POSTED AT 11:48 AM
During the campaign, Paul Manafort discussed with a Russian associate a plan to let Russia control part of Ukraine.
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
President Trump wanted an attorney general who would protect him.
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
Mueller identified ‘numerous’ Trump campaign-Russia contacts, but the evidence did not rise to the level of a crime.
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.
POSTED AT 11:38 AM
George Papadopoulos suggested that Russia wanted to coordinate with Trump campaign.
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
Trump called McGahn at home and ordered him to dismiss Mueller, but McGahn balked.
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
To find evidence of coordination, both Russia and the Trump campaign would have had to agree to act.
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
Mr. Trump likely fired James B. Comey for refusing to clear the president’s name.
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