If you've watched even one news broadcast over the last couple of years you know that Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller, III, has been busy. He has spent the last 22 months investigating Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and the subsequent attempts by the president, Donald Trump, to obstruct said investigation. Now that the findings of his investigation have been released, it's important we read them for ourselves. However, since you might not have time to read a 448-page, information-dense, legal report, I've decided to read it to you.
In this episode, we will cover Section II, Part B: The President’s Conduct Concerning the Investigation of Michael Flynn. General Michael Flynn (whose stint as Trump’s first National Security Advisor lasted less barely three weeks, pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI regarding his discussing US sanctions on Russia with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the transition. As if Flynn didn’t know that we only have on president and administration at a time . . .
We're about to begin the longest section of Volume II--Section II: Factual Results of the Obstruction Investigation. It covers more than 150 pages and is itself divided into twelve parts A through L.
This episode will cover Part A: The Campaign's Response to Reports About Russian Support for Trump. From the initial press reports about links between the Campaign and Russia, to the WikiLeaks release of hacked emails and later to the campaign's reaction to reports of Russia's support and the campaign's continuous denials of contacts.
This brief section introduces us to the principles behind the obstruction-of-justice investigation into Donald Trump. It outlines the components of an obstruction-of-justice crime--the various actions and the intent behind those actions
Next it describes the considerations made with specific regard to a list of potential obstruction-of-justice crimes committed by Donald Trump.
Today’s episode will launch us into Volume II of the Report on the Investigation Into Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Election. This is the part of the investigation that focuses on the obstruction-of-justice investigation into Donald Trump.
This episode's narration will consist of the first two preliminary sections: the Introduction to Volume II and the Executive Summary to Volume II.
The Introduction provides a brief overview and conclusions of the obstruction-of-justice investigation, including the methodology and guidelines.
The Executive Summary outlines the key issues investigated. It also describes the statutory and constitutional defenses asserted by the president’s counsel, and explains their lack of merit in this case.
This episode cover the entirety of the final section of Volume I of the Mueller Report--Section V: Prosecution and Declination Decisions.
Briefly recapping the material covered in prior sections, the volume concludes with discussion and explanation of what charges were brought against whom and why.
Episode 10 will cover the second part of and conclude the seemingly never-ending Section IV "Russian Government Links to and Contacts with the Trump Campaign."
Part A covered all contact between the Trump campaign and Russian during the campaign period from the fall of 2015 through November 8, 2016. This Part B covers campaign contacts in the post-election / transition period, picking up on election night and continuing until just before Inauguration Day on January 2017.
If you've been following along nothing in this episode is likely to surprise you. If you're like me, it might make you angry.
Links to download the report can be found on the podcast website HERE.
This ninth episode is the fourth to cover the first half of Section IV--the portion of the report which describes the many and varied connections between members of the Trump Campaign and the Russian government . . . during the campaign period. Even though it hasn't been a long read in terms of pages, it's been a lot to digest. At least it has been for me. I hope it hasn't been as arduous for you!
In any case, you can rest easy knowing that this episode will conclude the portion of the report dealing with the campaign's contacts with Russia during the campaign period. And who better to wrap up this part of the report than former campaign chairman for Trump during the summer of 2016, Paul Manfort, who is the subject of section 8.
Manafort, who is now a convicted felon incarcerated on eight counts of tax and bank fraud, has a long history of associations and work with Russia and Ukraine. The period examined by Mueller and narrated in this episode represents a faction of his involvement in the region. If you'd like more insight into his background The Atlantic sheds some more light on him.
If you'd like to download a copy of the report, you may do so on the podcast website here.
This episode of The Mueller Report: A Reading brings us a bit closer to the end of Volume I of the Special Counsel’s report, continuing to cover Section IV of that volume, Russian Government Links to and Contacts with the Trump Campaign.
This narrations will continue with part A, the Campaign Period (September 2015—November 8, 2016) with the narration covering sections 5, 6, and 7.
Section 5, June 9, 2016 Meeting at Trump Tower, discusses the now infamous Trump Tower meeting between members of the Trump campaign and Russian representatives.
Section 6, Events at the Republican National Convention, covers the campaign presence at the RNC in July 2016, and their involvement with the party’s platform change regarding the U.S. policy toward Russia and Ukraine.
Lastly, Section 7, Post-Convention contacts with Kislyak, outline the contact between Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak and members of the Trump campaign following the RNC.
If you are interested in downloading a copy of the report, please visit the podcast website:
This episode is part two of several needed to cover Volume I, Section IV of the Mueller Report, which is entitled “Russian Government Links to and Contacts with the Trump Campaign.”
Today’s narration will cover Section A, Part 3, Carter Page, and Part 4, Dimitri Simes and the Center for the National Interest (or CNI), a think tank with expertise in and connections with the Russian Government. These sections relate the Russian contacts of Trump campaign policy advisor, Carter Page, and detail the connections to the Trump campaign--including with then-Senator Jeff Sessions and Trump son-in-law, Jared Kushner--through CNI and its CEO, Dimitri Simes, all during the period of the campaign from September 2015 through election day, November 8, 2016.
Carter Page, if you’ll recall, was the subject of a FISA warrant—FISA an acronym for the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which allows for surveillance of agents of foreign governments. Trump has repeatedly used this warrant as the basis for his claim that the Obama administration spied on his campaign.
If you’d like more details on this controversial FISA warrant, Phillip Ewing breaks it all down in an article on the NPR website (which also includes a full copy of the redacted document itself). You can find a link to the article on the podcast webpage: www.papertrailmedia.co/podcast.
Volume I, Section IV of the Mueller Report--"Russian Government Links to and Contacts with the Trump Campaign" explores the events and connections between the Russian government and the Trump campaign. A very lengthy and very dense section, its narration will be split among three episodes.
This Episode 6, Part I, will cover the first half of subsection A: "Campaign Period (September 2015--November 8, 2016). Among the subject detailed in this episode are the Trump Organization's efforts to find Russian partners and Russian government support for a Trump Tower project in Moscow to Trump campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos's contacts, which in part initially helped spark the investigation into the Trump campaign's Russian contacts.
This episode concludes Section III of Volume I of the Mueller Report: "Russian Hacking and Dumping Operations." Narration of this episode will cover the second half of the section, which is comprised of the fourth and final subsection D: "Trump Campaign and the Dissemination of the Hacked Materials."
This episode, Episode 5, Part I, will cover sections A, B, and C, which are respectively subtitled: “GRU Hacking Directed at the Clinton Campaign”, “Dissemination of the Hacked Materials”, and “Additional GRU Cyber Operations”. These three sections cover 14 pages and include 81 footnotes.
This section begins to outline the who and what of the Russian government's interference in the 2016 elections in the United States.
This section of the Mueller Report provides us with information on the genesis of the investigation, the scope of the Special Counsel's mandate, and the structure and procedures of the Office of the Special Counsel.
The Special Counsel lays out the contents of Volume I of the Report On The Investigation Into Russian Interference In The 2016 Presidential Election. The Summary is divided into sections covering the Russian Social Media Campaign, the Russian Hacking Operations, Russian Contacts with the Trump campaign, and The Special Counsel's Charging Decisions.