The massive report compiled by special counsel Robert Mueller has been out for more than two weeks, but its length and density resist easy analysis — and offer numerous details that require closer attention.
One section, from Mueller’s analysis of President Donald Trump’s reaction the public confirmation of the FBI’s Russia investigation, and his subsequent firing of then-FBI director James Comey, offers a strong suggestion that the special counsel believed he was investigating a possible criminal conspiracy.
I feel that these two sentences from Volume II of the Mueller report have not gotten anything like the attention they deserve (My retyping; my highlighting) pic.twitter.com/DfXAlmiftS
— David Frum (@davidfrum) May 3, 2019
Former George W. Bush speechwriter David Frum flagged two sentences from that analysis, found on pages 76-77, saying they had not received enough attention given their apparent weight.
“As described in Volume I,” the report states, “the evidence uncovered in the investigation did not establish that the President or those close to him were involved in the charged Russian computer-hacking or active-measure conspiracies, or that the President otherwise had an unlawful relationship with any Russian official.”
“But the evidence does indicate that a thorough FBI investigation would uncover facts about the campaign and the President personally that the President could have understood to be crimes or that would give rise to personal and political concerns,” the report continues.
This section of the analysis comes after Mueller’s investigators lay out evidence that Comey’s firing meets the three common elements in federal obstruction statutes — an obstructive act, a nexus between the obstructive act and an official proceeding, and a corrupt intent.
“The President had a motive to put the FBI’s Russia investigation behind him,” Mueller’s team concluded in that analysis. “The evidence does not establish that the termination of Corney was designed to cover up a conspiracy between the Trump Campaign and Russia.”
But, as the two sentences flagged by Frum point out, Mueller’s team believed that a thorough FBI investigation would have turned up, at minimum, personally or politically damaging evidence against the president, or, at worst, evidence implicating Trump in a criminal conspiracy.
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Roger Stone Sought Direct Line to Jared Kushner to Coordinate Wikileaks Dumps
According to testimony from former Trump deputy campaign chairman Rick Gates, Roger Stone told him that Wikileaks had plans to release damaging information on Hillary Clinton during the height of the 2016 presidential campaign. As POLITICO points out, Gates’ testimony at Stone’s trial reveals that the Trump campaign was offered help from Wikileaks earlier than previously thought.
Gates says Stone passed him the info two months before Donald Trump was given the GOP nomination.
“Mr. Stone indicated that WikiLeaks would be submitting or dropping information but no information on dates or anything of that nature,” Gates said. Stone is currently on trial for lying to Congress and obstructing the Russia probe.
Stone also reportedly sought out the contact information of Trump’s son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner, presumably to inform him about the impending info dump from Wikileaks.
“It was in a way a gift,” Gates testified, later adding the campaign was “kind of in disbelief.”
“We believed that if information were to come out, there were a number of us that felt that it would give our campaign a leg up,” Gates said.
Gates pleaded guilty in February of last year on charges of conspiracy against the U.S. and making false statements to the FBI.
Steve Bannon Testifies Dirty Trickster Roger Stone Was Trump Campaign’s ‘Access Point’ to Wikileaks
Former Trump campaign chairman Steve Bannon testified in court Friday that then-candidate Donald Trump’s advisor and long-time friend Roger Stone was the “access point” to Wikileaks, according to The Hill.
“I think it was generally believed that the access point or potential access point to WikiLeaks was Roger Stone,” Bannon told federal prosecutors in the Washington, D.C. courtroom as Stone faces criminal charges. “I was led to believe he had a relationship with WikiLeaks and Julian Assange.”
Bannon reportedly also testified that Stone was the only access point and had “detailed information” on Wikileaks. He also reportedly testified that he had heard Stone was involved in the release of the emails, according to Vox Senior politics correspondent Andrew Prokop.
NBC News legal analyst weighs in:
Bannon’s testimony is hurting not only Stone but the entire Trump campaign, IMO.
— Glenn Kirschner (@glennkirschner2) November 8, 2019
Former White House National Security Staffer: Ukraine ‘Quid Pro Quo’ Extortion Coordinated by Chief of Staff Mulvaney
Former Special Assistant to the President Fiona Hill, a National Security Council staffer responsible for Russia and Ukraine, testified before Congress that President Donald Trump’s extortion of Ukraine was coordinated by White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney.
“Ambassador Sondland, in front of the Ukrainians, as I came in, was talking about how he had an agreement with Chief of Staff Mulvaney for a meeting with the Ukrainians if they were going to go forward with investigations,” into Joe Biden and Hunter Biden, Hill said, CNN reports, according to the House-released transcript.
Mulvaney, despite a congressional subpoena, refused to testify today.
Hill has worked for the most-recent three presidents.
This is a breaking news and developing story. Details may change. This story will be updated, and NCRM will likely publish follow-up stories on this news. Stay tuned and refresh for updates.
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