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Drew Angerer/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) --  Of all the topics special counsel Robert Mueller put before President Donald Trump during his sweeping 22-month investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election, chess was perhaps the most surprising.

But buried among the myriad of revelations contained in Mueller’s 448-page report, released on Thursday with limited redactions by Attorney General William Barr, was the fact that Trump disclosed to investigators that sanctioned Russian powerbroker Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, then the president of the World Chess Federation (FIDE), invited the Trump Organization to host the 2016 World Chess Championship at Trump Tower.

“During the course of preparing to respond to these questions,” wrote Trump on November 20, 2018, in response to a chess-focused inquiry from Mueller, “I have become aware of documents indicating that in March of 2016, the president of the World Chess Federation invited the Trump Organization to host, at Trump Tower, the 2016 World Chess Championship Match to be held in New York in November 2016.”

That invitation, from a Russian sports chief with ties to the Kremlin, appears to represent both another Russian outreach to Trump and his associates in the height of a political campaign, and another example of the ways in which critics say Russia has used sport in general, and chess in particular, as statecraft.

In the days following Trump’s shocking electoral victory, Russia’s business and political elite, headlined by Vladimir Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov, gathered in Manhattan’s South Street Seaport to watch Russian grandmaster Sergey Karjakin challenge Norwegian world champion Magnus Carlsen at the biennial World Chess Championship.

Mueller, it seems, suspected that someone – perhaps one of the powerful Russians in attendance – may have invited the president-elect to attend the pre-tournament gala.

In response to questions from Mueller, Trump said he did not attend the event and “[does] not remember” being invited. But according to Mueller’s report, the World Chess Championship indeed appears to have been an unlikely nexus of characters central to the Trump-Russia drama.

Mueller reported that Kirill Dmitriev, CEO of the Russian sovereign wealth fund, flew to New York for the event and invited George Nader, a mysterious Middle Eastern businessman who was later questioned by Mueller about his meetings with Trump allies, to join him for the opening of the tournament. He asked Nader if there was “a chance to see anyone key from Trump camp," Mueller found, because he "would love to start building for the future," and urged him to invite Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

Nader did not pass along the invitation, the report said, and investigators “did not establish that Trump or any Campaign or Transition Team official attended the event.”

But the invitation to host, which the match’s organizer Ilya Merenzon confirmed to ABC News that Ilyumzhinov extended to Trump, not through official FIDE channels but rather “via his personal connections,” could have established another business relationship between the Trump Organization and an institution with close ties to the Russian government.

As described in a recent joint investigation undertaken by ABC News and FiveThirtyEight, Ilyumzhinov, the wealthy former governor of the Russian state of Kalmykia, has repeatedly been alleged to have acted as an informal envoy for the Russian government.

The Kremlin denies this characterization, but over the years, Ilyumzhinov maintained a packed travel schedule that saw him unexpectedly appear beside some of the world’s best-known strongmen leaders, typically under the auspices of promoting chess.

In 2003, Ilyumzhinov flew to Iraq, less than two days before the start of the U.S. invasion, where he reportedly met with Saddam Hussein’s son, Uday. In 2011, he flew to Libya, amid an ongoing NATO bombing campaign, where he played a chess match against Moammar Gadhafi. And in 2012, he flew to Syria, shortly after the outbreak of civil war, where he met with Bashar Assad to, in Ilyumzhinov’s telling, deliver chess textbooks to Syrian schoolchildren.

Indeed, Ilyumzhinov’s son David confirmed that his father served a unique role. “It’s not a secret,” David said. “He can go like he is just there for chess, for the chess tournament, but he can deliver a message. And the message won’t get screwed up.”

He was recently forced to step aside as FIDE president -- following a scandal-plagued reign that included allegations of corruption – after struggling for legitimacy in the wake of the U.S. Treasury Department sanctioning him in 2015 "for materially assisting and acting for or on behalf of the Government of Syria."

It was that sanction, in fact, that prevented him from attending the 2016 World Chess Championship, the very event that had drawn Mueller’s attention.

But even without Ilyumzhinov, FIDE and chess remain firmly in the Kremlin orbit, with former Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich, who led Russia’s successful staging of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, succeeding Ilyumzhinov as president. And with 188 national chess federations scattered across the globe, the opportunities for chess diplomacy are all but endless.

With Ilyumzhinov’s outreach to Trump, those opportunities appeared to reach new heights.

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iStock/mashabuba(WASHINGTON) --  Now that special counsel Robert Mueller’s 448-page report has revealed the purported “sweeping and systematic” effort by the Russian government to interfere in the 2016 presidential election, the U.S. government is left with a pressing challenge looking forward: how to prevent or defend against a similar attack in 2020.

“It’s sobering to see all in one place the various attacks on the election in 2016,” Lawrence Norden, deputy director at the Brennan Center’s Democracy Program, told ABC News. “We’re much more aware of this problem than we were in 2016, and we’ve taken some steps, but [the report] also highlights in some respects how inadequate our response has been.”

The U.S. intelligence community and previous Mueller indictments had already accused Russia of three interference efforts: a hack-and-leak operation that targeted democratic figures, a widespread online influence campaign designed to sow social and political discord in the U.S. and cyber attacks targeting election infrastructure itself, such as voter databases. But on Thursday, the Mueller report laid out, in narrative detail, the push by the Kremlin to weaken American democracy – a strategy that officials and experts say continues today.

 The 2018 midterm elections did not see the hack-and-leak strategy, or any especially-significant attacks on voting infrastructure, but foreign online influence operations continued unabated, an intelligence community assessment said. Top U.S. security officials have been vocal in their warnings that Russia, potentially along with China, Iran and others who learned dark lessons from 2016, are likely to take aim at the 2020 race.

“The risk of election interference by a foreign government is an existential national security threat,” said John Cohen, a former senior Department of Homeland Security official and current ABC News contributor. “While some agencies like the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Cyber Command are working to mitigate this threat, the U.S. government can and must do more to address the threat to our election process, but that requires visible leadership from the White House and the president himself.”

Former Donald Trump campaign adviser and ABC News contributor Chris Christie told the ABC News podcast “The Investigation” Thursday that if he were speaking to the president, who’s been publicly reticent to accept the intelligence community’s findings that Russia interfered in the election to his benefit, he would tell him to “shift focus” now to the 2020 threat.

“You know, bring in [CIA Director] Gina Haspel and [FBI Director] Chris Wray, bring in the DNI [Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats] and say, ‘Listen, we now have a roadmap for what the Russians did, what are we doing to prepare for the 2020 election? I authorize you to do everything it is you need to do to protect the integrity of that election and we’ll work with Congress to make sure… if you need additional funding that you’ll get it in order to protect the integrity of our elections.’

“I have often thought that that would be a really productive thing for him to do, and a smart thing for him to do politically,” Christie, the former governor of New Jersey, said.

 A spokesperson for the White House National Security Council declined to comment for this report but pointed to moves by the administration to counter foreign election interference, from loosening offensive cyber rules to paving a pathway for sanctions for those “determined to have interfered in a United States election,” to the Department of Justice indictments against suspected Russian operatives.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Friday that he would warn his Russian counterparts about the “steadfast requirement that Russia not engage in activity that impacts the capacity of our democracy to be successful."

“And we will make very clear to them that this is unacceptable behavior and as you’ve seen from this administration, we will take tough actions which raise the cost for Russian malign activity,” he said. “And we’ll continue to do that.”

In the wake of the 2016 elections where, according to the Department of Homeland Security, at least 21 states were targeted by foreign hackers, Congress appropriated $380 million in grants made available to states to help upgrade their election infrastructure ahead of the 2018 midterms, the first such money since 2010.

But despite mounting threats from increasingly sophisticated bad actors, Congress has been deadlocked on additional legislation ever since and failed to approve any additional funding.

One bill, the Secure Elections Act that sought to shield voting systems from cyberattacks, seemed to be on a glide-path to passage last year with bipartisan support from lawmakers as well as a powerful group of former national security professionals.

But the legislation, authored by Sens. James Lankford, R-Okla., and Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., who is now running to unseat President Trump in 2020, was scuttled by White House objections of federal overreach. Its House counterpart bill, while not garnering a single Republican signature, suffered a similar fate.

State officials also decried the lack of funding attached to mandates in the measures, though many supported the granting of security clearances for states' top election officers to receive real-time briefings on threats. (Ahead of the 2018 election the federal government worked to approve state officials for at least temporary security clearances for the purpose.

 Another bill that was introduced in June 2018 would mandate disclosures on political ads – like the ones Mueller said Russia bought on social media – has yet to receive a vote.

Scores of lawmakers have thrown out other ideas -- from a cybersecurity inspector general to conduct spot audits of voting systems, to a new standing cybersecurity committee in Congress, but none of those ideas have stood a chance in the current partisan environment ahead, and the prospects are likely only to get worse ahead of the already highly-divisive 2020 presidential race.

“Election security is national security, and we know that adversaries are likely to continue to evolve their tactics and attempt to influence future elections,” the Department of Homeland Security said in a statement Friday.

But a recent report from the Brennan Center said the election infrastructure still has concerning weaknesses, from out-of-date voting machines to states and counties still using voting systems that don’t have a paper trail, which can be critical to identifying irregularities.

The DHS official also said the department has begun reaching out to announced presidential campaigns, “trying to get an early start” on advising them on how to secure their campaign infrastructure in hopes of avoiding a repeat of the purported Russian hack of Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta’s emails in 2016, as detailed in the Mueller report. The outreach follows a September 2018 FBI initiative designed to encourage campaigns to up their “cyber hygiene.”

On the online influence front, FBI Director Christopher Wray told the RSA cybersecurity conference in March that there’s a “lot more engagement” with the social media companies so that the FBI can warn them about abuse of their platforms, and the social media companies, in turn, can provide information to the FBI for potential investigative leads.

Over the past two years, major social media firms like Facebook and Twitter made public commitments to combat “inauthentic behavior,” periodically announced major takedowns of fake accounts and updated their transparency policies.

Still, Wray said the online “malign influence campaigns” ramp up as elections approach, and the FBI is “gearing up for it to continue and grow again in 2020.”

So with the presidential primary season around the corner, the question remains: has enough been done?

“There’s a lot of things that keep me up at night,” A DHS official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said. “What could our adversaries do? What could they do to undermine our democratic system?... I’ll certainly be nervous but confident in the lines of communication we have and the steps that we’ve taken.”

Norden, the election security expert, said he’s concerned that the ongoing work isn’t moving fast enough.

“I don’t want to make it sound like we haven’t made progress, but when you read the Mueller report, it’s hard not to say, ‘Why is this taking so long and why is this so difficult, when there’s such a consensus in the national security community?’” he said.

The Russian government has long denied the hacking and online influence campaign allegations, calling it a symptom of anti-Russian hysteria in the U.S.

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Joe Raedle/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Special counsel Robert Mueller’s sprawling, 22-month long investigation culminated Thursday in the release of a meticulous examination of Russia’s efforts to sow discord in the 2016 presidential election and the Trump administration’s actions to block investigators.

But at its core, the Mueller probe sought to settle one question: Did then-candidate Donald Trump seek assistance from Russians to tip the balance of the 2016 election?

Setting aside the scintillating details about Russia’s social media campaign or descriptions of a toxic West Wing, what was the evidence of possible collusion between candidate Trump, personally, and any overtures for assistance from Russia?

In December 2017, the special counsel informed the president’s lawyers that Trump was, indeed, a "subject" of their investigation -- a formal designation that meant his conduct fell under the scope of their probe. But there was little known publicly about what actions he took, personally, that most interested the investigators.

Two episodes unearthed by Mueller reveal how deeply interested and personally involved Trump was in his campaign’s efforts to find and disclose emails belonging to Hillary Clinton and her campaign -- particularly when examined alongside his public remarks on the campaign trail.

In July 2016, around the time Trump encouraged Russians "to find the 30,000 emails that are missing," Mueller found that "the Trump Campaign was planning a press strategy, a communications campaign, and messaging based on the possible release of Clinton emails by WikiLeaks."

 In explaining how the campaign came to adopt this "press strategy," Mueller described -- with interspersed redactions -- a time in late summer of 2016 during which "Trump and Gates were driving to LaGuardia Airport."

The beginning of the next sentence is redacted, but the end of that sentence suggests Trump took a phone call from an unidentified person, and "shortly after the call," Mueller wrote, "candidate Trump told [former Trump campaign deputy director Rick] Gates that more releases of damaging information would be coming."

While redactions, codified as being due to an ongoing investigation, obscure the full story, it is clear that Trump welcomed updates about WikiLeaks’ activities. By July 2016, news reports had tied WikiLeaks’ document dumps back to the Russian government.

By late July 2016, Trump was "repeatedly" asking Michael Flynn, a senior campaign adviser and short-lived national security adviser, to "find the deleted Clinton emails," according to Mueller’s report.

Flynn eventually contacted multiple individuals to look into the matter, Mueller wrote, even as WikiLeaks continued weekly dispatches of the Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee emails and internal documents.

For his part, the president has insisted from the outset that he had no role in alleged collusion with Russians.

In fact, in his first public comments about Mueller’s appointment as special counsel in May 2017, Trump told reporters, "there is no collusion between -- certainly myself and my campaign -- but I can always speak for myself and the Russians. Zero."

In his 448-page report, the special counsel unequivocally affirmed Trump’s stance in the eyes of the law. "Collusion," itself, does not appear in the federal code, but corresponds loosely to a crime of conspiracy.

"Although the investigation established … that the Campaign expected it would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts," Mueller wrote, "the investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities."

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Scott Eisen/Getty Images(SOUTH BEND, Ind.) --  Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg may have a leg-up on his competition in 2020.

In 2000, then a senior in high school, Buttigieg was voted "most likely to become president" at St. Joseph High School.

 The Catholic school's yearbook was unearthed at a public library in South Bend, the same weekend the mayor of the 299th largest city in America announced he was taking his first swing at the White House.   Looking through the rest of his high school yearbooks, he moved from appearing in a single photo his freshman year -- sporting shaggy hair and large glasses -- to showing off a dizzying array of activities in the following years, including the National Honor Society, Junior Leaders and Philosophy Club. He was often pictured wearing a white shirt, tie and no jacket, which has also become his current political uniform.

His senior year, he was also voted most likely to succeed and eventually became his class valedictorian.

Another person figuring prominently in those same yearbooks is James Mueller. He’s now hoping to eventually take over for "Mayor Pete" at South Bend City Hall and Buttigieg even has a "James Mueller for mayor" sign on his front lawn.

Buttigieg, 37, a self-proclaimed "millennial mayor," speaks six languages and claims to be the antithesis of President Donald Trump.

He recently told HBO’s Bill Maher that he is a "laid-back, intellectual, young, gay, mayor from the Midwest."

Buttigieg’s also now openly talking about having a child with his husband, Chasten.

He’s been busy since being anointed in that high school yearbook superlatives section. He graduated from Harvard University and the University of Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar. He joined the Navy Reserves and served a tour in Afghanistan. And in the weeks leading up to his official campaign kickoff, he has rocketed from near-total national obscurity to a player in the Democratic field.

When he was 18, Buttigieg won the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Essay Contest for his research of then U.S. Rep. Bernie Sanders, the man who stands just ahead of him in the polls among the crowded field.   "Above all, I commend Bernie Sanders for giving me an answer to those who say American young people see politics as a cesspool of corruption, beyond redemption. I have heard that no sensible young person today would want to give his or her life to public service, I can personally assure you this is untrue," he told the South Bend Tribune on May 15, 2000.   At 29, Buttigieg became the youngest mayor of a city with at least 100,000 residents in 2011. If elected in 2020, he would become the youngest president in American history.   "I recognize the audacity of doing this as a Midwestern millennial mayor," he said during his announcement speech."

He later added, "Up until recently this is not exactly what I had in mind for how I would spend my eighth year as mayor and 38th year in this world, but we live in a moment that compels us each to act."

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ABC News(NEW YORK) -- In a tense exchange on "Good Morning America," White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders attempted to defend statements she made to the press that she later told Robert Mueller's office were a "slip of the tongue."

"That's not a 'slip of the tongue,' Sarah, that's a deliberate false statement," ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos said.

They were referring to Sanders' May 2017 claims that FBI members had "lost confidence in" former FBI Director James Comey. A redacted version of the Mueller report released Thursday said, "Sanders told this Office that her reference to hearing from 'countless members of the FBI' was a 'slip of the tongue.' She also recalled that her statement in a separate press interview that rank-and-file FBI agents had lost confidence in Comey was a comment she made 'in the heat of the moment' that was not founded on anything."

"Actually, if you look at what I said, I said the 'slip of the tongue' was in using the word 'countless,'" Sanders replied to Stephanopoulos, "but there were a number of FBI, both former and current, that agreed with the president's decision, and they've continued to speak out and say that and send notice to the White House of that agreement with the president's decision."

"James Comey was a disgraced leaker and used authorization to spy on the Trump campaign despite no evidence of collusion," she continued. "I stand by the fact, George--"

"Sarah, hold on a second," Stephanopoulos said, pushing back on Sanders' claims, which contradict what's in Mueller's report.

"The special counsel writes that those comments were 'not founded on anything.' That's what you talked to the special counsel about when you were facing criminal penalties if you didn't tell the truth, but now you're trying to walk away from it. Why can't you acknowledge that what you said then was not true?" he asked.

"I said that the word I used, 'countless,' and I also said, if you look at what's in quotations from me, it's that and it's that it was 'in the heat of moment,' meaning that it wasn't a scripted talking point. I'm sorry that I wasn't a robot like the Democrat Party," Sanders said.

Sanders, however, didn't only reference the comments once in a "heat of the moment" environment. She made the same comments again the day before in a Fox News interview and in the next day's White House press briefing.

"In fact, Sarah, what you did -- Sarah, hold on a second. I let you speak," Stephanopoulos said, as Sanders talked over him.

"What you did repeat, time and time again, is that statement. You said that 'countless' FBI officials came to you. You repeated it on separate days, on separate occasions, and this was not the only instance the special counsel reported," Stephanopoulos continued.

According to the report, while Sanders told the press the president didn't dictate a statement about a June 2016 meeting with Trump campaign members and a Russian lawyer at Trump Tower in New York after it was revealed by the press, the president's lawyers later said otherwise in interviews with the special counsel.

"So why did you tell the press that the president did not dictate that statement, when he did?" Stephanopoulos asked Sanders.

"I'm not denying that he had involvement in what the statement said. That was the information I was given at the time and I stated it to the public," Sanders said.

Stephanopoulos pushed Sanders on the question again. She responded that the president "weighed in as anybody would do, and that seems consistent with what took place that day."

"Sarah, that's just not what happened," Stephanopoulos said. "You said the president didn't dictate the statement. The president's lawyer said that he did dictate the statement. That's what they wrote."

"My understanding at the time was that he hadn't dictated but that he weighed in, George," Sanders responded.

"Well then you're saying the president's lawyers weren't telling the truth when they wrote that the president dictated the statement?" Stephanopoulos asked.

"I'm telling you the information I had was that the president weighed in on the statement, which he clearly did," Sanders responded.

Sanders also argued that the "big question here was whether or not the Trump campaign colluded with Russia -- and they didn't," she said.

"The big takeaway that I think we saw yesterday, and that we've seen over the last two-and-a-half years, is that there wasn't collusion with Russia, and it should be a day that every American can celebrate and not be sorrowful like we've seen over the last 48 hours from the Democrats that are actually sad that the president didn't work as a foreign agent," Sanders said, adding that she hoped ABC News would push House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff and other Democrats "just as hard" in interviews for evidence.

The investigation did, according to the report, identify "numerous links between individuals with ties to the Russian government and individuals associated with the Trump Campaign," though Mueller did not find enough evidence to support criminal charges.

In an interview minutes later on "Good Morning America," House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler, who issued a subpoena for the full report Friday morning, called the instances documented by Mueller "disturbing."

"One of the things that the special prosecutor finds is that the Russians were clearly out to help Trump, that the Trump campaign knew about it and welcomed their assistance, and in some cases knew about what they were going to do, what WikiLeaks was going to do in advance. They couldn't prove criminal conspiracy but they certainly proved cooperation," Nadler said on "GMA." "That is very disturbing to cooperate with a foreign power."

The investigation also found that "several individuals affiliated with the Trump Campaign lied to the Office, and to Congress, about their interactions with Russian-affiliated individuals and related matters," and that those lies "materially impaired the investigation of Russian election interference."

Despite those portions of the report, however, Mueller found "the evidence was not sufficient to charge that any member of the Trump Campaign conspired with representatives of the Russian government to interfere in the 2016 election," according to the report.

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ABC News(NEW YORK) -- The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee has issued a subpoena for the full, unredacted Mueller report, setting up a potential legal battle with the Justice Department for the special counsel's full findings and underlying materials.

Chairman Jerry Nadler, the Democrat from New York, asked for the department to comply by May 1, the day U.S. Attorney General William Barr is scheduled to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee, and one day before he is scheduled to appear before the House.

"I am open to working with the Department to reach a reasonable accommodation for access to these materials, however I cannot accept any proposal which leaves most of Congress in the dark, as they grapple with their duties of legislation, oversight and constitutional accountability," Nadler said in a statement.

Nadler teased the subpoena action to get the full report from special counsel Robert Mueller's 22-month investigation on ABC News' Good Morning America Friday.

"That subpoena will come in the next couple of hours," Nadler said. "We need the entire report unredacted, and the underlying documents, in order to make informed decisions."

Barr released the report with redacted sections to the public on Thursday around 11 a.m. EDT. The report, which is 448 pages, does not conclude the president or his campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russians and does not reach a conclusion on obstruction of justice.

However, the report does document "numerous links between individuals with ties to the Russian government and individuals associated with the Trump Campaign" and 11 possible instances of obstruction of justice.

Nadler's calls for the full report echo demands from Democrats on the Hill, including most 2020 presidential candidates.

The subpoena is also for the "underlying evidence" of the report, despite a federal procedural rule that requires information from a grand jury to remain secret.

U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr has stood behind this rule, noting in his four-page summary of the Mueller report that the "restriction protects the integrity of grand jury proceedings and ensures that the unique and invaluable investigative powers of a grand jury are used strictly for their intended criminal justice function."

During his confirmation hearing, Barr was asked by Rep. Ed Case, a Democrat from Hawaii, whether he would ask the court to release grand jury material under certain exceptions. Barr turned the tables, saying, "The chairman of the Judiciary Committee is free to go to court if he feels one of those exceptions is applicable."

While the shroud of grand jury secrecy has been lifted in some notable cases, including Watergate and the investigation that led to President Bill Clinton's impeachment proceedings, Congress will be up against a challenge in persuading a court for disclosure of grand jury material from the Mueller probe.

Some legal experts believe the case for getting grand jury material would be stronger if the House opened an official impeachment proceeding, but Nadler, who can open the proceedings as chairman of the judiciary committee, rejected that option on GMA Friday.

"Yes, some people believe that," Nadler said. "I believe that one of the things that we need that evidence for is to determine whether to do that or not."

On impeachment proceedings, Nadler said, "We're not there." He added that Congress first has to hear from Barr and Mueller.

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Pages from special counsel Robert Mueller's redacted report. (ABC News) (WASHINGTON) -- While there will be no legal case brought against President Donald Trump by special counsel Robert Mueller’s team, the much-anticipated redacted report made public Thursday documented, in vivid detail, actions by members of the then-candidate’s campaign and later his administration that raised a host of political questions.

Largely Democratic calls for Mueller to testify before Congress only grew louder as the day went on, all but guaranteeing that the special counsel’s work will remain a focus of Washington for some time.

And yet, there appeared to be sighs of relief at the White House.

"No obstruction, no collusion," the president said with a smile, speaking at an event timed closely with the release of the report.

The report is a trove of information about the current presidency and many in its orbit. Here are some of the key takeaways:

On matters of obstruction and collusion

In his letter describing the Mueller report’s “principal conclusions” -- transmitted more than three weeks ago to members of Congress -- Attorney General William Barr made conclusive statements about obstruction of justice and Trump-Russia collusion: neither took place.

 However, in the report, the special counsel’s office weighed in on the use of the non-legal term of “collusion,” saying "this Office evaluated potentially criminal conduct that involved the collective action of multiple individuals not under the rubric of 'collusion,' but through the lens of conspiracy law."

"The Office recognized that the word 'collud[e]' appears in the Acting Attorney General's August 2, 2017 memorandum; it has frequently been invoked in public reporting; and it is sometimes referenced in antitrust law...But collusion is not a specific offense or theory of liability found in the U.S. Code; nor is it a term of art in federal criminal law," the office said.

On the matter of collusion, Mueller’s team listed scores of contacts between the Trump campaign and Russians, including “business connections, offers of assistance to the Campaign, invitations for candidate Trump and Putin to meet in person, invitations for campaign officials and representatives of the Russian government to meet, and policy positions seeking improved U.S.-Russian relations.”

On obstruction of justice, the special counsel's office made no conclusion on the matter of possible obstruction of justice by Trump, but Barr himself determined that the evidence against Trump did not amount to a crime.

Investigators found multiple acts by the president that were capable of exerting undue influence over law enforcement investigations, however they conclude the president’s efforts to influence the investigation were “mostly unsuccessful but that is largely because the persons who surrounded the President declined to carry out orders or accede to his requests.”

Jay Sekulow, the president’s lawyer, defended the president in an interview with ABC News Thursday, claiming the president was totally exonerated. The bottom line, he said, was that “if they had an obstruction case, they would have made it. They did not.”

‘This is the end of my presidency. I’m f---ed.’

One of the most talked about lines in the 448-page report is, perhaps unsurprisingly, the president’s immediate reaction to the news that a special counsel had been appointed to investigate him and his campaign.

According to then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions' chief of staff, Jody Hunt, the president, upon learning that a special counsel had been appointed, reportedly slouched back in his chair and said "’Oh my God. This is terrible. This is the end of my Presidency. I’m f-----.’"

Trump was interviewing for a new FBI director with his then-lawyer Don McGahn, Sessions, who had already recused himself from the position at that point, and Hunt, who was taking notes on the meeting.

Sessions left the room to take a call and came back to deliver the news that former FBI Director Robert Mueller had been appointed as the special counsel. In the report, Mueller wrote that Trump “slumped” in his chair.

Trump immediately lambasted Sessions for recusing himself, saying he “let [him] down."

"Everyone tells me if you get one of these independent counsels it ruins your presidency. It takes years and years and I won't be able to do anything. This is the worst thing that ever happened to me," Trump said, according to Mueller’s report.

Many times over, the president was saved from potential acts of obstruction by staff

Mueller’s team inspected 10 separate occasions where the president may have acted to impede the investigation, according to the report.

Multiple times, various top Trump aides sidestepped the president’s orders, including the president’s then-White House counsel Don McGahn who stopped Trump from firing the chief investigator, Mueller.

According to The New York Times, McGahn threatened to resign in June 2016 if Trump took any action to remove Mueller from his role overseeing the probe.

According to the report: "The President then directed [staff secretary Rob] Porter to tell McGahn to create a record to make clear that the President never directed McGahn to fire the Special Counsel. Porter thought the matter should be handled by the White House communications office, but the President said he wanted McGahn to write a letter to the file 'for our records' and wanted something beyond a press statement to demonstrate that the reporting was inaccurate. The President referred to McGahn as a 'lying bastard' and said that he wanted a record from him. Porter recalled the President saying something to the effect of, 'If he doesn't write a letter, then maybe I'll have to get rid of him'."

Mueller concluded that "Substantial evidence indicates that in repeatedly urging McGahn to dispute that he was ordered to have the Special Counsel terminated, the President acted for the purpose of influencing McGahn's account in order to deflect or prevent further scrutiny of the President's conduct towards the investigation."

Mueller considered Trump’s written responses ‘inadequate’

Special counsel Muller laid out his negotiations with Trump’s attorneys regarding an interview with the president. Mueller wrote in the introductory note that they advised counsel that "a[n] interview with the President is vital to our investigation."

Mueller said that Trump stated on more than 30 occasions that he "does not ‘recall’ or ‘remember’ or have an 'independent recollection’" of information called for by the questions.

Mueller received the president’s responses in November 2018. Beginning in December 2017, they sought to interview the president on "topics relevant to both Russian-election interference and obstruction-of-justice."

Mueller wrote that "Other answers were 'incomplete or imprecise.'"

"We again requested an in-person interview, limited to certain topics, advising the President’s counsel that [t]his is the President’s opportunity to voluntarily provide us with information for us to evaluate in the context of all the evidence we have gathered. The President declined," the special counsel said.

In the report, Mueller said, "we considered whether to issue a subpoena for his testimony" given that Trump would not volunteer an interview. "We viewed the written answers to be inadequate. But at that point, our investigation had made significant progress and had produced substantial evidence for our report. We thus weighed to costs of potentially lengthy constitutional litigation, with resulting delay in finishing our investigation, against the anticipated benefits from our investigation and report."

What is clear? The extent to which the Russians actually engaged in interfering with the election

Not to be overlooked is the threat of Russian interference -- laid out in detail in Mueller’s report with significant details about how Russians engaged directly with unknowing Americans.

The interference in 2016 was “sweeping and systematic fashion,” Mueller said, a fact that was evidenced by the indictment last year of the whole Russian troll farm behind much of the social media interference, known as the Internet Research Agency.

The group got people to take their mission beyond the feeds of social media and walk around New York City “dressed up as Santa Claus with a Trump mask,” an act that spoke to Trump’s campaign promise that Americans will be able to say “Merry Christmas” again.

In another example from the report, Mueller detailed the way a fake group called “Black Fist” popped up, advertising as a group of self-defense instructors who would teach African Americans to protect themselves around police officers. The Russians behind the group, who were working for the IRA, even hired a self-defense instructor in New York.

The Russian social media posts were cited or retweeted by multiple Trump Campaign officials and surrogates, including Trump’s sons, Donald Jr. and Eric Trump, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, Brad Parscale -- architect of the Trump campaign’s 2016 digital strategy -- and former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn engaged with the Russian accounts.

Starting in June 2016, the IRA also contacted different Americans affiliated with the Trump campaign in an effort to coordinate pro-Trump IRA-organized rallies inside the United States, according to the report.

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ANNECORDON/iStock(WASHINGTON) -- While all eyes were fixated on the release of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report Thursday, the Democratic presidential field continued to plug away, despite roundly criticizing Attorney General William Barr's morning press conference and expressing a desire to learn more about redacted portions of the report.

As was the case in 2018, Democrats appear to be aware that their strongest pitch to voters is one focused on issues like health care, the economy and immigration -- so despite the developments in the investigation, the report continues to play only a peripheral role.

April 12-18, 2019

Stacey Abrams (D)

The former Georgia gubernatorial candidate said she would make a decision on a potential 2020 Senate run in the next few weeks, but that a decision on a presidential campaign could take longer.

"I do not believe that there is the type of urgency that some seem to believe there is," Abrams said in an interview with The Root.

She was also critical of the media's coverage of her 2018 race, refraining from ascribing the issues she saw to "racism," but saying there was "a very narrow and immature ability to navigate the story of my campaign."

Joe Biden (D)

Biden eulogized the late South Carolina Democratic Sen. Fritz Hollings on Tuesday, discussing, apparently in reference to Hollings' one-time pro-segregation views, the ways that "people can change."

"We can learn from the past and build a better future," the former vice president added.

President Donald Trump predicted that Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders would be a "finalist" to run against him in next year's election.

"I look forward to facing whoever it may be. May God Rest Their Soul!" Trump tweeted Tuesday.

On Thursday, Biden traveled to Massachusetts where he took part in a rally in support of striking Stop & Shop supermarket workers.

Cory Booker (D)

The New Jersey senator announced a plan to expand the earned income tax credit during an event in Iowa on Monday, saying that it would boost the economy and benefit more than 150 million people. Booker’s plan pays for the credit by increasing taxes on capital gains.

Booker additionally called for voting rights reforms during a visit to Georgia on Wednesday, including automatic voter registration, making Election Day a national holiday and restoring the Voting Rights Act protections that were overturned by the Supreme Court in 2013.

Pete Buttigieg (D)

Buttigieg officially launched his presidential campaign last weekend with a rally in his native South Bend, Indiana, where he acknowledged -- even as his popularity grows -- "the audacity of [running for president] as a Midwestern millennial mayor."

It is "more than a little bold -- at age 37 -- to seek the highest office in the land," he said.

The South Bend mayor also encountered some of his campaign's first hecklers this week, as he was confronted in Iowa by anti-gay protesters, and announced that he and his husband are interested in having a child at some point in the near future.

Julian Castro (D)

The former Housing and Urban Development secretary raised a relatively meager $1.1 million during the year's first quarter, placing him behind nearly every major candidate in the Democratic field.

The New York Times reported on Castro's struggle to catch on with voters at this point in the campaign, noting that the candidate himself doesn't seem bothered by his position in the field.

"People are going to have their moments," he said. "I would rather have my moment closer to the actual election than right now."

John Delaney (D)

Delaney and Booker's campaign were involved in a minor dust-up after a Booker fundraising email earlier this week made reference to "one of the other Democrats in this race… giv[ing] over $11 million of his own money to his campaign," a fact that can only be attributed to Delaney.

A spokesperson for the former Maryland congressman jabbed back, saying, "If I had Booker's numbers, I'd go negative too."

On Tuesday, Delaney announced a plan to create a cabinet level Department of Cybersecurity, noting in a press release, "Currently our cybersecurity efforts are spread across multiple agencies, but by creating a new department we can centralize our mission, focus our goals and efforts, and create accountability."

Tulsi Gabbard (D)

In visit to Iowa this week, Gabbard touted her experience in the National Guard and said she was disappointed in Trump's decision to veto a bipartisan congressional resolution calling for an end to U.S. military involvement in Yemen.

The Hawaii congresswoman also criticized Trump in a Fox News appearance, saying that his administration's efforts to force "regime change" in Venezuela were "directly undermining" its effort to denuclearize North Korea. In the same interview, Gabbard said that it is "impossible for Kim Jong Un to believe [the Trump administration] when they tell him, 'Don't worry. Get rid of your nuclear weapons. We're not going to come after you.'"

Kirsten Gillibrand (D)

Gillibrand's $3 million raised from donors for 2020 during the year's first quarter placed her last among the group of six U.S. senators running for the presidential nomination; but she also transferred nearly $10 million from her 2018 Senate committee into her 2020 campaign, placing her among the top tier of candidates in cash-on-hand entering the second quarter.

BuzzFeed News reported Monday that the New York senator is endorsing proposals included in a new report that analyzes the racial wealth divide. The proposals include postal banking, government run trust accounts and the formation of a commission to study slavery reparations.

Kamala Harris (D)

Harris admitted that she regrets the support she lent an anti-truancy law while serving as California's attorney general -- specifically the law's threat to prosecute parents for their children's absences. The senator noted, however, that her office never jailed a parent for a violation of the law.

Harris released 15 years of tax returns earlier in the week. Harris and her husband, attorney Douglas Emhoff, reported nearly $1.9 million in income in 2018, paying an effective tax rate of 37 percent.

John Hickenlooper (D)

Ahead of the 20th anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting in Colorado, Hickenlooper, the state’s former governor, met with survivors as he campaigns on his gun control record, including a ban on high-capacity magazines and private sale background check requirement.

Hickenlooper additionally discussed mental health measures with the group, citing recent suicides by survivors of last year's shooting at Parkland High School in Florida.

Larry Hogan (R)

Amid speculation that he might run against Trump in the 2020 Republican primary, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan is scheduled to be in the New Hampshire next week. Hogan will headline the New Hampshire Institute of Politics' "Politics and Eggs" on April 23.

Jay Inslee (D)

In a New York Magazine interview, the Washington governor, who is running a campaign prioritizing climate change, said that any attempt by Trump to run on his environmental record "would not be successful."

Inslee was also critical of one of his constituents, former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, who is considering an independent presidential run. Inslee pointed to Schultz's scant voting history.

"The son of a gun doesn’t even vote," Inslee said. "You want to be president and you don’t even vote? You know, that’s just for the little people. In Howard’s life, voting is just for the little people. I don’t think his candidacy is going to soar."

John Kasich (R)

On the heels of former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld’s announcement to officially enter the GOP race, former Ohio Gov. John Kasich said on CNN that he still hasn’t ruled out his own primary challenge to Trump.

"All of my options remain on the table," said Kasich, who previously ran for president in 2016. "I don’t wake up every day looking at polls or thinking about me and my political future. I just want to be a good voice."

Amy Klobuchar (D)

The Minnesota senator made her second trip to Florida as a presidential candidate this week, speaking about health care in Miami and meeting with Democratic leaders from the state House in Tallahassee.

Fox News also announced that Klobuchar will appear on the network for a forum on May 8. The Klobuchar appearance follows a Bernie Sanders town hall on Fox News on Monday.

Terry McAuliffe (D)

McAuliffe, the former governor of Virginia, announced on Wednesday evening that he would not run for president, choosing instead to assist Democrats in his home state trying to win back the state's legislative chambers.

Despite his decision, McAuliffe said he feels he would have been able to beat Trump "like a rented mule," but that he was concerned about the problems he sees plaguing Virginia -- an apparent reference to the blackface scandal and sexual harassment allegation that rocked Democratic leadership earlier this year.

Seth Moulton (D)

Moulton, who was spotted in his Massachusetts hometown this week filming a presidential announcement video, is hiring staff for a potential campaign, Politico reported; he is expected to make a public announcement next week.

Beto O’Rourke (D)

The former congressman continued his breakneck-paced campaign this week, making stops in South Carolina and the Super Tuesday battleground of Virginia.

Like other 2020 Democrats, O’Rourke spent most of the week defending the contents of years of tax returns. One headline emerging from the 10 years of filings that O’Rourke dropped on Monday: He appears to have given the smallest percentage of his family's income to charity out of the 2020 field (0.3 percent in 2017), according to ABC News.

A voter confronted O’Rourke about his stingy charitable donations on the trail Wednesday, and the 2020 hopeful responded by saying:

"I’ve served in public office since 2005. I do my best to contribute to the success of my community, of my state, and now, of my country. There are ways that I do this that are measurable and there are ways that I do this that are immeasurable. There are charities that we donate to that we’ve recorded and itemized, others that we have donated to that we have not."

Tim Ryan (D)

Ryan took a page out of Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s book this week and introduced legislation which would require the Justice Department to create training in a variety of areas for law enforcement officers.

He also took a veiled shot at some of the more progressive Democrats in the 2020 field, telling CNN that he’s "concerned" about a growing socialist wing of the party.

"I'm concerned about it. Because if we are going to de-carbonize the American economy, it's not going to be some centralized bureaucracy in Washington, D.C., that's going to make it happen," Ryan said. "It's going to be part targeted government investments that do need to be robust. But it's going to be the free market that's going -- at the end of the day -- is going to make that happen."

Bernie Sanders (D)

Bernie Sanders had a big week. Not only did he release years of tax returns, but Sanders also seems to have kick-started another Democratic trend: appearing on Fox News.

According to tax filings released by the campaign, Sanders, who has made a career out of railing against the ultra wealthy, is officially now a millionaire himself.

The runner up for the 2016 Democratic nomination reported an adjusted gross income of nearly $561,293 in 2018, and paid $145,840 in taxes for a 26 percent effective tax rate. And in 2016 and 2017, Sanders reported raking in $1.06 million and $1.13 million in adjusted gross income, respectively, paying a 35 percent and 30 percent effective rate, according to ABC News.

Tax filings aside, Sanders’ Fox News town hall on Monday broke ratings records for the 2020 cycle so far. And it looks like more Democrats are set to follow his lead, with Sen. Amy Klobuchar quickly announcing her own Fox town hall.

Eric Swalwell (D)

Rep. Eric Swalwell held another kick off rally in his hometown of Dublin, California on Sunday, days after he officially kicked off his campaign a few miles away from last year’s school shooting in Parkland.

Elizabeth Warren (D)

Warren continued her string of major policy proposal announcements, which have defined her campaign and aspects of the entire 2020 Democratic race as of late. She introduced the "Accountable Capitalism Act" this week, a bill that "aims to reverse the harmful trends over the last 30 years," according to the senator's website.

Bill Weld (R)

It’s official -- Trump won’t run unopposed for reelection in 2020. Former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld jumped into the race on Monday, becoming the first Republican to challenge a sitting president for the party nomination since Pat Buchanan ran against President George H. W. Bush in 1992.

Weld, who ran for vice president in 2016 on the Libertarian ticket under Gary Johnson, told ABC News that he would've been "ashamed of myself if hadn't raised my hand and said count me in."

The former two-term governor also said he’ll focus on Republican primaries where independents can vote, while hoping his pitch that the president is ignoring key issues like climate change and the debt will resonate with moderate Republicans.

"The president is just not dealing with serious issues such as global warming and climate change. That's a real threat to us as a country," Weld said. "And for the president to just say it's a hoax, that's not responsible government."

Weld spent his first week on the trail campaigning across New Hampshire.

Marianne Williamson (D)

Democratic presidential hopeful and spiritual book author Marianne Williamson participated in her first CNN town hall on Sunday.

On health care, Williamson said that her approach as president would be broader than just Medicare for All, according to CNN.

"That will save a lot of money. There’s so much about our diet, our lifestyle and so much about the economic stress that actually causes the very conditions that produce illness. That’s why if we’re going to talk about health in America, we have to talk about the foods, toxins. We have to talk about our environmental policies. We need to go a lot deeper," she said.

Andrew Yang (D)

Andrew Yang held a rally at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington on Monday, drawing a "large and diverse crowd," according to Business Insider.

"The opposite of Donald Trump is an Asian man who likes math," Yang told the raucous crowd.

The D.C. rally came on the heels of perhaps Yang’s biggest media appearance yet with his CNN town hall on Sunday.

On combating the opioid epidemic, Yang said he supports decriminalizing heroin and other opiates.

"We need to decriminalize opiates for personal use," Yang said during Sunday’s town hall. "I’m also for the legalization of cannabis."

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yorkfoto/iStock(WASHINGTON) -- Amid ongoing concern about human rights in Myanmar, including the violence against the Rohingya ethnic minority, Congress is again trying to step in to fill a gap left by the Trump administration.

A bipartisan pair of lawmakers are set to introduce legislation in the House calling out Myanmar's government for its ongoing detention of political prisoners, including two Reuters journalists, and to provide new funding to the State Department to support organizations working for the prisoners' release, according to an advanced copy of the bill shared first with ABC News.

A group of Senate Republicans and Democrats introduced their own measure last week that would impose sanctions and other penalties on Myanmar for human rights abuses.

The legislation comes just days after Myanmar's president issued 9,551 pardons on Wednesday, but only two for political prisoners, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, an independent human rights organization that called the news "disappointing."

Lawmakers in the U.S. have long been disappointed in President Donald Trump's response to the human rights situation in Myanmar. Myanmar's military began a systematic campaign to eradicate the Rohingya, a Muslim-majority ethnic group in the country's northwest, in August 2017. Trump has never spoken publicly about the violence.

"We want to push hard to make sure that the United States is doing everything it can to advance the cause of human rights in Myanmar, both in terms of the Rohingya and, as our bill suggests, broadly throughout society," said Rep. Andy Levin, D-Michigan, who is co-sponsoring the bill with Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Missouri.

While senior officials like Vice President Mike Pence and former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley have condemned the violence as "ethnic cleansing," the Trump administration has been criticized for being slow to sanction Myanmar military officials and units, and declining to pressure the government on other human rights abuses. It has also stopped short of calling the campaign against the Rohingya a "genocide," despite many other organizations, including the United Nations and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, using that term.

Last December, Republicans in the House of Representatives sent one of their few strong rebukes against Trump with a resolution calling the Rohingya crisis a "genocide."

"The president still has not even said it was what it was," Levin told ABC News. "We would like to see a lot more just roll-up-your sleeves activity," especially on political prisoners.

Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, was ruled for decades by a brutal military junta, but it began a transition to a power-sharing military-civilian government in 2010 that led the Obama administration to ease sanctions against the country. While the overall human rights situation improved with increased civilian control, including the release of many political prisoners, the violence against the Rohingya and other ethnic minorities set back progress. Now, human rights groups are increasingly concerned that issues like freedom of expression and peaceful assembly are slipping away.

"The political prisoner issue has been an unfortunate and continuing challenge in Myanmar," said Erin Murphy, who worked for the State Department's special representative for Myanmar. "The recent amnesty by Myanmar President Win Myint likely fell short of expectations."

There are currently over 350 political prisoners in Myanmar, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners. That includes journalists, environmentalists and peaceful protesters, along with high-profile cases like Aung Ko Htwe, who has been detained since 2017 for speaking out about his experience as a child soldier, as well as Reuters reporters Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, who were arrested in December 2017 after their story on a mass grave of Rohingya victims was published.

"We have repeatedly called for Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo's immediate release, and our Embassy in Rangoon continues to engage publicly and privately" to secure their freedom, a State Department spokesperson told ABC News.

But they declined to comment on the issue of political prisoners, whose detention and at times abuse has been a longstanding issue. The department's 2018 human rights report, released in March, made particular note of the government's detentions, the "harsh and sometimes life-threatening" conditions of prisons, the use of torture and abuse against prisoners, particularly ethnic minorities, and the "significant surveillance and restrictions" political prisoners face after release.

"For democracy to take root in Burma, the government needs fair laws, safe prisons, and a competent justice system," Rep. Wagner told ABC News. "Hundreds of political prisoners have been released in the past few years, but there are too many still behind bars."

The State Department has provided some funds for aid groups that advocate for political prisoners, but an aide to Levin said they don't know of any assistance the U.S. provides for this issue in Burma specifically, adding, "This bill would fill that void."

Advocates say that funding is also necessary because of how the government has adapted colonial-era laws to increasingly harass human rights activists and political opponents.

"The level of funding and type [of] support has not kept up with the changing tactics of the new government," said Francisco Bencosme, the Asia-Pacific advocacy manager for Amnesty International, which has endorsed Wagner and Levin's bill.

An aide to Wagner said that the House bill, and the Senate bill introduced last week, could end up merging, "And we will be pushing all avenues to help get this language into law."

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ABC/Heidi Gutman(NEW YORK) -- He may usually be in Donald Trump’s corner, but former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie isn’t joining the president in calling the Mueller’s probe investigation into Russian election meddling a hoax -- or characterizing the report as a knockout victory for the Trump administration.

“It was not a hoax,” Christie, an ABC News contributor, told the ABC News podcast, "The Investigation".

“It is a good day for the president because whenever you're investigated for a crime and you're not charged, it's a good day,” Christie continued. “There are still many challenges that this report is going to present for the president going forward, from Congress and from the other 14 investigations that are going on at U.S. attorney's offices around the country."

While special counsel Robert Mueller and his team ultimately did not establish that members of the Trump campaign coordinated with the Russian government’s attempts to meddle in the 2016 election, Christie disagreed with Trump’s often repeated claim that the probe was a “witch hunt.”

He added that the report contained information that necessitated a counterintelligence investigation into Russian election interference, saying, “The depth and breadth of the Russian efforts to me was really chilling.”

Despite finding that there was not sufficient evidence to charge any Trump campaign official of acting as an unregistered agent of Russia, the report asserts that Mueller’s investigation identified “numerous links” between individuals with ties to Russia and people orbiting Trump during the lead up to the election.

Christie downplayed accounts of contact between Russia and the Trump campaign, saying that besides the Trump Tower meeting in June 2016, the interactions happened at a low level. But Christie added that his advice to Trump in the wake of the report’s release is to take a hard stance against Russian interference.

“I would shift the focus to that quite frankly to bring his intelligence leaders in,” Christie said. “Say, ‘Listen we now have a roadmap for what the Russians did. What are we doing to prepare for the 2020 election? I authorize you to do everything it is you need to do to protect the integrity of that election.’”

The report also revealed that Christie was one of the approximately 500 people interviewed by Mueller’s team. Christie told ABC News the interview lasted between two and three hours. Christie’s interview is cited multiple times during the part of the report that details the investigation into whether the president obstructed justice in connection to the Russia probe.

The special counsel found that the president instructed several members of his administration to interfere with the investigation. However, the report concluded that in a number of cases, the officials ignored Trump’s commands.

“I think any chief executive wants people around them who will have different opinions and will push back if they think you're doing something wrong,” Christie said. “The amount of times that it was done is probably the unusual part.”

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Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call(WASHINGTON) -- Attorney General William Barr on Thursday morning transmitted a redacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller's highly anticipated report on Russian meddling during the 2016 presidential campaign to members of Congress, making public for the first time substantial portions of the nearly 400-page document.

The Justice Department's release of the redacted report comes just weeks after Barr penned a four-page letter conveying the special counsel's "principal conclusions."

In that letter, Barr described "two main" Kremlin-backed efforts to influence the election, but states definitively that the special counsel's office did not find evidence to suggest that members of the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired or coordinated with the Russians.

The special counsel's office made no conclusion on the matter of possible obstruction of justice by President Donald Trump, Barr noted, but the attorney general himself determined that the evidence against Trump did not amount to a crime.

ABC NEWS WAS PROVIDING LIVE UPDATES THROUGHOUT THE DAY ON ALL THE MAJOR DEVELOPMENTS.

4:17 p.m.: Trump leaves White House, does not take questions


President Donald Trump, holding hands with first lady Melania Trump, took no questions from reporters and headed straight for Marine One on Thursday afternoon.

The Trumps were heading to Mar-a-Lago for the holiday weekend.

On Wednesday, Trump said he might hold a news conference after the redacted report was released and earlier on Thursday counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway said that she expected him to speak to reporters before departing.

Walking from the White House, the president only waved as questions were shouted at him. Then, at Andrews Air Force Base, he boarded Air Force One shortly after Marine One landed.

4:07 p.m.: Mueller's reference to allegations of Russian "kompromat" on Trump

The special counsel report offers new details suggesting then-candidate Donald Trump was aware of rumors of a compromising video recording being circulated by the Russian government during his 2016 campaign.

A footnote in the Mueller report discusses the unverified allegation, which was first raised in the so-called dossier -- a series of opposition research memos prepared by a former British agent. The dossier suggested Russians had recorded a tape of Trump during a 2013 visit to Moscow showing Trump cavorting with prostitutes in his suite at the Moscow Ritz hotel.

Trump has always maintained the allegations are false. It has been previously reported that then-FBI Director James Comey shared information about the salacious allegations with Trump after the 2016 elections, during the transition period.

"During the 2016 presidential campaign, a similar claim may have reached candidate Trump," the Mueller report says.

Two weeks before the election, the report says Trump personal attorney Michael Cohen received a text from a Russian businessman that said, "Stopped flow of tapes from Russia but not sure if there's anything else. Just so you know . . .. "

The businessman said the "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 Pageant in Russia," the report quotes. Trump had partnered with the Crocus Group to host the beauty pageant.

The report says Cohen told investigators that he spoke directly to Trump about the issue after receiving those texts. The businessman, Giorgi Rtskhiladze, later told investigators the tapes were fake, but added that he had not communicated that to Cohen at the time.

2:57 p.m.: Nadler weighs in

In a brief press conference, House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler said the Mueller report "makes clear that the president refused to be interviewed by the special counsel and refused to provide written answers to follow up questions."

2:55 p.m.: Trump asked people affiliated with campaign to find Clinton’s emails “repeatedly,” according to Flynn

After Trump’s July 2016 press conference inviting the Russians to find them, Michael Flynn contacted multiple people about finding the “missing” Hillary Clinton emails from her personal server, according to the report. That included contact Flynn made to the late Chicago financier Peter Smith and Barbara Ledeen (a long-time staffer to Sen. Chuck Grassley who was already on the hunt).

Erik Prince provided funding to try and authenticate some emails that were obtained by Ledeen but the tech advisor hired said they weren’t real.

The special counsel didn’t find evidence Flynn or other campaign-linked figures initiated or directed Smith’s efforts.

2:10 p.m.: 2020 candidates slam AG Barr as Mueller report sends ripples through Democratic field

Democratic presidential candidates were quick to vent their frustration on Thursday at the conduct of Attorney General William Barr, swiftly called on special counsel Robert Mueller to testify before Congress and demanded that the full unredacted report be released to the public.

The ire directed at Barr comes after he held a press conference defending President Donald Trump's actions and to speak publicly and take questions from journalists before the report from the investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 presidential election was released.

None of the sitting U.S. senators who have declared a presidential bid voted for Barr's confirmation.

1:31 p.m.: Insight into Trump's written responses to the special counsel team's questions


The answers President Donald Trump gave to special counsel Robert Mueller have finally been released as part of the redacted version of the special counsel's report.

Trump's willingness to participate in an interview with the special counsel, the topics of the questions and whether that interview would take place in person or in writing was the subject of a months-long negotiation between Trump's legal team and the special counsel.

In June of 2017, the president told ABC News' Jonathan Karl that he would "one hundred percent" be willing to speak under oath to his version of events if Mueller asked him to. Eventually, the president and his legal team backed off of Trump's initial willingness to sit for an interview, instead advocating that the president respond to select questions in writing. Trump submitted his written responses to the special counsel on November 21, 2018.

Read his responses here.

12:12 p.m.: Trump orders White House counsel Don McGahn to deny the president tried to fire the special counsel

After news broke that Trump ordered McGahn to fire the special counsel, Trump pressured McGahn to deny that he had been directed to do so, even suggesting to aides that he would fire him unless he complied. Mueller concludes that there is evidence to suggest Trump acted this way to impede his investigation.

According to the report: "The President then directed [staff secretary Rob] Porter to tell McGahn to create a record to make clear that the President never directed McGahn to fire the Special Counsel. Porter thought the matter should be handled by the White House communications office, but the President said he wanted McGahn to write a letter to the file "for our records" and wanted something beyond a press statement to demonstrate that the reporting was inaccurate. The President referred to McGahn as a 'lying bastard' and said that he wanted a record from him. Porter recalled the President saying something to the effect of, 'If he doesn't write a letter, then maybe I'll have to get rid of him'."

Mueller concluded that "Substantial evidence indicates that in repeatedly urging McGahn to dispute that he was ordered to have the Special Counsel terminated, the President acted for the purpose of influencing McGahn's account in order to deflect or prevent further scrutiny of the President's conduct towards the investigation."

12:08p.m.: Trump tried to block release of emails related to June 9 Trump Tower meeting: Report

In a section of the report divided into four subsections, Mueller’s team cites at least three occasions "between June 29, 2017 and July 9, 2017- when the president directed Hope Hicks and others not to publicly disclose information about the June 9, 2016 meeting between senior campaign officials and a Russian attorney. The office of the special counsel concluded that" these efforts by the president were directed at the press, adding that these acts would amount to obstructive acts only if the president sought to withhold information or mislead congressional investigations or the special counsel. On May 17, 2017, the president’s campaign received a document request from SSCI that clearly covered the June 9 meeting."

In the analysis section, the special counsel specifically addresses the phrase attributed to Hope Hicks, “it will never get out”—in reference to the emails setting up the June 9 meeting. Hicks said she "had no memory of making" that comment and always believed the emails would eventually be leaked. The Special Counsel writes that the Hicks statement "can be explained as reflecting a belief that the emails would not be made public if the President’s press strategy were followed, even if the emails were provided to Congress and the Special Counsel."

11:46 a.m.: Cohen had "extensive" discussions with the president's personal counsel

The Mueller report states that Michael Cohen, President Trump's then-personal attorney, had "extensive" discussions with the president's personal counsel while working on his statements to Congress.

The report further lays out myriad instances of the president's conduct with Cohen including:

--Cohen had numerous brief conversations with Trump about the Trump Tower Moscow project from Sept. 2015 onward, as well as conversations with Ivanka and Donald Trump Jr. In Dec. 2015, Felix Sater asked Cohen for a copy of his and Trump's passports to facilitate travel to Russia. By Jan 2016, growing frustrated with Sater, Cohen reached out directly to Dmitry Peskov and later had a conversation with Peskov's assistant that he recounted to Trump.

--The day after Cohen's conversation with Peskov's assistant, Sater texted Cohen saying that the Russian government liked the project and invited Cohen to come visit Moscow. Cohen continued to brief Trump and Donald Trump Jr. on the project through the spring. Cohen and Sater worked to determine a time for a potential visit from then candidate Trump to Russia. The visit never happened. Cohen also decided not to visit. Cohen recounts telling trump that the project was "going nowhere" sometime during the summer of 2016.

--In January 2017, Cohen received press inquiries about Trump Tower Moscow, and told President-Elect Trump about the inquiries. He was concerned being honest about the project would not be consistent with the president's previous comments about his relationship with Russia.

--To stay on message Cohen told a NYT reporter that the Trump Tower Moscow deal ended in January 2016. Cohen said he discussed this talking point with Trump.

--Cohen entered into a joint defense agreement with the president and others after Congress requested he testify. Cohen assumed he would be asked about allegations in the Steele Dossier. Cohen spoke with the president's personal counsel "frequently" leading up to his congressional testimony.

--Cohen was told by the president's personal counsel that the joint defense agreement was working well. His bills were being paid by the Trump Org. Cohen said the president's personal counsel told him he was protected by the JDA, and he wouldn't be if he "went rogue"

--Cohen prepared a draft letter to congress which included several false statements. That letter was circulated around and edited by members of the JDA. The president's personal counsel also told Cohen not to make reference to an attempt to set up a meeting between Trump and Putin during the 2015 United Nations general Assembly.

--Cohen submitted his statement. He recalled speaking to the president "more generally" about his plans to stay on message during his testimony

Earlier in the day, Cohen vowed "Soon I will be ready to address the American people again...tell it all...and tell it myself!"

11:45 a.m.: The president’s further efforts to have AG Jeff Sessions take over the investigation

Special counsel Robert Mueller appears to conclude that President Trump’s actions with regard to Jeff Sessions could constitute as obstruction.

“On multiple occasions in 2017, the President spoke with Sessions about reversing his recusal so that he could take over the Russia investigation and begin an investigation of Hillary Clinton…There is evidence that at least one purpose of the President’s conduct toward Sessions was to have Sessions assume control over the Russia investigation and supervise it in a way that could restrict its scope…A reasonable inference from those statements and the President’s action is that an unrecused Attorney General would play a protective role and could shield the President from the ongoing Russia investigation.”

11:31 a.m.: Mueller considered Trump's answers 'inadequate'

Mueller lays out his negotiations with Trump’s attorneys regarding an interview with the president. Mueller writes in the introductory note that they advised counsel that “a[n] interview with the President is vital to our investigation.” Mueller says that Trump “stated on more than 30 occasions that he “does not ‘recall’ or ‘remember’ or have an “independent recollection’” of information called for by the questions.” Mueller received the president’s responses in November 2018. Beginning in December 2017 they sought to interview the president on “topics relevant to both Russian-election interference and obstruction-of-justice.”

Mueller writes that “Other answers were incomplete or imprecise.”

“We again requested an in-person interview, limited to certain topics, advising the President’s counsel that [t]his is the President’s opportunity to voluntarily provide us with information for us to evaluate in the context of all the evidence we have gathered. The President declined.”

Mueller says “we considered whether to issue a subpoena for his testimony” given that Trump would not volunteer an interview. “We viewed the written answers to be inadequate. But at that point, our investigation had made significant progress and had produced substantial evidence for our report. We thus weighed to costs of potentially lengthy constitutional litigation, with resulting delay in finishing our investigation, against the anticipated benefits from our investigation and report.”

11:26 a.m.: On looking into potential obstruction of justice

The report says while they believe they had legal authority “and legal justification” to subpoena Trump” for an interview, they chose not to due to the delay in investigation that it would cause. “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 ... we had sufficient evidence to understand relevant events and to make certain assessments without the President’s testimony.”

As for retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn's conversations with the Russian ambassador, the report notes: “some evidence suggests that the President knew about the existence and content of Flynn’s calls when they occurred, but the evidence is inconclusive and could not be relied upon to establish the President’s knowledge.”

On the June 9, 2016, Trump Tower meeting, the report says Trump had “substantial involvement” in the communications strategy over the Russia probe. But “the evidence does not establish that the president intended to prevent” Mueller or Congress from getting those emails to Donald Trump Jr. or other information related to the meeting.

11:16 a.m.: On looking into potential collusion

The probe “Uncovered numerous links — I.e. contacts — between Trump campaign officials and individuals having or claiming to have ties to the Russian government.”

Among the people: Carter Page, George Papadopoulos, Jared Kushner, JD Gordon, Paul Manafort, Erik Prince and Jeff Sessions. The report notes, as ABC News first reported, that Sessions, when he was attorney general, was investigated for perjury over his testimony to Congress about his contacts with the Russian ambassador.

The “collusion” report talks extensively about the June 9, 2016 Trump Tower meeting and the promise of “dirt” on Hillary Clinton.

The Russians reached out again after the meeting to the transition team, but the transition team did not respond.

Mueller’s team determined it would be hard to prove “campaign officials or individuals connected to the campaign willfully violated the law.”

“On the facts here, the government would unlikely be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the June 9 meeting participants had general knowledge that their conduct was unlawful.”

“Schemes involving the solicitation or receipt of assistance from foreign sources raise difficult statutorily and constitutional questions.”

11:15 a.m.: The report has posted

The full report has posted:

www.justice.gov/storage/report.pdf

10:29 a.m.: 10 episodes of potential obstruction to be disclosed in Mueller report

There are ten episodes depicting potential obstruction of justice outlined in the impending Mueller report, according to Barr's remarks at the Department of Justice.

The special counsel did not make a traditional prosecutorial judgement on obstruction of justice, as was outlined in Barr's letter last month.

"Instead the report recounts ten episodes involving the president and discusses legal theories for connecting those activities," Barr said. "After carefully reviewing the facts and legal theories outlined in the report and in consultation with the office of legal counsel and other department lawyers. The deputy attorney general and I concluded that the evidence developed by the special counsel is not subject to establish that the president committed an obstruction of justice offense."

In Barr's March 24 letter, he wrote that “while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”

10:01 a.m.: Trump tweets "Game Over"

Minutes after Barr's press conference ended, Trump tweeted "No collusion. No obstruction. For the haters and radical left Democrats--Game Over," an apparent reference to the Game of Thrones television show.

9:34 a.m.: Barr's press conference begins

At a news conference Thursday morning, Barr said he was committed to providing "the greatest degree of transparency" that is "consistent with the law."

"As the special counsel report makes clear, the Russian government sought to interfere in our election process, but thanks to the special counsel's thorough investigation, we now know that the Russian operatives who perpetrated these schemes did not have the cooperation of President Trump or the Trump campaign, or the knowing assistance of any other American for that matter. That is something all Americans can and should be grateful to have confirmed," Barr said.

"In other words, there was no evidence of the Trump campaign’s collusion of the Russian government’s hacking," he said.

Barr held the news conference hours before he was set to send Mueller's redacted report to Congress and make it public, drawing sharp criticism from congressional Democrats. Barr, after thanking Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein for his efforts, also confirmed that he intends to transmit redacted versions of the report to the chairman and ranking members of the House Judiciary committees.

Rosenstein joined Barr for the news conference Thursday morning.

8 a.m.: Trump tweets ahead of release

Ahead of the Mueller release, Trump tweets that the investigation is "the Greatest Political Hoax of all time!"

Trump will have the chance to watch the DOJ press conference at 9:30 this morning -- the first thing on his schedule Thursday is the Wounded Warrior Project Soldier ride at 10:30 a.m. in the East Room where he is expected to deliver remarks.

8 a.m.: Topics Barr is expected to address during his presser

Barr is expected to address three topics during his press conference scheduled for 9:30 this morning, according to Justice Department spokesperson Kerri Kupec.

Those three topics are:

  • Executive privilege and whether it was involved.
  • White House interactions with the Department of Justice over the past several weeks since the last letter issued by Barr on March 29.
  • The redaction process.

The press conference is expected to last 20-30 minutes.

8 a.m.: Mueller arrives at office, not attending Barr newser

Mueller arrived at his office as he usually does, driving himself in his Subaru. He will not attend Barr's news conference at the Justice Department, a spokesman said.

7:42 a.m.: Barr arrives at Justice Department

Barr arrived at the Justice Department in a two-car detail ahead of his news conference later this morning.

6:15 a.m.: Top Democrats call for Mueller to testify before Congress 'as soon as possible'

In a joint statement, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Barr's handing of the report release has created a "crisis of confidence" and said having Mueller testify was the "only way to begin restoring public trust."

“Attorney General Barr’s regrettably partisan handling of the Mueller report, including his slanted March 24th summary letter, his irresponsible testimony before Congress last week, and his indefensible plan to spin the report in a press conference later this morning — hours before he allows the public or Congress to see it — have resulted in a crisis of confidence in his independence and impartiality," they said.

"We believe the only way to begin restoring public trust in the handling of the Special Counsel’s investigation is for Special Counsel Mueller himself to provide public testimony in the House and Senate as soon as possible. The American people deserve to hear the truth,” Schumer and Pelosi said in the statement.

Mueller submitted his findings to the Justice Department on March 22, and Barr spent the next two days reviewing the document before releasing his initial letter to Congress.

Since then, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have called for the full release of Mueller's report.

House Democrats set a deadline for Barr to release the full report by April 2, but the attorney general declined that request, citing the need to redact sensitive grand jury material, information legally blocked from public release, information that could compromise intelligence sources and methods, and any "information that would unduly infringe on the personal privacy and reputational interests of peripheral third parties."

Though Thursday's anticipated release of a redacted version of Mueller's report may answer lawmakers' demands for more information, it will likely be met with calls for even more.

In a letter from Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer sent just hours after Barr's initial letter, the Democratic leaders wrote that "Congress requires the full report and the underlying documents so that the Committees can proceed with their independent work, including oversight and legislating to address any issues the Mueller report may raise."

The amount of underlying documents supporting the report is expected to be substantial. In his letter, Barr wrote that "the Special Counsel issued more than 2,800 subpoenas, executed nearly 500 search warrants" and "interviewed approximately 500 witnesses."

Mueller's full report covers the scope of an investigation lead by a team of federal prosecutors that lasted 22 months and lead to 37 indictments and seven guilty pleas. Some of the cases related to the special counsel's probe are ongoing and have since been turned over to prosecutors in U.S. Attorney's offices.

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Spencer Platt/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Within minutes of the release of special counsel Robert Mueller's redacted report, House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler announced he would subpoena the Justice Department for a full, unredacted version even as Republicans celebrated the findings of the special counsel and urged Democrats to “move on" from the Russia investigation.

"We clearly can't believe what Attorney General Barr tells us," Nadler, D-N.Y., told reporters at a news conference in New York City Thursday afternoon. "The special counsel made clear that he did not exonerate the president and the responsibility now falls to Congress to hold the president accountable for his actions."

When asked if Congress holding Trump “accountable” means impeachment, Nadler said “that is one possibility” as he believes the report “was probably written with the intent of providing Congress a road map,” but he added “it’s too early to reach those conclusions.”

In a joint statement, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer contended the differences between what Barr said regarding whether President Donald Trump had committed obstruction of justice and what Mueller wrote about possible obstruction “are stark.”

"As we continue to review the report, one thing is clear: Attorney General Barr presented a conclusion that the president did not obstruct justice while Mueller's report appears to undercut that finding,” Pelosi and Schumer stated.

Nadler pointed to details in the report he said “contradicted” Barr’s remarks in his news conference Thursday morning,

For example, Nadler pointed to a line in the Mueller report 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 have risen to personal and political concerns.”

“Even in its incomplete form, the Mueller report outlines disturbing evidence that President Trump engaged in obstruction of justice and other misconduct,” Nadler wrote in a statement Thursday afternoon. “The Special Counsel made clear that he did not exonerate the President.”

“Because Congress requires this material in order to perform our constitutionally-mandated responsibilities, I will issue a subpoena for the full report and the underlying materials,” Nadler vowed.

A committee aide indicated Nalder is not expected to issue the subpoena on Thursday.

House Oversight and Reform chairman Elijah Cummings also urged Congress to subpoena "the full report and all underlying documents."

“The President and his Attorney General expect the American people to be blind to what we can now see. This report catalogues in excruciating detail a proliferation of lies by the President to the American people, as well as his incessant and repeated efforts to encourage others to lie," Cummings, D-Md., stated. "Contrary to Attorney General Barr’s attempts at misdirection, it is crystal clear from the report that the Justice Department’s policy against indicting a sitting President played a key role in Special Counsel Mueller’s analysis—in fact, it is the very first point in the obstruction section of his report."

Barr pledged to make portions of the unredacted report privately available to a select few members of Congress, perhaps as limited as the so-called Gang of Eight, which is comprised of senior elected leadership of the House and Senate and the House and Senate Intelligence committee chairmen and ranking members, potentially not giving Nadler or Cummings access to an unredacted version.

Nadler, who aides say has been in constant communication with the Justice Department in recent weeks ahead of the report release, said he has not heard anything “about receiving a less-redacted version of the report.”

Shortly before the report was released Thursday morning, Nadler wrote Mueller a letter requesting he testify at the House Judiciary Committee on the Russia investigation, “no later than May 23.”

House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff piled on, formally inviting Mueller to testify at his committee “at a mutually agreeable date in May” as well.

“The House Intelligence Committee has formally invited Special Counsel Mueller to testify on the counterintelligence investigation,” Schiff, D-Calif., stated. “After a two year investigation, the public deserves the facts, not Attorney General Barr’s political spin.”

While there was no immediate response from Mueller, Barr said he had no objection to Mueller testifying.

After almost two years of the Russia investigation, Republicans are urging Democrats to "move on."

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said that “nothing” from the publicly released report changes “the underlying results of the 22-month long Mueller investigation that ultimately found no collusion.”

“Democrats want to keep searching for imaginary evidence that supports their claims, but it is simply not there,” McCarthy noted. “It is time to move on.”

Rep. Jim Jordan, the top Republican on the House Oversight Committee, argued that it “would be a miscarriage of justice to use cherry-picked bits of information from the report to sow further divisiveness and spread conspiracies that serve only to undermine our democratic institutions.”

“One thing, however, is clear with the release of the report today: this sad chapter of American history is behind us,” Jordan, R-Ohio, stated. “It is time to turn back to the people's work of improving the efficiency, economy, and effectiveness of how their tax dollars are spent.”

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Drew Angerer/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- With the public release of special counsel Robert Mueller’s highly anticipated and redacted report on Thursday, pundits and politicians were parsing its findings on the question of "obstruction of justice."

Obstruction of justice accounts for a federal crime in which someone "corruptly" attempts to “influence, obstruct or impede” the “due and proper administration of the law” in a pending proceeding, according to federal code. The president’s critics have pointed to his dismissal of former FBI Director James Comey – and subsequent explanations for that decision – as evidence that Trump obstructed justice.

In his letter to Congress describing the “principal conclusions” of Mueller’s report, Attorney General William Barr indicated that while Mueller did find at least some evidence suggesting Trump tried to obstruct the investigation, the evidence did not amount to a criminal offense.

Here's what the report suggests about obstruction of justice.

Here's the issue:

The 11 possible instances of Obstruction of Justice investigated

Here's where you can find it in the report:

Volume 2, pages 3-6

Here's the summary:

These are the 11 potential actions of obstruction of justice investigated by the special counsel’s office as described in the report. During his news conference Thursday morning before the report' release, Barr mentioned 10 such instances. Each of these examples is extrapolated upon in both the executive summary and in the report.

Here's what the report says:

1. The Campaign's response to reports about Russian support for Trump

2. Conduct involving FBI Director Comey and Michael Flynn

3. The President's reaction to the continuing Russia investigation

4. The President's termination of Comey

5. The appointment of a Special Counsel and efforts to remove him

6. Efforts to curtail the Special Counsel's investigation

7. Efforts to prevent public disclosure of evidence

8. Further efforts to have the Attorney General take control of the investigation

9. Efforts to have McGahn deny that the President had ordered him to have the Special Counsel removed

10. Conduct towards Flynn, Manafort, [REDACTED – HARM TO ONGOING MATTER]

11. Conduct involving Michael Cohen

Here's the issue:

"Overarching Factual Issues"

Here's where you can find it in the report:


Vol. 2, pages 156-158

Here's the summary:

The report outlines general conclusions concerning the President’s course of conduct.

Here's what the report says:

PART 1: The Special Counsel offers three features that render this case atypical from traditional obstruction of justice prosecutions

PART 1: The Special Counsel offers three features that render this case atypical from traditional obstruction of justice prosecutions

1) As head of the Executive Branch provides him with unique and powerful means of influence

2) Obstruction cases involve attempted or actual cover up of an underlying crime, proof of such a crime is not an element as obstruction of justice can be motivated by a desire to protect non-criminal personal interests, like avoiding personal embarrassment.

PAGE 157 - PARAGRAPH 2: "The evidence does point to a range of other possible personal motives animating the President's conduct. These include concerns that continued investigation would call into question the legitimacy of his election and potential uncertainty about whether certain events-such as advance notice of WikiLeaks's release of hacked information or the June 9, 2016 meeting between senior campaign officials and Russians could be seen as criminal activity by the President, his campaign, or his family."

3) Many of the President’s acts directed at witnesses occurred in public view.

PART 2: This second section deals with the President’s discrete acts. “It is important to view the President’s pattern of conduct as a whole.”

1) Investigators found multiple acts by the President that were capable of exerting undue influence over law enforcement investigations, however they conclude the President’s efforts to influence the investigation were “mostly unsuccessful but that is largely because the persons who surrounded the President declined to carry out orders or accede to his requests.”

2) The President’s actions can be divided into TWO distinct phases reflecting a possible shift in the President’s motives. The first phase involved the firing of Comey, and the Special Counsel’s conclusion that "the President deemed it critically important to make public that he was not under investigation." After Comey’s firing, the second phase began when the President became aware that investigators were conducting an obstruction of justice inquiry into his own conduct. The President then began launching public attacks on the investigation and individuals involved in it.

Here's the issue:

“The President’s Efforts to Prevent Disclosure of Emails about the June 9, 2016 Meeting between Russians and Senior Campaign Officials”

Here's where you can find it in the report:

Vol. 2, pages 98 - 107

Here's the summary:

This section is divided into four subsections: (1) The President Learns about the Existence of Emails Concerning June 9, 2016 Trump Tower Meeting, (2) President Directs Communications Staff Not to Publicly Disclose Information About the June 9 Meeting, (3) President Directs Trump Jr.’s Response to Press Inquiries About the June 9 Meeting, and (4) The Media Reports on the June 9, 2016 Meeting.

Mueller’s team cites at least three occasions between June 29, 2017 and July 9, 2017- when the President directed Hope Hicks and others not to publicly disclose information about the June 9, 2016 meeting between senior campaign officials and a Russian attorney. The OSC concludes that these efforts by the President were directed at the press, adding that these acts would amount to obstructive acts only if the President sought to withhold information or mislead congressional investigations or the SC. On May 17, 2017, the President’s campaign received a document request from SSCI that clearly covered the June 9 meeting.

In the analysis section, the Special Counsel specifically addresses the phrase attributed to Hope Hicks, “it will never get out”—in reference to the emails setting up the June 9 meeting. Hicks said she had no memory of making that comment and always believed the emails would eventually be leaked. The Special Counsel writes that the Hicks statement can be explained as reflecting a belief that the emails would not be made public if the President’s press strategy were followed, even if the emails were provided to Congress and the Special Counsel.

Here's what the report says:

The report adds that “the only evidence we have of the President discussing the production of documents to Congress or the Special Counsel is the conversation on June 29, 2017, when Hicks recalled the President acknowledging that Kushner’s attorney should provide emails related to the June 9 meeting to whomever he needed to give them to. We do not have evidence of what the President discussed with his own lawyers at that time.” The Special Counsel also addresses “intent” writing about the President’s desire to “minimize public disclosures about those connections.” [campaign’s connections to Russia]. The report states the evidence does not establish the President intended to prevent the Special Counsel’s Office or Congress from obtaining the emails setting up the June 9 meeting or other information about that meeting.

Here's the issue:

"The President Orders McGahn to Deny that the President Tried to Fire the Special Counsel"

Here's where you can find it in the report:

Vol. 2, page 113

Here's the summary:

SUMMARY: After news broke that Trump ordered McGahn to fire the Special Counsel, Trump pressured McGahn deny that he had been directed to do so, even suggesting to aides that he would fire him unless he complied. Mueller concludes that there is evidence to suggest Trump acted this way to impede his investigation.

Here's what the report says:

The President then directed [staff secretary Rob] Porter to tell McGahn to create a record to make clear that the President never directed McGahn to fire the Special Counsel. Porter thought the matter should be handled by the White House communications office, but the President said he wanted McGahn to write a letter to the file "for our records" and wanted something beyond a press statement to demonstrate that the reporting was inaccurate. The President referred to McGahn as a "lying bastard" and said that he wanted a record from him. Porter recalled the President saying something to the effect of, "If he doesn't write a letter, then maybe I'll have to get rid of him."

“Porter told McGahn that he had to write a letter to dispute that he was ever ordered to terminate the Special Counsel. McGahn shrugged off the request, explaining that the media reports were true. McGahn told Porter that the President had been insistent on firing the Special Counsel and that McGahn had planned to resign rather than carry out the order, although he had not personally told the President he intended to quit.804 Porter told McGahn that the President suggested that McGahn would be fired if he did not write the letter. McGahn dismissed the threat, saying that the optics would be terrible if the President followed through with firing him on that basis. McGahn said he would not write the letter the President had requested.”

But the President's efforts to have McGahn write a letter "for our records" approximately ten days after the stories had come out- well past the typical time to issue a correction for a news story-indicates the President was not focused solely on a press strategy, but instead likely contemplated the ongoing investigation and any proceedings arising from it…Substantial evidence indicates that in repeatedly urging McGahn to dispute that he was ordered to have the Special Counsel terminated, the President acted for the purpose of influencing McGahn's account in order to deflect or prevent further scrutiny of the President's conduct towards the investigation.

Here's the issue:

The President's conduct involving Michael Cohen

Here's where you can find it in the report:

Page 134

Here's the summary:

The Mueller report states that while working on his statements to Congress, President Donald Trump's then-personal attorney Michael Cohen had "extensive" discussions with the president's personal counsel. The report also states Trump passed messages of support to Cohen and Cohen discussed pardons with the president's legal team. Cohen believed if he cooperated he would get a pardon, according to the report.

Here's what the report says:

"While working on the congressional statement, Cohen had extensive discussions with the President's personal counsel, who, according to Cohen, said that Cohen should not contradict the President and should keep the statement short and 'tight.'

"Cohen also discussed pardons with the President's personal counsel and believed that if he stayed on message, he would get a pardon or the President would do 'something else' to make the investigation end."

Here's the issue:

The President's conduct involving Michael Cohen

Here's where you can find it in the report:

Pages 134-144

Here's the summary:

• Cohen had numerous brief conversations with Trump about the Trump Tower Moscow project from Sept. 2015 onward, as well as conversations with Ivanka and Donald Trump Jr. In Dec. 2015, Felix Sater asked Cohen for a copy of his and Trump's passports to facilitate travel to Russia. By Jan 2016, growing frustrated with Sater, Cohen reached out directly to Dmitry Peskov and later had a conversation with Peskov's assistant that he recounted to Trump. • The day after Cohen's conversation with Peskov's assistant, Sater texted Cohen saying that the Russian government liked the project and invited Cohen to come visit Moscow. Cohen continued to brief Trump and Donald Trump Jr. on the project through the spring. Cohen and Sater worked to determine a time for a potential visit from then candidate Trump to Russia. The visit never happened. Cohen also decided not to visit. Cohen recounts telling trump that the project was "going nowhere" sometime during the summer of 2016. • In January 2017, Cohen received press inquiries about Trump Tower Moscow, and told President-Elect Trump about the inquiries. He was concerned being honest about the project would not be consistent with the president's previous comments about his relationship with Russia. o To stay on message Cohen told a NYT reporter that the Trump Tower Moscow deal ended in January 2016. Cohen said he discussed this talking point with Trump. • Cohen entered into a joint defense agreement with the president and others after Congress requested he testify. Cohen assumed he would be asked about allegations in the Steele Dossier. Cohen spoke with the president's personal counsel "frequently" leading up to his congressional testimony. • Cohen was told by the president's personal counsel that the joint defense agreement was working well. His bills were being paid by the Trump Org. Cohen said the president's personal counsel told him he was protected by the JDA, and he wouldn't be if he "went rogue" • Cohen prepared a draft letter to congress which included several false statements. That letter was circulated around and edited by members of the JDA. The president's personal counsel also told Cohen not to make reference to an attempt to set up a meeting between Trump and Putin during the 2015 United Nations general Assembly. • Cohen submitted his statement. He recalled speaking to the president "more generally" about his plans to stay on message during his testimony

Here's what the report says:

• Page 137: "Cohen remembered that Trump said that he would be willing to travel to Russia if Cohen could "lock and load" on the deal. • Page 137: "During the summer of 2016, Cohen recalled that candidate Trump publicly claimed that he had nothing to do with Russia and then shortly afterwards privately checked with Cohen about the status of the Trump Tower Moscow project, which Cohen found "interesting." • Page 139: "Cohen said that he discussed the talking points with Trump but that he did not explicitly tell Trump he thought they were untrue because Trump already knew they were untrue." • Page 140: "At the time, Cohen's legal bills were being paid by the Trump Organization, and Cohen was told not to worry because the investigations would be over by summer of fall of 2017. Cohen said that the President's personal counsel also conveyed that, as part of the JDA, Cohen was protected, which he would not be if he "went rogue". Cohen recalled that the President's personal counsel reminded him that "the President loves you" and told him that if he stayed on message, the President had his back. • Page 142: "He was not concerned that the story would be contradicted by individuals who knew it was false because he was sticking to the party line adhered to by the whole group." • Page 143: "Cohen recalled that the President's personal counsel said "his client" appreciated Cohen, that Cohen should stay on message and not contradict the President, that there was no need to muddy the water, and that it was time to move on."

Here's the issue:

The President's conduct involving Michael Cohen

Here's where you can find it in the report:

Pages 144-152

Here's the summary:

• The special counsel did not look into payments to women during the campaign period. On Feb. 19, the day after the NY Times wrote a story attributing the payment to Cohen, Cohen got a text from the President's personal counsel that stated "client says thanks for what you do." • The president called Cohen a few days after the FBI raid on his home, hotel and office and encouraging him to "hang in there" and "stay strong" • On or about April 17, Cohen starts speaking with Robert Costello, who told Cohen he had a "back channel of communication" to Giuliani and that Giuliani said the "channel" was "crucial" and "must be maintained." Costello had conversations with Cohen that made him feel that he would be taken care of as long as he stuck to party lines. • After the raids on his home and office, Cohen spoke with the president's personal counsel about pardons. Cohen wanted to know "what was in it for him" and was told if he stayed on message everything would be fine. • Beginning in July, Cohen signaled his willingness to flip on the president, first in an ABC News exclusive interview. He pleaded guilty in the SDNY. The president tweeted contrasting Cohen with Manafort • The special counsel's office asked Trump about the timing of the Trump Tower Moscow project in written questions. The president "did not provide any information" about the timing of his discussions with Cohen related to the project. • After the president made public statements that he "decided not to do the project" (see full public statement by the president below) the special counsel went back to the president to seek information about whether he participated in any discussions about the project being abandoned and about "what period of the campaign" he was involved in during discussions of the project. The president's personal counsel declined to answer and states that "the President has fully answered the question at issue."

Here's what the report says:

• Page 144-145: In January 2018, the media reported that Cohen had arranged a $130,00 payment during the campaign to prevent a woman from publicly discussing an alleged sexual encounter she had with the President before he ran for office. This office did not investigate Cohen's campaign-period payments to women." • Page 146: "Cohen recalled that REDACTED, a friend of the President's, reached out to say that he was with "the Boss" in Mar-a-Lago and the Prsident had said "he loves you" and not to worry. Cohen recalled that REDACTED for the Trump Organization, told him "the boss loves you." And Cohen said that REDACTED, a friend of the President's, told him, "everyone knows the boss has your back." • Page 147 "In an email that day to Cohen, Costello wrote that he had spoken with Giuliani. Costello told Cohen the conversation was "Very Very Positive [.] You are 'loved'... they are in our corner... Sleep well tonight [], you have friends in high places." • Page 147: "Cohen understood based on his conversations and previous conversations about pardons with the President's personal counsel that as long as he stayed on message, he would be taken care of by the President, either through a pardon or through the investigation being shutdown." • Page 150: "I had few conversations with Mr. Cohen on this subject. As I recall, they were brief, and they were not memorable. i was not enthused about the proposal, and I do not recall any discussion of travel to Russia in connection with it. I do not remember discussing it with anyone else at the Trump organization, although it is possible."

Here's the issue:

President again seeks to have Sessions reverse his recusal

Here's where you can find it in the report:


Vol.2, page 107

Here's the summary:

President Trump wants to explore options to who at the Department of Justice can lead the investigation. In an effort to remove Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein / the President asked then staff secretary Rob Porter about the number three in line - Deputy AG Rachel Brand. President Trump asked Porter if she was "good, tough, and 'on the team."

Here's what the report says:

"After returning Sessions's resignation letter at the end of May 2017, but before the President[s July 19, 2017 New York Times interview in which he publicly criticized Sessions for recusing from the Russia investigation, the President took additional steps to have Sessions reverse his recusal. In particular, Session recalled, the President called him at home and asked if Session could "unrecuse" himself. According to Sessions, the President asked him to reverse his recusal so that Sessions could direct the Department of Justice to inverstigate and prosecute Hillary Clinton, and the "gist" of the conversation was that the President wanted Sessions to unrecuse from "all of it," including the Special Counsel's Russia investigation. Sessions listened but did not respond, and he did not reverse his recusal or order an investigation of Clinton."

Here's the issue:

The President’s Further Efforts to Have the AG Jeff Sessions Take Over the Investigation

Here's where you can find it in the report:

Vol. 2, pages 111-112

Here's the summary:

Mueller appears to conclude that President Trump’s actions with regard to Jeff Sessions could constitute as obstruction

Here's what the report says:

“On multiple occasions in 2017, the President spoke with Sessions about reversing his recusal so that he could take over the Russia investigation and begin an investigation of Hillary Clinton…There is evidence that at least one purpose of the President’s conduct toward Sessions was to have Sessions assume control over the Russia investigation and supervise it in a way that could restrict its scope…A reasonable inference from those statements and the President’s action is that an unrecused Attorney General would play a protective role and could shield the President from the ongoing Russia investigation.”

Here's the issue:

The campaign's response to reports about Russian support for Trump

Here's where you can find it in the report:


Vol. 2. pages 15- 23

Here's the summary:

• Trump publicly expressed skepticism that Russia had hacked the Democratic National Committee emails at the same time as he and other campaign advisers privately sought information about any further planned WikiLeaks releases (PAGE 15) • Inside the Trump campaign, aides "reacted with enthusiasm to reports of the hacks". Some witnesses said Trump discussed the possibility of upcoming releases. The following section is heavily redacted, but what's available tells us that Manafort spoke to Trump shortly after the WikiLeaks July 22, 2016 release and that Trump told Rick Gates that more releases of damaging information were coming. (PAGE 17-18) • After the July 22, 2016 release the campaign publicly rejected assertions that Russia was trying to aid candidate Trump. Trump publicly denied any ties to Russia even though he had been pursuing the Trump Tower Moscow project from Sept 2015 to June 2016. (PAGE 18) • After Trump denied business dealings in Russia, Cohen approached him about his assertions being untrue. "Why mention it if it is not a deal?" Trump responded. After that his advisers established the position that Trump had no business connections to Russia. (PAGE 19) • The Trump campaign actively sought to distance itself from Russia: J.D. Gordon declined an invitation to Sergey Kislyaks residence, Manafort was asked to resign after coverage of his lobbying work in Ukraine, and Page was terminated after stories were published connecting him to Russia. (PAGE 20) • After the election, Trump and his staff continued to deny any connection to Russia. Hope Hicks and Reince Priebus make public statements denying Russian ties. The Steele Dossier is released shortly after and President-elect Trump calls it an "absolute disgrace" (PAGE 21-23) • Top aides said that the president viewed stories about the Russia connection as a "threat to the legitimacy of his electoral victory" Hope Hicks said that president viewed the intelligence community assessment as his "Achilles hill" because even if Russia didn't impact the election, it impacted public opinion. (PAGE 23)

Here's what the report says:


• Page 17 "Within the Trump Campaign, aides reacted with enthusiasm to reports of the hacks. REDACTED discussed with Campaign officials that WikiLeaks would release the hacked material. Some witnesses said that Trump himself discussed the possibility of upcoming releases. " • Page 19-20: "Trump told Cohen that trump Tower Moscow as not a deal yet and said, "Why mention it if it is not a deal?" According to Cohen, at around this time, in response to trump's disavowal of connections to Russia, campaign advisors had developed a "party line" that Trump had no business with Russia and no connections to Russia." • Page 23: "Hicks, for example, said the President_Elect viewed the intelligence community assessment as his "Achilles heel" because, even if Russia had no impact on the election, people would think Russia helped him win, taking away from what he had accomplished. Sean Spicer, the first White House communications director, recalled that the President thought the Russia story was developed to undermine the legitimacy of his election. Gates said the President viewed the Russia investigation as an attack on the legitimacy of his win. And Priebus recalled that when the intelligence asssment came out, the President-Elect was concerned people would question the legitimacy of his win.:"

Here's the issue:

Obstruction

Here's where you can find it in the report:

Vol.2, pages 90-93

Here's the summary:

2nd time Trump tried to affect Special Counsel investigation -- Trump dictated message to former campaign manager Corey Lewanandowski to give to AG Sessions to limit the scope of the SC investigation to election interference only.

Here's what the report says:

Two days after Trump directed Don McGhan to remove Special Counsel, Trump on June 19, 2017 “met one-one-one w/ Corey Lewandowski in the Oval Office” to dictate a message to Sessions that would have limited the scope of the investigation to ELECTION INTERFERENCE ONLY

Trump “met one-one-one w/ Corey Lewandowski in the Oval Office and dictated a message to be delivered to attorney general Sessions that would have had the effect of limiting the Russia investigation to election interference only.”

President dictated this note for Lewandowski to deliver to Sessions: “The president directed that Sessions should give a speech publicly announcing: ‘I know that I recused myself from certain things having to do with specific areas. But our POTUS… Is being treated very unfairly. He shouldn’t have a special prosecutor/Counsel b/c he hasn’t done anything wrong I was on the campaign w/ him for nine months, there were no Russians involved with him. I know it for a fact b/c I was there. He didn’t do anything wrong except he ran the greatest campaign in an American history.’”

The dictated message went on to state that Sessions would meet with the Special Counsel to limit his jurisdiction to future election interference:

DICTATION OF PRESIDENT TRUMP PER THE REPORT VIA LEWANDOWSKI : "Now a group of people want to subvert the Constitution of the United States. I am going to meet with the Special Prosecutor to explain this is very unfair and let the Special Prosecutor move forward with investigating election meddling for future elections so that nothing can happen in future elections.”

“Lewandowski wanted to pass the message to Sessions in person rather than over the phone. He did not want to meet at the department of justice because he did not want to public log of his visit and did not want Sessions to have an advantage over him by meeting about Lewandowski described as Sessions turf.”

BUT -- Lewandowski left DC w/o being able to meet Sessions. He later decided Rick Dearborn should deliver message. The message “raised an eyebrow” w/ Dearborn & he didn’t deliver the message, though he told Lewandowski he did.

Lewandowski met again in Oval alone w/ POTUS. POTUS asked if message had been delivered to Trump. Lewandowki said it would be delivered “soon.” THEN: “Lewandowski recalled the president told him that if Sessions did not meet with him, he should tell Sessions he was fired.”

Here's the issue:

The President's Conduct Towards Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn

Here's where you can find it in the report:

Vol. 2, pages 120-121 and 131-132

Here's the summary:

The report raises red flags about President Trump’s actions (principally through his attorneys) toward his former national security adviser Michael Flynn, but ultimately said they could not make a full assessment because of attorney client privilege / as part of the then joint defense agreement. Basically, they do not know whether Trump was aware of his counsel’s actions.

Here's what the report says:

Page 131 - “With regard to Flynn, the President sent private and public messages to Flynn encouraging him to stay strong and conveying that the President still cared about him before he began to cooperate with the government. When Flynn's attorneys withdrew him from a joint defense agreement with the President, signaling that Flynn was potentially cooperating with the government, the President's personal counsel initially reminded Flynn's counsel of the President's warm feelings towards Flynn and said "that still remains." But when Flynn's counsel reiterated that Flynn could no longer share information under a joint defense agreement, the President's personal counsel stated that the decision would be interpreted as reflecting Flynn's hostility towards the President. That sequence of events could have had the potential to affect Flynn's decision to cooperate, as well as the extent of that cooperation. Because of [attorney client] privilege issues, however, we could not determine whether the President was personally involved in or knew about the specific message his counsel delivered to Flynn's counsel. … Evidence concerning the President's intent related to Flynn as a potential witness is inconclusive. As previously noted, because of privilege issues we do not have evidence establishing whether the President knew about or was involved in his counsel's communications with Flynn's counsel stating that Flynn's decision to withdraw from the joint defense agreement and cooperate with the government would be viewed as reflecting "hostility" towards the President.”

Voicemail from President's personal counsel to Flynn’s counsel, framing the “situation” as a “national security issue.”

QUOTE: “Flynn's counsel told the President's personal counsel and counsel for the White House that Flynn could no longer have confidential communications with the White House or the President. Later that night, the President's personal counsel left a voicemail for Flynn's counsel that said: I understand your situation, but let me see if I can't state it in starker terms. . . . [T]t wouldn't surprise me if you've gone on to make a deal with ... the government. ... [I]f ... there's information that implicates the President, then we've got a national security issue, . . . so, you know, . . . we need some kind of heads up. Um, just for the sake of protecting all our interests if we can . ... [R]emember what we' ve always said about the ' President and his feelings toward Flynn and, that still remains .. ..

Here's the issue:

The President's Conduct Towards Former Campaign Chairman Manafort

Here's where you can find it in the report:

Vol. 2, pages 120-132

Here's the summary:

Following their felony indictments in October 2017, Manafort told Gates he was given assurances by Trump’s personal counsel. The report highlights public statements by Trump that could be interpreted as dangling a pardon for Manafort.

Here's what the report says:

“In January 2018, Manafort told Gates that he had talked to the President's personal counsel and they were "going to take care of us." Manafort told Gates it was stupid to plead, saying that he had been in touch with the President's personal counsel and repeating that they should "sit tight" and "we'll be taken care of." Gates asked Manafort outright if anyone mentioned pardons and Manafort said no one used that word.”

MUELLER’S ANALYSIS: “With respect to Manafort, there is evidence that the President's actions had the potential to influence Manafort's decision whether to cooperate with the government. The President and his personal counsel made repeated statements suggesting that a pardon was a possibility for Mana fort, while also making it clear that the President did not want Manafort to "flip" and cooperate with the government… Evidence concerning the President's conduct towards Manafort indicates that the President intended to encourage Manafort to not cooperate with the government.”

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John Moore/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- As members of President Donald Trump’s legal team have repeatedly pointed out, the word “collusion,” itself, does not appear in the federal code.

The non-legal term, however, defined by Merriam-Webster’s dictionary as, “a secret agreement or cooperation especially for an illegal or deceitful purpose,” has come to be used in connection with, or as a shorthand for, the type federal crime of conspiracy – which occurs when "two or more persons conspire either to commit any offense against the United States," according to legal statute.

Here's what the redacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller's report suggests about potential "collusion."

Here's the issue:

Multiple contacts between Russians and Trump officials

Here's where you can find it in the report:

Page 5

Here's the summary:

The Mueller investigation “uncovered numerous links — i.e. contacts — between Trump campaign officials and individuals having or claiming to have ties to the Russian government.”

Among the people: Carter Page, an unpaid adviser to Trump's campaign, George Papadopoulos, one-time campaign foreign policy adviser, Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law, JD Gordon, a campaign adviser, Paul Manafort, former Trump campaign chairman, Erik Prince, Trump ally and Blackwater founder, and Jeff Sessions, a forrmer senator and attorney general. The report notes, as ABC first reported, that Sessions when he was attorney general was investigated for perjury over his testimony to Congress about his contacts with the Russian ambassador.

Here's what the report says:

“The Russian contacts consisted of business connection, offers of assistance to the Campaign, invitations for candidate Trump and Putin to meet in person, invitations for Campaign officials and representatives of the Russian government to meet, and policy positions seeking improved US-Russian relations.”

Here's the issue:


Contacts with Russians don’t break U.S. law

Here's where you can find it in the report:

Page 9

Here's the summary:

Mueller’s team determined it would be hard to prove “campaign officials or individuals connected to the campaign willfully violated the law.”

Although the investigation found numerous links between people with ties to the Trump campaign, there wasn’t sufficient evidence to prove a charge that any campaign official was acting as an unregistered agent of Russia (among other charges.) Attempts by Russians to provide support at the Trump Tower meeting and with respect to the WikiLeaks release did not yield evidence were not sufficient for campaign finance violation charges.

Here's what the report says:

Regarding the Trump Tower meeting, for instance: “On the facts here, the government would unlikely be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the June 9 meeting participants had general knowledge that their conduct was unlawful.”

Independent legal analysis

Rolf Mowatt-Larssen, former CIA Chief of European Division, now at Harvard, told ABC News that authorities would likely have to prove intent to work with a foreign power, which could be a big hill to climb. Even if there was some kind of exchange, Mueller would have to have proved it was for the purpose of aiding a foreign power. April Doss, the former NSA counsel, told ABC News that “one of the things that makes this whole story complicated and nuanced is for a lot of these contacts, we know they happened but we don’t have perfect information about what was discussed… Merely reaching out isn’t necessarily a crime. But it all matters from a counter-intelligence perspective.”

Here's the issue:

Trump campaign unwittingly promoted Russian social media posts– and unwittingly helped Russian efforts to organize pro-Trump rallies.

Here's where you can find it in the report:


Pages 33,34,35

Here's the summary:

The Russian firm known as “IRA” targeted its social media posts to members and surrogates of the Trump Campaign. In total, Trump Campaign affiliates promoted dozens of tweets, posts, and other political content created by the IRA. The Russian social media posts were cited or retweeted by multiple Trump Campaign officials and surrogates, including Donald J. Trump Jr., Eric Trump, Kellyanne Conway, Brad Parscale, and Michael Flynn. These posts included allegations of voter fraud, as well as allegations that Secretary Clinton had mishandled classified information.

Starting in June 2016, the IRA ALSO contacted different U.S. persons affiliated with the Trump Campaign in an effort to coordinate pro-Trump IRA-organized rallies inside the United States.

Here's what the report says:

“While certain campaign volunteers agreed to provide the requested support (for example, agreeing to set aside a number of signs), the investigation has not identified evidence that any Trump Campaign official understood the requests were coming from foreign nationals.”

Here's the issue:


Advance discussion (June 9, 2016) of the infamous Trump Tower meeting.

Here's where you can find it in the report:

Page 115

Here's the summary:

The deputy campaign manager, Rick Gates, who struck a cooperation agreement, told special counsel that Donald Trump Jr. announced in a meeting for senior campaign staff that he had a lead on negative Clinton information, potentially from a foreign source. The meeting was attended by Trump Jr., Eric Trump, Paul Manafort, Hope Hicks, and, joining late, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner.

Manafort warned the group that the upcoming meeting likely would not yield vital information and they should be careful.

Here's what the report says:

“Rick Gates, who was the deputy campaign chairman, stated during interviews with the special counsel that in the days before June 9, 2016 Trump Jr. announced at a regular morning meeting of senior campaign staff and Trump family members that he had a lead on negative information about the Clinton Foundation. Gates believed that Trump Jr. said the information was coming from a group in Kyrgyzstan and that he was introduced to the group by a friend. Gates recalled that the meeting was attended by Trump Jr., Eric Trump, Paul Manafort, Hope Hicks, and, joining late, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner. According to Gates, Manafort warned the group that the meeting likely would not yield vital information and they should be careful. Hicks denied any knowledge of the June 9 meeting before 2017, and Kushner did not recall if the planned June 9 meeting came up at all earlier that week.”

Here's the issue:

Trump asked people affiliated with campaign to find Clinton’s emails “repeatedly,” according to Flynn.

Here's where you can find it in the report:

Pages 62,63,64,65

Here's the summary:

After Trump’s July 2016 press conference inviting the Russians to find them, Flynn contacted multiple people about finding the “missing” Hillary Clinton emails from her personal server. That included contact Flynn made to the late Chicago financier Peter Smith and Barbara Ledeen (a long-time staffer to Sen. Grassley who was already on the hunt).

Erik Prince provided funding to try and authenticate some emails that were obtained by Ledeen but the tech advisor hired said they weren’t real.

The Special Counsel didn’t find evidence Flynn or other campaign-linked figures initiated or directed Smith’s efforts.

Here's the issue:

Manafort and Trump (excitedly) discussed imminent Wikileaks dumps.

Here's where you can find it in the report:

Pages 51,52,53,54

Here's the summary:

The report notes that the Trump campaign showed interest in WikiLeaks's releases of hacked material throughout the summer.

According to former deputy campaign manager Rick Gates, “Manafort expressed excitement about the release..." and shortly after WikiLeaks's July 22 release, “Manafort also spoke with candidate Trump..."

Manafort "also [REDACTED] wanted to be kept apprised of any developments with WikiLeaks and separately told Gates to keep in touch with [REDACTED] about future WikiLeaks releases."

The report references a phone call Trump took with an unknown person while Gates was with him. It says: "...while Trump and Gates were driving to LaGuardia Airport." REDACTED "shortly after the call, candidate Trump told Gates that more released of damaging information would be coming."

Much of this section is redacted, but we see that Rick Gates and Michael Cohen provided investigators with information on the matter followed by redactions labeled "Harm to Ongoing Investigation." It also indicates that Manafort's breach of his plea agreement with the Special Counsel's office was directly regarding his untruthfulness about contacts with the campaign and Wikileaks

Here's what the report says:

"According to Gates, Manafort expressed excitement about the release...[REDACTED] Manafort, for his part, told the Office that, shortly after WikiLeaks's July 22 release, Manafort also spoke with candidate Trump..." [REDACTED] "...Manafort also [REDACTED] wanted to be kept apprised of any developments with WikiLeaks and seperately told Gates to keep in touch with [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...."

Here's the issue:

By deleting messages, Trump campaign associates may have hampered probe.

Here's where you can find it in the report:

Page 10

Here's the summary:

The special counsel says it learned that some individuals interviewed or investigated who were associated with the Trump Campaign deleted relevant messages or communicated with encrypted apps, creating “identified gaps” in the investigation that could alter the descriptions of the events in the report.

Here's what the report says:

"Further, the Office learned that some of the individuals we interviewed or whose conduct we investigated-including some associated with the Trump Campaign-deleted relevant communications or communicated during the relevant period using applications that feature encryption or that do not provide for long-term retention of data or communications records. In such cases, the Office was not able to corroborate witness statements through comparison to contemporaneous communications or fully question witnesses about statements that appeared inconsistent with other known facts."

"Accordingly, while this report embodies factual and legal determinations that the Office believes to be accurate and complete to the greatest extent possible, given these identified gaps, the Office cannot rule out the possibility that the unavailable information would shed additional light on (or cast in a new light) the events described in the report."

Here's the issue:

How the Trump Tower Moscow efforts and the campaign intertwined.

Here's where you can find it in the report:

Pages 67-80

Here's the summary:

The report describes in detail the efforts spearheaded by Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen to pursue a major real estate project in Moscow, efforts to gain the support of Russian government officials and the intermingling of the project and the presidential campaign’s prospects. The project effort lasted until June 2016, the report says.

Trump at one point told Cohen that his campaign would be significant “infomercial” for Trump-branded properties.

Among the characters involved was ex-Russian energy official Dmitry Klokov, NOT an Olympic weight lifter as has been previously reported, who said he could offer the campaign “political synergy” and “synergy on a government level,” suggesting he had access to senior Kremlin figures. Klokov got in touch with Cohen after his then-wife emailed Ivanka Trump in late 2015.

Klokov said that a meeting between Trump and Putin could have a “phenomenal impact” in a “business dimension.”

Cohen also pursued the project with Trump Organization advisor Felix Sater, whose previously reported emails showed he believed the Moscow project could help Trump land in the White House. Ultimately the building project was scrapped and efforts to arrange a meeting between Putin and Trump proved failed.

Additional note: Ivanka was also the recipient of an invitation for her and Trump to attend the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum from a high-ranking Russian official who sent it through a fashion contact of Ivanka. Trump declined, citing campaign commitments.

Here's what the report says:

"According to Cohen, he did not consider the political import of the Trump Moscow project to the 2016 U.S. presidential election at the time. Cohen also did not recall candidate Trump or anyone affiliated with the Trump Campaign discussing the political implications of the Trump Moscow project with him. However, Cohen recalled conversations with Trump in which the candidate suggested that his campaign would be a significant “infomercial” for Trump-branded properties.”

Here's the issue:

Russian banker gave painting to Kushner – yet it remains unclear why they met.

Here's where you can find it in the report:

Pages 161-163

Here's the summary:

At the prompting of Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, Kushner took a meeting during the transition with Sergey Gorkov, the head of the Russian-owned (and US-sanctioned) bank VEB.

Gorkov presented Kushner with two gifts: a painting and a bag of soil from the town in Belarus where Kushner's family originated.

Kushner says the meeting was diplomatic in nature, while Gorkov has publicly suggested that he met with Kushner in his capacity as CEO of Kushner Companies—and told another bank executive that the meeting was part of a trip sanctioned by Putin. The special counsel did not resolve the conflict between the two accounts, but also did not identify any substantial follow-up after the meeting.

Here's what the report says:

"The accounts from Kushner and Gorkov differ as to whether the meeting was diplomatic or business in nature. Kushner told the Office that the meeting was diplomatic, with Gorkov expressing disappointment with U.S.-Russia relations under President Obama and hopes for improved relations with the incoming Administration.1157 According to Kushner, although Gorkov told Kushner a little bit about his bank and made some statements about the Russian economy, the two did not discuss Kushner's companies or private business dealings of any kind.1158 (At the time of the meeting, Kushner Companies had a debt obligation coming due on the building it owned at 666 Fifth A venue, and there had been public reporting both about efforts to secure lending on the property and possible conflicts of interest for Kushner arising out of his company's borrowing from foreign lenders.)"

"In contrast, in a 2017 public statement, VEB suggested Gorkov met with Kushner in Kushner' s capacity as CEO of Kushner Companies for the purpose of discussing business, rather than as part of a diplomatic effort. In particular, VEB characterized Gorkov's meeting with Kushner as part of a series of "roadshow meetings" with "representatives of major US banks and business circles," which included "negotiations" and discussion of the "most promising business lines and sectors."

Foresman, the investment bank executive mentioned in Volume I, Sections IV.A.I and IV.BJ, supra, told the Office that he met with Gorkov and VEB deputy chairman Nikolay Tsekhomsky in Moscow just before Gorkov left for New York to meet Kushner... According to Foresman, Gorkov and Tsekhomsky told him that they were traveling to New York to discuss post-election issues with U.S. financial institutions, that their trip was sanctioned by Putin, and that they would be reporting back to Putin upon their return."

"The investigation did not resolve the apparent conflict in the accounts of Kushner and Gorkov or determine whether the meeting was diplomatic in nature (as Kushner stated), focused on business (as VEB's public statement indicated), or whether it involved some combination of those matters or other matters. Regardless, the investigation did not identify evidence that Kushner and Gorkov engaged in any substantive follow-up after the meeting."

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Drew Angerer/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The answers President Donald Trump gave to special counsel Robert Mueller have finally been released as part of the redacted version of the special counsel's report.

Trump's willingness to participate in an interview with the special counsel, the topics of the questions and whether that interview would take place in person or in writing was the subject of a months-long negotiation between Trump's legal team and the special counsel.

In June of 2017, the president told ABC News' Jonathan Karl that he would "one hundred percent" be willing to speak under oath to his version of events if Mueller asked him to. Eventually, the president and his legal team backed off of Trump's initial willingness to sit for an interview, instead advocating that the president respond to select questions in writing. Trump submitted his written responses to the special counsel on November 21, 2018.

Here are some of the highlights of the president's written responses as presented in the Mueller report. The president's responses are in bold:

1. Trump's answer to Mueller about WikiLeaks, DNC and Clinton hacks

QUESTION: Are you aware of any communications during the campaign, directly or indirectly, between Roger Stone, Donald Trump, Jr., Paul Manafort, or Rick Gates and (a) WikiLeaks, (b) Julian Assange, (c) other representatives of WikiLeaks, (d) Gucci fer 2.0, (e) representatives of Guccifer 2.0, or (f) representatives of WikiLeaks? If yes, describe who provided you with this information, when you learned of the communications, and what you know about those communications.

TRUMP: "I do not recall being aware during the campaign of any communications between the individuals named in Question ll (c) and anyone I understood to be a representative of WikiLeaks or any of the other individuals or entities referred to in the question."


QUESTION: On July 27, 2016, you stated at a press conference: "Russia, if you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press." Why did you make that request of Russia, as opposed to any other country, entity, or individual? In advance of making that statement, what discussions, if any, did you have with anyone else about the substance of the statement? Were you told at any time before or after you made that statement that Russia was attempting to infiltrate or hack computer systems or email accounts of Hillary Clinton or her campaign? If yes, describe who provided this information, when, and what you were told.

TRUMP: "I made the statement quoted in Question II (d) in jest and sarcastically, as was apparent to any objective observer. The context of the statement is evident in the full reading or viewing of the July 27, 2016 press conference, and I refer you to the publicly available transcript and video of that press conference. I do not recall having any discussion about the substance of the statement in advance of the press conference. l do not recall being told during the campaign of any efforts by Russia to infiltrate or hack the computer systems or email accounts of Hillary Clinton or her campaign prior to them becoming the subject of media reporting and I have no recollection of any particular conversation in that regard."

QUESTION: On October 7, 2016, emails hacked from the account of John Podesta were released by WikiLeaks. Where were you on October 7, 20I6? Were you told at any time in advance of, or on the day of, the October 7 release that WikiLeaks possessed or might possess emails related to John Podesta? If yes, describe who told you this, when, and what you were told. Are you aware of anyone associated with you or your campaign, including Roger Stone, reaching out to WikiLeaks, either directly or through an intermediary, on or about October 7, 2016? If yes, identify the person and describe the substance of the conversations or contacts.

TRUMP: "I was in Trump Tower in New York City on October 7, 2016. I have no recollection of being told that WikiLeaks possessed or might possess emails related to John Podesta before the release of Mr. Podesta's emails was reported by the media. Likewise, I have no recollection of being told that Roger Stone, anyone acting as an intermediary for Roger Stone, or anyone associated with my campaign had communicated with WikiLeaks on October 7, 2016."

2. Trump's answers related to Trump Organization's Moscow project

QUESTION: In October 2015, a "Letter of Intent," a copy of which is attached as Exhibit B, was signed for a proposed Trump Organization project in Moscow (the "Trump Moscow project"). When were you first informed of discussions about the Trump Moscow project? By whom? What were you told about the project? Did you sign the letter of intent?


In a statement provided to Congress, attached as Exhibit C, Michael Cohen stated: "To the best of my knowledge, Mr. Trump was never in contact with anyone about this proposal other than me on three occasions, including signing a non-binding letter of intent in 2015." Describe all discussions you had with Mr. Cohen, or anyone else associated with the Trump Organization, about the Trump Moscow project, including who you spoke with, when, and the substance of the discussion(s).

Did you learn of any communications between Michael Cohen or Felix Sater and any Russian government officials, including officials in the office of Dmitry Peskov, regarding the Trump Moscow project? If so, identify who provided this information to you, when, and the substance of what you learned.

Did you have any discussions between June 2015 and June 2016 regarding a potential trip to Russia by you and/or Michael Cohen for reasons related to the Trump Moscow project? If yes, describe who you spoke with, when, and the substance of the discussion(s).


Did you at any time direct or suggest that discussions about the Trump Moscow project

Did you have any discussions regarding what information would be provided publicly or in response to investigative inquiries about potential or actual investments or business deals the Trump Organization had in Russia, including the Trump Moscow project? If yes, describe who you spoke with, when, and the substance of the discussion(s).


Aside from the Trump Moscow project, did you or the Trump Organization have any other prospective or actual business interests, investments, or arrangements with Russia or any Russian interest or Russian individual during the campaign? If yes, describe the business interests, investments, or arrangements.


TRUMP: "Sometime in 2015, Michael Cohen suggested to me the possibility of a Trump Organization project in Moscow. As I recall, Mr. Cohen described this as a proposed project of a general type we have done in the past in a variety of locations. l signed the non-binding Letter of Intent attached to your questions as Exhibit B which required no equity or expenditure on our end and was consistent with our ongoing efforts to expand into significant markets around the world."

"I had few conversations with Mr. Cohen on this subject. As I recall, they were brief, and they were not memorable. I was not enthused about the proposal, and I do not recall any discussion of travel to Russia in connection with it. I do not remember discussing it with anyone else at the Trump Organization, although it is possible. I do not recall being aware at the time of any communications between Mr. Cohen or Felix Sater and any Russian government official regarding the Letter of Intent. In the course of preparing to respond to your questions, I have become aware that Mr. Cohen sent an email regarding the Letter of Intent to "Mr. Peskov" at a general, public email account, which should show there was no meaningful relationship with people in power in Russia. I understand those documents already have been provided to you."

"I vaguely remember press inquiries and media reporting during the campaign about whether the Trump Organization had business dealings in Russia. I may have spoken with campaign staff or Trump Organization employees regarding responses to requests for information, but I have no current recollection of any particular conversation, with whom l may have spoken, when, or the substance of any conversation. As I recall, neither I nor the Trump Organization had any projects or proposed projects in Russia during the campaign other than the Letter of Intent."


3. Contacts with Russia and Russia-related issues during the campaign

QUESTION: Prior to mid-August 2016, did you become aware that Paul Manafort had ties to the Ukrainian government? If yes, describe who you learned this information from, when, and the substance of what you were told. Did Mr. Manafort's connections to the Ukrainian or Russian governments play any role in your decision to have him join your campaign? If yes, describe that role.

Were you aware that Paul Manafort offered briefings on the progress of your campaign to Oleg Deripaska? lf yes, describe who you learned this information from, when, the substance of what you were told, what you understood the purpose was of sharing such information with Mr. Deripaska, and how you responded to learning this information.

Were you aware of whether Paul Manafort or anyone else associated with your campaign sent or directed others to send internal Trump campaign information to any person located in Ukraine or Russia or associated with the Ukrainian or Russian governments? If yes, identify who provided you with this information, when, the substance of the discussion(s), what you understood the purpose was of sharing the internal campaign information, and how you responded to learning this information.


Did Paul Manafort communicate to you, directly or indirectly. any positions Ukraine or Russia would want the U.S. to support? If yes, describe when he communicated those positions to you and the substance of those communications.

TRUMP: "Mr. Manafort was hired primarily because of his delegate work for prior presidential candidates, including Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and Bob Dole. I knew that Mr. Manafort had done international consulting work and, at some time before Mr. Manafort left the campaign, I learned that he was somehow involved with individuals concerning Ukraine, but I do not remember the specifics of what I knew at the time."

"l had no knowledge of Mr. Manafort offering briefings on the progress of my campaign to an individual named Oleg Deripaska, nor do I remember being aware of Mr. Manafort or anyone else associated with my campaign sending or directing others to send internal Trump Campaign information to anyone l knew to be in Ukraine or Russia at the time or to anyone I understood to be a Ukrainian or Russian government employee or official. I do not remember Mr. Manafort communicating to me any particular positions Ukraine or Russia would want the United States to support."

QUESTION: During the campaign, were you told about efforts by Russian officials to meet with you or senior members of your campaign? If yes, describe who you had conversations with on this topic, when, and what you were told.

TRUMP: "I do not recall being told during the campaign of efforts by Russian officials to meet with me or with senior members of my campaign. In the process of preparing to respond to these questions, I became aware that on March 17, 2016, my assistant at the Trump Organization, Rhona Graff, received an email from a Sergei Prikhodko, who identified himself as Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, Foundation Roscongress, inviting me to participate in the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum to be held in June 2016. The documents show that Ms. Graff prepared for my signature a brief response declining the invitation. I understand these documents already have been produced to you."

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