted, “I never asked Comey to stop investigating Flynn. Just more Fake News covering another Comey lie!”

“Despite those denials,” Mr. Mueller wrote, “substantial evidence corroborates Comey’s account.”

In another instance, Mr. Trump appeared to use criticism of the news media as a legal strategy. He attacked a Times article suggesting that his former lawyer, Michael D. Cohen, might cooperate with the Justice Department and provide information about Mr. Trump.


Mr. Trump was quick to declare the report a total vindication.

But federal authorities went out of their way not to exonerate Mr. Trump. They wrote that his conduct in office “presents difficult issues that prevent us from conclusively determining that no criminal conduct occurred.”

If the evidence cleared the president, Mr. Mueller would have said so. It didn’t. (Vol. II, Page 8)


Mr. Trump repeatedly said he was eager to sit for an interview with Mr. Mueller’s team, despite his lawyers’ insistence that doing so would be a terrible idea.

The report makes clear why his lawyers were so worried about it. Mr. Mueller had a huge cache of unanswered questions, misleading and conflicting statements, and unexplained actions with which to confront the president. Sitting for an interview, the report makes clear, would have exposed Mr. Trump to far more problems.

Mr. Mueller said he chose not to subpoena the president because a court fight would delay the investigation. But that decision meant that the authorities were never able to ask the central question in the obstruction case: What was Mr. Trump thinking when he tried repeatedly to undermine the federal investigation?

Mr. Mueller believed he had the authority to subpoena the president. (Vol. II, Page 13)


Mr. Mueller makes explicit what Mr. Trump has repeatedly cast doubt on: Russia secretly manipulated the 2016 presidential election.

The investigation ultimately found no evidence that anyone from Mr. Trump’s campaign participated in that effort, but the report reveals in stark detail the many suspicious interactions that had the F.B.I. so worried. Many of those have been reported, but the report amounts to a compendium that helps explain the origins of the F.B.I. investigation, known as “Crossfire Hurricane.”

For instance, it has long been known that George Papadopoulos, a young campaign aide, was told that the Russian government had “dirt” on Hillary Clinton in the form of thousands of emails. But the report goes much further, revealing that Mr. Papadopoulos suggested an explicit offer by the Russian government to work with the Trump campaign to sabotage Mrs. Clinton.

Mr. Papadopoulos indicated that Russia wanted to coordinate with the Trump campaign. (Vol. I, Page 89)


Prosecutors describe a president who was preoccupied with ending a federal investigation, a White House that repeatedly told misleading and changing stories, and a presidential campaign that was in repeated contact with Russian officials for reasons that are not always clear.

Even though prosecutors concluded that didn’t amount to provably criminal conduct, the report is astounding in its sweep. Yet it is also a reminder of how much the public has learned over the past two years about Mr. Trump’s conduct.

If the American public or members of Congress were learning these things for the first time, the political fallout would normally be devastating. The consequences of the report remain to be seen, but if people are not surprised or shocked by the revelations, then Mr. Trump may have benefited by the steady drip of news stories he has so loudly criticized.

The special counsel suggests a pattern of behavior by Mr. Trump to harm the investigation. (Vol. II, Page 157)

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

In Highly Anticipated Report, Mueller Reveals Trump’s Efforts to Thwart Russian Inquiry

WASHINGTON — Robert S. Mueller III revealed a frantic, monthslong effort by President Trump to thwart the investigation into Russia’s 2016 election interference, cataloging in a report released on Thursday the attempts by Mr. Trump to escape an inquiry that imperiled his presidency from the start.

The much-anticipated report laid out how a team of prosecutors working for Mr. Mueller, the special counsel, wrestled with whether the president’s actions added up to an indictable offense of obstruction of justice for a sitting president. They ultimately decided not to charge Mr. Trump, citing numerous legal and factual constraints, but pointedly declined to exonerate him.

“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,” Mr. Mueller’s investigators wrote. “Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, however, we are unable to reach that judgment.”

Mr. Mueller inherited a sweeping inquiry 23 months ago into whether Mr. Trump or any of his aides had coordinated with the Russian government’s campaign to sabotage the presidential election. The report found numerous contacts between Trump campaign advisers and Russians in the months before and after the election — meetings in pursuit of business deals, policy initiatives and political dirt about Hillary Clinton — but said there was “insufficient evidence” to establish that there had been a criminal conspiracy.

While the report does not find that the president or his campaign aides had committed any crimes in their contacts with Russians, it lays bare how Mr. Trump was elected with the help of a foreign power. When a federal inquiry was started to investigate the Russian effort, he took numerous steps to try to undermine it.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_153685329_83cfec66-fae1-4738-8e2c-f0031c6d9e33-articleLarge In Highly Anticipated Report, Mueller Reveals Trump’s Efforts to Thwart Russian Inquiry United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Special Prosecutors (Independent Counsel) Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Russia Mueller, Robert S III Justice Department Federal Bureau of Investigation Comey, James B Clinton, Hillary Rodham Classified Information and State Secrets Barr, William P

“There is substantial evidence to show that the president was frustrated and angered by a sincere belief that the investigation was undermining his presidency, propelled by his political opponents and fueled by illegal leaks,” Mr. Barr said.CreditTom Brenner for The New York Times

The special counsel found that Mr. Trump had the authority to make many of his most controversial decisions, including the firing of James B. Comey as F.B.I. director, by virtue of the powers the Constitution grants him. At the same time, it is a far more damning portrayal of his behavior than the one presented last month in a four-page letter released by Attorney General William P. Barr.

“The incidents were often carried out through one-on-one meetings in which the president sought to use his official power outside of usual channels,” the report said. “These actions ranged from efforts to remove the special counsel and to reverse the effect of the attorney general’s recusal; to the attempted use of official power to limit the scope of the investigation; to direct and indirect contacts with witnesses with the potential to influence their testimony. Viewing the acts collectively can help to illuminate their significance.”

In his letter, Mr. Barr announced that — while Mr. Mueller had made no judgment about whether Mr. Trump had obstructed justice — he had decided that the president had not.

Mr. Barr defended this decision in a news conference on Thursday morning, and said that some of the president’s actions were understandable given the “context” of his situation.

“There is substantial evidence to show that the president was frustrated and angered by a sincere belief that the investigation was undermining his presidency, propelled by his political opponents and fueled by illegal leaks,” he said.

The report is a sometimes gripping account of a presidency consumed by a sprawling investigation, and of a president seized by paranoia about what it might unearth.

Immediately after learning that a special counsel had been appointed to lead the Russia investigation, the report said, Mr. Trump became distraught and slumped in his chair.

“Oh, my God. This is terrible,” he said. “This is the end of my presidency. I’m fucked.”

Last month’s release of Mr. Mueller’s primary conclusions seemed to blunt any momentum on Capitol Hill to initiate impeachment proceedings against Mr. Trump, and it appeared unlikely that the far more detailed accounting of the special counsel’s work would change that dynamic.

But on Thursday, top Democratic lawmakers seized on the report’s findings and suggested that the issue of impeachment was not settled. At the very least, Mr. Mueller’s report seems certain to give Democratic lawmakers — and the many Democratic presidential candidates — ample political fodder for attacks on the president until November 2020, when Mr. Trump will stand for re-election.

The release is the culmination of an investigation that consumed the national political conversation for nearly two years and was freighted with the outsize expectations of Mr. Trump’s most fervent critics.

Mr. Mueller achieved a cult status among some Americans obsessed with the prospect that he might deliver a report that would imperil the Trump presidency — an image fueled by his general refusal to give public signals about the direction of his investigation. Mr. Mueller and his staff seemed monkish and enigmatic, choosing to speak only in court appearances and highly detailed indictments of Russian intelligence operatives or some of the president’s advisers.

Some Americans invested so much hope in the Mueller investigation that they made plans to hold rallies in predetermined locations if Mr. Trump fired the special counsel and terminated the investigation.

Westlake Legal Group mueller-report-people-events-promo-1552676143429-articleLarge-v3 In Highly Anticipated Report, Mueller Reveals Trump’s Efforts to Thwart Russian Inquiry United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Special Prosecutors (Independent Counsel) Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Russia Mueller, Robert S III Justice Department Federal Bureau of Investigation Comey, James B Clinton, Hillary Rodham Classified Information and State Secrets Barr, William P

Mueller Report: Who and What the Special Counsel Investigated

More than two years of criminal indictments and steady revelations about Trump campaign contacts with Russians reveal the scope of the special counsel investigation.

He never did. Instead, Mr. Mueller and his team were able to complete an investigation that amassed information from thousands of subpoenas, hundreds of search warrants and evidence turned over from more than a dozen foreign governments.

The Mueller investigation began in May 2017, but its origins go back nearly a year earlier. The F.B.I. opened the original inquiry into possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia in July 2016, in the midst of a heated presidential election contest that, the world now knows, Moscow made a concerted effort to sabotage.

That summer saw WikiLeaks release thousands of hacked emails meant to cripple Mrs. Clinton’s candidacy, and American intelligence and law enforcement officials saw other ominous signs of Russian attempts to subvert the election.

Determining the scope of the Russian interference campaign was a centerpiece of the Mueller investigation, and will most likely be one of its enduring legacies. His report leaves no doubt that it was the Russian government that orchestrated the effort, and that many of Mr. Trump’s aides welcomed it — even if they did not actively coordinate with Moscow.

At the very least, in the face of repeated Russian efforts to make contact with Mr. Trump’s advisers, none of them thought to contact the F.B.I.

When Mr. Mueller began his work, there were still prominent voices at both ends of the political spectrum openly debating whether the hacking and leaking of emails — and the fake news that spread like a wildfire on social media in the months before the election — was the work of Russia, China, stateless hackers or, as Mr. Trump once liked to say, “someone sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds.”

Television reporters at the White House on Thursday.CreditErin Schaff/The New York Times

Most of those voices of doubt fell silent after the special counsel’s team secured two indictments last year against a total of 25 Russian military intelligence operatives and experts in social media manipulation. The indictments gave exquisite details about the entirety of the Russian operation — how Russians paid unsuspecting Americans to stage pro-Trump rallies in battleground states, how Russian hackers penetrated the personal email account of Mrs. Clinton’s campaign chairman and how a pair of Russian women took a scouting trip to the United States two years before the election to gather information for the planned assault.

Mr. Mueller and his team took over the F.B.I. investigation days after Mr. Trump fired Mr. Comey and after senior law enforcement officials had opened a parallel investigation into whether the president had obstructed justice in his moves that appeared meant to derail the Russia inquiry.

Mr. Trump long denounced the inquiry as a politically motivated “witch hunt.” But since it began, a half-dozen former Trump aides have been indicted or convicted of crimes, most of them for lying to Congress or federal investigators.

Mr. Trump declared victory last month when Mr. Barr sent the four-page letter to Congress outlining the investigation’s main conclusions. Mr. Barr wrote that the special counsel had not found sufficient evidence to conclude that Mr. Trump or any of his advisers had engaged in a criminal conspiracy with Russia.

“After three years of lies and smears and slander, the Russia hoax is finally dead,” Mr. Trump told thousands of his supporters at a Michigan rally days after Mr. Barr’s letter was made public. “Robert Mueller was a god to the Democrats. He was a god to them until he said, ‘No collusion.’ They don’t like him so much now.”

Even so, the revelations in Mr. Barr’s letter did not produce a noticeable bump in Mr. Trump’s approval rating, and polls taken in the weeks since Mr. Barr’s letter have shown that many Americans were reserving judgment until they had a fuller picture of Mr. Mueller’s conclusions.

Other Americans made up their minds long ago, and it is unclear what the effect will be of the release of hundreds of pages of investigative conclusions by a team of seasoned prosecutors. Those already convinced that the investigation was a witch hunt, and those already convinced that Mr. Trump conspired with Russia to win the presidency, are unlikely to be moved by the conclusions of Mr. Mueller and his team.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Mueller Report Reveals Trump’s Efforts to Thwart Russian Inquiry

WASHINGTON — Robert S. Mueller III revealed a frantic, monthslong effort by President Trump to thwart the investigation into Russia’s 2016 election interference, cataloging in a report released on Thursday the attempts by Mr. Trump to escape an inquiry that imperiled his presidency from the start.

The much-anticipated report laid out how a team of prosecutors working for Mr. Mueller, the special counsel, wrestled with whether the president’s actions added up to an indictable offense of obstruction of justice for a sitting president. They ultimately decided not to charge Mr. Trump, citing numerous legal and factual constraints, but pointedly declined to exonerate him.

“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,” Mr. Mueller’s investigators wrote. “Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, however, we are unable to reach that judgment.”

Mr. Mueller inherited a sweeping inquiry 23 months ago into whether Mr. Trump or any of his aides had coordinated with the Russian government’s campaign to sabotage the presidential election. The report found numerous contacts between Trump campaign advisers and Russians in the months before and after the election — meetings in pursuit of business deals, policy initiatives and political dirt about Hillary Clinton — but said there was “insufficient evidence” to establish that there had been a criminal conspiracy.

While the report does not find that the president or his campaign aides had committed any crimes in their contacts with Russians, it lays bare how Mr. Trump was elected with the help of a foreign power. When a federal inquiry was started to investigate the Russian effort, he took numerous steps to try to undermine it.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_153685329_83cfec66-fae1-4738-8e2c-f0031c6d9e33-articleLarge Mueller Report Reveals Trump’s Efforts to Thwart Russian Inquiry United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Special Prosecutors (Independent Counsel) Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Russia Mueller, Robert S III Justice Department Federal Bureau of Investigation Comey, James B Clinton, Hillary Rodham Classified Information and State Secrets Barr, William P

“There is substantial evidence to show that the president was frustrated and angered by a sincere belief that the investigation was undermining his presidency, propelled by his political opponents and fueled by illegal leaks,” Mr. Barr said.CreditTom Brenner for The New York Times

The special counsel found that Mr. Trump had the authority to make many of his most controversial decisions, including the firing of James B. Comey as F.B.I. director, by virtue of the powers the Constitution grants him. At the same time, it is a far more damning portrayal of his behavior than the one presented last month in a four-page letter released by Attorney General William P. Barr.

“The incidents were often carried out through one-on-one meetings in which the president sought to use his official power outside of usual channels,” the report said. “These actions ranged from efforts to remove the special counsel and to reverse the effect of the attorney general’s recusal; to the attempted use of official power to limit the scope of the investigation; to direct and indirect contacts with witnesses with the potential to influence their testimony. Viewing the acts collectively can help to illuminate their significance.”

In his letter, Mr. Barr announced that — while Mr. Mueller had made no judgment about whether Mr. Trump had obstructed justice — he had decided that the president had not.

Mr. Barr defended this decision in a news conference on Thursday morning, and said that some of the president’s actions were understandable given the “context” of his situation.

“There is substantial evidence to show that the president was frustrated and angered by a sincere belief that the investigation was undermining his presidency, propelled by his political opponents and fueled by illegal leaks,” he said.

The report is a sometimes gripping account of a presidency consumed by a sprawling investigation, and of a president seized by paranoia about what it might unearth.

Immediately after learning that a special counsel had been appointed to lead the Russia investigation, the report said, Mr. Trump became distraught and slumped in his chair.

“Oh, my God. This is terrible,” he said. “This is the end of my presidency. I’m fucked.”

Last month’s release of Mr. Mueller’s primary conclusions seemed to blunt any momentum on Capitol Hill to initiate impeachment proceedings against Mr. Trump, and it appeared unlikely that the far more detailed accounting of the special counsel’s work would change that dynamic.

But on Thursday, top Democratic lawmakers seized on the report’s findings and suggested that the issue of impeachment was not settled. At the very least, Mr. Mueller’s report seems certain to give Democratic lawmakers — and the many Democratic presidential candidates — ample political fodder for attacks on the president until November 2020, when Mr. Trump will stand for re-election.

The release is the culmination of an investigation that consumed the national political conversation for nearly two years and was freighted with the outsize expectations of Mr. Trump’s most fervent critics.

Mr. Mueller achieved a cult status among some Americans obsessed with the prospect that he might deliver a report that would imperil the Trump presidency — an image fueled by his general refusal to give public signals about the direction of his investigation. Mr. Mueller and his staff seemed monkish and enigmatic, choosing to speak only in court appearances and highly detailed indictments of Russian intelligence operatives or some of the president’s advisers.

Some Americans invested so much hope in the Mueller investigation that they made plans to hold rallies in predetermined locations if Mr. Trump fired the special counsel and terminated the investigation.

Westlake Legal Group mueller-report-people-events-promo-1552676143429-articleLarge-v3 Mueller Report Reveals Trump’s Efforts to Thwart Russian Inquiry United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Special Prosecutors (Independent Counsel) Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Russia Mueller, Robert S III Justice Department Federal Bureau of Investigation Comey, James B Clinton, Hillary Rodham Classified Information and State Secrets Barr, William P

Mueller Report: Who and What the Special Counsel Investigated

More than two years of criminal indictments and steady revelations about Trump campaign contacts with Russians reveal the scope of the special counsel investigation.

He never did. Instead, Mr. Mueller and his team were able to complete an investigation that amassed information from thousands of subpoenas, hundreds of search warrants and evidence turned over from more than a dozen foreign governments.

The Mueller investigation began in May 2017, but its origins go back nearly a year earlier. The F.B.I. opened the original inquiry into possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia in July 2016, in the midst of a heated presidential election contest that, the world now knows, Moscow made a concerted effort to sabotage.

That summer saw WikiLeaks release thousands of hacked emails meant to cripple Mrs. Clinton’s candidacy, and American intelligence and law enforcement officials saw other ominous signs of Russian attempts to subvert the election.

Determining the scope of the Russian interference campaign was a centerpiece of the Mueller investigation, and will most likely be one of its enduring legacies. His report leaves no doubt that it was the Russian government that orchestrated the effort, and that many of Mr. Trump’s aides welcomed it — even if they did not actively coordinate with Moscow.

At the very least, in the face of repeated Russian efforts to make contact with Mr. Trump’s advisers, none of them thought to contact the F.B.I.

When Mr. Mueller began his work, there were still prominent voices at both ends of the political spectrum openly debating whether the hacking and leaking of emails — and the fake news that spread like a wildfire on social media in the months before the election — was the work of Russia, China, stateless hackers or, as Mr. Trump once liked to say, “someone sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds.”

Television reporters at the White House on Thursday.CreditErin Schaff/The New York Times

Most of those voices of doubt fell silent after the special counsel’s team secured two indictments last year against a total of 25 Russian military intelligence operatives and experts in social media manipulation. The indictments gave exquisite details about the entirety of the Russian operation — how Russians paid unsuspecting Americans to stage pro-Trump rallies in battleground states, how Russian hackers penetrated the personal email account of Mrs. Clinton’s campaign chairman and how a pair of Russian women took a scouting trip to the United States two years before the election to gather information for the planned assault.

Mr. Mueller and his team took over the F.B.I. investigation days after Mr. Trump fired Mr. Comey and after senior law enforcement officials had opened a parallel investigation into whether the president had obstructed justice in his moves that appeared meant to derail the Russia inquiry.

Mr. Trump long denounced the inquiry as a politically motivated “witch hunt.” But since it began, a half-dozen former Trump aides have been indicted or convicted of crimes, most of them for lying to Congress or federal investigators.

Mr. Trump declared victory last month when Mr. Barr sent the four-page letter to Congress outlining the investigation’s main conclusions. Mr. Barr wrote that the special counsel had not found sufficient evidence to conclude that Mr. Trump or any of his advisers had engaged in a criminal conspiracy with Russia.

“After three years of lies and smears and slander, the Russia hoax is finally dead,” Mr. Trump told thousands of his supporters at a Michigan rally days after Mr. Barr’s letter was made public. “Robert Mueller was a god to the Democrats. He was a god to them until he said, ‘No collusion.’ They don’t like him so much now.”

Even so, the revelations in Mr. Barr’s letter did not produce a noticeable bump in Mr. Trump’s approval rating, and polls taken in the weeks since Mr. Barr’s letter have shown that many Americans were reserving judgment until they had a fuller picture of Mr. Mueller’s conclusions.

Other Americans made up their minds long ago, and it is unclear what the effect will be of the release of hundreds of pages of investigative conclusions by a team of seasoned prosecutors. Those already convinced that the investigation was a witch hunt, and those already convinced that Mr. Trump conspired with Russia to win the presidency, are unlikely to be moved by the conclusions of Mr. Mueller and his team.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

National Enquirer to Be Sold to James Cohen, Heir to Hudson News Founder

The National Enquirer, President Trump’s favorite supermarket tabloid, is about to have a new owner: James Cohen, a son of the founder of the Hudson News franchise. American Media Inc., the Enquirer’s publisher, announced the deal Thursday.

The money-losing title was put up for sale several weeks ago, after its principal owner no longer wanted to be associated with the magazine, which attracted the attention of federal investigators for its role in the 2016 presidential campaign, according to several people familiar with the matter.

American Media had been in talks with several potential buyers, including the California billionaire Ron Burkle, but those talks fell apart last week. Since then, Mr. Cohen, whose father started the chain of Hudson News shops, swooped in to purchase the troubled tabloid.

American Media, led by David J. Pecker, a longtime friend of Mr. Trump’s, has also agreed to sell the Globe and the National Examiner as part of the deal with Mr. Cohen. The Washington Post first reported on the sale, which it pegged at $100 million.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_153695205_66d3b060-1c67-4653-b65a-fb685d13a6f2-articleLarge National Enquirer to Be Sold to James Cohen, Heir to Hudson News Founder Trump, Donald J Pecker, David J National Examiner national enquirer Melchiorre, Anthony (Hedge Fund Manager) Cohen, James American Media Inc

James Cohen and his wife, Lisa.CreditNick Mele/Patrick McMullan, via Getty Images

The principal owner of American Media, the hedge fund Chatham Asset Management, led by Anthony Melchiorre, pushed Mr. Pecker to sell the tabloid after it found itself in the cross hairs of a federal investigation. Mr. Melchiorre no longer saw an upside in being associated with The Enquirer, and the tabloid’s financial losses and falling circulation numbers provided further motivation for a sale.

Mr. Pecker is said to have helped Mr. Trump’s candidacy through American Media’s deal to buy a story from Karen McDougal, a Playboy model who said she had an affair with the president. The company acquired it for $150,000 and never published it, following a practice known in the tabloid business as catch-and-kill. Federal prosecutors from the Southern District of New York gave Mr. Pecker an immunity deal in its investigation of the arrangement.

American Media also signed a non-prosecution deal with federal prosecutors. As part of the agreement, the company affirmed that it had made the payment to Ms. McDougal to “influence the election.” The deal, signed in September, also stipulated that American Media “shall commit no crimes whatsoever” for three years and that, if it did, the company “shall thereafter be subject to prosecution for any federal criminal violation of which this office has knowledge.”

That agreement has put American Media in a difficult position, now that federal prosecutors have started investigating claims by Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, that he was threatened by the company. Mr. Bezos, the subject of an 11-page Enquirer investigation in January, accused American Media of extortion in a blog post.

Hudson News, founded by the Mr. Cohen’s father, Robert B. Cohen, was sold to the Swiss retail company Dufry in 2008. Mr. Cohen is no longer involved in the business but sits on the board of the new parent company.

This story will be updated.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Mueller Reveals Trump’s Efforts to Thwart Russian Inquiry in Highly Anticipated Report

Westlake Legal Group mueller-reveals-trumps-efforts-to-thwart-russian-inquiry-in-highly-anticipated-report Mueller Reveals Trump’s Efforts to Thwart Russian Inquiry in Highly Anticipated Report United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Special Prosecutors (Independent Counsel) Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Russia Mueller, Robert S III Justice Department Federal Bureau of Investigation Comey, James B Clinton, Hillary Rodham Classified Information and State Secrets Barr, William P

WASHINGTON — Robert S. Mueller III revealed a frantic, monthslong effort by President Trump to thwart the investigation into Russia’s 2016 election interference, cataloging in a report released on Thursday the attempts by Mr. Trump to escape an inquiry that imperiled his presidency from the start.

The much-anticipated report laid out how a team of prosecutors working for Mr. Mueller, the special counsel, wrestled with whether the president’s actions added up to criminal obstruction of justice. They ultimately decided not to charge Mr. Trump, citing numerous legal and factual constraints, but pointedly declined to exonerate him.

“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,” Mr. Mueller’s investigators wrote.

Mr. Mueller inherited a sweeping inquiry 23 months ago into whether Mr. Trump or any of his aides had coordinated with the Russian government’s campaign to sabotage the presidential election. The report found numerous contacts between Trump campaign advisers and Russians in the months before and after the election — meetings in pursuit of business deals, policy initiatives and political dirt about Hillary Clinton — but said there was “insufficient evidence” to establish that there had been a criminal conspiracy.

While the report does not find that the president or his campaign aides had committed any crimes in their contacts with Russians, it lays bare how Mr. Trump was elected with the help of a foreign power. When a federal inquiry was started to investigate the Russian effort, he took numerous steps to try to undermine it.

Get updates from our reporters as they discover key findings in the report on Thursday.

The special counsel found that Mr. Trump had the authority to make many of his most controversial decisions, including the firing of James B. Comey as F.B.I. director, by virtue of the powers the Constitution grants him. At the same time, it is a far more damning portrayal of his behavior than the one presented last month in a four-page letter released by Attorney General William P. Barr.

“The incidents were often carried out through one-on-one meetings in which the president sought to use his official power outside of usual channels,” the report said. “These actions ranged from efforts to remove the special counsel and to reverse the effect of the attorney general’s recusal; to the attempted use of official power to limit the scope of the investigation; to direct and indirect contacts with witnesses with the potential to influence their testimony. Viewing the acts collectively can help to illuminate their significance.”

In his letter, Mr. Barr announced that — while Mr. Mueller had made no judgment about whether Mr. Trump had obstructed justice — he had decided that the president had not.

Mr. Barr defended this decision in a news conference on Thursday morning, and said that some of the president’s actions were understandable given the “context” of his situation.

“There is substantial evidence to show that the president was frustrated and angered by a sincere belief that the investigation was undermining his presidency, propelled by his political opponents and fueled by illegal leaks,” he said.

The report is a sometimes gripping account of a presidency consumed by a sprawling investigation, and of a president seized by paranoia about what it might unearth.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_153682116_a28b4d1a-8586-43f7-87c5-d7eb0c200ec9-articleLarge Mueller Reveals Trump’s Efforts to Thwart Russian Inquiry in Highly Anticipated Report United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Special Prosecutors (Independent Counsel) Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Russia Mueller, Robert S III Justice Department Federal Bureau of Investigation Comey, James B Clinton, Hillary Rodham Classified Information and State Secrets Barr, William P

Television reporters at the White House on Thursday.CreditErin Schaff/The New York Times

Immediately after learning that a special counsel had been appointed to lead the Russia investigation, the report said, Mr. Trump became distraught and slumped in his chair.

“Oh, my God. This is terrible,” he said. “This is the end of my presidency. I’m fucked.”

Still, last month’s release of Mr. Mueller’s primary conclusions seemed to blunt any momentum on Capitol Hill to initiate impeachment proceedings against Mr. Trump, and it appears unlikely that the far more detailed accounting of the special counsel’s work will change that dynamic.

At the same time, the findings of Mr. Mueller’s team seem certain to give Democratic lawmakers — and the many Democratic presidential candidates — ample political fodder for attacks on the president until November 2020, when Mr. Trump will stand for re-election.

The release is the culmination of an investigation that consumed the national political conversation for nearly two years and was freighted with the outsize expectations of Mr. Trump’s most fervent critics.

Mr. Mueller achieved a cult status among some Americans obsessed with the prospect that the special counsel might deliver a report that would imperil the Trump presidency — an image fueled by his general refusal to give public signals about the direction of his investigation. Mr. Mueller and his staff seemed monkish and enigmatic, choosing to speak only in court appearances and highly detailed indictments of Russian intelligence operatives or some of the president’s advisers.

Some Americans invested so much hope in the Mueller investigation that they made plans to hold rallies in predetermined locations if Mr. Trump fired the special counsel and terminated the investigation.

Westlake Legal Group mueller-report-people-events-promo-1552676143429-articleLarge-v3 Mueller Reveals Trump’s Efforts to Thwart Russian Inquiry in Highly Anticipated Report United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Special Prosecutors (Independent Counsel) Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Russia Mueller, Robert S III Justice Department Federal Bureau of Investigation Comey, James B Clinton, Hillary Rodham Classified Information and State Secrets Barr, William P

Mueller Report: Who and What the Special Counsel Investigated

More than two years of criminal indictments and steady revelations about Trump campaign contacts with Russians reveal the scope of the special counsel investigation.

He never did. Instead, Mr. Mueller and his team were able to complete an investigation that amassed information from thousands of subpoenas, hundreds of search warrants and evidence turned over from more than a dozen foreign governments.

The Mueller investigation began in May 2017, but its origins go back nearly a year earlier. The F.B.I. opened the original inquiry into possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia in July 2016, in the midst of a heated presidential election contest that, the world now knows, Moscow made a concerted effort to sabotage.

That summer saw WikiLeaks release thousands of hacked emails designed to cripple the candidacy of Hillary Clinton, and American intelligence and law enforcement officials saw other ominous signs of Russian attempts to subvert the election.

Determining the scope of the Russian interference campaign was a centerpiece of the Mueller investigation, and will likely be one of its enduring legacies. His report leaves no doubt that it was the Russian government that orchestrated the effort, and that many of Mr. Trump’s aides welcomed the Russian effort — even if they did not actively coordinate with Moscow’s efforts.

At the very least, in the face of repeated Russian efforts to make contact with Mr. Trump’s advisers, none of them thought to contact the F.B.I.

When Mr. Mueller began his work, there were still prominent voices at both ends of the political spectrum openly debating whether the hacking and leaking of emails — and the fake news that spread like a wildfire on social media in the months before the election — was the work of Russia, China, stateless hackers, or, as Mr. Trump once liked to say, “someone sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds.”

Robert S. Mueller III on Wednesday. Mr. Mueller achieved a cult status among some Americans obsessed with the prospect that the special counsel might deliver a report that would imperil the Trump presidency.CreditKevin Wolf/Associated Press

Most of those voices of doubt fell silent after the special counsel’s team last year secured two indictments against a total of 25 Russian military intelligence operatives and experts in social media manipulation. The indictments gave exquisite details about the entirety of the Russian operation — how Russians paid unsuspecting Americans to stage pro-Trump rallies in battleground states, how Russian hackers penetrated the personal email account of Mrs. Clinton’s campaign chairman and how a pair of Russian women took a scouting trip to the United States two years before the election to gather information for the planned assault.

Mr. Mueller and his team took over the F.B.I. investigation days after Mr. Trump fired Mr. Comey and after senior law enforcement officials had opened a parallel investigation into whether the president had obstructed justice in his moves that appeared designed to derail the Russia inquiry.

Mr. Trump long decried the inquiry as a politically motivated witch hunt. But since it began, a half-dozen former Trump aides have been indicted or convicted of crimes, most of them for lying to Congress or federal investigators.

Mr. Trump declared victory last month when Mr. Barr sent a four-page letter to Congress outlining the investigation’s main conclusions. Mr. Barr wrote that the special counsel had not found sufficient evidence to conclude that Mr. Trump or any of his advisers had engaged in a criminal conspiracy with Russia.

He also said that, while Mr. Mueller had declined to decide whether the president had illegally obstructed justice, Mr. Barr had determined that he had not.

“After three years of lies and smears and slander, the Russia hoax is finally dead,” Mr. Trump told thousands of his supporters at a Michigan rally days after Mr. Barr’s letter was made public. “Robert Mueller was a god to the Democrats. He was a god to them until he said ‘no collusion.’ They don’t like him so much now.”

Even so, the revelations in Mr. Barr’s letter did not produce a noticeable bump in Mr. Trump’s approval rating, and polls taken in the weeks since Mr. Barr’s letter have shown that many Americans were reserving judgment until they had a fuller picture of Mr. Mueller’s conclusions.

Other Americans made up their minds long ago, and it is unclear what the impact will be of the release of hundreds of pages of investigative conclusions by a team of seasoned prosecutors. Those already convinced that the investigation was a “witch hunt,” and those already convinced that Mr. Trump conspired with Russia to win the presidency, are unlikely to be moved by the conclusions of Mr. Mueller and his team.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Watch Live: Nadler Responds to Release of Mueller Report

[unable to retrieve full-text content]

Representative Jerrold Nadler, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, speaks to reporters about the redacted Mueller report’s findings.
Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

The Episodes of Potential Obstruction of Justice in the Mueller Report

Westlake Legal Group the-episodes-of-potential-obstruction-of-justice-in-the-mueller-report The Episodes of Potential Obstruction of Justice in the Mueller Report United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Special Prosecutors (Independent Counsel) Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates McGahn, Donald F II Justice Department

Robert S. Mueller III examined eleven actions President Trump took in office that could have constituted obstruction of justice. Here are the episodes we know that Mr. Mueller investigated. They show a president seeking to use his power atop the executive branch to insulate himself, his family and associates from a sprawling investigation that examined their ties to Russia, experts said.

Feb. 14, 2017

At the end of a meeting with top national-security officials early in his presidency, Mr. Trump asked his F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, to stay behind, then cleared the Oval Office of everyone else, according to congressional testimony by Mr. Comey. The president asked that the F.B.I. end an investigation into his first national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, calling him a good guy who had been through a lot, according to a memo Mr. Comey wrote at the time documenting the encounter. Mr. Comey demurred, and Mr. Flynn later pleaded guilty to lying to investigators and agreed to cooperate with Mr. Mueller.

July 8, 2017

Flying aboard Air Force One with aides as he returned to Washington from a Group of 20 summit meeting in Europe, Mr. Trump thrust himself into the crafting of a response to a New York Times article about a campaign meeting arranged by his son Donald Trump Jr. with a Russian lawyer promising damaging information on Hillary Clinton. Mr. Trump wanted the statement to give as little information as possible, and his lawyers told Mr. Mueller’s team that the president “personally dictated” the response. The initial statement was misleading, saying the meeting had been “primarily” about adoptions, without acknowledging the part about Mrs. Clinton.

May 9, 2017

The president first said he fired Mr. Comey in May 2017 because of how he handled the investigation into Ms. Clinton’s emails, but he soon strayed from that explanation. Within days, Mr. Trump appeared to say in an NBC News interview that Russia was on his mind when he dismissed Mr. Comey, and he told senior Russian officials in the Oval Office that, by firing Mr. Comey, he had relieved great pressure on himself.

June 17, 2017

In the weeks after Mr. Mueller was appointed in May 2017, Mr. Trump tried to force the White House counsel, Donald F. McGahn II, to have the Justice Department fire Mr. Mueller, citing what the president perceived as conflicts of interest. Mr. McGahn thought the president’s assertions carried little weight and refused to follow his instructions, he has told investigators.

On Saturday, June 17, 2017, Mr. McGahn said, the president called him at home and insisted he have Mr. Mueller fired. Fed up with the repeated directive, Mr. McGahn drove to the White House, packed up his office and told senior White House officials that he planned to quit. They advised Mr. McGahn to ignore Mr. Trump, and the lawyer remained in his post another year.


ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_145888005_5e172a8b-ccbf-4c23-9f17-17522c5aaf5d-articleLarge The Episodes of Potential Obstruction of Justice in the Mueller Report United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Special Prosecutors (Independent Counsel) Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates McGahn, Donald F II Justice Department

Attorney General Jeff Sessions at the Department of Justice last year.CreditErin Schaff for The New York Times

JULY 2017

Mr. Trump made two attempts to have his former 2016 campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, influence the behavior of his attorney general, Jeff Sessions, according to the report. In a meeting at the White House on June 19, 2017, the president “dictated a message” for Mr. Lewandowski to deliver to Mr. Sessions, the report says.

“The message said that Sessions should publicly announce that, notwithstanding his recusal from the Russia investigation, the investigation was ‘very unfair’ to the president, the president had done nothing wrong,” the report says, adding that Mr. Sessions was to announce he would let the special counsel investigation on election interference continue.

A month later, in another meeting, on July 19, 2017, Mr. Trump asked Mr. Lewandowski about the status of the message, and Mr. Lewandowski said it would be delivered soon. Hours later, Mr. Trump had an interview with The New York Times and criticized Mr. Sessions. Mr. Lewandowksi was “uncomfortable” delivering the message, the report says, and he asked a White House official, Rick Dearborn, who had worked previously with Mr. Sessions, to do it. Mr. Dearborn chose not to do it.

Mr. Sessions recused himself from the Russia investigation in March 2017 because of his role as a top Trump campaign supporter before being named attorney general. Infuriated, Mr. Trump ranted that Mr. Sessions had betrayed him and that he needed a loyalist at the Justice Department to protect him. In the weeks and months that followed, Mr. Trump sought to pressure Mr. Sessions to reassert his control over the investigation, asking him to “unrecuse” himself. Mr. Sessions refused, prompting Mr. Trump to increasingly pressure him to do so, particularly after Mr. Mueller was appointed in May 2017.

Jan. 26, 2018

Mr. Trump asked aides to disavow a Times article reporting that investigators had learned of the president’s attempt to fire the special counsel and threatened to fire Mr. McGahn if he refused to rebut the news publicly. The president insisted he had never given the firing directive, and when Mr. McGahn disagreed, Mr. Trump said he did not remember it that way.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

The Mueller Report: Excerpts and Analysis

Westlake Legal Group the-mueller-report-excerpts-and-analysis The Mueller Report: Excerpts and Analysis United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Special Prosecutors (Independent Counsel) Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Presidential Election of 2016 Mueller, Robert S III McGahn, Donald F II Justice Department Comey, James B Barr, William P
Westlake Legal Group 00dc-muellerreport-facebookJumbo The Mueller Report: Excerpts and Analysis United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Special Prosecutors (Independent Counsel) Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Presidential Election of 2016 Mueller, Robert S III McGahn, Donald F II Justice Department Comey, James B Barr, William P
  • After a sweeping, 22-month investigation, Robert S. Mueller III found there was insufficient evidence to establish that Mr. Trump or his associates engaged in a criminal conspiracy with Russia to disrupt the 2016 election.

  • Investigators identified numerous contacts between campaign advisers and Russians affiliated with the government during the campaign and after the election. But the special counsel did not establish that the contacts added up to an illegal conspiracy.

  • The report detailed Mr. Trump’s efforts to thwart the investigation, and the Mueller team debated whether the episodes amounted to criminal obstruction of justice. The report said that, by virtue of his position as president, he had the authority to carry out several of the acts in question — including firing James B. Comey as F.B.I. director.

  • Read the full 448-page report or read more on Mr. Barr’s news conference and the reaction to the report.

Get updates from our reporters as they discover key findings in the report on Thursday.

POSTED AT 1:24 PM

Vol II, Page 77: The President and White House aides initially advanced a pretextual reason to the press and the public for Comey’s termination … The initial reliance on a pretextual justification could support an inference that the President had concerns about providing the real reason for the firing, although the evidence does not resolve whether those concerns were personal, political, or both.

One of the biggest questions of the past two years — something that fueled the news coverage, the federal investigation and congressional scrutiny — is why so many people around Mr. Trump lied, misled and changed their stories. People hoping that Mr. Mueller would resolve those questions will be disappointed. Time and again, Mr. Mueller seems as confused as anyone else about the motives.
— Matt Apuzzo

POSTED AT 1:05 PM

Vol. II, Page 153: 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.

Mr. Cohen lied to Congress about the Trump Organization’s business dealings with Russia, prompting accusations that Mr. Trump had instructed him to lie. Mr. Mueller’s report paints a far murkier view. Investigators found evidence that Mr. Trump’s legal team advised Mr. Cohen to keep his statements to Congress “short and tight, not elaborate, stay on message, and not contradict the President.” Mr. Mueller made no finding on what, if any, role Mr. Trump played in that effort.
— Matt Apuzzo

POSTED AT 1:02 PM

Vol. II, Page 157: The incidents were often carried out through one-on-one meetings in which the President sought to use his official power outside of usual channels. These actions ranged from efforts to remove the Special Counsel and to reverse the effect of the Attorney General’s recusal; to the attempted use of official power to limit the scope of the investigation; to direct and indirect contacts with witnesses with the potential to influence their testimony. Viewing the acts collectively can help to illuminate their significance.

Many of the incidents Mr. Mueller examined for possible obstruction of justice had been the subject of public news reports and dismissed by Mr. Trump and his allies over the last two years. But Mr. Mueller tries to weave them together into a pattern of behavior that has implications for understanding Mr. Trump’s actions and intent.
— Nicholas Fandos

POSTED AT 12:54 PM

Vol. II, Page 27: Comey’s briefing included the 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 ….” 10/30/16 Text Message, Rtskhiladze to Cohen. 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 contest in Russia… Rtskhiladze said he was told the tapes were fake, but he did not communicate that to Cohen.

In a footnote of the report, a Russian businessman is quoted as stating via text message that he had “stopped flow” of possibly fake, compromising tapes of Mr. Trump’s conduct in Russia. This offers a new detail on the sensational question of whether, as claimed in the unverified dossier compiled by a former British intelligence agent, Mr. Trump was caught with prostitutes on video in his Moscow hotel in 2013. But the report notes that the Russian businessman who bragged during the campaign that he had “stopped” such tapes evidently later said he believed the tapes in question were “fake.”
— Scott Shane

POSTED AT 12:52 PM

Vol. II, Page 177: Accordingly, based on the analysis above, we 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.

Mr. Mueller dissected and rejected the argument that it would be unconstitutional to apply obstruction of justice laws to the president’s use of his executive powers like firing a subordinate or supervising the Justice Department’s opening and closing of cases. This repudiated an argument laid out not only by Mr. Trump’s lawyers, but also by Mr. Barr in an unsolicited, 19-page memo he wrote for the administration before the president appointed him as attorney general. That means Mr. Mueller left open the possibility of charging Mr. Trump with obstruction after he is no longer president – a possibility that Mr. Barr has tried to take off the table.
— Charlie Savage

POSTED AT 12:46 PM

Vol. II, Page 182: 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.

Whether Mr. Trump engaged in obstruction of justice involves complicated legal and constitutional issues that do not apply to ordinary citizens, but the report explicitly says that the inquiry did not clear the president. Discussing whether the president could have obstructed justice while exercising his constitutional authority, such as by firing James B. Comey as the director of the F.B.I., the report notes that Congress is empowered to step in to stop the corrupt use of presidential power. Democrats in Congress will surely seize on that language as justification for their burgeoning inquiries.
— Sharon LaFraniere

POSTED AT 12:36 PM

Vol. II, Page 139: In early May 2017, Cohen received requests from Congress to provide testimony and documents in connection with congressional investigations of Russian interference in the 2016 election. At that time, Cohen understood Congress’s interest in him to be focused on the allegations in the Steele reporting concerning a meeting Cohen allegedly had with Russian officials in Prague during the campaign. Cohen had never traveled to Prague and was not concerned about those allegations, which he believed were provably false. On May 18, 2017, Cohen met with the President to discuss the request from Congress, and the President instructed Cohen that he should cooperate because there was nothing there.

This further undercuts explosive information in the dossier compiled by Christopher Steele, the former British spy.
— Adam Goldman

POSTED AT 12:27 PM

Vol. I, Pages 53-54: [REDACTED] Manafort also [REDACTED] wanted to be kept apprised of any developments with WikiLeaks and separately told Gates to keep in touch [REDACTED] about future WikiLeaks releases. According to Gates, by the late summer of 2016, the Trump Campaign was planning a press strategy, a communications campaign, and messaging based on the possible release of Clinton emails by WikiLeaks. [REDACTED] while Trump and Gates were driving to LaGuardia Airport. [REDACTED], shortly after the call candidate Trump told Gates that more releases of damaging information would be coming. [REDACTED]

Mr. Barr said this type of material must be kept secret because it was relevant to a continuing criminal matter. That is probably, at a minimum, the indictment of the former Trump adviser Roger Stone Jr., who is charged with lying about his participation in such efforts. But this raises a larger question: whether the hidden evidence shows that the Trump campaign conspired with WikiLeaks. At his news conference on Thursday morning, Mr. Barr said any campaign collusion with WikiLeaks could not amount to a criminal conspiracy because WikiLeaks’ publication of the emails was not a crime so long as it did not help Russia hacking them.
—Charlie Savage

POSTED AT 12:25 PM

Vol. II, Page D-3: During the course of the investigation, the Office periodically identified evidence of potential criminal activity that was outside the scope of the Special Counsel’s jurisdiction established by the Acting Attorney General. After consultation with the Office of the Deputy Attorney General, the Office referred that evidence to appropriate law enforcement authorities, principally other components of the Department of Justice and the FBI.

Twelve of those referrals remain secret. Two others have been made public, including prosecutions involving Mr. Trump’s former personal lawyer, Michael D. Cohen, and Gregory B. Craig, a White House counsel in the Obama administration.
— Adam Goldman

POSTED AT 12:20 PM

Vol. II, Page 5-6: 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.

This is one of the most damning episodes listed in the report, despite having already been reported by The New York Times. It demonstrated an active effort by the president to paint a false narrative about his conduct, both in the news media and with the special counsel.
— Maggie Haberman

POSTED AT 12:08 PM

Vol. II, Page 6: When Flynn’s counsel reiterated that Flynn could no longer share information pursuant to a joint defense agreement, the president’s personal counsel said he would make sure that the President knew that Flynn’s actions reflected ‘hostility’ towards the president.

The report does not state what the president might do in response, if anything. But the episode is part of a pattern, laid out in the report, of the president or his lawyers trying to determine what former aides were telling the special counsel, praising those who refused to cooperate and warning those who did help the special counsel’s team.
—Sharon LaFraniere

POSTED AT 12:06 PM

Vol. II, Page 13: Ultimately, while we believed that we had the authority and legal justification to issue a grand jury subpoena to obtain the President’s testimony, we chose not to do so. We made that decision in view of the substantial delay that such an investigative step would likely produce at a late stage in our investigation. We also assessed that based on the significant body of evidence we had already obtained of the President’s actions and his public and private statements describing or explaining those actions, we had sufficient evidence to understand relevant events and to make certain assessments without the President’s testimony.

Without an interview, Mr. Mueller never had a chance to question the president about the central question of the obstruction investigation: what was his intention when he took a range of actions that could have impeded the investigation?
—Michael S. Schmidt

POSTED AT 12:05 PM

Vol. II, Page 4: On May 17, 2017, the Acting Attorney General for the Russia investigation appointed a special counsel to conduct the investigation and related matters. The president reacted to news that a special counsel had been appointed by telling advisors that it was ‘the end of his presidency’ and demanding that Sessions resign. Sessions submitted his resignation, but the president ultimately did not accept it. The president told aides that the special counsel had conflicts of interest and suggested that the special counsel therefore could not serve. The president’s advisors told him the asserted conflicts were meritless and had already been considered by the department of justice.

The president immediately recognized the threat of the investigation. When he learned of Mr. Mueller’s appointment, he slumped in his chair and said, “Oh my God. This is terrible. This is the end of my presidency. I’m fucked.”

He also lashed out at the attorney general for what Mr. Trump viewed as a failure to protect him. This would ultimately become a key consideration for the special counsel in debating whether the president obstructed justice, or sought to. — Maggie Haberman


POSTED AT 11:58 AM

Vol. II, Page 3: Shortly after requesting Flynn’s resignation and speaking privately to Comey, the President sought to have Deputy National Security Advisor K.T. McFarland draft an internal letter stating that the President had not directed Flynn to discuss sanctions with Kislyak. McFarland declined because she did not know whether that was true, and a White House Counsel’s Office attorney thought that the request would look like a quid pro quo for an ambassadorship she had been offered.

Even the president’s closest advisers were reluctant to protect Mr. Trump because they could not be sure he was telling the truth.
— Adam Goldman

POSTED AT 11:55 AM

Vol. I, Page 2: Like collusion, “coordination” does not have a settled definition in federal criminal law. We understood coordination to require an agreement—tacit or express—between the Trump Campaign and the Russian government on election interference. That requires more than the two parties taking actions that were informed by or responsive to the other’s actions or interests.

Mr. Trump likes to say there was “no collusion,” and Mr. Barr used that term again in his news conference on Thursday morning. But collusion is not a legal concept. In looking for evidence of a criminal conspiracy, Mr. Mueller said he was instead looking for whether there was evidence of “coordination” between the Trump campaign and Russia in its election interference activities. He decided that the evidence fell short of meeting that standard.

— Charlie Savage

POSTED AT 11:53 AM

Vol. I, Page 10: The Office investigated several other events that have been publicly reported to involve potential Russia-related contacts. For example, the investigation established that interactions between Russian Ambassador Kislyak and Trump Campaign officials both at the candidate’s April 2016 foreign policy speech in Washington, D.C., and during the week of the Republican National Convention were brief, public, and non-substantive. And the 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.

Reporters circled for months around rumors of meetings between members of the Trump campaign, including Jeff Sessions, then a senator, and Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador at the time, at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington and elsewhere. There were also lingering questions about why a portion of the Republican Party platform about Ukraine had changed during summer 2016. People involved in each had publicly denied any untoward behavior, and Mr. Mueller appears to have confirmed that the meetings were “non-substantive.” His assessment of the platform change is more nuanced, but ultimately did not “establish” the platform change had been directed by Mr. Trump or Russia.
—Nicholas Fandos

POSTED AT 11:52 AM

Vol. II, Page 7: 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.

Mr. Mueller is saying that Mr. Trump’s powers as president were tied in with the actions he took that could have constituted obstruction, like ousting James B. Comey as F.B.I. director. This made building a case more difficult because Mr. Trump had the authority as president to take many of the actions that were scrutinized.
— Michael S. Schmidt

POSTED AT 11:51 AM

Vol. II, Page 5: On several occasions, the president directed aides not to publicly disclose the emails setting up the June 9 [2016] meeting, suggesting that the emails would not leak and that the number of lawyers with access to them should be limited. Before the emails became public, the president edited a press statement for Trump Jr. by deleting a line that acknowledged that the meeting was with ‘an individual who [Trump Jr.] was told might have information helpful to the campaign’ and instead said only the meeting was about adoptions of Russian children. When the press asked questions about the president’s involvement in Trump Jr.’s statement, the president’s personal lawyer repeatedly denied the president had played any role.

This confirms a New York Times report in July 2017 that disclosed that the president had helped draft the misleading statement made by his son Donald Trump Jr. and pushed for a version that did not reveal the true nature of the meeting. That The Times learned of the meeting at the time shook the president and was a key factor in what was a tumultuous summer for the White House.
— Maggie Haberman

POSTED AT 11:48 AM

Vol. I, Pages 6-7: Both men believed the plan would require candidate Trump’s assent to succeed (were he to be elected president.) They also discussed the status of the Trump campaign and Manafort’s strategy for winning Democratic votes in Midwestern states.

This suggests that Russia was trying to influence the Trump campaign to support a plan that would have allowed Russia to control part of eastern Ukraine, which would have been a huge victory for the Kremlin. Mr. Manafort had shared internal campaign polling data with the Russian associate before their Aug. 2, 2016, meeting — and for some period afterward, the report said.
— Sharon LaFraniere

POSTED AT 11:44 AM

Vol. II, Page 5: In early summer 2017, the president called Sessions at home and again asked him to reverse his recusal from the Russia investigation.

The president instructed Donald F. McGahn II, the White House counsel, in 2017 to tell Attorney General Jeff Sessions not to recuse himself. The president wanted an attorney general who would shield the president, and his efforts to put Mr. Sessions back in charge of the Russia investigation showed he actively interfered in Mr. Sessions’s recusal as a possible act of obstruction.
— Adam Goldman

POSTED AT 11:40 AM

Vol. I, Page 9: While the investigation identified numerous links between individuals with ties to the Russian government and individuals associated with the Trump Campaign, the evidence was not sufficient to support criminal charges. Among other things, the evidence was not sufficient to charge any Campaign official as an unregistered agent of the Russian government or other Russian principal. And our evidence about the June 9, 2016 meeting and WikiLeak’s release of hacked materials was not sufficient to charge a criminal campaign-finance violation.

Mr. Barr repeatedly said that the president’s campaign did not collude with Russia. Mr. Mueller’s report offers a more nuanced definition. He writes that while there was ample evidence of contacts between the Trump campaign and Russia as it carried out its social media influence and hacking campaigns, the evidence was not strong enough to support bringing criminal charges.
—Nicholas Fandos

POSTED AT 11:38 AM

Vol I. Page 89: Papadopoulos suggested to a representative of a foreign government that the Trump Campaign had received indications from the Russian government that it could assist the Trump campaign through the anonymous release of information that would be damaging to Hillary Clinton.

It has long been known that Mr. Papadopoulos, a young campaign aide, was told that the Russian government had “dirt” on Mrs. Clinton. This goes much farther, and helps explain why the F.B.I. investigated members of the Trump campaign in 2016. Mr. Papadopoulos appeared to suggest an explicit offer by the Russian government to work with the Trump campaign to sabotage Mrs. Clinton.

— Matt Apuzzo

POSTED AT 11:29 AM

Vol. II, Page 4: 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.

We knew that Mr. Trump had ordered his White House counsel, Donald F. McGahn II, in June 2017 to have the deputy attorney general, Rod J. Rosenstein, fire Mr. Mueller, and that Mr. McGahn had refused to do so. We did not know that the president called him at home to pressure him. The “Saturday Night Massacre” refers to the Watergate episode in which the Nixon administration’s attorney general and deputy attorney general both resigned rather than carry out President Nixon’s order to fire the prosecutor investigating that scandal, leading to a severe political backlash.

— Charlie Savage

POSTED AT 11:23 AM

Vol. I, Page 2: An agreement “requires more than the two parties taking actions that were informed by or responsive to other’s actions or interests.”

It was not enough for investigators simply to show the Trump campaign knew what the Russians were up to, and responded. Trump associates had to specifically agree with the Russians to violate the law.

— Sharon LaFraniere

POSTED AT 11:19 AM

Vol. II, Page 75: Substantial evidence indicates that the catalyst for the president’s decision to fire Comey was Comey’s unwillingness to publicly state that the president was not personally under investigation, despite the president’s repeated requests that Comey make such an announcement.

Mr. Mueller effectively finds that the White House’s initial explanation for the firing was untrue. White House officials said that Mr. Comey was dismissed over his handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation. The administration’s ever-changing justification for that firing led to speculation that Mr. Trump had fired him to sabotage the Russia investigation.

Matt Apuzzo

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

The Mueller Report: Live Analysis and Excerpts

Westlake Legal Group the-mueller-report-live-analysis-and-excerpts The Mueller Report: Live Analysis and Excerpts United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Special Prosecutors (Independent Counsel) Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Presidential Election of 2016 Mueller, Robert S III McGahn, Donald F II Justice Department Comey, James B Barr, William P
Westlake Legal Group 00dc-muellerreport-facebookJumbo The Mueller Report: Live Analysis and Excerpts United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Special Prosecutors (Independent Counsel) Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Presidential Election of 2016 Mueller, Robert S III McGahn, Donald F II Justice Department Comey, James B Barr, William P
  • After a sweeping, 22-month investigation, Robert S. Mueller III found there was insufficient evidence to establish that Mr. Trump or his associates engaged in a criminal conspiracy with Russia to disrupt the 2016 election.

  • Investigators identified numerous contacts between campaign advisers and Russians affiliated with the government during the campaign and after the election. But the special counsel did not establish that the contacts added up to an illegal conspiracy.

  • The report detailed Mr. Trump’s efforts to thwart the investigation, and the Mueller team debated whether the episodes amounted to criminal obstruction of justice. The report said that, by virtue of his position as president, he had the authority to carry out several of the acts in question — including firing James B. Comey as F.B.I. director.

  • Read more on Mr. Barr’s news conference and the reaction to the report.

Get updates from our reporters as they discover key findings in the report on Thursday.

POSTED AT 1:05 PM

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.

Mr. Cohen lied to Congress about the Trump Organization’s business dealings with Russia, prompting accusations that Mr. Trump had instructed him to lie. Mr. Mueller’s report paints a far murkier view. Investigators found evidence that Mr. Trump’s legal team advised Mr. Cohen to keep his statements to Congress “short and tight, not elaborate, stay on message, and not contradict the President.” Mr. Mueller made no finding on what, if any, role Mr. Trump played in that effort.
— Matt Apuzzo

POSTED AT 1:02 PM

The incidents were often carried out through one-on-one meetings in which the President sought to use his official power outside of usual channels. These actions ranged from efforts to remove the Special Counsel and to reverse the effect of the Attorney General’s recusal; to the attempted use of official power to limit the scope of the investigation; to direct and indirect contacts with witnesses with the potential to influence their testimony. Viewing the acts collectively can help to illuminate their significance.

Many of the incidents Mr. Mueller examined for possible obstruction of justice had been the subject of public news reports and dismissed by Mr. Trump and his allies over the last two years. But Mr. Mueller tries to weave them together into a pattern of behavior that has implications for understanding Mr. Trump’s actions and intent.
— Nicholas Fandos

POSTED AT 12:54 PM

Comey’s briefing included the 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 ….” 10/30/16 Text Message, Rtskhiladze to Cohen. 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 contest in Russia… Rtskhiladze said he was told the tapes were fake, but he did not communicate that to Cohen.

In a footnote of the report, a Russian businessman is quoted as stating via text message that he had “stopped flow” of possibly fake, compromising tapes of Mr. Trump’s conduct in Russia. This offers a new detail on the sensational question of whether, as claimed in the unverified dossier compiled by a former British intelligence agent, Mr. Trump was caught with prostitutes on video in his Moscow hotel in 2013. But the report notes that the Russian businessman who bragged during the campaign that he had “stopped” such tapes evidently later said he believed the tapes in question were “fake.”
— Scott Shane

POSTED AT 12:52 PM

Accordingly, based on the analysis above, we 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.

Mr. Mueller dissected and rejected the argument that it would be unconstitutional to apply obstruction of justice laws to the president’s use of his executive powers like firing a subordinate or supervising the Justice Department’s opening and closing of cases. This repudiated an argument laid out not only by Mr. Trump’s lawyers, but also by Mr. Barr in an unsolicited, 19-page memo he wrote for the administration before the president appointed him as attorney general. That means Mr. Mueller left open the possibility of charging Mr. Trump with obstruction after he is no longer president – a possibility that Mr. Barr has tried to take off the table.
— Charlie Savage

POSTED AT 12:46 PM

“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.”

Whether Mr. Trump engaged in obstruction of justice involves complicated legal and constitutional issues that do not apply to ordinary citizens, but the report explicitly says that the inquiry did not clear the president. Discussing whether the president could have obstructed justice while exercising his constitutional authority, such as by firing James B. Comey as the director of the F.B.I., the report notes that Congress is empowered to step in to stop the corrupt use of presidential power. Democrats in Congress will surely seize on that language as justification for their burgeoning inquiries.
— Sharon LaFraniere

POSTED AT 12:36 PM

In early May 2017, Cohen received requests from Congress to provide testimony and documents in connection with congressional investigations of Russian interference in the 2016 election. At that time, Cohen understood Congress’s interest in him to be focused on the allegations in the Steele reporting concerning a meeting Cohen allegedly had with Russian officials in Prague during the campaign. Cohen had never traveled to Prague and was not concerned about those allegations, which he believed were provably false. On May 18, 2017, Cohen met with the President to discuss the request from Congress, and the President instructed Cohen that he should cooperate because there was nothing there.

This further undercuts explosive information in the dossier compiled by Christopher Steele, the former British spy.
— Adam Goldman

POSTED AT 12:27 PM

[REDACTED] Manafort also [REDACTED] wanted to be kept apprised of any developments with WikiLeaks and separately told Gates to keep in touch [REDACTED] about future WikiLeaks releases. According to Gates, by the late summer of 2016, the Trump Campaign was planning a press strategy, a communications campaign, and messaging based on the possible release of Clinton emails by WikiLeaks. [REDACTED] while Trump and Gates were driving to LaGuardia Airport. [REDACTED], shortly after the call candidate Trump told Gates that more releases of damaging information would be coming. [REDACTED]

Mr. Barr said this type of material must be kept secret because it was relevant to a continuing criminal matter. That is probably, at a minimum, the indictment of the former Trump adviser Roger Stone Jr., who is charged with lying about his participation in such efforts. But this raises a larger question: whether the hidden evidence shows that the Trump campaign conspired with WikiLeaks. At his news conference on Thursday morning, Mr. Barr said any campaign collusion with WikiLeaks could not amount to a criminal conspiracy because WikiLeaks’ publication of the emails was not a crime so long as it did not help Russia hacking them.
—Charlie Savage

POSTED AT 12:25 PM

During the course of the investigation, the Office periodically identified evidence of potential criminal activity that was outside the scope of the Special Counsel’s jurisdiction established by the Acting Attorney General. After consultation with the Office of the Deputy Attorney General, the Office referred that evidence to appropriate law enforcement authorities, principally other components of the Department of Justice and the FBI.

Twelve of those referrals remain secret. Two others have been made public, including prosecutions involving Mr. Trump’s former personal lawyer, Michael D. Cohen, and Gregory B. Craig, a White House counsel in the Obama administration.
— Adam Goldman

POSTED AT 12:20 PM

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.

This is one of the most damning episodes listed in the report, despite having already been reported by The New York Times. It demonstrated an active effort by the president to paint a false narrative about his conduct, both in the news media and with the special counsel.
— Maggie Haberman

POSTED AT 12:08 PM

When Flynn’s counsel reiterated that Flynn could no longer share information pursuant to a joint defense agreement, the president’s personal counsel said he would make sure that the President knew that Flynn’s actions reflected ‘hostility’ towards the president.

The report does not state what the president might do in response, if anything. But the episode is part of a pattern, laid out in the report, of the president or his lawyers trying to determine what former aides were telling the special counsel, praising those who refused to cooperate and warning those who did help the special counsel’s team.
—Sharon LaFraniere

POSTED AT 12:06 PM

Ultimately, while we believed that we had the authority and legal justification to issue a grand jury subpoena to obtain the President’s testimony, we chose not to do so. We made that decision in view of the substantial delay that such an investigative step would likely produce at a late stage in our investigation. We also assessed that based on the significant body of evidence we had already obtained of the President’s actions and his public and private statements describing or explaining those actions, we had sufficient evidence to understand relevant events and to make certain assessments without the President’s testimony.

Without an interview, Mr. Mueller never had a chance to question the president about the central question of the obstruction investigation: what was his intention when he took a range of actions that could have impeded the investigation?
—Michael S. Schmidt

POSTED AT 12:05 PM

On May 17, 2017, the Acting Attorney General for the Russia investigation appointed a special counsel to conduct the investigation and related matters. The president reacted to news that a special counsel had been appointed by telling advisors that it was ‘the end of his presidency’ and demanding that Sessions resign. Sessions submitted his resignation, but the president ultimately did not accept it. The president told aides that the special counsel had conflicts of interest and suggested that the special counsel therefore could not serve. The president’s advisors told him the asserted conflicts were meritless and had already been considered by the department of justice.

The president immediately recognized the threat of the investigation. When he learned of Mr. Mueller’s appointment, he slumped in his chair and said, “Oh my God. This is terrible. This is the end of my presidency. I’m fucked.”

He also lashed out at the attorney general for what Mr. Trump viewed as a failure to protect him. This would ultimately become a key consideration for the special counsel in debating whether the president obstructed justice, or sought to. — Maggie Haberman


POSTED AT 11:58 AM

Shortly after requesting Flynn’s resignation and speaking privately to Comey, the President sought to have Deputy National Security Advisor K.T. McFarland draft an internal letter stating that the President had not directed Flynn to discuss sanctions with Kislyak. McFarland declined because she did not know whether that was true, and a White House Counsel’s Office attorney thought that the request would look like a quid pro quo for an ambassadorship she had been offered.

Even the president’s closest advisers were reluctant to protect Mr. Trump because they could not be sure he was telling the truth.
— Adam Goldman

POSTED AT 11:55 AM

Like collusion, “coordination” does not have a settled definition in federal criminal law. We understood coordination to require an agreement—tacit or express—between the Trump Campaign and the Russian government on election interference. That requires more than the two parties taking actions that were informed by or responsive to the other’s actions or interests.

Mr. Trump likes to say there was “no collusion,” and Mr. Barr used that term again in his news conference on Thursday morning. But collusion is not a legal concept. In looking for evidence of a criminal conspiracy, Mr. Mueller said he was instead looking for whether there was evidence of “coordination” between the Trump campaign and Russia in its election interference activities. He decided that the evidence fell short of meeting that standard.

— Charlie Savage

POSTED AT 11:53 AM

The Office investigated several other events that have been publicly reported to involve potential Russia-related contacts. For example, the investigation established that interactions between Russian Ambassador Kislyak and Trump Campaign officials both at the candidate’s April 2016 foreign policy speech in Washington, D.C., and during the week of the Republican National Convention were brief, public, and non-substantive. And the 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.

Reporters circled for months around rumors of meetings between members of the Trump campaign, including Jeff Sessions, then a senator, and Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador at the time, at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington and elsewhere. There were also lingering questions about why a portion of the Republican Party platform about Ukraine had changed during summer 2016. People involved in each had publicly denied any untoward behavior, and Mr. Mueller appears to have confirmed that the meetings were “non-substantive.” His assessment of the platform change is more nuanced, but ultimately did not “establish” the platform change had been directed by Mr. Trump or Russia.
—Nicholas Fandos

POSTED AT 11:52 AM

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.

Mr. Mueller is saying that Mr. Trump’s powers as president were tied in with the actions he took that could have constituted obstruction, like ousting James B. Comey as F.B.I. director. This made building a case more difficult because Mr. Trump had the authority as president to take many of the actions that were scrutinized.
— Michael S. Schmidt

POSTED AT 11:51 AM

On several occasions, the president directed aides not to publicly disclose the emails setting up the June 9 [2016] meeting, suggesting that the emails would not leak and that the number of lawyers with access to them should be limited. Before the emails became public, the president edited a press statement for Trump Jr. by deleting a line that acknowledged that the meeting was with ‘an individual who [Trump Jr.] was told might have information helpful to the campaign’ and instead said only the meeting was about adoptions of Russian children. When the press asked questions about the president’s involvement in Trump Jr.’s statement, the president’s personal lawyer repeatedly denied the president had played any role.

This confirms a New York Times report in July 2017 that disclosed that the president had helped draft the misleading statement made by his son Donald Trump Jr. and pushed for a version that did not reveal the true nature of the meeting. That The Times learned of the meeting at the time shook the president and was a key factor in what was a tumultuous summer for the White House.
— Maggie Haberman

POSTED AT 11:48 AM

Both men believed the plan would require candidate Trump’s assent to succeed (were he to be elected president.) They also discussed the status of the Trump campaign and Manafort’s strategy for winning Democratic votes in Midwestern states.

This suggests that Russia was trying to influence the Trump campaign to support a plan that would have allowed Russia to control part of eastern Ukraine, which would have been a huge victory for the Kremlin. Mr. Manafort had shared internal campaign polling data with the Russian associate before their Aug. 2, 2016, meeting — and for some period afterward, the report said.
— Sharon LaFraniere

POSTED AT 11:44 AM

In early summer 2017, the president called Sessions at home and again asked him to reverse his recusal from the Russia investigation.

The president instructed Donald F. McGahn II, the White House counsel, in 2017 to tell Attorney General Jeff Sessions not to recuse himself. The president wanted an attorney general who would shield the president, and his efforts to put Mr. Sessions back in charge of the Russia investigation showed he actively interfered in Mr. Sessions’s recusal as a possible act of obstruction.
— Adam Goldman

POSTED AT 11:40 AM

While the investigation identified numerous links between individuals with ties to the Russian government and individuals associated with the Trump Campaign, the evidence was not sufficient to support criminal charges. Among other things, the evidence was not sufficient to charge any Campaign official as an unregistered agent of the Russian government or other Russian principal. And our evidence about the June 9, 2016 meeting and WikiLeak’s release of hacked materials was not sufficient to charge a criminal campaign-finance violation.

Mr. Barr repeatedly said that the president’s campaign did not collude with Russia. Mr. Mueller’s report offers a more nuanced definition. He writes that while there was ample evidence of contacts between the Trump campaign and Russia as it carried out its social media influence and hacking campaigns, the evidence was not strong enough to support bringing criminal charges.
—Nicholas Fandos

POSTED AT 11:38 AM

Papadopoulos suggested to a representative of a foreign government that the Trump Campaign had received indications from the Russian government that it could assist the Trump campaign through the anonymous release of information that would be damaging to Hillary Clinton.

It has long been known that Mr. Papadopoulos, a young campaign aide, was told that the Russian government had “dirt” on Mrs. Clinton. This goes much farther, and helps explain why the F.B.I. investigated members of the Trump campaign in 2016. Mr. Papadopoulos appeared to suggest an explicit offer by the Russian government to work with the Trump campaign to sabotage Mrs. Clinton.

— Matt Apuzzo

POSTED AT 11:29 AM

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.

We knew that Mr. Trump had ordered his White House counsel, Donald F. McGahn II, in June 2017 to have the deputy attorney general, Rod J. Rosenstein, fire Mr. Mueller, and that Mr. McGahn had refused to do so. We did not know that the president called him at home to pressure him. The “Saturday Night Massacre” refers to the Watergate episode in which the Nixon administration’s attorney general and deputy attorney general both resigned rather than carry out President Nixon’s order to fire the prosecutor investigating that scandal, leading to a severe political backlash.

— Charlie Savage

POSTED AT 11:23 AM

An agreement “requires more than the two parties taking actions that were informed by or responsive to other’s actions or interests.”

It was not enough for investigators simply to show the Trump campaign knew what the Russians were up to, and responded. Trump associates had to specifically agree with the Russians to violate the law.

— Sharon LaFraniere

POSTED AT 11:19 AM

Substantial evidence indicates that the catalyst for the president’s decision to fire Comey was Comey’s unwillingness to publicly state that the president was not personally under investigation, despite the president’s repeated requests that Comey make such an announcement.

Mr. Mueller effectively finds that the White House’s initial explanation for the firing was untrue. White House officials said that Mr. Comey was dismissed over his handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation. The administration’s ever-changing justification for that firing led to speculation that Mr. Trump had fired him to sabotage the Russia investigation.

Matt Apuzzo

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

The Episodes of Potential Obstruction in the Mueller Report

Westlake Legal Group the-episodes-of-potential-obstruction-in-the-mueller-report The Episodes of Potential Obstruction in the Mueller Report United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Special Prosecutors (Independent Counsel) Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates McGahn, Donald F II Justice Department

Robert S. Mueller III examined eleven actions President Trump took in office that could have constituted obstruction of justice. Here are the episodes we know that Mr. Mueller investigated. They show a president seeking to use his power atop the executive branch to insulate himself, his family and associates from a sprawling investigation that examined their ties to Russia, experts said.

Feb. 14, 2017

At the end of a meeting with top national-security officials early in his presidency, Mr. Trump asked his F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, to stay behind, then cleared the Oval Office of everyone else, according to congressional testimony by Mr. Comey. The president asked that the F.B.I. end an investigation into his first national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, calling him a good guy who had been through a lot, according to a memo Mr. Comey wrote at the time documenting the encounter. Mr. Comey demurred, and Mr. Flynn later pleaded guilty to lying to investigators and agreed to cooperate with Mr. Mueller.

July 8, 2017

Flying aboard Air Force One with aides as he returned to Washington from a Group of 20 summit meeting in Europe, Mr. Trump thrust himself into the crafting of a response to a New York Times article about a campaign meeting arranged by his son Donald Trump Jr. with a Russian lawyer promising damaging information on Hillary Clinton. Mr. Trump wanted the statement to give as little information as possible, and his lawyers told Mr. Mueller’s team that the president “personally dictated” the response. The initial statement was misleading, saying the meeting had been “primarily” about adoptions, without acknowledging the part about Mrs. Clinton.

May 9, 2017

The president first said he fired Mr. Comey in May 2017 because of how he handled the investigation into Ms. Clinton’s emails, but he soon strayed from that explanation. Within days, Mr. Trump appeared to say in an NBC News interview that Russia was on his mind when he dismissed Mr. Comey, and he told senior Russian officials in the Oval Office that, by firing Mr. Comey, he had relieved great pressure on himself.

June 17, 2017

In the weeks after Mr. Mueller was appointed in May 2017, Mr. Trump tried to force the White House counsel, Donald F. McGahn II, to have the Justice Department fire Mr. Mueller, citing what the president perceived as conflicts of interest. Mr. McGahn thought the president’s assertions carried little weight and refused to follow his instructions, he has told investigators.

On Saturday, June 17, 2017, Mr. McGahn said, the president called him at home and insisted he have Mr. Mueller fired. Fed up with the repeated directive, Mr. McGahn drove to the White House, packed up his office and told senior White House officials that he planned to quit. They advised Mr. McGahn to ignore Mr. Trump, and the lawyer remained in his post another year.


ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_145888005_5e172a8b-ccbf-4c23-9f17-17522c5aaf5d-articleLarge The Episodes of Potential Obstruction in the Mueller Report United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Special Prosecutors (Independent Counsel) Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates McGahn, Donald F II Justice Department

Attorney General Jeff Sessions at the Department of Justice last year.CreditErin Schaff for The New York Times

JULY 2017

Mr. Trump made two attempts to have his former 2016 campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, influence the behavior of his attorney general, Jeff Sessions, according to the report. In a meeting at the White House on June 19, 2017, the president “dictated a message” for Mr. Lewandowski to deliver to Mr. Sessions, the report says.

“The message said that Sessions should publicly announce that, notwithstanding his recusal from the Russia investigation, the investigation was ‘very unfair’ to the president, the president had done nothing wrong,” the report says, adding that Mr. Sessions was to announce he would let the special counsel investigation on election interference continue.

A month later, in another meeting, on July 19, 2017, Mr. Trump asked Mr. Lewandowski about the status of the message, and Mr. Lewandowski said it would be delivered soon. Hours later, Mr. Trump had an interview with The New York Times and criticized Mr. Sessions. Mr. Lewandowksi was “uncomfortable” delivering the message, the report says, and he asked a White House official, Rick Dearborn, who had worked previously with Mr. Sessions, to do it. Mr. Dearborn chose not to do it.

Mr. Sessions recused himself from the Russia investigation in March 2017 because of his role as a top Trump campaign supporter before being named attorney general. Infuriated, Mr. Trump ranted that Mr. Sessions had betrayed him and that he needed a loyalist at the Justice Department to protect him. In the weeks and months that followed, Mr. Trump sought to pressure Mr. Sessions to reassert his control over the investigation, asking him to “unrecuse” himself. Mr. Sessions refused, prompting Mr. Trump to increasingly pressure him to do so, particularly after Mr. Mueller was appointed in May 2017.

Jan. 26, 2018

Mr. Trump asked aides to disavow a Times article reporting that investigators had learned of the president’s attempt to fire the special counsel and threatened to fire Mr. McGahn if he refused to rebut the news publicly. The president insisted he had never given the firing directive, and when Mr. McGahn disagreed, Mr. Trump said he did not remember it that way.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com