The Mueller Investigation Page 1
Tracking the Mueller investigation into how the Russians infiltrated the Trump campaign and the Republican Party and conspired with the Trump campaign to help get Donald J. Trump elected president of the United States of America. The Mueller investigation has exposed illegal schemes across international borders and produced more than 190 criminal charges. So far Mueller has indicted 34 people (26 are Russian nationals), three Russian companies and 6 former Trump advisers, 7 people (six former Trump advisers) have pleaded guilty. It was not a witch hunt, but it maybe a mole hunt. Trump and his campaign claimed they had no contacts with the Russian turns out they had at least 272. We may never know the true number contacts or what was discuss because Trump, Trump campaign members and other people involved lied to investigators and may had destroyed evidence. It makes it hard to make a criminal case if people lie to investigators and or destroyed evidence, but it does not mean they did not do it; it just means that got away with it. What we do not know about the Trump-Russia Affair is far worse than the information that is available to the public, Americans should be very worried that Donald J. Trump is useful idiot or a Russian asset and the Russians may have infiltrated our government at the highest level just as they infiltrated the Republican Party and the NRA. This collection of pages shows the evidence that is known so far read them for yourself and make your own decision.
By Josh GersteinThe Justice Department has released portions of a previously unseen alternative version of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on ties between former President Donald Trump and Russia. However, the 37-page report prepared at the direction of Mueller deputy Andrew Weissmann and released this week under the Freedom of Information Act is heavily redacted. Justice Department officials withheld large swaths of the document on grounds of ongoing investigations, privacy and protecting internal deliberations. The deletions are typically made by career officials at the Justice Department and the FBI, but the secrecy puts the Biden administration in the curious position of fighting to keep from public view evidence of alleged wrongdoing by top advisers to Trump. It appears that those blacking out the redacted document sought to delete any details not made public in the version of Mueller's report released in 2019 or in other public documents. The report focuses on the work of what was known within Mueller’s office as “Team M” a group of investigators and prosecutors focused on connections between Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and businessmen and politicians friendly to Russia. The report details contacts between Manafort, his campaign deputy and longtime business partner Rick Gates and pro-Russian business figures. It argues that Manafort, who worked for Trump’s campaign without pay, expected to improve his financial situation as a result of his ties to a potential Trump administration.
By Spencer S. HsuThe Justice Department on Monday dropped its two-year-long prosecution of a Russian company charged with conspiring to defraud the U.S. government by orchestrating a social media campaign to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. The stunning reversal came a few weeks before the case — a spinoff of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s probe — was set to go to trial. Assistants to U.S. Attorney Timothy Shea of Washington and Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers cited an unspecified “change in the balance of the government’s proof due to a classification determination,” according to a nine-page filing accompanied by facts under seal. Prosecutors also cited the failure of the company, Concord Management and Consulting, to comply with trial subpoenas and the submission of a “misleading, at best” affidavit by Yevgeniy Prigozhin, a co-defendant and the company’s founder. Prigozhin is a catering magnate and military contractor known as “Putin’s chef” because of his ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin. “Upon careful consideration of all of the circumstances, and particularly in light of recent events . . . the government has concluded that further proceedings as to Concord . . . promotes neither the interests of justice nor the nation’s security,” federal prosecutors wrote. “The better course is to cease litigation” against Concord and a sister catering company, also owned by Prigozhin, the prosecutors said. The government added that Concord enjoys “immunity from just punishment” even if found guilty, since it has no business presence in the United States. The after-business-hours government request to dismiss — granted by U.S. District Judge Dabney L. Friedrich — brings an abrupt end to a case that was set to go to trial April 6.
By Katelyn Polantz, CNN(CNN) The House of Representatives has won access to secret grand jury material gathered in former special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation and cited in the Mueller report, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Tuesday. The appeals panel sided with the chief judge of the DC District Court, who had roundly criticized the Justice Department's legal theories to keep the Mueller materials under seal and endorsed the House's investigation into President Donald Trump. The decision was split 2-1. The Justice Department could appeal to the Supreme Court or again to the DC-based appeals court.
By Katelyn Polantz, CNNWashington (CNN) A federal judge Thursday criticized Attorney General William Barr for his handling of the Mueller report when it was released last spring, saying Barr's early description of the report didn't match the special counsel's actual conclusions. Judge Reggie Walton asked if Barr's actions were a "calculated attempt" to help President Donald Trump and opined the attorney general had a "lack of candor" with the public and Congress. "The Court cannot reconcile certain public representations made by Attorney General Barr with the findings in the Mueller Report," Walton wrote on Thursday. Barr's initial publicly announced interpretation of the findings from former special counsel Robert Mueller "cause the Court to seriously question whether Attorney General Barr made a calculated attempt to influence public discourse about the Mueller Report in favor of President Trump despite certain findings in the redacted version of the Mueller Report to the contrary." Barr has been under fire for months for his apparent political moves to protect the President and his allies from within the Justice Department. Walton said he will review the full Mueller report himself to make sure the Justice Department didn't over-redact it for public release. Walton said he was "troubled" by Barr's initial, quickly released letter clearing the President of wrongdoing and distancing his campaign from Russian interference in American politics. Walton also took issue with Barr's press conference about Mueller's findings and other public statements before the report was made public. "The speed by which Attorney General Barr released to the public the summary of Special Counsel Mueller's principal conclusions, coupled with the fact that Attorney General Barr failed to provide a thorough representation of the findings set forth in the Mueller Report, causes the Court to question whether Attorney General Barr's intent was to create a one-sided narrative about the Mueller Report -- a narrative that is clearly in some respects substantively at odds with the redacted version of the Mueller Report," Walton wrote.
The trial for a Russian firm is set to open in Washington next month.By JOSH GERSTEINU.S. prosecutors say they have a witness who will directly implicate a Russian businessman known as “Putin’s chef” in schemes to carry out election interference overseas. The mystery witness is prepared to testify at a criminal trial set to open in Washington next month in a case special counsel Robert Mueller brought accusing three Russian companies and 13 Russian individuals of meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, a prosecutor declared at a recent court hearing. The anticipated testimony will focus on the most prominent Russian national charged in the indictment, Yevgeny Prigozhin, a St. Petersburg restaurateur who enjoys close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin and who has expanded his business empire to become a key contractor for the Russian military. Prosecutors say Prigozhin ran the Internet Research Agency, a Russian firm that allegedly sponsored and coordinated online troll activity during the 2016 U.S. election. None of the charged individuals are known to have been arrested or surrendered to face the charges, but one of the charged companies linked to Prigozhin, Concord Management and Consulting, hired American attorneys to fight the case. Evidence at the trial had been expected to consist primarily of emails, budgets and similar records detailing the effort, described in the indictment as Project Lakhta. Where the United States obtained all the records is not clear, but some appear to have come from email accounts hosted by U.S. providers. Relatively dry testimony was also anticipated from officials who enforce U.S. laws on election funding, foreign-sponsored political activity in the U.S, and visa issuance. So, the prosecution’s mention at a Feb. 21 hearing of a live witness prepared to detail face-to-face dealings with Prigozhin about election-focused efforts came as a surprise. Assistant U.S. Attorney Luke Jones said that the witness, who was not publicly named, is set to testify about election-related discussions at “a meeting” with Prigozhin.
A contempt hearing for the firm linked to ‘Putin’s chef” produces prickly exchanges between the defense and the judge.By JOSH GERSTEINThe Justice Department signaled Monday that it could back away from plans to put a Russian company on trial next month on a criminal charge that it bankrolled online and offline troll activity during the 2016 U.S. presidential race. During a court hearing in Washington, a prosecutor questioned whether the firm linked to an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin — Concord Management and Consulting — was sufficiently involved in the American legal process to demand a trial on the criminal conspiracy charge obtained by special counsel Robert Mueller in 2018 as part of a broader indictment of Russian companies and individuals. Assistant U.S. Attorney Adam Jed, who served on Mueller's staff and is still assigned to the case, said Concord's defiance of a court-approved subpoena raised doubts about its commitment to the U.S. trial. "We're starting to have some concern about whether Concord is really participating in this case," Jed told U.S. District Court Judge Dabney Friedrich. "We envision a possible situation where it would not be either possible or prudent to adhere to the current trial schedule." Screening of potential jurors for the trial has already begun. Potential jurors are scheduled to appear in court April 1 with the trial set to begin in earnest the following week. Friedrich seemed startled by Jed's suggestion of a postponement, although she indicated earlier in the half-hour-long hearing that she was frustrated with the company's limited response to a subpoena seeking various documents about its corporate structure, calendars of key personnel and internet use. The judge, an appointee of President Donald Trump, said she was highly suspect of Concord's failure to provide any documents in response to a request for the internet addresses the company used over a four-year period. Prosecutors say the firm's response was so lacking that the company should be held in contempt of court.
Justice Department releases more than 600 pages of notes from witnesses during Mueller investigationBy Katelyn Polantz, Marshall Cohen, Ellie Kaufman, David Shortell and Erica Orden, CNNWashington (CNN) The Justice Department on Monday released over 600 pages of notes from major witness interviews during former special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, including FBI memos called 302s from top Trump campaign advisers Jared Kushner, Rick Gates, Paul Manafort and Trump Tower meeting attendee Rob Goldstone. This is the sixth time CNN has received from the Justice Department documents regarding the Mueller investigation, as part of a 2019 lawsuit filed in conjunction with BuzzFeed News. The previous releases have fleshed out details that Mueller summarized in his final report regarding President Donald Trump's and his campaign's actions. The memos so far have revealed, for instance, how top Trump campaign officials witnessed the President and other Trump campaign officials pushing for the release of stolen Democratic emails and supported a conspiracy theory that Ukraine hacked the Democrats in 2016. At times, the documents have given much fuller portraits about what the Russia investigations' top cooperators said, including how former deputy director Andrew McCabe saw FBI staff crying in the hallways after Trump fired then-director James Comey, or how the investigators handled their witnesses, like when they gave the former campaign adviser George Papadopoulos a granola bar following his arrest. The memos were typed up by agents or prosecutors after they questioned each witness. More documents are scheduled to be released each month until this summer. Here are highlights from the documents:
Kushner interview notes released after intel reviewAfter two months of a delay, the Justice Department finally released on Monday the interview memo of Kushner speaking with the special counsel's office on April 11, 2018. Kushner spoke with the Mueller team that day about his interactions with Russians, including then-ambassador Sergey Kislyak, who told him at a reception, "we like what your candidate is saying" and later on as they discussed using the Russian Embassy to communicate. He also spoke to them about meeting with the Abu Dhabi crown prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and other connections to United Arab Emirates. They asked him about Trump's firing of Comey and about the Trump Tower meeting with Russians in June 2016.
Kash Patel, a former acolyte of Rep. Devin Nunes, is now a top adviser in the Office of National Intelligence.By DANIEL LIPPMANKash Patel, a former top National Security Council official who also played a key role as a Hill staffer in helping Republicans discredit the Russia probe, is now a senior adviser for new acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell, according to four people familiar with the matter. It’s not clear what exact role Patel is playing in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which oversees the U.S. intelligence community. He started at ODNI on Thursday, according to an administration official. Patel, who did not immediately respond to a request for comment, joined the National Security Council’s International Organizations and Alliances directorate last February and was promoted to a senior counterterrorism role at the NSC in mid-summer. He had previously worked as Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.)’s top staffer on the House Intelligence Committee and was the lead author of a report questioning the conduct of FBI and DOJ officials investigating Russia’s election interference. Republicans later used the report to bolster arguments that the probe was a plot to take down President Donald Trump. Grenell, who has not served in any U.S. intelligence agency and will also continue as the U.S. ambassador to Germany, will not require Senate confirmation to serve as acting director. Nor will Patel in his new role.
'Truth still matters': Judge sentences Roger Stone to 3 years in prison for obstructing Congress' Russia investigationBy Kristine Phillips, Kevin Johnson, Nicholas Wu USA TODAYWASHINGTON — Roger Stone, a longtime friend and ally of President Donald Trump, was sentenced Thursday to 40 months in prison, a punishment that is likely to fuel criticism from the president and speculation that he'll pardon the flamboyant GOP operative. Though less than what prosecutors originally asked for, the sentence marks a stunning downfall for the longtime political consultant who has advised presidential campaigns stretching back to Richard Nixon. The 67-year-old was found guilty in November of repeatedly lying to the House Intelligence Committee and obstructing its investigation into Russia's meddling in the 2016 presidential race. U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson said Stone "took it upon himself to lie, to impede, to obstruct before the investigation was complete, in an endeavor to influence the result." She continued: "The truth still exists, the truth still matters. Roger Stone insisted that it doesn’t." Stone stood expressionless next to his three defense attorneys. Jackson also sentenced Stone to two years of probation and ordered him to pay $20,000 in fines. Stone, wearing a dark pinstripe suit and blue tie, smiled briefly as he exited the courtroom. He declined to respond to questions shouted by a gauntlet of reporters.
By Katelyn Polantz, Marshall Cohen and Sara Murray, CNN(CNN) The Justice Department has released another 300 pages of notes from major witness interviews in former special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation. The documents, include memos -- called 302s by the FBI -- from Andrew McCabe, Sean Spicer, Reince Priebus, Rick Gates, Michael Cohen and Steve Bannon. This is the fifth time CNN has gotten documents like these from the Justice Department regarding the Mueller investigation, as part of a lawsuit in conjunction with BuzzFeed News. So far, the previous releases have fleshed out details that Mueller summarized in his final report regarding the actions of President Donald Trump and his campaign. The memos have revealed, for instance, how top Trump campaign officials witnessed the President and other Trump campaign officials pushing for the release of stolen Democratic emails and supported a conspiracy theory that Ukraine hacked the Democrats in 2016. The memos were typed up by agents or prosecutors after they questioned each witness. The Justice Department has kept many of the memos heavily redacted as they continue to release them this year.Highly redacted Kushner memo reveals nothingThe Justice Department released, for the first time, notes from Mueller's team of their interview with Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner. But the five-page document is almost completely redacted, revealing nothing more about Kushner's role in the Russia scandal. There are a few snippets of text visible in the memo. "A few weeks after the election [REDACTED] Kushner, Flynn and Kislyak met together at Trump Tower," an apparent reference to the December 2016 meeting between senior Trump aides and then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. The rest of that section is fully redacted, even though several pages of the Mueller report delve into the details of the meeting.
BUDSThe relationship—stretching from New York to London to Kyiv—long predated Rudy Giuliani’s attempts to discredit the evidence that played a key role in Manafort’s downfall.By Betsy SwanThe web of connections between Donald Trump’s convicted campaign manager and an indicted man who tried to dig up dirt on his political rival runs tighter and longer than previously understood. Rudy Giuliani ally Igor Fruman and ex-Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort have been friendly for years, two sources familiar with their relationship tell The Daily Beast. And that relationship — stretching from New York to London to Kyiv — long predated Rudy Giuliani’s wide-ranging attempts to discredit the evidence that played a key role in kicking off Manafort's political downfall and eventual incarceration. Joseph Bondy, the lawyer for Fruman associate Lev Parnas, said Manafort and Fruman were friendly for years before their respective indictments. A friend of Manafort’s, who spoke anonymously to discuss non-public matters, confirmed that Fruman and Manafort have known each other for years. He said Fruman invited Manafort to the opening party for Buddha-Bar in Kyiv many years ago, and that the two men have discussed business. Buddha-Bar opened in the summer of 2008. Bondy said the pair also spent time together in London and New York.
To persuade a judge to let him withdraw his guilty plea, Flynn could be called to testify under oath and be subject to cross-examination during a hearing.By Pete Williams and Tom WinterFederal District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan made clear Friday that Michael Flynn, who served briefly as President Donald Trump's national security adviser, has a high hurdle to overcome in persuading the judge to let Flynn withdraw his guilty plea. Flynn pleaded guilty two years ago, admitting he lied to the FBI about his conversations with Russia's ambassador to the U.S. during the Trump transition. A year ago, the government said he deserved credit for admitting his misconduct and cooperating with prosecutors in investigating Flynn's former business partner. But prosecutors said recently that he failed to live up to the bargain and no longer deserves leniency. Flynn's lawyers have accused the FBI of misconduct in how it has handled his agreement. That culminated in a motion filed earlier this month seeking to withdraw his guilty plea, which has delayed his sentencing.
The strategy serves as a backup if the attorneys fail in the central thrust of their current plan.By JOSH GERSTEINFormer national security adviser Michael Flynn should get probation and no jail time if he’s sentenced next month on a felony false-statement charge he pleaded guilty to in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, Flynn’s lawyers told a federal judge Wednesday. Attorneys for Flynn argued in a new court filing that he deserves leniency for his more than three decades of Army service before taking a top job in President Donald Trump’s White House. The former three-star general’s tenure in the Trump administration was short-lived after he wound up in the crosshairs of investigators for his statements to the FBI in the early stages of its investigation into links between the Trump campaign and Russia.
By Katelyn Polantz, Gregory Wallace, Sara Murray, Caroline Kelly, Erica Orden and Marshall Cohen, CNN(CNN) CNN has received another 176 pages of notes from major witness interviews during former special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation -- this time spanning the interviews with more obscure but well-connected witnesses, as well as with some of Mueller's main targets, including George Papadopoulos, Carter Page and Paul Manafort. This is the fourth time CNN has gotten documents like these from the Justice Department regarding the Mueller investigation, as part of a lawsuit in conjunction with BuzzFeed News.The previous releases fleshed out details that Mueller summarized in his final report regarding President Donald Trump's and his campaign's actions. The memos so far have revealed, for instance, how top Trump campaign officials witnessed the candidate and other Trump campaign officials pushing for the release of stolen Democratic emails and supported a conspiracy theory that Ukraine had hacked the Democrats in 2016.The memos, called 302s by the FBI, were typed up by agents or prosecutors after they questioned each witness. Friday's release landed with large chunks of the witness memos redacted and with several pages withheld from the public. The Justice Department has kept many of the memos heavily redacted as it continues to release them this year.Kushner interview notes missingDespite a court order, the Justice Department is holding back Mueller memos regarding the interviews conducted with the President's son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner. CNN and BuzzFeed have won access to thousands of pages of Mueller's witness memos. A judge ordered that the news organizations get access to the same group of documents the House saw, including the Kushner memos, this month.
By Scott NeumanFormer national security adviser Michael Flynn, who admitted to lying to the FBI about contacts with Russia's ambassador to the U.S., wants to withdraw his 2-year-old guilty plea, saying federal prosecutors reneged on a promise to not ask for jail time at his upcoming sentencing. Flynn, who held the post of national security adviser for less than a month, is the only Trump administration official to face criminal charges in connection with special counsel Robert Mueller's probe into Russian election meddling. He was to be sentenced on Jan. 28. "The government's stunning and vindictive reversal of its earlier representations to this Court are incredible, vindictive, in bad faith, and breach the plea agreement," Sidney Powell and Jesse Binnall, Flynn's lead counsel, wrote in the motion."Michael T. Flynn is innocent. Mr. Flynn has cooperated with the government in good faith for two years. He gave the prosecution his full cooperation," they wrote. The defense asked to delay Flynn's sentencing by 30 days, to Feb. 27, and the government says it has no objection. U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan has yet to rule on the request. The U.S. Attorney's Office in Washington, which took over the case from Mueller, recommended earlier this month that Flynn receive "0 to 6 months of incarceration." In the sentencing memo, prosecutors said Flynn had been less than cooperative in an investigation of his former partner, Bijan Rafiekian, at Flynn Intel Group, a lobbying firm.
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