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tv   House Democrats News Conference Reading of Mueller Report  CSPAN  May 16, 2019 7:39pm-9:40pm EDT

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persisted about possible links and russian trump campaign. president-elect continued to deny any connections to russian privately expressed concern the reports of russian election interference might lead the public to question his legitimacy of his election. press reports alleged links between trump campaign in russia. june 16, 2015, donald j trump declared his intent to seek nomination as a republican candidate for president. by early 2016, he distinguished himself among republican candidates by speaking of closer ties with russia saying he would get along well with russian president battle mayor pruden questioning whether nato alliance was obsolete and praising putin as a strong leader. the press reported that russian political analysts and commentators perceived trump is favorable to russia.
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>> beginning in february 2016 continue through the summer, the media read reported several trump campaign advisors appear to have ties to russia. for example, press reported that campaign advisor michael flynn was seated next to vladimir putin at a gala in moscow in december 2015 and that flynn appeared regularly as an analyst. press also reported the foreign policy advisor carter page had ties to a russian state run gas company and that campaign chairman paul manafort had done work for the russian former ukrainian president. raise questions during republican national convention about the trump campaign's involvement in changing the republican platforms on giving weapons to the ukraine to fight russian
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and rebel forces. the trump campaign reacted to wikileaks release of hacked emails on june 14, 2016 a cyber security firm that had conducted in-house analysis for the democratic national convention or committee, excuse me democratic national committee, dnc posted an announcement that russia government hackers had infiltrator the dnc's computer and obtained access to documents. on july 22nd 2016 the day before the democratic national convention, wikileaks posted thousands of hacked dnc documents revealing sensitive internal deliberation. soon thereafter hillary clinton's campaign manager publicly contended that russia had hacked the dnc emails and arranged their release in order to help kennedy trump.
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on july 26 2016 new york times reported that u.s. intelligence agencies had told the white house they now have high confidence that the russian government was behind the theft of emails and documents from the democratic national committee. within the trump command campaign aides reacted with enthusiasm to reports of the hacks then there is a reduction. discuss with campaign officials that wikileaks would release the hacked material. some witnesses said that trump himself discussed the possibility of upcoming releases then there is a redaction. michael cohen then executive vice president of the trump organization and special counsel to trump recalled hearing then there is another deletion redaction. cohen recalled that trump
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responded, oh good, all right. and then redaction. manafort said that shortly after wikileaks, july 22, 2016 release of hacked documents, he spoke to trump. reduction. manafort recalled that trump responded that manafort should redaction a trump updated. deputy campaign manager rick gates said that manafort was getting pressure about redacted. information and that at the same time gates was with trump on a trip to an airport redaction shortly after the call ended trump told gates that more releases of damaging information would be coming. redaction were discussed
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within the campaign and summer of 2016 the campaign was planning a communication strategy based on the possible release of clinton's emails by wikileaks. in the days that followed july 27 july 22 2016 release of hacked dnc emails, the trump campaign publicly rejected suggestions that russian, russia was seeking to aid kennedy trump. on july 26, 2016 he tweeted that it was crazy to suggest that russia was dealing with trump and that for the record, he has zero investments in russia. in a press release the next day, july 27, 2016 trump characterized the whole thing with russia" as a quote total deflection" and stated that it
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was far-fetched and ridiculous . trump said the assertion that russia had hacked the emails was unproven but stated that it would give him no pause if russia had clinton's emails. trump added, russia, if you're listening. i hope you are able to find a 30,000 emails that are missing. i think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press,". quote there is nothing i can think of that i would rather do than have russia friendly as opposed to the way they are now" and in response to a question about whether he would recognize crimea as a russian territory and consider lifting sanctions, trump replied quote we will be looking at that. yeah. we will be looking at that". during the press conference he
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repeated quote, i have nothing to do with russia". five times. he stated the closest he came to russia was that russia may have purchased a home or condos from him. he said that after he held the miss universe pageant in moscow in 2016 he had been interested in working with russian companies that quote wanted to put a lot of money into developments in russia" but quote it never worked out". he explained quote frankly i didn't want to do it for a couple different reasons. but we had a major developer that wanted to develop property in moscow and other places but we decided not to do it". trump organization however had been pursuing a building project in moscow, the trump tower moscow project from approximately september 2015
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through june 2016 and the candidate was regularly updated on developments including possible trips by michael cohen to moscow to promote the deal and by trump himself to finalize it. cohen recalled speaking with trump after the press conference about trump's denial of any business dealings in russia which: regarded as untrue. trump told cohen that trump tower moscow was not a deal yet and said quote why mention it if it's not a deal,". according to: around this time a response to trump's disavowal of connections to russia campaign advisors had developed a partyline that trump had no business with russia and no connections to russia. in addition to denying any connections with russia, the trump campaign reacted to reports of russian election interference in aid of the
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campaign by seeking to distance himself from the russian contacts. for example, on august 26 in august 2016, foreign policy advisor jade d gordon declined an invitation to russian ambassador mr. kislyak's timing was not optimal. about russian interference. on august 19, 2016 manafort was asked to resign amid media coverage scrutinizing his ties to a russian political party in ukraine and links to russian business. and when the media published stories about pages connections to russia in september 2016, trump campaigned officials terminated pages associated with the
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campaign and told the press that he had played no role in the campaign. on october 7, 2016, wikileaks released the first set of emails stolen by russian intelligence agencies from clinton campaign chairman john podesta. the same day the federal government announce russian government directed the recent government compromises of emails. government statement directly linked russian hacking to release of wikileaks with the goal of interfering with the presidential election and concluded that only russia's seniormost officials could have authorized these activities based on their scope and sensitivity.
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vice presidential candidate mike pence was asked if the trump campaign was in cahoots with wiki leaks in releasing damage and damaging clinton information. and it was said nothing could be farther from the truth. after the election trent -- trump continue to deny any connection with russia or that russia aided his election. on november 8, 2016 trump was elected president. two days later russian officials told the press the russian government had maintained contact with trump's immediate entourage after the campaign. in response the trump campaign spokesperson said, we are not aware of any campaign representatives that were in touch with any foreign entities
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before yesterday when mr. trump spoke with many world leaders. he gave an additional statement denying any comp contact between the campaign and russia saying it has never happened. there was no communication between the campaign and any foreign entity during the campaign. on december 10, 2016 the press reported u.s. intelligence agencies concluded russia interfered in last month's presidential election to boost donald trump to bid for the white house. reacting to the store the next day the president-elect stated, i think it's ridiculous. i think it is just another excuse. he continued no one really knew who was responsible for the hacking suggesting the intelligence community had in his words, no idea if it is russia or china or somebody. it could be somebody sitting in a bed someplace. the president-elect also said democrats were putting out the
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story of russian interference because they suffered one of the greatest if it's in the history of politics. on december 18, 2016 john podesta told the press the election was distorted by russian intervention and question whether trump campaign officials were in touch with the russians. the same day the incoming chief of staff appeared on fox news sunday and declined to say whether the president-elect accepted the intelligence community's determination that russia intervened in the election. when asked about any contact or coordination between russia he said, even this question is insane. of course we didn't interfere enter -- with the russians. the added this whole thing is ace in job and said the real question is why are the democrats doing everything they can to delegitimize the outcome of the election? on december 29, 2016 the obama
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administration in response to russian cyber operations aimed at the u.s. election it was imposing sanctions and other measures on several russian individuals and entities. when first asked about the sanctions the president-elect said, i think we ought to get on with our lives. he then put out a statement that said, it is time for our country to move on to bigger and better things. he indicated he would meet with intelligence community leaders the following week for a briefing on russian interference. the briefing occur january 26 2017. following the briefing the intelligence trinity released a public version of its assessment which concluded with high confidence that russia had intervened in the election through a variety of means with the goal of harming clinton's electability. the assessment further concluded with high confidence that putin and the russian government had developed a clear preference for trump. several days later buz vida
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published unverified allegations compiled by former british intelligence officer christopher steele during the campaign about candidate trumps russian connection, these reports alleged he has deep ties to russia. in a press conference the president-elect called the release an absolute disgrace. he said, i have no dealings with russia. i have no deals that could have happened could happen in russia because we stayed away. i have no deal. i have no dealings. we could make deals in russia very easily if we wanted to, i just don't want to because i think that would be a conflict. several advisors recall the president-elect stories about his russian connections and the intelligence community assessment of russian interference as a threat to the legitimacy of the electoral victory. for example the president-elect viewed the intelligence
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community assessment as his achilles' heel because even if russia had no impact on the election people with thing russia helped him win taking away what he has accomplished. sean spicer the first white house communication's director recalled the president thought the russian story was developed to undermine the legitimacy of the election. he said the president viewed the russia investigation as an attack on the legitimacy of his when and recalled when the intelligence assessments came out the president-elect was concerned people would question the legitimacy of his when. the president's conduct concerning the investigation of michael flynn. overview. during the presidential transition incoming national security adviser michael flynn had two phone calls with the russian ambassador to the united states about the russian response to u.s. sanctions imposed because of russia's election interference. after the press reported on his contact with the russian
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ambassador he lied to incoming administration officials by saying he had not discussed sanctions on the calls. p publicly repeated those lies in press interviews. the fbi he was previously investigating him for other matters interviewed him about the calls the first week after the inauguration. he told similar lies to the fbi. on january 26, 2017 officials notified the white house that he and the russian ambassador had discussed sanctions and that michael flynn had been interviewed by the fbi. the next night the president had a private dinner with f.b.i. director james comey in which he asked for me loyalty. on february 13 2017 the president asked michael flynn to resign and the following day had a one-on-one conversation with comey in which he said, i hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting
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flynn go. evidence, incoming national security adviser flynn discussions sanctions on russia with russian ambassador through. for the next two months flynn played an active role in the presidential transition team cordoning policy positions and communicating with foreign government officials including russian ambassador to the united states sergey kislyak. on december 29 2016 as noted the obama administration announced it was imposing sanctions and other measures on several russian individuals and entities. that day multiple members of the presidential transition team exchanged emails about the sanctions and the impact they would have on the incoming administration and flynn informed members of the transition team he would be speaking to the russian
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ambassador later in the day. flynn who was in the dominican republic at the time and who was slated to become deputy national security advisor and was at the marla go resort with president elect and other senior staff spoke about what if anything he should communicate to sergey kislyak about the sanctions. mcfarland has spoken with officials about the sanctions and russia's possible responses, she had mentioned in those conversations michael flynn was scheduled to speak with sergey kislyak. based on those conversations mcfarland informed michael flynn incoming administration officials that mar a lago did not want russia to escalate the situation. at 4:30 pm that afternoon mcfarland sent an email to several officials about the sanctions and informed the group that general flynn is speaking with the russian ambassador this evening. approximately one hour later mcfarland met with the
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president-elect and senior officials and briefed them on the sanctions of russia's possible responses. incoming chief of staff recalled mcfarland may have mentioned at the meeting the sanction situation could be who is down and not escalated. mcfarland recalled at the end of the meeting someone may have mentioned to the president- elect flynn was speaking with the russian ambassador that evening. mcfarland did not recall any response by the president- elect. he recalled the president-elect viewed the sanctions as an attempt to the obama administration to of embarrassment by delegitimizing his election. immediately after discussing the sanctions with mcfarland on december 29, 2016 flynn called sergey kislyak and requested russia responded to the sanctions only in a reciprocal manner without escalating the situation. after the call flynn briefed mcfarland on the situation.
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he told him the russian response to the sanctions was not going to be escalate toward because russia wanted a good relationship with the trump administration. on december 30, 2016 russia's president vladimir putin announced russia would not seek retaliatory measures in response to the sanctions at that time and would instead plan further steps to restore russia u.s. relations based on the policies of the trump administration. following that announcement the president-elect we did great move on delay by putin. i always knew he was very smart. on december 31, 2016 sergey kislyak called flynn and told him his request had been received at the highest level and russia had chosen not to retaliate in response to the request. later that day flynn told mcfarland about the follow-up conversation with sergey kislyak and russia's decision not to escalate the sanction situation based on flynn's
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request. mcfarland recalled flynn thought the phone call had made a difference. he spoke with the other incoming administration officials that day but does not recall whether they discussed the sanctions. flynn recalled discussing the sanctions with steve bannon the next day. >> flynn said bannon appeared to know about flynn's conversation and he and bannon agreed they had stopped the train on russia's response to the sanctions. january 3 flynn thought they discussed the russian reaction to the sanctions for flynn to not have a specific recollection telling the president-elect about the purpose of his call with
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kislyak. members of the intelligence community were surprised by russia's decision to retaliate in response to the sanctions while analyzing russia's response they became aware of flynn's discussions with kislyak. previously the fbi had opened an investigation of flynn based on his of his investigation with the russian government. the contact with kislyak became a key component of the investigation. january 6 as noted in volume 2 intelligence officials briefed as the electrons and the incoming administration on the intelligence community's assessment that russia had interfered in the 2016 presidential election. when the briefing concluded comey spoke with the president- elect privately to brief him on unverified sensitive allegations compiled by steel. he drafted immediately after the discussion the president- elect began the meeting by telling comey he had conducted himself honorably over the prior year and had a great reputation the president-elect
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dated he thought highly of comey and was looking forward to working with him and hope he had planned to stay on as f.b.i. director. him he responded he intended to continue to serve in that role comey that the president-elect on the sensitive material in the steele report. he recalled the president-elect seem to but comey decided -- to assure him the fbi was not investigating him personally. from comey recalled he did not want the president-elect to think of the conversation as a j edgar hoover moved. january 10 2017 he reported comey had briefed the president- elect and information compiled by steele online stating the information specific unverified and unverifiable potentially allegations of contact between trumpet aides and russia operatives. the next day the president-
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elect expressed concern to the intelligence community leaders about the fact that the information hadley and asked if they could make public stations refuting the allegations in the steele report . in the following we week three congressional committees reopened the investigation into russian interference in the election and whether the trump administration had colluded with russia . the senate select committee on intelligence announced it would conduct a bipartisan inquiry into russian interference in the election including any link between russia and in the individuals associated with political campaign. were 25th 2017 the house permanent select committee announced it had conducting an investigation it had been conducted an investigation into russian election interference and possible coordination in possible coronation with the campaign. february 2, 2017 the senate judiciary committee announced it too would investigate russia efforts to intervene in the election. on jr 12 2017 a, misreported
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kislyak communication on the same day the obama administration announced russia sanctions. the call question whether flynn had said something to undercut the u.s. sanctions and whether the communication validated the spirit of the logan act. the president-elect called after the story was published and expressed anger about it. priebus recalled the president- elect saying what the is this all about? he called flynn and told him the president-elect was angry about the report on flynn's conversation about kislyak. flynn said he felt pressure because previous calls and informed him no discussion of sanctions had occurred. mcfarland recalled that flynn said words to the effect, i want to kill the story. mcfarland made the call lynn had requested although she knew she was providing false information and updated the column to reflect that.
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a trump official denied a flynn and kislyak discussed the sanctions. when administration officials questioned flynn internally about the washington post column flynn maintained he had not discussed and he repeated the claim that vice president mike pence and incoming press secretary sean spicer and subsequent media interviews in late january and reince priebus and sean spicer denied they had discussed sanctions facing those denials on their conversation with flynn. statements have been coming with administration officials denying they discussed sanctions along with senior doj officials who are where the statements were not true. those officials were concerned flynn had lied to his colleagues who had unwittingly misled the american public leaving a compromise situation for flynn because the
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completive they could prove he lied. they also believe the calls were subsequent denials about discussing sanctions raised attention logan act issues and was part of the broader fbi investigation. january 30, 2017 president trump was inaugurated and michael flynn was sworn in as national security advisor. they were 23rd 2017 first press briefing stated he had spoken with flynn but neither could confirm that the -- topics unrelated to sanctions. there was concern russia had leveraged flynn based on his lies and could use a derogatory information to compromise him. january 24, 2017 flynn agreed to be interviewed by the fbi during the interview which took place at the white house he falsely stated he did not ask
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kislyak to refrain from escalating the situation in response to the sanctions on russia imposed by the obama administration. flynn also falsely stated he did not remember a follow-up conversation in which kislyak stated russia had chosen to moderate its response to those sanctions as a result of flynn's request. january 26 2017 acting attorney general contacted the white house counsel and informed him she needed to discuss a sensitive matter with him in person. later that day they record a senior national security at the department of justice met at the white house and white house counsel office attorney. gates said the public statements made by the vice president denying they discussed sanctions were not true and put flynn in a potentially compromised position because the russians knew would know he had lied. they disclosed flynn had been
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interviewed by the fbi. she declined to answer a specific question about how flynn had performed during the interview but said statements to the fbi were similar to the statements made to sean spicer. he asked john who served as legal counsel to the national security council to examine potential legal issues raised by flynn and the fbi interview and his contact with kislyak. that afternoon yates had come to the white house to discuss flynn. the president asked him to repeat it so he did. -- don mcgahn describe when he said flynn did not disclose having discussed sanctions with kislyak but that there may not have been a clear violation. the president asked about sanctions 1001 and don mcgahn
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explained the law to him and the logan act. the president instructed don mcgahn to work to look into the matter further and directed they not discuss it with any other official. the president was angry with flynn in light of what yates had told the white house and that not again this guy, this stuff. that evening the president dined with several senior advisors and asked the group what they thought about f.b.i. director comey. according to the director of national intelligence who was at the dinner no one openly abdicated terminating comey but the consensus was he was not positive. he told the group he thought comey was a good director. he encourage meeting him and spending time with him face-to- face about whether to retain him. the next day they were 2720 17 don mcgahn and -- -- specifically whether flynn had violated the espionage act, the
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logan act based on his preliminary research. there was a possibility that flynn had violated the code and the logan act. it was noted the united states had never successfully prosecuted an individual under the logan act and that flynn could have defenses and told him he believed it was unlikely a prosecutor would pursue a logan act charge under these circumstances. that they morning don mcgahn returned to the white house to discuss flynn again. on the second meeting he expressed doubts that the department of justice would bring a prosecution against flynn stating the white house did not want to take action that would interfere with an ongoing fbi investigation of the flynn. don mcgahn ended the meeting by asking gates to assess to the underlying information the department of justice possessed
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pertaining to flynn's discussion with kislyak. also january 27 the president called f.b.i. director comey and invited him to dinner that evening and before the dinner he told the president something like i don't talk about russia whatever you do and the president promised he would not talk about russia at the dinner. don mcgahn previously advised the president he should not communicate directly with the department of justice to avoid the perception of interference with law enforcement . the president learned about the presidents plans for dinner with comey and he said he and reince priebus should also attempt the president stated he wanted to dine with comey alone. comey said when he arrived for the dinner that evening he was concerned to see no one else had been invited. comey provided an account of the denture dinner and interview with his office and congressional testimony. according to his account the
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president repeatedly brought up his future asking whether he wanted to stay as f.b.i. director. the president have previously said he wanted to stay on as f.b.i. director and comey interpreted the president's comments in an effort to create a patronage relationship by asking by having him ask for his job. the president also brought up a report that comey had raised in the january 6 17 briefing that he was thinking about ordering the fbi to investigate the allegations to prove they were false. comey risk bonded the president should think carefully about issuing such an order because it could create a narrative that the fbi was investigate him personally which was incorrect. later the president brought up flynn and said, the guy has serious judgment issues. comey did not comment and the president did not acknowledge any fbi interest in or contact with flynn. according to comey's account at one point during the dinner the president stated, i need loyalty. i expect loyalty. comey did not respond and the
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conversation moved on to other topics. he repeated i need loyalty. comey responded, you will always get honesty from me. the president said, that is what i meant, honest loyalty. comey said, you will get that from me. after the account of the dinner became public the president and his advisers is you did he had asked for comey's loyalty. the president also indicated he had not invited comey to dinner telling every reporter he thought comey had asked for the dinner because he wanted to stay on. subsequent evidence corroborates his account of the dinner invitation and the request for loyalty. the president daily diary confirmed the president extended his dinner invitation to comey on january 27. with respect to the substance of the dinner conversation comey documented the residence
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request for loyalty and memorandum. he began drafting the night of the dinner and fbi officials were calling comey telling them shortly about the request ever did occurred that he described the request while under oath in congressional proceedings with investigators subject to penalty for lying.'s memory of the details of the dinner included the presidential the presidents requested loyalty has remained consistent throughout. on january 2, 2017 reviewed the underlying information related to flynn's calls -- he did not believe the white house had enough information to make a definitive recommendation to the president. it was discussed that the preliminary conclusion it was unlikely to be prosecuted for violating the logan act because
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what flynn had told the fbi and they could not assess prosecution. the week of january 6 flynn had a one-on-one conversation with the president in the oval office about negative media coverage of his contact with kislyak . the president was upset and asked him for information on the conversation. he corrected one of the dates and asked flynn what he and kislyak discussed and flynn responded that he may have talked about sanctions. there was also evidence that corroborates other aspects of the memorandum. comey wrote documented interactions with the president for example he recalled his memorandum reflected that the president and his meeting and phone calls march 30 april 11 2017 that the fbi was not investigating the president
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personally. on may 8, 2017 and white house discussions after firing comey the president told rod rosenstein and others that comey had told him he was not being investigated once in person and twice on the phone. on february 9, 2017 a washington post reporter sanctions a month before the president took office after the publication of the story present -- content of his call he and other advisors sought access to review the underlying information about flynn's contact with kislyak fbi, deputy director anja mccabe also broke andrew mccabe also provided information and when they reviewed it recalled the officials asking him about flynn's conduct asking him whether flynn's conduct violated the logan act. mccabe responded he did not
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know if the fbi was investigating the matter because it was a possibility. based on the evidence of the contact it was concluded flynn could not have forgotten the details of discussions of sanctions and instead had been lying about what he discussed with kislyak. he had also told officials the fbi told him they were closing out his investigation of him but it was not believe. after reviewing the material it was concluded flynn should be terminated and recommended that to the president. that weekend flynn accompanied the president to mar a lago. flynn recalled on the return flight to dc on air force one the president asked him whether he had lied to the vice president and he responded he may have forgotten details of the call but he did not think he lied. the president responded okay, i've got it. on february 13, 2017 reince
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priebus told flynn he had to resign. he said he wanted to say goodbye to the president that he was brought to the oval office. he recalls the president hugging him and saying we will give you a good recommendation, you are a good guy. we will take care of you. mcgann -- had advised the president that flynn was unlikely to be prosecuted and it was determined the issue with him was one of trust. the next day flynn was forced to resign not based on legal issues but based on a trust issue, a level of trust between the president and general flynn to the point that the president felt he had to make a change. every 14 2017 a day that after flynn's resignation the president had lunch in the white house with new jersey governor chris christie. according to him the president said, now that we have fired flynn the russia thing is over.
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christie laughed and responded, no way this russia thing is far from over and we will be here on valentine's day 2018 talking about this. the president said what do you mean. flynn met with the russians, that was the problem. i fired flynn, it is over. he recalls based on his experience both as a prosecutor and as someone who had been investigated firing flynn would not end the investigation. there was no way to make an investigation shorter but a lot of ways to make it longer. the president asked christie what he meant and he said not to talk about the investigation even if he was frustrated at times. christie also told the president he would never be able to get rid of flynn like gum on the bottom of your shoe. towards the end of the lunch the president brought up comey and asked if he was still friendly with him. christie said he was and the
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president -- tell him he is part of the team and the president repeated his request that christie reach out to comey. christie had no intention of complying with the residence -- he thought the request was and christie did not want to put comey in a position of having to receive such a phone call. christie would have been uncomfortable to pass on that message. that afternoon the president met with tony, sessions and other officials were a homeland security briefing. at the end of the briefing the president dismissed other attendees and said he wanted to speak with comey alone. the advisor and jared kushner remained in the office. the president excused them repeating he wanted to speak only with comey. at some point after others had left the office opened the door and he was sent away.
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while there the president began the conversation by saying i want to talk about mike flynn. he stated he had not done anything wrong speaking with the russians but had to be terminated because he had misled the vice president. the conversation turned to the topic of leaked classified information but the president returned to flynn saying he was a good guy and has been through a lot. he said i hope you can see your way to clear to letting this go, to letting flynn go. he is a good guy. i hope you can let this go. comey agreed flynn was a good guy but did not commit to any investigation of flynn. comey testified under oath he took the present statement at the direction because of the circumstances of the one-on-one meeting. shortly after meeting with the president comey began drafting a memorandum documenting their conversation. he also met with the senior leadership team to discuss the request and they agreed not to inform fbi officials working on
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the flynn case of the president statements of in officials would not be influenced by the request. he also requested sessions not leave comey alone with the president again. the media raised questions about terminating flynn. after flynn was forced to resign the media raised questions about why the president waited more than two weeks after the doj notification to remove flynn and had the president known about his contact with kislyak before the doj notification the press also continued to ask questions about the president's campaign and connections with russia. the president told reporters that general flynn is a wonderful man. i think he has been treated very unfairly by the media. fairbury 16th 2017 the president held a press conference and said he removed flynn because flynn didn't tell the vice president of the united states the facts and that he didn't remember.
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that just wasn't acceptable to me. the president said he did not direct flynn to discuss sanctions with kislyak but it certainly would have been okay for me if he did . i would not have directed him to do that if i thought he wasn't doing it. i didn't direct him but i would have directed him because that's his job. the president did not say flynn had lied to him, he also denied having any connection to russia stating i had nothing to do with russia. i told you i have no deals there. i have no anything. the president also said he had nothing to do with wiki leaks publications hacked from the clinton campaign. on february 22, 2017 reince priebus and bannon told the press the president wanted her to resign as deputy national security advisor . the next day the president asked for a final
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draft of internal email confirming the president does not direct flynn to call the russian and that ambassador about sanctions. reince priebus said he told the president he could only advise her to write a letter if she was comfortable with it . mcfarland he called mcfarland into his office to convey the president's request that the president did not direct flynn to talk to kislyak -- did not know whether the president directed to talk about sanctions and she declined to say yes or no to the request. it was understood mcfarland was not comfortable with the president's request and recommended she talk with attorneys of the white house counsel's office.
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-- not to write the request requested letter and is documented by mcfarland a memorandum for the record she wrote because she was can learned about the president's request. i silberg sought the requested email thought the requested email would be a bad idea from my site because the email would be awkward. why would i be emailing reince priebus to make a statement for the record but it would be bad for the president because it looked as if my appointment was in some way a quid pro quo, later that evening stopped by mcfarland's office not to write the email and forget he even mentioned it. around the same time the to reach out to flynn and let him know the president still cared about him. reince priebus said he was checking -- did not want flynn saying bad things about him.
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march 31 following news that flynn had offered to testify before the fbi congressional investigators in exchange for immunity the president tweeted, mike flynn should ask for immunity in that this is a witchhunt. late march and early april the president asked telling him the president felt bad for him and that he should stay strong. analyzing the presidents of the flynn investigation the following evidence is relevant to obstruction of justice, obstruction act, according to comey's account of his february 14, 2017 meeting at the oval office the president told him, i hope you can see your way clear to letting this go talk to letting flynn go, i hope you can let this go and analyzing these statements constitutes an obstructive act questioning whether comey's is accurate and
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whether the president statement had it tendency to impede justice by shutting down an inquiry that could result in a grand jury investigation and criminal charge. as for comey's account of the president's request to let flynn go became public the president publicly disputed several aspects of the story. the president told the new york times he did not shoo other people out of the room when he spoke with comey and that he did not remember having a one- on-one conversation with comey. the president also publicly denied he had asked for me to let flynn go or otherwise communicated that comey should drop the investigation of flynn. he also denied aspects of comey's account but acknowledged to reince priebus he brought coming up in the meeting and said flynn was a good guy. despite those substantial evidence corroborates comey's account. first comey wrote a detailed memorandum of his account of the president on the same day it occurred.
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he also told the senior fbi officials about the meeting with the president that day. after their recollection of what comey told him at the time are consistent with comey's account. provided testimony about the presidents request that he let flynn go under oath in congressional congressional proceedings and when investigators subject to penalty for lying under 18 code his recollections of the encounter that remain consistent over time. >> the objective cooperated circumstances of how the one-on- one meeting came to occur
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supports comey's recalling the president cleared the room to speak with comey alone after homeland security briefing in the oval office. the kushner sessions lingered and had to be shooed out by the president and reince priebus briefly opened the door prompting the president to waive him away. while the president has publicly denied those details other officials who were present how he ended up in a meeting with the president one- on-one and the president acknowledged he in fact spoke with comey about in their one- on-one meeting. the presidents decision to clear the room and in particular to exclude the attorney general from the meeting signals the president wanted to be alone with comey which is consistent with the delivery of a message that comey recalls rather than a more innocuous conversation that could have occurred with the president or attorney general. finally comey's reactant reaction is consistent with the president having asked him to let flynn go. comey met with the fbi leadership team which indicates
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the presence statements closely held and not to inform the team working on the investigation so they would not be influenced by the presidents request. he also probably met with the attorney general to ask him not to be left alone with the president again. an account verified fbi chief of staff within the attorney general chief of staff. the second question is whether the president statements could impede or interfere with the fbi's investigations of flynn. while the president said they hoped he could let them go rather than affirmatively directing him to do so the circumstances of the conversation show the president was asking him to close the fbi investigation into flynn. first the president arranged a meeting with comey so they could be alone and purposely excluded the attorney general which suggested the president meant to make a request to comey but did not want anyone else to hear it . second because the president is the head of the executive branch when he says he hopes because
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the president i'm sorry he hopes a subordinate will do something it is reasonable to expect the subordinate will do what the president wants. indeed the president repeated a version of the three times and comey testified he understood the president statements as a directive which is cooperated by the way comey reacted at the time. nexus to a proceeding. to establish a nexus to a proceeding it would be necessary to show the president could reasonably foresee and actually contemplated that the investigation of flynn was likely to lead to a grand jury investigation or prosecution. at the time of the presidents one-on-one meeting with comey no grand jury subpoenas had been issued as part of the investigation into flynn but flynn lied to the fbi and violated federal law redaction. it resulted in flynn's prosecution for violating --. by the time the president spoke
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with comey about flynn doj officials informed don mcgahn who informed the president that flynn's statements to senior white house officials with contact with kislyak were not true and that he told the same version of events to the fbi. he also informed the president that his conduct could violate --. after the vice president and white house officials reviewed the underlying information about his call february 10 they believed he could not have forgotten his conversation with kislyak and concluded he had been lying. in addition to obstructed instructed to let flynn go suggested his awareness could face criminal is mosher for his conduct and was at risk of prosecution. as part of our investigation we examined whether the president had a personal stake in the outcome of the investigation into flynn. for example whether the president was aware of his medications with kislyak close to the times that they occurred
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or that the president knew he abide to senior white house officials and that those lies had been passed on to the public some evidence to just the president knew about the content of his calls when they occurred at the evidence is inconclusive and could not be relied upon to establish the presidents knowledge. in advance of his initial call with kislyak the president attended a meeting where sanctions were discussed and an advisor may have mentioned he was scheduled to speak with kislyak. he told mcfarland about the substance of the call and said they may have made a difference in russia's response and flynn recalled speaking with bannon in early january 2017 about how they have successfully stopped the train on russia's response of sanctions. it would have been reasonable that he would have wanted to know discrimination because he told him his request had been received at the highest level in russia had chosen not to retaliate in response to the request.
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the president was pleased by the russia response calling it a great move in the president never said publicly or internally flynn had lied to him about the call. he did not recall providing the president-elect with a readout and flynn does not have a specific recollection of telling the president-elect directly about the call. he also said he did not recall hearing about the call to flynn and every 2017 the president asked flynn what was discussed on the call and whether he lied to the vice president suggesting he did not already know. our investigation did not produce evidence that established that the president knew about flynn's discussion of sanctions before the department of justice notified the white house of those discussions in late january 2017. the evidence also did not establish and otherwise possess information damaging to the president that would give the president a personal incentive to fb and the fbi inquiry into conduct. it does establish the president
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and that he believed he told kristi terminating flynn would end the whole russia thing. his firing occurred at a time when media really questioned russians russia's interference with the election and when members of the campaign had colluded with russia. multiple witnesses recalled the russian investigation was viewed and challenged the legitimacy of the election. the president paid careful attention to negative coverage of flynn and reacted with anger when the story broke this closing flynn had discussed sanctions with kislyak. hours before meeting one-on-one with comey the president told kristi firing flynn would end the russia inquiry. after kristi pushed back telling the president firing flynn would not end the russia investigation the president asked kristi to reach out to comey and convey the president liked him and he was part of a team. that afternoon the president cleared the room and asked comey to let him go.
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we also sought evidence relative to whether the presidents direction of comey was motivated by sympathy towards flynn in public statements the president repeatedly described him as a good person who had been harmed by the investigation and directed advisors to reach out to flynn to tell him the president cared about him and felt bad for him. at the same time multiple advisors said the president have become unhappy with flynn well before he was forced to resign and that the president was frequently irritated with flynn. he said he believed the initial reluctance to fire stems not from personal regard but from concerned about the negative press that would be generated by firing the national security advisor so early in the administration and he indicated the president were motivated by the presidents desire to keep flynn from saying negative things about him. the way in which the president communicated the request also
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is relevant to understanding the presidents intent. when the president first learned about the fbi investigation into flynn he told them not to discuss the matter with anyone else in the white house. the next day the president invited comey for a one-on-one dinner against the advice of an aide that recommended other white house officials also attend. after dinner the president asked comey for loyalty and at a different point in the conversation mentioned flynn had issues. when meeting with comey the day after the determination shortly after being told firing flynn it would not end the russian investigation the president cleared the room even including the attorney general so he could again speak with comey alone. the presidents decision to meet one-on-one contravened the advice of the white house counsel that the president should not communicate directly with the department of justice to avoid any interference in law enforcement. the president later denied he cleared the room and asked
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comey to let flynn go, a denial that would have been unnecessary if he believed his request with a proper exercise of prosecutorial discretion. finally the president's efforts have mcfarland write an internal email denying the president had directed flynn to discuss sanctions with kislyak the evidence does not establish the president was trying to have mcfarland lie, the presidents request was sufficiently irregular that mcfarland you did not know the full extent of the communications with the president and thus could not make the representation the president wanted felt the need to draft an internal memorandum documenting the presidents request and eisenberg was rick concerned it would look like a quid pro quo in exchange for ambassadorship. the presidents reaction to public confirmation of the fbi russian investigation, overview. in early march 2017 the
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president learned sessions was considering recusing from the russia investigation and tried to prevent the recusal. after sessions announced his recusal the president expressed anger at sessions for the decision and then asked sessions to un-recuse. on march 20, 2017 he publicly disclosed the fbi russian investigation and in the days that followed the president contacted comey and other intelligence agency leaders and asked them to push back publicly on the suggestion the president had any connection to the russian election interference efforts in order to list the lift the cloud of the ongoing investigation. attorney general sessions recuses from the russia investigation. in late february 2017 the department of justice began an internal analysis of whether sessions should recuse the russian investigation based on his role in the 2016 campaign. on march 1, 2017 the press reported in its january
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confirmation hearing senator sessions had not disclosed two meetings he had with a russian ambassador before the presidential election leading to congressional calls for him to recuse and refer special counsel to in --. the president also called comey and said he wanted to check in and see how he was doing. according to an email comey said the president talked about sessions a bit but that he heard comey was doing great and said he hoped comey would come by and say hello when he was at the white house. comey interpreted the call as an effort by the president to pull him in that he did not receive it as an attempt to find out what he was doing with the flynn an investigation the next morning the president called again and urged him to contact sessions to tell him not to recuse himself from the russia investigation. he understood the president to be concerned that a recusal looked guilty by omitting details in his confirmation
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hearing. at least the president derailed his policy objectives and detract from favorable press coverage of a presidential address to congress the president had delivered earlier in the week. he reached out to sessions and said the president was not happy about the possibility of a recusal and sessions that he planned on following the rules on recuse and. throughout the day don mcgahn continued trying on behalf of the president by speaking with sessions personal counsel, his chief of staff and senate majority leader mitch mcconnell. by contacting two more times. he recalls other white house advisors also called him that day to argue against his recusal. that afternoon he announced his desire to recuse from any existing or future
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investigations of any matter relating to the campaign for president of the united states. he believes the decision to recuse was not a given the applicable language in the code of federal regulation which is considered to be clear and decisive. sessions on any argument did not apply to him was very. sessions got that based on calls he received from the white house officials that the president was very upset with him and did not think he had done his duty as attorney general. shortly after he announced his recusal the white house counsel office directed that sessions should not be contacted about the matter. the white house counsel office noted no contact with sessions and no serious concerns about obstruction. on march 3 the day after sessions recusal don mcgahn was called into the oval office and other advisors were there . the president opened the conversation by saying i don't have a lawyer.
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was suggested he would fight as where don mcgahn would not appear he wanted him to talk with sessions about the recusal officials had weighed in on his decision to recuse and the president then brought up former attorney general robert kennedy and eric holder and said they had protected their president. the president also pushed back on the doj contact policy and said words to the effect of you are telling me talk about investigations or obama didn't tell eric holder who to investigate? bannon recalls the president was as mad as he had ever seen him and swore to him about how weak sessions was peer he recalled telling the president the recusal was not a surprise and that before the inauguration they discussed sessions would have to recuse
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from campaign related investigations because of his work on the trump campaign. that weekend sessions and don mcgahn flew to mar a lago to meet with the president. sessions said the president pulled him aside to meet with him alone and suggested the session sessions should recuse from the russian investigation. the president contracted don mcgahn who had developed a strategy to help the president where sessions did not. sessions said he had the impression the investigation could spin out of control which he could have helped everett if he were still overseeing it. me white house counsel's office was informed the fbi was asking for transition periods relating to flynn indicating the fbi was still actively investigating him. on march 6 the president told advisors he wanted to call the acting attorney general to find out if the white house or president was being investigated although it is not clear if the president knew at the time of the fbi's recent
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request concerning flynn. the f.b.i. director publicly confirmed the existence of the russia investigation in testimony. on march 9, 2017 comey briefed the gang of eight congressional leaders about the fbi's investigation of russian interference including an identification subject of the investigation. although -- notes taken by don mcgahn's chief of staff state, potus in panic, chaos. need binders to put in front of potus. all things related to russia number one. the week after that briefing the white house counsel's office was in contact with senator richard -- about the russia investigation and appears to have received information about the status of the fbi investigation. on march 20, 2017 comey was scheduled to testify and in
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advance of his testimony congressional officials made clear they wanted him to provide information about the ongoing fbi investigation. they agreed he should decline to comment on whether any particular individuals including the president from being investigated. in his opening remarks at the hearing comey stated he had been authorized by the department of justice to confirm the fbi as part of its counterintelligence is investigating the russian government efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election and that includes investigating the nature of any links between individuals associated with the trump campaign and the russian government and whether there was any correlation between the campaign and russia's efforts. as with any counterintelligence investigation whether any crimes were committed. he added he wouldn't comment further on what the fbi was
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doing and whose conduct it was examining because the investigation was ongoing and classified but he observed he had taken the ex-ordinary step in consultation with the department of justice briefing congress's leaders. comey was specifically asked about whether the president was under investigation during the campaign or under investigation now. comey's decline to answer stating please don't over interpret what i've said as the chair and ranking i am not going to answer about anyone in this forum. he was also asked about while the white contained in the reporting and he declined to answer.
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>> according to don mcgahn and donaldson the president expressed frustration with comey before his march 20 testimony and the testimony made matters worse. the president had previously criticized comey for two too frequently making headlines and not and when the president suspected comey of leaking certain information to the media. don mcgahn said he thought the president was acting like his own branch of government. press reports following his march 20 testimony suggested the fbi was investigating the president contrary to what comey had told the president at the end of january intelligence assessment briefing. cspan3 two donaldson and senior advisor stephen miller recalled that the president was upset with comey's testimony
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and the press coverage that followed. it was because of the suggested the president was under investigation. president was beside himself over comey's testimony. the president called mccann repeatedly that day asking him to intervene with the department of justice. according to the notes the president was getting hotter and hotter, get rid, officials in the white house counsel's office came so concerned that the president would fire comey that they began drafting a memorandum that examined whether the president needed calls to terminate the fbi director. at the president's urging, mccann contacted them on march 21, 2017 to seek assistance to
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have the missed perception corrected that the president was under investigation. he did not specifically recall the conversation though he did remember one conversation that around this time when mcgahn asked if there was a way to speed up or end the russia investigation as quickly as possible. mcgann told him the president was under a cloud and it made it hard for him to govern. he recalled telling mcgahn that there is no good way to shorten the investigation and attempting to do so could a road confidence in the investigations conclusion. ponte said that mcgahn agreed and dropped the issue. the president also sought to speak directly to him directly but mcgann told the president that he did not want to talk to the president about the request with comey. mcgahn recalled telling him
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in calls that day that he did not think it was sustainable for me to stay on as fbi director for the next four years which mcgahn said he conveyed to the president. did not recall discussing with mcgahn or anyone else the idea that comey should not continue as fbi director. number 3, the president asked intelligence community leaders to make public statements that he had no connection to russia. in the weeks following comey's march 21 2017 testimony, the president repeatedly asked intelligence committee officials to push back publicly on any suggestion that the president had a connection to the russian election interference efforts. on march 22nd the president asked the director of national
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intelligence, daniel coats and cia director michael pompeo to stay behind in the oval office after a presidential daily briefing. putting two the president asked them whether between russia. responded that the office of the director of national intelligence nothing to do with the investigations and it was not his role to make a public statement on the russia investigation. pompeo had no recollection of being asked to stay behind after the march 22 briefing but he recalled that the president regularly urged officials to get the word out that he had done to hold the office of the president never is the about the fbi
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investigation. efforts however had a different recollection for described the meeting immediately after it occurred. according to senior od and i official, michael dempsey, coats said after the meeting that the president had brought up the russia investigation and asked him to contact comey to see if there was a way to get past the investigation, get it over with, and it were words to that effect. dempsey said that coats described the president comments as falling somewhere between musing about hating the investigation and wanting coats to do something to stop it. dempsey said that coates had made it clear that he would not get involved with an ongoing fbi investigation. another od and i official recalled that right after coats meeting with the president on the walk from the
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oval office back to eisenhower executive office building, coats said that the president had kept him behind to ask him what he could do to help the investigation. another od and i staffer who had been waiting for outside the oval office talked to the sparrow a few moments later and recalled reporting that coates was upset because the president asked him to contact comey to convince him there was nothing to the russian investigation. on saturday, march 25, 2017 three days after the meeting in the oval office the president called coat and again complained about the russian investigation saying words to the effect of i can't do anything with russia. there is nothing i would like to do with russia with trade or isis. they are all over me on this. coates told the president that the investigations were going
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to go on and the best thing to do was let them run their course. coates testified later in a congressional hearing that he had "never felt pressure to intervene or interfere in any way and with shaping intelligence in a political way or in a relationship to an ongoing investigation." on march 26 2017 the day after the president called coats, the president called nsa director admiral michael rogers, the president expressed frustration with the russian investigation so he made relations with the russians difficult. the president told rogers the thing with the russians messing up his ability to get things done with russia. the president also said that the new story linking him with russia were not true and asked rogers if he could do anything to refute the stories.
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deputy director of nsa who was present for the call said it was the most unusual thing he had experienced in 40 years of government service. after the call concluded, they prepared a memorandum that he and rogers both signed documenting the content of conversation and the president's request and they placed the memorandum in a safe. but rogers did not proceed with the president's request to be an order and the president did not ask rogers to push back on the russia investigation itself. rogers later testified in a congressional hearing that as nsa director he had never been directed to do anything he believed to be illegal, immoral, unethical, or inappropriate and did not "
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recall ever feeling pressure to do so." in addition to the specific comments made to coats, pompeo and rogers, the president spoke on other occasions in the presence of intelligence community officials about the russian investigation and stated that it interfered with his ability to conduct foreign relations. on at least two occasions the president began daily briefings by stating that there was no collusion with russia and wrote a press statement to that effect. pompeo recalled the president vented about the investigation on multiple occasions claiming there was no evidence against him and that nobody would publicly defend him. rogers recalled a private conversation with the president in which he vented about the investigation and he said he had done nothing wrong and said something like the
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russia thing has got to go a day. coates recalled the president bringing up the russia investigation several times and coates said he finally told the president that his job was to provide intelligence and not get involved with investigations. 4, the president asked comey to lift the cloud created by the russia investigation. on the morning of march 30 2017 the president reached out to comey directly about the russia investigation. according to comey's contemporaneous records of the conversation president that was thinking that difficult. the president only be done to lift the cloud.
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the president said they are running it down as quickly as possible and there would be great benefits if we didn't find anything to our good housekeeping seal of approval. but that we had to do our work. comey also told the president that congressional leaders were aware that the fbi was not investigating the president personally. the president said several times we need to get the facts out. the president commented that if there was some satellite which comey took to mean an associate of the president or the campaign that did something, it would be good to find out that he himself had not done anything wrong but he hoped comey find a way to get out that we were investigating him. after the call ended, comey called brontk and told him about the conversation and asked for guidance about how to respond and said he was uncomfortable with direct contact to the president about
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the investigation. on the morning of april 11, 2017 the president called comey again. according to comey's contemporaneous record of the conversation, the president said he was following up to see if comey did but the president had asked last time, getting out that he personally is not under investigation. comey responded that he had passed the request to ponte. but not heard back and he informed the president that the traditional channel for such request would be to have the white house counsel contact doj leadership. the president said he would take that step. the president then added
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because i have been very loyal to you, very loyal we had that thing you know. in a televised interview that was taped early that afternoon, the president was asked if it was too late for him to ask me to step down, the president responded no, it's not too late but you know i have confidence in him. we'll see what happens. you know it's going to be interesting. after the interview hicks told the president she thought the president's comments about comey should be removed from the broadcast of the interview but the president wanted to keep it in which it that was unusual. later that day the president told senior advisors including mcgann and reince priebus that he had reached out to comey twice in recent weeks. the president acknowledged that mcgann would not approve of the outreach to comey because mcgann had previously cautioned the president that he should not talk to comey directly to prevent any perception that the white house was interfering with investigations. the president told mcgann the comey had indicated the fbi
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could make a public statement if the president was not under investigation if the department of justice approved the action. after speaking with the president -- they made comey uncomfortable. according to mcgann, boente responded he did not want to issue a statement about the president not being under investigation because of the potential political ramifications and did not want to order comey to do it because that action could prompt the appointment of a special counsel. he did not recall that aspect of his conversation with mcgann but did recall saying the direct outreach to comey was a problem. boente said mcgann agreed and he would do what he could to address that issue. analysis, and analyzing the president's reaction to sessions recusal and request he made to coats, pompeo, rogers, and comey the following evidence is relevant
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to the elements of obstruction of justice. a obstructive act. the evidence shows that after comey's march 20, 2017 testimony, the president repeatedly reached out to intelligence agency leaders to discuss the fbi's investigation. witnesses have different recollections of the precise content of those outreaches. some odni officials recalled that coates told them immediately after the march 22 oval office meeting that the president asked coates to intervene with comey and stop the investigation. first-hand witnesses remember the conversation differently. pompeo had no memory of the specific meeting, but generally recalled the president urging officials to get the word out that the president had not done anything wrong related to russia. coates recalled the president asked that coates state publicly that no link existed between the president and russia but did not ask him to speak with comey or helped and the investigation. the president asked rogers if he could do anything to refute the story of linking the president to russia and the
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president asked comey to make a public statement that would lift the cloud of the ongoing investigation by making clear the president was not personally under investigation. these requests will significant enough that rogers thought it important to document the encounter in a memorandum were not interpreted by the officials who receive them as directives to interfere with the investigation. nexus to a proceeding. at the time of the president's outreaches to leaders of the intelligence agencies in late march and early april 2017, the fbi's russia investigation did not get involved grand jury proceedings. the outreaches came after and were in response to comey's march 20, 2017 announcement that the fbi as part of its counterintelligence mission was conducting an investigation into russia interference in the 2016 presidential election. comey testified that the investigation included any links or coordination with from campaign officials and would include an assessment of
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whether any crimes were committed. intent. as described above, the evidence does not establish the president asked direct intelligence leaders to stop or interfere with the russia investigation and the president affirmatively told comey that if some satellite was involved in russia election interference it would be good to find that out. the president's intent in trying to prevent sessions recusal and in reaching out to coats, pompeo, rogers, and comey following comey's public announcement of the rushes investigation is nevertheless relevant to understanding what motivated the presidents other actions toward the investigation. the evidence showed that the president was focused on the russia investigations implications to his presidency and specifically on dispelling any suggestion that he was under investigation or had links to russia. in early march the president attempted to prevent the recusal even after being told he was following doj conflict of interest rules. after sessions recused, they
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tried to cut off further content with sessions about the matter but it is not clear whether the direction was kim paid conveyed to the president. he pulled sessions aside and urged him to recuse. the president also told advisors he wanted an attorney general who would protect him the way he perceived robert kennedy and eric holder to protect their president. the president made statements about being able to direct the course of criminal investigations saying words to the effect of you are telling me bobby and jack didn't talk about investigations or obama didn't tell eric holder to investigate? after comey confirmed the existence of the fbi's russia investigation on march 20 2017, the president was beside himself and expressed anger that comey didn't issue a statement correcting any misperception that the president himself was under investigation. the president asked to speak
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with boente directly and told mcgann to contact him to request the comey make a clarifying statement. the president asked other leaders to make public statements to refuse the suggestion that the president had linked to russia but the leaders told him they could not publicly comment on the investigation. on march 30 and april 11, against the advice of white house advisors who informed him that any direct contact with the fbi could be perceived as an improper interference in an ongoing investigation, the president made personal outreaches is to comey asking him to lift the cloud of the russia investigation by making public the fact that the president was not personally under investigation. evidence indicates the president was angered by the existence of the russia investigation and the public reporting that he was under investigation which he knew was not true. the president complained to advisors that if people that russia helped him with the election, it would detract from what he had accomplished. other evidence indicates that
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the president was concerned about the impact of the russia investigation on his ability to govern. the president complained the perception that he was under investigation asserting his ability to conduct foreign relations with russia. the president told coates he can't do anything with russia and told rogers the thing with the russians was interfering with his ability to do things with foreign affairs. he told comey trying to run the country in the cloud of this russia business was being difficult. events leading up to and surrounding determination of fbi director comey. overview. comey was scheduled to testify before congress on may 3, 2017. leading up to that testimony the president continued to tell advisors that he wanted comey to make public that the president was not under investigation. at the hearing comey declined to answer questions about the scope and did not state publicly that the president was not under investigation. two days later, the president told close he was going to
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fire comey and on may 9 he did so using his official termination letter to make public that comey had on three occasions informed the president that he was not under investigation. the president decided to fire comey before receiving device advice from the department of justice. he attributed it to a recommendation from the department of justice based on comey's handling of the clinton email investigation. after deputy attorney general rod rosenstein resisted attributing the fire to his recommendation, the president acknowledged he intended to fire comey regardless of the doj recommendation and was thinking of the russia investigation when he made the decision. the president told the russian foreign minister i just fired the head of the fbi. he was crazy, a real nut job. i face great pressure because of russia and that is taken off. i am not under investigation. evidence. number 1, comey testifies
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before the senate judiciary committee and declined to answer questions about whether the president is under investigation. on may 3, 2017 comey was scheduled to testify at an fbi oversight hearing. in the week leading up to the hearing the president said it would be the last straw if comey did not take the opportunity to set the record rate by publicly announcing the president wasn't under investigation. the president had previously told mcgann that the perception that the president was under investigation was hurting his ability to carry out his presidential duty and deal with foreign leaders. at the hearing comey declined to answer questions about the status of the russia investigation stating the department of justice had authorized him to confirm that the russia investigation exists but he was not going to say another word about it until the investigation was completed. comey declined to answer questions about whether investigators have ruled out anyone in the trump campaign as potentially a target of the criminal investigation
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including whether the fbi have ruled out the president of the united states. comey was also asked if the decision to announce 11 days before the election that the fbi was reopening the clinton email investigation. comey stated it made him mildly nauseous to think that we might have had some impact on the election but added in hindsight he would make the same decision. he later repeated he had no regrets about how he had handled the email investigation and believed he had done the right thing at each turn. in the afternoon following comey's testimony, the president met with mcgann, sessions and the chief of staff, jodi hunt. the president asked mcgann how comey had done in his testimony and mcgann relayed that comey declined to answer questions about whether the president was under investigation. the president became very upset and directed his anger at sessions. according to notes written by hunt, the president said this is terrible jeff. it is all because you recuse. ag is supposed to be most
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important appointment. he left me on an island and i can't do anything. the president said the recusal was unfair and it was interfering with his ability to govern and undermining his authority with foreign leaders. sessions responded he had no choice but to recuse and it was a mandatory rather than a discretionary decision. hunt recalled that sessions also stated at some point during the conversation that a new start at the fbi would be appropriate in the president should consider replacing comey's fbi director. according to sessions when the meeting concluded it was clear the president was unhappy with comey but sessions didn't think the president had made the decision to terminate comey. bannon recalled the president brought comey up with him eight times on may 3 and may 4 2017. according to bannon the president said the same thing each time. he told me three times i'm not under investigation. is a show boater, a grandstand or and there was no collusion.
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he told the president he could not fire comey because that ship has sailed. bannon also told the president that firing comey would not stop the investigation cautioning him that he could fire the fbi director but could not fire the fbi. number 2. the president makes the decision to terminate comey. the weekend following comey's testimony, the president traveled to his resort in bedminster, new jersey. at dinner on friday, may 5 attended the president and various advisors and family members including jared kushner and stephen miller, the president said he wanted to remove comey and had ideas for a letter that would be used to make the announcement. the president dictated arguments and specific language for the letter and miller took notes. as reflected in the notes, the president told miller that the letter should start while i greatly appreciate you informing me that i'm not under investigation concerning what i have often stated is a fabricated story on the trump
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russia relationship, pertaining to the 2016 presidential election, these be informed that i and i believe the american public including these and ours have lost faith in you as director of the fbi. following the dinner miller prepared the termination letter and research he conducted to support the president's arguments. over the weekend the president provided several rounds of edits on the draft letter. miller said the president was adamant that he not tell anyone at the white house what they were preparing because the president was worried about leaks. in his discussions with miller the president made clear he wanted the letter to open with a reference to him not being under investigation. miller said he believed that fact was important to the president to show that comey was not being terminated based on any such investigation. the president wanted to establish as a factual matter that comey had been under a review. and did not have assurances from the president that he would be permitted to keep his job. the final version began in a
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way that closely shows what had been dictated. dear director comey, all i greatly appreciate you informing me on three separate occasions that i'm not under investigation concerning the fabricated and politically motivated allegations of a trump russia relationship with respect to the 2016 election, please be informed that i along with members of both political parties and if the american people have lost faith in you as the director of the fbi and you are hereby terminated. the four-page letter went on to critique comey's judgment and conduct including his may 3 testimony before the senate judiciary committee, his handling of the clinton email investigation and his failure to hold leakers accountable. the letter stated comey asked the president at a dinner shortly after inauguration to let comey stay on in the directors role and the president said he would consider it the president concluded he had no alternative but to find new leadership for
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the bureau, a leader that restores confidence and trust. in the morning of monday made, 2018 -- monday, may 8, the president met with advisors and informed them he terminated comey. he read aloud the first paragraph of the letter he wrote with miller and conveyed the decision had been made and was not up for discussion. the president told the group that miller researched the issue and determined the president had the authority to terminate comey without cause. in an effort to slow down the decision-making process, mcgann told the president that doj leadership was currently discussing comey's status and just bust that office attorneys should talk with sessions and rod rosenstein who had been confirmed at the deputy attorney general. mcgann said the previously scheduled meeting with sessions and rosenstein that day would be an opportunity to find out what they thought about firing comey. at noon, sessions, rosenstein and hunt met with mcgann and the office attorney at the
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white house. mcgann said the president decided to fire comey and ask for sessions and rosenstein's view. sessions and rosenstein criticized comey and did not raise concerns about replacing him. mcgann said the president's decision to fire comey -- the fact that neither sessions nor rosenstein objected to replacing comey gave them peace of mind that the decision is not an attempt to obstruct justice. a decision was scheduled later that day so sessions could discuss the issue with the president. around 5 pm the president and several white house officials met with sessions and rosenstein to discuss comey. the president told the group he had watched comeys testimony and thought something was not right with comey. they thought he should be removed and asked them for their views. sessions responded he previously recommended that comey be replaced. mcgann and dylan said rosenstein described his
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concerns about comey's handling of the clinton email investigation. the president distributed copies of the termination letter he drafted with miller and the discussion turned to the mechanics of how to fire comey and whether the president letter should be used. mcgann and and dylan wanted to permit comey to resign but the president wanted him to be fired. the group discussed the possibility that a recommendation could be moved to be removed. the president wanted the memorandum the next morning. hunt notes reflect the president told rosenstein to include in his recommendation that comey refused to confirm that the president is not personally under investigation. according to notes taken by a senior doj official, the president said put the russia stuff in the memo. rosenstein responded the russia investigation was not the basis of his recommendation so he he did not think it would be
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mentioned. the president would appreciate it if it was put in the letter anyway. when rosenstein left the meeting he knew that comey would be terminated and he told colleagues his own reason for replacing comey were not the president's reasons. on may 9 hunt delivered to the white house a letter to the stassen recommending comey's removal in a memorandum from rosenstein addressed to the attorney general titled restoring public confidence in the fbi. notes taken by donaldson on may 9 reflected the view of the white house counsel's office of the president original termination letter that he should not see the light of day and it would be better to offer no other rationale for the findings than what was in rosenstein's and sessions memorandum. the president asked miller to draft a new termination letter and drafted miller that comey informed the president three times that he was not under investigation.
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mcgann, previous and dylan objected to including the language but the president insisted it be included. mcgann, priebus felt that was the most important part of the letter. they made a final pitch that comey should be permitted to resign the president refused. around the time the letter was finalized, priebus summoned spicer and the press to the oval office to announce comey's termination. the white house released a statement which he thought had been dictated by the president. the statement read today, president trump informed fbi director james comey that he had been terminated and removed from office. president trump acted based on the clear recommendations of both deputy attorney general rod rosenstein and attorney general jeff sessions. that evening the fbi director judy director andrew mccabe was summoned to meet with the president of the white house. the president told mccabe he fired comey because of decisions made in the clinton
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email investigation and many other reasons. the president asked mccabe if he was aware the comey told the president three times he was not under investigation. the president asked mccabe whether many people in the fbi disliked the comey and whether mccabe is part of the resistance that disagreed with comey's decisions. he said he knew comey had told the president he was not under investigation and that most people in the fbi so positively about comey and that mccabe works very closely with comey and was part of all decisions made in the clinton investigation. later that evening the president told his communications team he was unhappy with the press coverage of comey's termination and order them to go out and defend him. the president called chris christie in and said he was getting killed in the press over comey's termination. the president asked what he should do. he asked did you fire comey because of what rod wrote in the memo? in the present responded yes.
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kristi said the president should get right out there and have him defend the decision. the president told kristi this was a good idea and he would call rosenstein right away. that night the white house press office called the department of justice and said the white house wanted to put out a statement saying it was rosenstein's idea to fire comey. rosenstein told other officials he would not participate in putting out a false story. the president then call rosenstein directly and said he was watching fox news and the coverage had been great and he wanted rosenstein to do a press conference. rosenstein responded this was not a good idea because of the press asked him he would tell the truth that comey's firing was not his idea. sessions informed the white house counsel's office that rosenstein was upset that his memorandum was being portrayed as the reason for me termination. in an unplanned press conference on may 9, spicer told reporters it was all rosenstein. no one from the white house, it was a doj decision.
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that evening and next morning white house officials and spokespeople continue to maintain that the president decision to terminate comey was driven by the recommendations the president received from rosenstein and sessions. on the morning of may 10, president trump met with the russian foreign minister and russian ambassador kislyak in the oval office. during the may 10 meeting, the president brought up his decision the prior day to terminate comey telling them i just fired the head of the fbi. he was crazy, a real nut job and i faced great pressure because of russia and that is taken off, i am not under investigation. the president never denied making the statements in the white house did not dispute the accounts. instead issuing a statement that said by grandstanding and politicizing the investigation into russia's actions, james comey created unnecessary pressure on our ability to engage and negotiate with russia.
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obviously the termination of comey would not have ended it. the real story is our national security has been undermined by the leaking of private and highly classified information. hicks said when she told the president about his reports on the meeting with lavrov, he did not look concerned. the president said his comments -- it took the pressure off by making it clear he was not under investigation so we could get more work done. that same morning on may 10, the president called mccabe. according to a memorandum mccabe rule following the call, the president asked him to come to the white house to discuss whether the president should visit fbi headquarters and make a speech to employees. the president said he received hundreds of messages from fbi employees indicating their support for terminating comey. the president told mccabe that comey should not have been permitted to travel back to washington dc on the fbi airplane after he was terminated and he didn't want comey in the building again
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even to collect his belongings. when mccabe met with the president that afternoon the president without prompting told mccabe that people in the fbi loved the president an estimated at least 80% of the fbi vote faded boarded for him and asked mccabe who he voted for. in the afternoon of may 10, deputy press secretary sarah sanders spoke to the president about his decision to fire comey and spoke to reporters in a televised press conference. sanders told reporters that that the president, bipartisan members of congress and the department of justice had lost confidence and the rank-and- file in the fbi had lost confidence in their director. accordingly the president accepted the recommendation of the deputy attorney general remove james comey in his position. in response to questions from reporters, sanders said that rosenstein decided on his own to review comey's performance and that rosenstein to come to
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the president on monday, may 8 to express his concerns about comey. a reporter indicated that the vast majority of fbi agents supported comey, sanders said look, we have heard from countless members of the fbi that state different things. following the press conference sanders spoke to the president who told her she did a good job and did not point out any inaccuracies in her comments. sanders told this office that her reference to the hearing from countless members of the fbi was a slip of the tongue. she also ricard her statement in a separate press interview that rank-and-file agents had lost confidence was a comment she made in the heat of the moment that was not founded on anything. also on may 10, sessions rosenstein each spoke to mcgann and expressed concern that the white house was creating a narrative that rosenstein had initiated the decision to fire comey. the white house counsel's office agreed it was factually wrong to say the department of justice had initiated comey's
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termination and mcgann asked attorneys in the white house counsel's office to work with the press office to correct the narrative. the next day on may 11, the president participated in an interview with lester holt. the president told attorneys in advance of the interview but the communications team could not get the story right so he was going on lester holt to see what really happened. during the interview at the president stated he made the decision to fire comey before the president met with rosenstein and sessions. the president told holt, i was going to fire regardless of recommendations. rosenstein made a recommendation but regardless of recommendation i was going to fire comey knowing there was no good time to do it. the president continued when i decided to do it, i said to myself, this russia thing is a made up story. it is an excuse by the democrats for having lost an election they should have one. in response to a question about whether he was angry
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with comey about the investigation the president said as far as i'm concerned, i want that thing to be done properly. the president added he realized the termination of comey will confuse people with the results that it might lengthen out the investigation , but he had to do the right thing for the american people in comey was the wrong man for the position. the president described comey as a show boat and grandstand are and said the fbi has been in turmoil and that he wanted to have a competent, capable director. the president said he expected the new fbi director can continue the investigation. on may 11 the president tweeted russia must be laughing up their sleeves as the u.s. tears itself apart over a democrat excuse for losing the election. the same day the media reported the president demanded comey pledges loyalty to the president in a private dinner shortly after being sworn in. late in the morning of may 12, the president tweeted again,
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the story that there was collusion between the russians and trump campaign was fabricated by democrats in excuse for losing the election. the president tweeted james comey better hope there are no tapes of his conversations before he starts leaking to the press and everyone else with knowledge of the witchhunt said there is no collusion, when does it end? analysis. in analyzing the president's decision to fire comey, the following evidence is relevant to the elements of obstruction of justice. obstructive act. the act of firing comey removed the individual overseeing the investigation. the president knew comey was personally involved based on comey's briefing of the gang of eight. comey's testimony about the investigation and the presidents one-on-one conversations. firing comey would qualify as an obstructive act if it had
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the act of interfering with or impeding the investigation. if the termination would have the effect of delaying or disrupting the investigation or providing the president with the opportunity to appoint a director who would take a different approach to the investigation that the president perceived as more protective of his personal interest. relevant circumstances bearing on that issue include whether the president's actions have potential to discourage a successor director or other law enforcement officials in their conduct of the investigation. the president fired comey abruptly without offering him an opportunity to resign, banned him from the fbi building and criticized him publicly calling him a show boat and claiming that the fbi was in turmoil under his leadership. the president followed the termination with public statements that were highly critical of the investigation. three days after firing comey the president referred to the investigation as a witchhunt and asked where does it end? those actions have the
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potential to affect a successor director's conduct of the investigation. the anticipated effect of removing the director would not necessarily be to prevent or impede the fbi from continuing its investigation. as a general matter fbi investigations run under the operational direction of fbi personnel level below the director. bannon made a similar point when he told the president he could fire the director but he couldn't fire the fbi. the white house issued a press statement the day after comey was fired saying the investigation would have already continued and the termination would not have ended it. in addition, the president stated he understood he made the decision to fire comey that the action might prolong the investigation and the president chose mccabe to serve as interim director even though he told the president he worked mostly with comey and was part of all the decisions made in the clinton investigation. nexus to a proceeding. the nexus element of -- was
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objectively foreseeable and actually contemplated whether the president when he terminated comey. several facts would be relevant to such a showing. at the time the president fired comey, a grand jury had not begun to hear evidence related to the russia investigation and no grand jury subpoenas have been issued. on march 20, comey announced that the fbi was investigating russia's interference in the election including an assessment of whether any crimes were committed. it was widely known that the fbi as part of its russia investigation was investigating the hacking of the dnc computers. it cleared criminal offense. in addition at the time the president fired comey, evidence indicates that the president knew flynn was still under criminal investigation and could potentially be prosecuted. despite the presidents request that comey let flynn go. on may 5, the presidents
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office was informed that the fbi was asking for transition. records relating to flynn indicating that the fbi was still actively investigating him. the same day the president told advisors he wanted to call dana, boente acting attorney general to find out whether the white house or president was being investigated. on march 31, the president signaled his awareness that flynn remained in a legal jeopardy by tweeting mike flynn should ask for immunity before he agreed to provide testimony. in late march or early april the president asked mcfarland to pass the message to flynn telling him the president felt bad and he should stay strong further demonstrating the presidents awareness of flynn's criminal exposure. intent. substantial evidence indicates that the catalyst for the president's decision to fire comey with comey's unwillingness to publicly state that the president was not
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personally under investigation despite the presidents repeated request that comey make an announcement. in the weeks leading up to comey's may 3 senate judiciary committee testimony, the president told mcgann it would be the last straw comey didn't set the record straight and publicly announced the president wasn't under investigation. during his may 3 testimony, comey refused to answer questions about whether the president was being investigated. his refusal angered the president for leaving him isolated and exposed saying you left me on an island. two days later the president told advisors he decided to fire comey and dictated a letter to stephen miller that began with a reference to the fact that the president was not being investigated. while i greatly appreciate your informing me that i am not under investigation, the president later asked rosenstein to include russia in his memorandum and to say that comey told the president he was not under investigation.
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in the president's final termination letter, a sentence was included at the presidents assistance saying comey told the president he was not under investigation. the presidents other rationale for why he fired comey are not similarly supported by the evidence. the termination letter the president and stephen miller prepared in bedminster cited comey's handling of the clinton email investigation. the president told mccabe he fired comey for that reason but the facts surrounding comey's handling of the clinton email investigation were well known to the president at the time he assumed office. the president made it clear to both comey and the presidents senior staff in early 2017 that he wanted comey to stay on as director and rosenstein articulated his criticism after the president had decided to fire comey. the president draft termination letter stated that morale in the fbi was at an all-time low in sanders told the press after comey's
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termination at the white house heard from countless fbi agents who lost confidence in comey. the evidence does not support those claims. the president told comey at the january 27 dinner that the people of the fbi really like him. no evidence suggests the president heard otherwise before deciding to terminate comey and sanders acknowledged to investigators that her comments were not founded on anything. we also considered why it was important to the president that comey announced publicly that he wasn't under investigation. some evidence indicates the president believes the erroneous perception that he was under investigation harmed his ability to manage domestic and foreign affairs particularly in dealings with russia. the president told comey that the cloud of this russia business was making it difficult to run the country. the president told sessions and mcgann that foreign leaders had expressed sympathy to him for being under investigation but the perception was hurting his ability to address foreign relations issues.
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the president complained that the thing with the russians was messing up his ability to get things done with russia and told coats i can do anything with russia there's things i would like to do with russia with trade and with isis, they are all over me with this. the president may have viewed comey as insubordinate by failing to make clear that the president was not under investigation. other evidence indicates that the president wanted to protect himself from an investigation into the campaign. the day after learning about the fbi's interview of flynn, the president had a one-on-one dinner with comey against the advice of senior aides and told comey he needed his loyalty. when the president asked comey for a second time to make public that he was not under investigation, he brought up loyalty again saying because i have been very loyal to you, very loyal, we had that thing you know. after the president learned of sessions recusal from the rossa investigation the president
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was furious and said he wanted and attorney general who would protect him the way he perceived robert kennedy and eric holder to have protected their presidents. the president said he wanted to tell his attorney general who to investigate. in addition, the president had a motive to put the russia investigation behind him. the evidence did not establish that the termination of comey was designed to cover up a conspiracy between the trump campaign and russia. as described in volume 1, the evidence uncovered in the investigation did not establish that the president or those close to him were involved in the charged russian computer hacking or conspiracies or that the president had an unlawful relationship with any russian official. but the evidence does indicate that a thorough fbi investigation would uncover facts about the campaign and the presidents personally that the president could have understood to be crimes that would give rise to personal and political concerns. although the president


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