W

April 20, 2019

Week 127

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

This week Attorney General William Barr publicly released a redacted version of the Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report, almost a month after he delivered it to Barr. The redacted report differed substantially from Barr’s March 24 letter, as well as from statements delivered by Barr at a press conference hours before the report’s release — casting Barr more as a defense attorney for Trump than an attorney general. Concerns grew further when it was revealed Trump’s White House attorneys had previewed the report in consultation with the Justice Department days earlier.

On Thursday, as the redacted report was released, Trump, who had expressed no interest in reading the report, seemed confident he had turned the corner and was in the clear. As the press and public finally dug into the contents of the redacted report and statements by current and former White House official witnesses, by Friday, Trump shifted back to anger and attack mode, starting by retaliating against former White House counsel Don McGahn. After reading the report, Senator Elizabeth Warren became the first 2020 contender to call for impeachment hearings.

Trump’s attorneys continued to stonewall and seek to block requests from House Democrats for information, alarming even Senate Republicans who this week spoke out on his empowering his office at the expense of Congress. Republicans also for the first time publicly spoke out on Trump’s reliance on acting secretaries, with the regime shrinking, and power increasingly consolidating to Trump, his family, and a few trusted aides’ hands.

  1. For the third year in a row, U.S. standing in Reporters Without Borders’ annual World Press Freedom Index declined. The U.S. fell three spots to 48th of 180 countries, just below Romania.
  2. For the first time since the index was established, the U.S. fell into the ranks of countries whose treatment of journalists is considered “problematic.” The group cited Trump’s rhetorical hostility.
  3. TIME reported it has been over 300 days since the Pentagon held a press briefing. Defense officials have also stopped identifying senior officials given prominent assignments.
  4. Part of the shift is from Trump’s penchant for surprises. There is also a reluctance to deal with the media. The role of Defense Secretary, vacated by Jim Mattis in December, remains with an acting secretary.
  5. White House daily press briefings have also been dramatically cut back: there have been just two briefings so far in 2019 — the last one took place 38 days ago.
  6. On Saturday, Trump tweeted the NYT story on him offering a pardon to his incoming Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan was “wrong on almost every fact,” adding the Times “will lie & cheat anyway possible.”
  7. Trump also tweeted the Times had to beg their fleeing subscribers for forgiveness in that they covered the Election (and me) so badly,” and, “they even apologized to me,” and, “now they are even worse, really corrupt.”
  8. Trump also tweeted the false claim that he “never ordered anyone to close our Southern Border,” adding, “although I have the absolute right to do so, and may if Mexico does not apprehend the illegals coming to our Border.”
  9. Trump also sent a series of tweets about sending detainees to sanctuary cities, saying “The USA has the absolute legal right to have apprehended illegal immigrants transferred to Sanctuary Cities.”
  10. Trump also tweeted, “Democrats must change the Immigration Laws FAST,” adding if not, they should take care of migrants including “Gang Members, Drug Dealers, Human Traffickers, and Criminals of all shapes.”
  11. On Sunday, deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley told NPR Trump’s remarks are “not political retribution,” but rather recharacterized them, saying Democrats should consider the remarks “to be an olive branch.”
  12. On Sunday, reporter Jon Karl said on “This Week” that the White House has been briefed about the Mueller report and “there is significant concern on the president’s team about what will be in this report.”
  13. Karl also said “what worries them most is what Don McGahn told the special counsel.”
  14. On Sunday, as the country braced for release of the Mueller report, press secretary Sarah Sanders told Fox New Sunday, “We consider this case to be closed. There was no collusion. There was no corruption.”
  15. On Sunday, WSJ reported lawyers for Trump have been working on a counter report which is 140-pages long, but according to Rudy Giuliani, the lawyers plan to whittle down to 50-pages.
  16. On Sunday, NYT reported that since the Barr letter, Trump has felt emboldened, confident and liberated. As staffers brace for the redacted report to be released, Trump has no interest in reading the full report.
  17. Aides say Trump plans to act as if the redacted report is extraneous to the Barr letter, which in his mind said case closed. He is escalating his language to feed his base, and also to enrage the media and political rivals.
  18. On Sunday, Sanders on “This Week” denied Trump ordered McAleenan to close the border and said he would pardon him, saying Trump “is not asking anybody to do anything outside of those bounds.”
  19. Sanders also said of Trump’s attacks on Rep. Ilhan Omar, that he wishes her “no ill will and certainly not violence towards anyone,” but added he is calling her out for her “history of anti-Semitic comments.”
  20. On Sunday, Speaker Nancy Pelosi took the extraordinary step of asking the U.S. Capitol Police and the House sergeant-at-arms to work to “safeguard Congresswoman Omar, her family and her staff.”
  21. An aide to Rep. Omar told Politicothere has been an increase in threats” against the Congresswoman since Trump’s Friday tweet. Omar’s office reported the threats to the FBI and Capitol Police.
  22. NYT reported Trump has stepped up his attack of Rep. Omar ahead of 2020 and has privately said his attacks on Muslims are being well received by his base — similar to his success with this line of attack in 2016.
  23. On Monday, Trump tweeted again about Rep. Omar, saying Speaker Pelosi should look at Omar’s “anti-Semitic, anti-Israel and ungrateful U.S. HATE statements,” adding, “she is out of control.”
  24. Later, Trump said in an interview with a local news affiliate in Rep. Omar’s home state, “She’s been very disrespectful to this country” and to Israel, adding, “She’s got a way about her that’s very, very bad for our country.”
  25. On Monday, former NYPD Commissioner Bernard Kerik told Fox News host Sean Hannity that Rep. Omar “is infatuated with al Qaeda, with Hamas, Hezbollah,” and that she “should be removed from Congress.”
  26. On Friday, federal authorities arrested a Florida man, John Kless, 49, for leaving voicemails threatening to kill Rep. Omar, the other freshman Muslim woman Rashida Tlaib, Rep. Eric Swalwell, and Sen. Cory Booker.
  27. Kless’s voicemails were laced with bigotry and profanity, including telling Rep. Tlaib, “It was your Taliban bitch, the one who opened up her fucking towel-head mouth…She’s lucky she’s just getting death threats, bitch.”
  28. Politico reported that Trump will not nominate anyone to serve on a United Nations committee on racism, continuing the regime’s retreat from international bodies that monitor human rights.
  29. On Sunday, AP reported a Wisconsin middle school gym teacher was placed on indefinite leave after she separated students by race and asked black students to research games enslaved children played.
  30. On Tuesday, the Advocate reported the California National Guard will not discharge transgender troops. Maj. Gen. Matthew Beevers said, “as long as you fight, we don’t care what gender you identify as.”
  31. On Wednesday, Map Pesqueira, a student at UT-Austin, told NBC News he is set to lose his army scholarship following Trump’s transgender military ban, saying, “I’m so far into my transition, I’m unable to serve.”
  32. On Monday, Immigration and Customs Enforcement reversed its decision to deport Jose Gonzalez Carranza, the spouse of a soldier killed in Afghanistan and parent of a 12 year-old, allowing him to return to the U.S.
  33. On Tuesday, in a lawsuit brought against DHS and ICE by two migrant families, a federal appeals court in the 4th District ruled detainees do not have to be held in the same state as their children.
  34. On Tuesday, Daily Beast reported a draft report released to McAleenan by members of an advisory council recommended “emergency action” to implement what the report dubbed as the “Flores Fix.”
  35. The report recommended Congress enact emergency legislation to make it easier for the Trump regime to detain children with their parents indefinitely — calling for legislation to roll back the Flores agreement.
  36. On Tuesday, in a written decision and policy reversal, Barr ordered immigration judges to stop allowing asylum seekers to post bail while they wait months or years for their cases to be heard.
  37. Trump has attacked the policy he derides as “catch and release.” Advocates are expected to challenge the policy which they say will unlawfully jail people who have established a “credible fear of persecution or torture.”
  38. On Thursday, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld that most of California’s “sanctuary” laws can be enforced, rejecting the bulk of a lawsuit brought by the Trump regime.
  39. The decision was authored by a Republican appointee. The panel refused to block California’s law prohibiting police from notifying federal immigration authorities of the release dates of immigrant inmates.
  40. On Thursday, a new Housing and Urban Development proposal rolled out by Secretary Ben Carson would evict families from public housing if just one member is considered to be undocumented.
  41. The current practice is to adjust families’ benefits, while the new policy would evict entire families. Carson tweeted, “Thanks to Donald Trump’s leadership, we are putting America’s most vulnerable first.”
  42. On Monday, as the centuries-old Notre Dame cathedral was engulfed in flames, Trump tweeted, encouraging France, “perhaps flying water tankers could be used to put it out,” adding, “Must act quickly!”
  43. The French government responded in a series of tweets in French and English, dismissing the suggestion, saying “The drop of water by air on this type of building could indeed result in the collapse of the entire structure.”
  44. Several far-right pundits and websites started conspiracies on what caused the blaze, with some attempting to blame racial or religious minorities for the outbreak of the fire.
  45. Later at a roundtable, Trump invoked conspiracy theories as the cause, saying “they think it was caused by — at this moment, they don’t know. But they think it was caused by renovation, and I hope that’s the reason.”
  46. On Saturday, NYT reported that although Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell has denied Trump is influencing Fed policy, the central bank has largely moved in the direction that Trump wants in recent months.
  47. On Sunday, Trump again attacked and blamed the Federal Reserve, tweeting, “If the Fed had done its job properly, which it has not, the Stock Market would have been up 5000 to 10,000 additional points.”
  48. Trump also tweeted, “GDP would have been well over 4% instead of 3%…with almost no inflation,” adding, “Quantitative tightening was a killer, should have done the exact opposite!”
  49. On Monday, WSJ reported former Federal Reserve officials and foreign central bankers at the International Monetary Fund event expressed concern Trump has weakened the central bank and its global role.
  50. Officials expressed concern that Trump has interfered with the Fed’s independence, with his continued public criticism and nominating cronies who are extremists and loyal to him.
  51. On Tuesday, Bloomberg reported the White House is talking to candidates to replace Stephen Moore and Herman Cain as Trump’s nominees for the Federal Reserve Board.
  52. On tax day CNN noted with changes under the GOP tax bill, the 10 states with the largest increase in refunds for 2018 were all red states in 2016, and the 10 states with the largest decrease in refunds were all blue states.
  53. On Wednesday, AP reported that Ivanka said Trump asked her if she was interested in the job of World Bank chief, but she passed on the opportunity, saying she was “happy with the work” she is doing.
  54. On Wednesday, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said he planned to hire Fox News contributor Monica Crowley as his spokeswoman. The hire comes as House Democrats demanded Trump’s tax returns.
  55. Crowley previously withdrew her nomination by Trump for a position at the National Security Council after allegations she plagiarized portions of her 2012 book and 2000 Ph.D. thesis, which she called a “political hit job.”
  56. On Wednesday, Bloomberg reported Rick Perry is planning to resign as Energy Secretary in the coming weeks. Perry would become the 16th member of Trump’s cabinet to depart.
  57. On Monday, the Interior Department’s internal watchdog said in a letter that it has opened an investigation into ethics complaints against Secretary David Bernhardt, who was confirmed by the senate last week.
  58. On Monday, the House’s Intelligence and Financial Services committees subpoenaed Deutsche Bank and other banks for documents related to Trump and the Trump Organization’s finances.
  59. The committees also subpoenaed banks including JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, and Citigroup, and is also seeking information related to possible money-laundering by people in Russia and Eastern Europe.
  60. Alan Garten, the Trump Organization’s lawyer, said the company is weighing trying to block the subpoena. While Deutsche Bank has been cooperative, its lawyers said they will consult with the White House.
  61. On Monday, Politico reported Trump lawyers William Consovoy and Stefan Passantino urged Mazars USA not to comply with a subpoena House Oversight Committee Chair Elijah Cummings issued Monday.
  62. The lawyers warned of potential legal action, putting Mazars “on notice,” and calling the subpoena a politically motivated scheme by Democrats to take down Trump.
  63. On Monday, CNN reported Republican lawmakers are concerned with the White House snubbing House Democrats, saying the failure to comply bolsters the power of Trump’s office at the expense of Congress.
  64. Several Senate Republicans also voiced concern with Trump’s growing reliance on using acting secretaries, circumventing the Senate process, and his threats to send migrants to sanctuary cities.
  65. On Tuesday, WAPO reported Trump’s attorneys are not planning to comply with Congressional requests for information, likely resulting in a protracted legal fight that could test the power of congressional subpoenas.
  66. Trump’s lawyers have already refused to turn over information on granting security clearances and meetings with foreign leaders. White House Counsel Pat Cipollone is also preparing for legal battles over subpoenas.
  67. Protracted legal fights will drain lawmakers’ times and resources, and the cases could drag beyond the end of the Congressional session. Trump has told aides he is furious with the inquiries and does not want to cooperate.
  68. On Tuesday, Rusal, the aluminum company partially owned by Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska which was recently removed from the U.S. sanctions list, announced it will invest in a Kentucky aluminum mill.
  69. Rusal will invest $200 million in a taxpayer-backed aluminum mill Braidy Industries plans to build in exchange for a 40% stake. Braidy would not have been able to form the partnership if sanctions were still in place.
  70. On Tuesday, Trump vetoed a resolution to end military assistance in Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen — his second veto. Trump said the measure harms bilateral relations and interferes with his power as commander in chief.
  71. On Monday, the DOJ announced a redacted version of the Mueller report will be released on Thursday, the day before Passover and Easter Weekend, and during the two weeks when Congress is out of session.
  72. Shortly after, Trump tweeted, “Since there was no Collusion, why was there an Investigation in the first place!” adding, “Answer — Dirty Cops, Dems and Crooked Hillary!”
  73. Trump also tweeted the report “was written by 18 Angry Democrats who also happen to be Trump Haters (and Clinton Supporters)…who SPIED” on his campaign and others “who fabricated the whole Russia Hoax.”
  74. On Tuesday, NBC News reported former and current White House officials are concerned the Mueller report will expose them as a source of damaging information on Trump, and his wrath will follow.
  75. Some officials and their attorneys sought clarity from the DOJ on whether names of those who cooperated would be redacted from the public version, but said the DOJ refused to provide a response.
  76. On Tuesday, U.S. District Court Judge Reggie Walton, a George W. Bush appointee, in response to a lawsuit by BuzzFeed to release the full Mueller report said Barr has sowed public mistrust with his handling of the report.
  77. Judge Walton said Barr “created an environment that has caused a significant part of the public … to be concerned about whether or not there is full transparency,” but denied BuzzFeed’s request.
  78. Monmouth polls found 28% say the country is headed in the right direction and 62% say things are on the wrong track. Trump’s net approval fell from -7 in March to -14 in April (40% approve/54 disapprove).
  79. On Wednesday, Trump tweeted the “FBI made 11 payments to Fake Dossier’s discredited author,” adding the “Witch Hunt has been a total fraud…brought to you by Dirty Cops, Crooked Hillary and the DNC.”
  80. On Wednesday, Trump said in an interview he is considering doing his own news conference after attorney general Barr, saying “Barr is going to be giving a news conference. Maybe I’ll do one after that; we’ll see.”
  81. Trump also said “You’ll see a lot of very strong things come out,” indicating he has apparently been briefed ahead of the news conference.
  82. Shortly after, the DOJ announced Barr would hold a press conference at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday ahead of the release of the report. Deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein will join, but Robert Mueller and his staff will not.
  83. The DOJ said the press conference will take place before the release of the redacted report to the media and the public. Journalist noted the unusual nature of holding a press conference without providing materials.
  84. On Wednesday, a new Politico/Morning Consult poll found 38% believe Trump’s campaign was spied on. The spying allegations were revived in Week 126 when Barr testified to lawmakers he believed “spying did occur.”
  85. On Wednesday, NYT reported DOJ officials have had numerous discussions with White House lawyers about conclusions in the Mueller report in recent days.
  86. The talks have helped Trump’s legal team prepare its strategy and response. The discussions have added to concerns about how Barr has conducted himself since he received the Mueller report four weeks ago.
  87. There is also a sense of paranoia among Trump aides about his reaction, and that the report will provide a road map for retaliation by Trump against current and former officials who spoke to Mueller’s team.
  88. DOJ rules do not require Barr to make the report public. The House Judiciary Committee has already voted to authorize a subpoena of Barr to release the full report — which could be sent within a day.
  89. On Wednesday, House Judiciary Chair Jerrold Nadler told reporters Congress will receive a copy of the redacted report hours after the press conference, adding he is troubled the White House has been briefed.
  90. In the evening, Rep. Nadler held an impromptu press conference, saying Barr “appears to be waging a media campaign” on behalf of Trump, “the very subject of the investigation at the heart of the Mueller report.”
  91. Shortly after, WAPO reported according to anonymous sources the DOJ will be releasing a lightly redacted version of the Mueller report, offering a granular look at the ways Trump may have obstructed justice.
  92. The DOJ also revealed in a court filing that a “limited number” of lawmakers would be allowed to review, in a private setting, part of the Mueller report related to the criminal case against Roger Stone.
  93. On Thursday, days after positive tweets by Trump about Kim Jong Un, North Korea’s Central News Agency said it test-fired a new type of “tactical guided weapon.”
  94. On Thursday, BuzzFeed reported for the first time, Australian officials confirmed in a letter a meeting between former high commissioner Alexander Downer and former Trump adviser George Papadopoulos.
  95. At the March 2016 meeting in London, Papadopoulos told Downer that Russia had political dirt on Hillary Clinton. The meeting led to the FBI opening an investigating into Trump’s links with Russia.
  96. On Thursday, ahead of Barr’s new conference, Trump sent a total of 11 tweets, some quoting Fox News shows hosts and conservative group Judicial Watch.
  97. Trump also tweeted, “The Greatest Political Hoax of all time! Crimes were committed by Crooked, Dirty Cops and DNC/The Democrats,” and, “PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT!”
  98. On Thursday, Barr held a news conference, hours before the Mueller report was released and without Mueller or a member of his team present. He said the report will be released to Congress between 11 a.m. and noon.
  99. Barr made repeated reference to the phrase “no collusion,” echoing language frequently used by Trump, even though collusion is not a legal term.
  100. Barr also said Trump was “frustrated and angered by a sincere belief that the investigation was undermining his presidency.” Journalists noted the tone sounded more like a defense attorney than a U.S. Attorney General.
  101. Barr said that he and Rosenstein “disagreed with some of the special counsel’s legal theories and felt that some of the episodes did not amount to obstruction as a matter of law,” but that used their “legal framework.”
  102. Fox News host Chris Wallace said Barr “seemed almost to be acting as the counselor for the defense, the counselor for the president, rather than the attorney general, talking about his motives, his emotions…making a case for the president.”
  103. After Barr’s conference, Trump tweeted a “Game of Thrones” type image of him staring into the mist with the words, “No collusion, no obstruction … For the haters and the radical left Democrats … Game Over.”
  104. HBO rebuked Trump for using a “Game of Thrones” meme, saying in statement we “prefer our intellectual property not be used for political purposes.” Nonetheless, Trump pinned the tweet to his page for two days.
  105. Axios reported Jay Sekulow said he first saw the Mueller report on Tuesday afternoon, and that Trump’s legal team made two visits to the DOJ to view the report securely late Tuesday and early Wednesday.
  106. In a letter, Speaker Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, said they wanted testimony “as soon as possible” from Mueller. Rep. Nadler released a letter to Mueller seeking his testimony no later than May 23.
  107. There were several major inconsistencies between what was in the redacted Mueller report, and what Barr cited in his March 24 letter and news conference. WAPO gave Barr a “Three Pinocchios” rating.
  108. False statements included saying the White House “fully cooperated” with Mueller, saying Barr followed precedent releasing the report to Trump’s lawyer early, and indicating he and Rosenstein should have the last word.
  109. Of the 448-page redacted version report released, more than one-third of the Mueller report’s pages contain at least one blacked-out word. Some pages were almost entirely blacked out.
  110. The redacted report was released on April 18, almost a full month after Mueller delivered his report to Barr on March 22.
  111. Barr heavily redacted the sections relating to evidence of the Trump campaign’s outreach to WikiLeaks. Much of what was included in the unredacted report had been previously reported by the media.
  112. The report summarized Trump’s written responses to Mueller’s questions as “inadequate.” Trump said he either could not remember, could not recall or could not recollect a total of 36 times.
  113. Mueller said “we had the authority and legal justification to issue a grand jury subpoena” for Trump’s testimony, but chose not to because “of the substantial delay that such an investigative step would likely produce.”
  114. The report did not exonerate Trump on obstruction, stating “if we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the president clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state.”
  115. The report found 10 episodes involving Trump potentially obstructing justice. The report also found a pattern of behavior by Trump to harm the Mueller investigation.
  116. Mueller did reach a conclusion on obstruction, citing under DOJ practice, a sitting president cannot be charged with a crime, and has a great deal of constitutional authority to give orders to other government employees.
  117. Mueller said “Congress may apply the obstruction laws to the President’s corrupt exercise of the powers of office accords with our constitutional system of checks and balances,” adding, “no person is above the law.”
  118. The report said the term “collusion” does not have a settled definition in federal criminal law and was not used. Mueller instead looked for “coordination” between Trump’s campaign and Russia.
  119. The report found that in May 2017, when then AG Jeff Sessions told Trump a special counsel had been appointed, Trump responded, “Oh my God. This is terrible. This is the end of my presidency. I’m fucked.”
  120. Trump then said to Sessions, “How could you let this happen, Jeff?” adding something to the effect of, “You were supposed to protect me…This is the worst thing that ever happened to me.”
  121. The report found Trump told Corey Lewandowski to tell Sessions to curtail the investigation. Lewandowski set up a meeting but it never happened, then delivered the message to Sessions through an intermediary.
  122. The report found Trump also told then chief of staff Reince Priebus to secure Sessions’ resignation, but he did not follow through. Sessions carried a resignation letter whenever he visited the White House.
  123. Mueller found “numerous” links between the Trump campaign and Russian government as it carried out its social media influence and hacking campaigns, but evidence was not sufficient for criminal charges.
  124. The report found “several individuals affiliated with the Trump Campaign lied to the Office, and to Congress, about their interactions” and those lies “materially impaired the investigation of Russian election interference.”
  125. The report found the Russian government “interfered in the 2016 presidential election in sweeping and systematic fashion,” and that Internet Research Agency (IRA) began targeting the U.S. in early 2014.
  126. The report identified “two different forms of connections between the IRA and members of the Trump Campaign” — including with Donald Jr. and Eric — “linking, retweeting” or other reposting, and “communications.”
  127. The report found Papadopoulos suggested to a representative of a foreign government that the Trump campaign had received an explicit offer from Russia for help by releasing Hillary’s hacked emails.
  128. The report found Trump repeatedly asked campaign aides to find Hillary Clinton’s deleted emails. As part of that effort, Michael Flynn reached out to GOP operative Peter Smith and former Senate staffer Barbara Ledeen.
  129. The report found that Paul Manafort discussed with Konstantin Kilimnik a plan to let Russia control part of Ukraine, and discussed Manafort’s strategy for winning Democratic votes in Midwestern states.
  130. The report found Trump’s legal team told Michael Cohen to keep his Congressional testimony “short and tight, not elaborate, stay on message, and not contradict” Trump, but made no mention of Trump’s involvement.
  131. The report found Trump’s “efforts to influence the investigation were mostly unsuccessful,” but largely because the people surrounding Trump “declined to carry out orders or accede to his requests.”
  132. The report found Erik Prince arranged his 2017 Seychelles meeting with Russian Kirill Dmitriev in advance with George Nader. Nader told Dmitriev, “This guy is designated by Steve [Bannon] to meet you!”
  133. The report found Trump directed White House counsel Don McGahn to lie to the media and say he had not directed him in June 2017 to fire Mueller. McGahn refused and took notes during the conversation.
  134. The report found Trump directed Deputy National Security Advisor K.T. McFarland to draft an internal letter saying he had not directed Flynn to discuss sanctions with Russia ambassador Sergey Kislyak. She refused.
  135. The report found Trump’s personal lawyer told Flynn’s lawyer after he refused to share information about what Flynn was telling the special counsel that Trump would be informed of his “hostility.”
  136. The report found Trump tried to limit what was disclosed about Donald Jr.’s Trump Tower meeting, including his role in drafting a statement that the meeting was about adoptions. His lawyers denied he played a role.
  137. Days before the Trump Tower meeting, Donald Jr. said he was pursuing a lead to get negative information about the Clinton foundation. At the meeting were Rick Gates, Eric Trump, Manafort, Hope Hicks, Ivanka, and Kushner.
  138. The report found Sarah Sanders said she lied — calling it a “slip of the tongue” — to the White House press on two occasions saying “countless” FBI agents had told her they were thankful Trump fired FBI Director James Comey.
  139. The special counsel found evidence of other crimes, and made 14 criminal referrals. Only two of the 14 — cases involving Michael Cohen and Gregory Craig in Week 126 — are publicly known.
  140. The report said in March 2017, after Comey briefed the “Gang of Eight,” Senate Intelligence Chair Richard Burr shared “information about the status of the FBI investigation” with the White House counsel’s office.
  141. As the report was released, Trump told reporters at the White House it was a “good day,” adding “this should never happen to another president again. This hoax should never happen to another president again.”
  142. Conservative media matched Trump’s take on the report, with Fox News writing “AG BARR: Special Counsel Found No Collusion,” and Breitbart writing, “MORE EXONERATION! NO COLLUSION, NO OBSTRUCTION.”
  143. As the report was released, Georgy Borisenko of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s North America Department, said, “Not a single piece of evidence is there,” adding investigators “confessed they have nothing to report.”
  144. Rolling Stone rewrote Barr’s four-page letter to include full quotes from the Mueller report which Barr has selectively edited down to partial quotes. The meaning of several passages was dramatically different.
  145. The NYT Editorial Board called for the release of the uncensored Mueller report, saying Trump has not earned the benefit of the doubt, nor can people “depend on the word of Mr. Trump’s handpicked attorney general.”
  146. On Thursday, reporters waited at the White House South Lawn to ask Trump about the Mueller report as he left for the holiday weekend for Mar-a-Lago. Trump avoided his customary stop to take a few questions.
  147. White House senior adviser Kellyanne Conway called Thursday the “best day since he got elected,” while Trump’s legal team decided not to publish a counter-report they had spent months compiling.
  148. Later Thursday, Trump tweeted “Anything the Russians did concerning the 2016 Election was done while Obama was President,” adding Obama “did nothing,” but “the vote was not affected.”
  149. Mueller’s report covered possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia, but the team did not investigate whether Russian attempts to access voting systems, which occurred, were successful.
  150. Trump also tweeted a series of four quotes from Fox News hosts and contributors, including Jesse Watters saying “‘Donald Trump was being framed, he fought back. That is not Obstruction.”
  151. Trump added, “I had the right to end the whole Witch Hunt if I wanted. I could have fired everyone, including Mueller, if I wanted. I chose not to,” adding, “I had the RIGHT to use Executive Privilege. I didn’t!
  152. Trump also tweeted a quote by Tucker Carlson, saying, “The Mueller Report is perhaps the single most humiliating thing that has ever happened to the White House Press in the history of this Country. They know they lied.”
  153. WAPO reported the Mueller report revealed how Trump bred an atmosphere of chaos, dishonesty, and malfeasance in the upper echelons of the regime, not seen since the Nixon administration.
  154. Trump spent months plotting to thwart the Mueller probe and enlist his senior aides to help — most refused orders. Trump repeatedly ask regime members to lie to the public, deny true stories, and craft false storylines.
  155. Bloomberg reported Trump grew angry by Friday, particularly at McGahn and former Staff Secretary Rob Porter, who both spoke extensively to Mueller. Aides wondered if Trump might seek retribution against the two.
  156. On Friday, Trump sent a series of angry tweets, saying that statements made about “in the Crazy Mueller Report,” which was “written by 18 Angry Democrat Trump Haters,” are “fabricated & totally untrue.”
  157. Trump also “because I never agreed to testify” it was not necessary for him to respond to “statements made in the “Report” about me, some of which are total bullshit,” adding, “this was an Illegally Started Hoax.’
  158. Trump also tweeted “Watch out for people that take so-called “notes,” when the notes never existed until needed,” in apparent reference to McGahn and possibly his chief of staff Annie Donaldson.
  159. The report revealed Trump asked McGahn, “Why do you takes notes? Lawyers don’t take notes. I never had a lawyer who took notes,” and McGahn responded because he was a “real lawyer.”
  160. Trump then headed to play golf with conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh, who defended Trump on his show saying, “It was an attempt at a coup. It was an attempt to…nullify the election results of 2016.”
  161. Eight hours later, Trump finished the series of tweets which had ended with “a….,” adding “big, fat, waste of time, energy and money — $30,000,000 to be exact,” adding, “This should never happen again!”
  162. Trump also threatened, tweeting, “It is now finally time to turn the tables and bring justice to some very sick and dangerous people who have committed very serious crimes, perhaps even Spying or Treason.”
  163. On Friday, Dmitry Peskov, the top spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, said the report “does not present any reasonable proof at all that Russia allegedly meddled in the electoral process in the U.S.”
  164. On Friday, Sanders tried to defend her Comey comment on “Good Morning America,” saying “Actually, if you look at what I said, I said the ‘slip of the tongue’ was in using the word ‘countless.’”
  165. When asked about her other false statement to the media that Trump did not dictate Donald Jr.’s Trump Tower statement, Sanders responded, “That was the information I was given at the time.”
  166. On Friday, Rep. Nadler’s committee issued a subpoena to the DOJ demanding access to the full Mueller report, including grand jury testimony and other material not made public, by May 1.
  167. On Friday, a DOJ spokesperson called the request “premature and unnecessary,” claiming Barr released the report with only “minimal redactions,” and would allow lawmakers to see a less-redacted version.
  168. On Friday, Speaker Pelosi and Minority Leader Schumer rejected a DOJ offer for 12 senior lawmakers to see a less-redacted version of the report, demanding all members of Congress be able to see the full report.
  169. On Friday, Rudy Giuliani pushed back on McGahn’s account, saying in an interview, “It can’t be taken at face value. It could be the product of an inaccurate recollection or could be the product of something else.”
  170. On Friday, the Trump campaign hired its own in-house attorney for its 2020 reelection bid, shifting the business away from Jones Day, the law firm where McGahn is a partner.
  171. Jones Day has represented Trump since his first run for president. Trump advisers said the switch was payback, with one commenting, “Why in the world would you want to put your enemy on the payroll?”
  172. On Friday, Sen. Mitt Romney became the first GOP lawmaker to speak out, saying “I am sickened at the extent and pervasiveness of dishonesty and misdirection by individuals in the highest office of the land.”
  173. Romney also said he was “appalled” that the Trump campaign welcomed help from Russia, and called the report “a sobering revelation of how far we have strayed from the aspirations and principles of the founders.”
  174. On Friday, Sen. Elizabeth Warren became the first 2020 candidate to call for Congress to begin impeachment hearings after reading the redacted report and citing the “severity” of “misconduct” detailed.
  175. Warren warned of normalizing Trump’s behavior, tweeting, “To ignore a President’s repeated efforts to obstruct an investigation into his own disloyal behavior would inflict great and lasting damage on this country.”
  176. On Friday, Trump attacked the media, tweeting, “The Washington Post and New York Times are, in my opinion, two of the most dishonest media outlets around,” adding, “Truly, the Enemy of the People!”
  177. Trump also retweeted a post by a fantasy football league owner who slammed WAPO’s front page, adding, “This is why nobody but the @DNC circle jerk takes this seriously anymore.”
  178. On Friday, in the first poll conducted since the redacted Mueller report was released, Reuters/Ipsos poll found Trump’s approval fell to 37%, down 3 points from an April 15 poll, and the lowest level in 2019.
  179. The same poll found Trump’s approval at 43% shortly after the Barr letter, which shared a much more flattering and limited version of the report.
  180. On Friday, lawyers for Maria Butina asked in a court filing that when she is sentenced next Friday, after spending nine months in jail for acting as a foreign agent of the Russian government, that she be sent back to Russia.
  181. On Friday, House Democrats said they will examine Prince’s testimony to the House Intelligence Committee in November 2017, which is different in several key respects from the Mueller report, for possible perjury.
  182. Inconsistencies include that Prince told Congress the meeting with Dmitriev happened by chance, and that he was not acting as a representative for the Trump transition team or the campaign.
  183. On Saturday, NYT reported the Mueller report revealed that contact by Russians like Dmitriev was part of the Kremlin’s outreach efforts during the campaign, which then shifted into high gear after Trump’s victory.
  184. The report revealed Putin sought back-channels of contact and influence with Trump’s team, and many Americans participated on topics from Trump’s desire to build a Moscow hotel to U.S. policy toward Ukraine.
  185. The report also revealed in December 2016, Putin convened an “all-hands” meeting of his top oligarchs to discuss the risk of the U.S. imposing further sanctions to retaliate for Russia’s interfering in the election.
  186. On Saturday, Trump attacked the Mueller report in a series of tweets, saying the report “should not have been authorized in the first place,” and “was written as nastily as possible”
  187. Trump added the report was written “by 13 (18) Angry Democrats who were true Trump Haters” including “highly conflicted Bob Mueller” but found “No Collusion, No Obstruction!”
  188. Trump also attacked the media, saying “The Fake News Media is doing everything possible to stir up and anger,” adding they seldom mention “there was NO COLLUSION WITH RUSSIA. The Russia Hoax is dead!”
  189. Shortly after, Trump tweeted, “The end result of the greatest Witch Hunt in U.S. political history is No Collusion with Russia (and No Obstruction),” adding, “Pretty Amazing!”
  190. On Saturday, McGahn broke his silence on MSNBC, confirming that details within the Mueller Report were “accurately described.”
  191. The Congressional Budget Office estimated an increase of 1.4 million uninsured Americans from 2016 to 2018, with much coming from Medicaid where the Trump regime has imposed new work requirements.
  192. America Media Inc. sold The National Enquirer to James Cohen, the CEO of Hudson News, ending the publication’s longtime association with Trump and its efforts to promote him and bury embarrassing stories.

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A journalist reads a redacted court filing from the Special Counsel Robert Mueller in the Paul Manafort case. The final report from Mueller’s Russia investigation released on April 18, 2019 left much of the public unsatisfied because it was heavily redacted, stripped of significant evidence and testimony that the investigators gathered.