In the midst of the long story of the Mueller report on Trump's associates' contacts with Russia or other shady characters during the 2016 campaign, there is exciting new information about what Donald Trump was personally involved in. The report describes how Trump authorized and remained very interested by Michael Coh's efforts to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. It also reveals that Trump repeatedly told his campaign associations to find Hillary Clinton's emails – and that Michael Flynn was trying to make it happen to him. Furthermore, the tantalizingly redacted section of the report seems to suggest that Trump gets some kind of information about WikiLeaks "plans to release more harmful material about Clinton ̵ 1; although it is still unclear how accurate this information was or how strong Mueller's evidence is.  As stated in the report, Trump is ambitious for a lucrative Russian business deal, he was Mueller revealing no personal commitment from Trump regarding Russian contacts from George Papadopoulos, Paul Manafort, Michael Flynn, Carter Page, or, to find "his" opponents emails, and he obviously heard something about WikiLeaks Jeff Sessions. He found "no documentation" that Trump was aware of his son's meeting with a Russian lawyer in advance. And of course, Mueller found no conspiracy between Trump and Russian heads of state to disrupt the election – and his report does not give away the impression that he was somewhere n honor to make such a fee. Instead of any superspy conspiracy involving the highest levels…
In the midst of the long story of the Mueller report on Trump’s associates’ contacts with Russia or other shady characters during the 2016 campaign, there is exciting new information about what Donald Trump was personally involved in.
The report describes how Trump authorized and remained very interested by Michael Coh’s efforts to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. It also reveals that Trump repeatedly told his campaign associations to find Hillary Clinton’s emails – and that Michael Flynn was trying to make it happen to him.
Furthermore, the tantalizingly redacted section of the report seems to suggest that Trump gets some kind of information about WikiLeaks “plans to release more harmful material about Clinton ̵
1; although it is still unclear how accurate this information was or how strong Mueller’s evidence is.  As stated in the report, Trump is ambitious for a lucrative Russian business deal, he was Mueller revealing no personal commitment from Trump regarding Russian contacts from George Papadopoulos, Paul Manafort, Michael Flynn, Carter Page, or, to find “his” opponents emails, and he obviously heard something about WikiLeaks
Jeff Sessions. He found “no documentation” that Trump was aware of his son’s meeting with a Russian lawyer in advance.
And of course, Mueller found no conspiracy between Trump and Russian heads of state to disrupt the election – and his report does not give away the impression that he was somewhere n honor to make such a fee.
Instead of any superspy conspiracy involving the highest levels of the Trump campaign, the Mueller report seems to explain a story of a series of disorganized contacts, missed opportunities – and sometimes quite unlucky.
The first volume of the Mueller report on Russian involvement in the election covers a variety of events, but only goes into detail about Donald Trump’s personal role in three of them.
1) Trump Tower Moscow: Michael Cohen told Mueller that while Trump drove to President 2015 and 2016, he approved Coh’s effort to get a Trump Tower built in Moscow. Cohen said “on several occasions” Trump would take up the project and ask for updates. At one point, Cohen handed out to Vladimir Putin’s press secretary’s office to try to develop the project. He then informed Trump about the subsequent conversation, he says.
In May 2016 – when Trump was the Republican candidate in anticipation – Cohen says that Trump said he would be willing to travel to Russia if it could nail down the deal. That summer, when Trump publicly denied having anything to do with Russia, he checked with Cohen on the status of the Moscow project, Cohen says. In the end, Cohen failed to move the project forward and it fizzled out that summer.
None of this was criminal, but the details of Trump’s long-standing interest in this potentially “very lucrative” business department in Moscow cast new light on what could have justified his unusually warm word for Putin on the campaign track.
2) WikiLeaks and Roger Stone: Did Donald Trump get any kind of inside information about WikiLeaks plans to release hacked democratic emails?
We still do not know, because this is one of the most reworked parts of the report – but what we can see from it clarifies that this section describes conversations Trump had with his advisors.
The editors obviously hide references to Roger Stone, so as not to affect his upcoming trial. Prosecutors have claimed that Stone tried to get in touch with Julian Assange in the summer of 2016 to get hold of future WikiLeaks releases related to Clinton. But while the accusation against Stone presented some evidence that he learned that the group had leaks related to John Podesta’s coming, he did not try to tell the whole story of what he knew.
The whole story – at least as far as Mueller can nail it – seems to be on pages 51 to 59 in the first volume of the report. And the unredacted bits there have several references to Trump, Cohen, Rick Gates and Paul Manafort who discuss WikiLeaks, apparently with or about Stone.
For example, at one point, Trump is described as a telephone conversation with an editor, and then tells Rick Gates that more harmful information is coming.
Later in the report, Mueller writes that a potential motivation for Trump to prevent Russia’s investigation would be “potential uncertainty about certain events – for example, advance notice of WikiLeaks” release of hacked information “- may be criminal from Trump, his campaign or his family
Did Stone and Trump actually end up with in-depth information about WikiLeaks plans? Or is it a murkier situation? We will probably have to wait for either the leak or the end of the Stone’s November trial to find out on
3) Trying to find Hillary Clinton’s deleted emails: What happened to WikiLeaks, Mueller’s report makes one thing clear: Trump wanted to get rid of Hillary Clinton’s emails.
July 27, 2016 Trump publicly made his now notorious comment: “Russia, if you listen, I hope you can find the missing 30,000 emails” – refers to email messages that Clinton took away rather than turning to investigators, because she said they were personal and not work related. (These emails became an obsession among some conservatives who claimed they would reveal Clinton’s corruption.)
Now, the Trump report reveals privately and asked his adviser to also receive Clinton’s emails: Michael Flynn and then advised Trump’s campaign ” recalled that Trump repeatedly made this request. “
Flynn then took action at Trump’s request and contacted” several people in an attempt to receive the emails, “including Republican donor Peter Smith, who suggested that he reach out to Russian hackers about it. But Mueller’s report means that Smith (who has since died) killed it and Clinton’s own emails never occurred.
Trump’s request to find Clinton’s emails was not necessarily for illegal activity – some conservatives believed that the emails were already out on the “Dark Web” somewhere, waiting to be found. However, it does show a desire to demand scary and dubious behavior, and makes an even more curious about learning what actually happened to WikiLeaks.
Almost two years ago, the world learned that in June 2016 Donald Trump accepted Jr. eagerly a meeting to get dirt on Hillary Clinton – dirt is said to be from the Russian government. It seemed to come quite close to the “call” that Trump long denied occurred.
So almost immediately came the question of whether Don Jr. told his father about this attempt. Steve Bannon told journalist Michael Wolff that it was “zero” chance Trump wasn’t involved. And Michael Cohen testified annually that he remembers Don Jr telling his father about a meeting in advance, but not about anything explicitly about Russia.
Mueller’s report describes Coh’s claims, but acknowledges that they could not be proven. The Special Council writes that he did not find “documentary evidence showing that he [Trump] became known for the meeting – or its Russian affiliation – before it occurred.”
It is important that the special council also accepts the Trump team’s long-standing claim that the meeting was a dud, which did not provide any useful dirt or any significant consequences. For example, Mueller writes that Kushner texted Manafort’s “waste of time” during the meeting and writes that “the presentation of the Russian lawyer did not give” the information offered. The Special Advisor also writes that “the investigation did not identify evidence linking the events of June 9 with GRU’s hack-and-dump operation”, that is, the democratic e-leaks.
So in the end, as shady as the Trump Tower meeting looked, it wasn’t anything significant and there was no evidence that Trump was aware of it.
Finally, although Mueller outlines a rather fierce selection of contacts between the members of Trump’s campaign and people with ties to Russia. He does not provide any evidence to show that Trump himself was involved in most. Here are seven of the most important:
1) George Papadopoulo’s “dirt”: In April 2016, the Trump campaign got Foreign Policy Adviser George Papadopoulos a tip that Russia had dirt on Hillary Clinton in the form of thousands of emails. (The tip came from a London-based professor, Joseph Mifsud, who said he had relations in the Russian government and just returned from a visit there.)
In the following weeks, Papadopoulos shared this news of Russian dirt on Clinton with the Greek Foreign Minister and a diplomat from Australia. Papadopoulos also spoke to Trump campaign assistants on Russian government announcements and a potential trip to Moscow. He even wrote in a magazine at once: “They talk to us. It’s a lot of risk. Putin’s office.”
Of course, one would think that Papadopoulos also told people in the Trump campaign about the Russian “dirt” on Clinton – it’s great news! But Mueller’s investigation did not show that this occurred.
Papadopoulos himself said that “he could not clearly revoke” having told anyone about the campaign, and the campaign officials Mueller’s team questioned “with varying degrees of certainty that he did not tell them.” And there is no clear evidence of
2) Manafort’s sharing of voting data: Mueller’s report stated that Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort had internal campaign selection data sent to a Russian associated with the understanding it would be given to several Ukrainian and one Russian oligarch. Manafort also met Kilimnik and discussed the campaign’s strategy, including targeting intergovernmental states.
But there is no indication in the report that Trump was aware of or involved in what Manafort did. And Mueller’s report leaves the possibility that Manafort was just out to drum up future business.
“The office did not identify evidence of a connection between Manafort’s sharing choice data and Russia’s involvement in the election,” writes Mueller. He adds: “The investigation did not show that Manafort otherwise co-ordinated with the Russian government about its election disturbances.”
3) Carter Page’s visit to Moscow: Christmas 2016 trip to Moscow from Trump’s foreign policy advisor Carter The page has stamped conspiracy theories after it was first reported – and it was strongly featured in the Steele documentation. (Steele claims that the site cooperated with Russian officials on the DNC’s e-leak and plotted a major financial dividend, but the site has always kept nothing that was insignificant.)
The only new evidence Mueller shows about this in the report looks exculpatory for Page. He reveals an email from Putin’s press secretary who discusses the page’s journey, which says: “I’ve read about [Page]. Specialists say he’s far from being the foremost. So I better not start a meeting in the Kremlin.” At least one Russian official was cautious about meeting the page.
It’s still curious that the page emailed Trump campaign advisor from the trip. “Incredible insights and lookout” he had received from Russian officials. But Mueller writes: “The agency could not get any further evidence or testimony about which site might have met or communicated with in Moscow. The site’s activities in Russia – as described in his promotional emails – were not fully explained.”
In any case, Mueller did not put Page with any crimes, he writes: “The investigation did not set up the site coordinated with the Russian government in its efforts to disrupt the presidential election in 2016.” And there’s no sign of any commitment from Donald Trump (which side says he never even talked to) in anyone
4) Roger Stone’s Russian contacts: While many details about the long-standing Trump Adviser Roger Stein’s contacts with WikiLeaks edited in the report, Mueller describes two contacts that Stone had during the campaign – contacts that didn’t seem to stand anywhere.
Only in May 2016 did Stone meet with a Russian Florida named Florida Ozbekyansky and a Ukrainian associated with his name Alexei Rasin, who tried to sell Stone “derogatory information about Clinton” as he said he had. But an agreement does not seem to have been made. Mueller writes that his investigation could not “determine the content and origin of the information” offered, and “did not identify evidence” for any link to Russian interference efforts.
Secondly, in August 2016, Stone switched Twitter DM with “Guccifer 2.0,” an online person created by Russian intelligence officials involved in the hack-and-leak operation. These messages have long been public and seem innocent. And Mueller writes, “The investigation did not identify evidence of other communications between Stone and Guccifer 2.0.”
5) The change of the Republican platform on Ukraine: During the Republican Congress of 2016, a delegate proposed a change it would arm Ukraine. The trump campaign’s efforts to weaken this amendment aroused eyebrows, with many wondering if the campaign carries water for Moscow.
Trump Campaign Officer JD Gordon led this effort – and by delegate he held his head with, Gordon said he had been on the phone with Trump on the subject. But the delegate himself was skeptical about whether it was true, and Gordon’s phone record suggests he might have been involved in some puffery – they don’t include calls to a number associated with Trump, Mueller writes.
Ultimately, Mueller concludes: “The investigation did not show that Gordon spoke to or was led by the candidate to make that proposal.”
6) Jeff Sessions and Sergey Kislyak: Back in 2017, a media crime erupted when words leaked that Trump’s attorney general Jeff Sessions had met Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the campaign – even though he had told a Senate committee he had not. (Sessions were a Trump Campaign Foreign Policy Advisor at that time.)
Mueller writes that his office considered charging sessions to make false statements, but decided to do so. He opines that it is “likely” that the sessions did not really think of the meeting when asked about it in the current heat during the Senate’s testimony.
Meanwhile, Mueller presents nothing to contradict Session’s story that his meeting with Kislyak barely mentioned the presidential campaign, and that other interactions they had were short and at public events. Overall, Session’s history seems to have stopped.
7) Michael Flynn, Sergey Kislyak and sanctions: In December 2016, after Trump had won the election, but before he swore in, President Obama announced new sanctions against Russia. Michael Flynn and Kislyak then talked on the phone and Flynn urged Kislyak that Russia would react with restraint. Putin soon announced that he would do so, and Kislyak told Flynn that his words made the difference.
Flynn lied about these contacts to the FBI and denied that he was talking about sanctions with Kislyak. After Flynn met Mueller’s law in December 2017, many wondered if Flynn would reveal that Trump had actually ordered him to send the message to Kislyak – perhaps as a payout for election aid.
But Mueller dug in this question thoroughly – reviewing communication records, Flynn accounts and accounts of other Trump Transition officials involved – and he concludes: “The investigation did not identify evidence that the presidential election asked Flynn to make any request to Kislyak.”
Instead, by the account in Mueller’s report, there was a plan released among transitional advisers – especially Bannon and KT McFarland – but not Trump personally. Another week later, “Flynn didn’t have a specific memory that he spoke to the president’s president about the contents of his conversation with Kislyak,” writes Mueller (and he seems to see Flynn’s testimony as credible).
Why Flynn lied about this afterwards, for his account it was because Trump was angry when Kislyak’s words were first called leaked in the Washington Post. “Flynn recalled that he felt a lot of pressure because Priebus had spoken to the” boss “and said that Flynn needed to” kill the story, “writes Mueller. So Flynn was wrong to deny there were talk of sanctions with Kislyak – first to other Trump advisors. then to the FBI.
It did not end well for Flynn, but by Robert Mueller’s account at least it does not seem to have been part of a huge Trump-Russia conspiracy either.