Several news agencies made FOIA requests for these documents from Robert Mueller’s investigation and some of them were released yesterday.
Here is what Buzzfeed had to share:
- Manafort was pushing the conspiracy theory that Ukraine hacked the DNC as early as 2016
In an April 2018 interview with the special counsel’s office, Rick Gates, who had served as deputy Trump campaign chair and had long been Paul Manafort’s right hand, told investigators that after the campaign learned the DNC had been hacked, Manafort pushed the theory that Ukraine, not Russia, had orchestrated the attack. It’s a conspiracy theory that’s persisted in right-wing circles, even after the US Intelligence Community concluded Russia was involved, and one that Trump brought up in his July 2019 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
In a written memorandum of the July call released by the White House, Trump at one point says to Zelensky, “I would like you to find out what happened with this whole situation with Ukraine, they say CrowdStrike… I guess you have one of your wealthy people… The server, they say Ukraine has it.”
2) Michael Cohen “had to keep Trump out of the messaging related to Russia”
The documents reveal how Cohen, Trump’s former personal lawyer who spent years in his inner circle, worked through how to talk about issues related to Trump and Russia.
In preparation for his testimony to Congress, “Cohen’s message had several components,” according to notes of his FBI interview. “COHEN has to keep TRUMP out of the messaging related to Russia and keep TRUMP out of the Russia conversation.” He also told investigators that any false testimony was “not his idea.”
Cohen told Congress in February, “In his way, he was telling me to lie,” about concealing negotiations to build a Trump Tower in Moscow.
3) Gates said the Trump campaign was “very happy” about the release of hacked DNC emails
Gates, who served as Trump’s deputy campaign chair, told Mueller’s team in late 2018 that the release of the hacked emails “offered a mode of deflection for the campaign after a sink in polling numbers following Trump’s comments about Ted Cruz’s father at the end of the Republican National Convention.”
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said in June 2016 that the group had an upcoming email leak related to Hillary Clinton. After that, Manafort instructed Gates to “periodically call” someone whose name is redacted from the documents “to check in on where the information was and when it would be coming,” Gates told the FBI.
“Trump was generally frustrated Clinton’s missing emails had not been found,” Gates also told investigators.
(Just a reminder here that Clinton’s email server was never hacked and that nobody ever got access to her personal emails.)
4) After the hacked DNC emails, Trump told Gates that “more leaks were coming”
Shortly after the Democratic National Convention in 2016 — which came right after Russian hackers stole DNC emails, throwing the party into disarray — Trump and Gates, a top campaign aide, were riding in a car from Trump Tower in Manhattan to LaGuardia Airport.
Trump told Gates that “more leaks were coming.”
(How in the hell did he know that?)
5) Bannon told the FBI that Jared Kushner vacationed with a Russian oligarch
Bannon told FBI investigators that Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner were on vacation in Croatia with a “Russian billionaire” in August 2016 — appearing to confirm a long-suspected and long-denied connection between Trump world and a Russian oligarch.
Messages between Bannon and an unnamed individual with a Breitbart domain email address — exchanged in July 2017, one month before Bannon was fired from his position as White House chief strategist — revealed that they were hoping to leverage this information against Kushner. Bannon cofounded the far-right Breitbart and rejoined it in August 2017.
There is more in the article but I thought these were the most importnat.
CNN also received some of the documents (Link), and this is what they shared:
President Donald Trump and other top 2016 Trump campaign officials repeatedly privately discussed how the campaign could get access to stolen Democratic emails WikiLeaks had in 2016, according to newly released interview notes from Robert Mueller’s special counsel investigation.
“[Rick] Gates recalled a time on the campaign aircraft when candidate Trump said, ‘get the emails.’ [Michael] Flynn said he could use his intelligence sources to obtain the emails,” investigators wrote in a summary of Gates’ April 2018 interview with Mueller’s team. Flynn was a foreign policy adviser on the campaign and became Trump’s first national security adviser.
“Flynn had the most Russia contacts of anyone on the campaign and was in the best position to ask for the emails if they were out there,” the investigators also wrote about Gates’ interview.
Gates described in an interview with Mueller investigators last year how several close advisers to Trump, Trump’s family members and Trump himself considered how to get the stolen documents and pushed the effort, according to investigators’ summary.
“Gates said Donald Trump Jr. would ask where the emails were in family meetings. Michael Flynn, [Jared] Kushner, [Paul] Manafort, [Redacted] [Corey] Lewandowski, Jeff Sessions, and Sam Clovis expressed interest in obtaining the emails as well. Gates said the priority focuses of the Trump campaign opposition research team were Clinton’s emails and contributions to the Clinton Foundation. Flynn, [Redacted] [Jeff] Sessions, Kushner, and [Donald] Trump Jr. were all focused on opposition topics,” Gates told investigators, according to the interview summary.
Now keep in mind that this was information stolen by the Kremlin from American citizens that members of the Trump campaign, and Trump himself, wanted to use to smear a political opponent.
There’s your collusion.
According to reports this is only the tip of the iceberg and more of these documents are still coming.