Politics

Every time the Mueller
report mentioned
“I do not recall” Jared Kushner James Comey Facebook “I do not remember” Donald Trump Jr. Facebook tweets Michael Flynn

Updated April 19, 2019
Touchstone words and names provide a quick way to navigate the visible parts of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s 448-page report, part of which was redacted by Attorney General William P. Barr. We grouped key phrases and names into topics for an easy way to see each mention in context.
Obstruction debate revolves around some key people

At least 2,698 mentions

The portion of the report that lays out the investigation into whether President Trump obstructed justice unfolds through his interactions with several prominent people from his campaign and administration. Among them are former FBI Director James Comey, former Trump attorney Michael Cohen, former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, former campaign manager Paul Manafort, former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and former White House Counsel Don McGahn. (Much of the information regarding campaign adviser Roger Stone appears to have been redacted.)

Selected mentions

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PAGE V2-38: On February 14, 2017, the day after Flynn's resignation, the President had lunch at the White House with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. According to Christie, at one point during the lunch the President said, "Now that we fired Flynn, the Russia thing is over." Christie laughed and responded, "No way."

PAGE V2-39: The President told Christie to call Comey and tell him that the President "really like[s) him. Tell him he's part of the team.” At the end of the lunch, the President repeated his request that Christie reach out to Comey. Christie had no intention of complying with the President's request that he contact Comey. He thought the President's request was "nonsensical" and Christie did not want to put Comey in the position of having to receive such a phone call.

PAGE V2-90: Two days after the President directed McGahn to have the Special Counsel removed, the President made another attempt to affect the course of the Russia investigation. On June 19, 2017, the President met one-on-one with Corey Lewandowski in the Oval Office and dictated a message to be delivered to Attorney General Sessions that would have had the effect of limiting the Russia investigation to future election interference only.

PAGE V2-112: In December 2017, shortly after Flynn pleaded guilty pursuant to a cooperation agreement, the President met with Sessions in the Oval Office and suggested, according to notes taken by a senior advisor, that if Sessions unrecused and took back supervision of the Russia investigation, he would be a "hero."

PAGE V2-123: Manafort told Gates it was stupid to plead, saying that he had been in touch with the President's personal counsel and repeating that they should "sit tight" and "we'll be taken care of.”

PAGE V2-134: On February 14, 2017, the day after Flynn's resignation, the President had lunch at the White House with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. According to Christie, at one point during thc lunch the President said, "Now that we fired Flynn, the Russia thing is over." ' Christie laughed and responded, "No way."

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PAGE V2-3
1. Conduct involving FBI Director Comey and Flynn In mid-January 2017,
2. incoming National Security Advisor Michael Flynn falsely denied to the Vice President, other
3. the day after the President was told that Flynn had lied to the Vice President and had made similar
4. requested Flynn's resignation, the President told an outside advisor, "Now that we fired Flynn the
5. with Comey. Referring to the FBI's investigation of Flynn the President said, "I hope you can
6. see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. Hc is a good guy. I hope you can let this
7. go." Shortly after requesting Flynn's resignation and speaking privately to Comey the President
8. that the President had not directed Flynn to discuss sanctions with Kislyak. McFarland declined
9. General Jeff Sessions began to assess whether he had to recuse himself from campaign-related investigations because of his role in the Trump Campaign. In early March, the President
10. told White House Counsel Donald McGahn to stop Sessions from recusing. And after Sessions announced his recusal on March 2‚ the President expressed anger at the decision and told advisors
11. took Sessions aside at an event and urged him to "unrecuse." Later in March, Comey publicly
12. statements to the FBI, the President invited FBI Director Comey to a private dinner at the White House and told Comey that he needed loyalty. On February 14, the day alter the President
PAGE V2-3
1. Conduct involving FBI Director Comey and Flynn In mid-January 2017,
2. incoming National Security Advisor Michael Flynn falsely denied to the Vice President, other
3. the day after the President was told that Flynn had lied to the Vice President and had made similar
4. requested Flynn's resignation, the President told an outside advisor, "Now that we fired Flynn the
5. with Comey. Referring to the FBI's investigation of Flynn the President said, "I hope you can
6. see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. Hc is a good guy. I hope you can let this
7. go." Shortly after requesting Flynn's resignation and speaking privately to Comey the President
8. that the President had not directed Flynn to discuss sanctions with Kislyak. McFarland declined
9. General Jeff Sessions began to assess whether he had to recuse himself from campaign-related investigations because of his role in the Trump Campaign. In early March, the President
10. told White House Counsel Donald McGahn to stop Sessions from recusing. And after Sessions announced his recusal on March 2‚ the President expressed anger at the decision and told advisors
11. took Sessions aside at an event and urged him to "unrecuse." Later in March, Comey publicly
12. statements to the FBI, the President invited FBI Director Comey to a private dinner at the White House and told Comey that he needed loyalty. On February 14, the day alter the President
PAGE V2-4
1. appointed by telling advisors that it was "the end of his presidency" and demanding that Sessions resign. Sessions submitted his resignation, but the President ultimately did not accept it. The
2. The President also twice called Comey directly, notwithstanding guidance from McGahn to avoid
3. direct contacts with the Department of Justice. Comey had previously assured the President that
4. the FBI was not investigating him personally, and the President asked Comey to "lift the cloud"
5. The President's termination of Comey On May 3, 2017, Comey testified in a
6. personally under investigation. Within days, the President decided to terminate Comey The
7. President insisted that the termination letter, which was written for public release, state that Comey had informed the President that he was not under investigation. The day of the firing, the White House maintained that Comey's termination resulted from independent recommendations from the
8. Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General that Comey should be discharged for mishandling
9. the Hillary Clinton email investigation. But the President had decided to fire Comey before
10. hearing from the Department of Justice. The day after firing Comey, the President told Russian
11. cials that he had "faced great pressure because of Russia," which had been "taken off" by Comey's firing. The next day, the President acknowledged in a television interview that he was
12. going to fire Comey regardless of the Department of Justice's recommendation and that when he
13. In response to a question about whether he was angry with Comey about the Russia investigation,
14. adding that firing Comey "might even lengthen out the investigation."
15. the investigation: while Comey had told the President he was not under investigation, following Comey's firing, the President now was under investigation. The President reacted to this news
16. investigation. On June 17, 2017, the President called McGahn at home and directed him to call
17. removed. McGahn did not carry out the direction, however, deciding that he would resign rather
PAGE V2-5
1. met privately with Sessions in the Oval Office and asked him to "take [a] look" at investigating Clinton. In December 2017, shortly after Flynn pleaded guilty pursuant to a cooperation
2. dictated a message for Lewandowski to deliver to Sessions The message said that Sessions should
3. was "very unfair" to the President, the President had done nothing wrong, and Sessions planned to
4. for future elections." Lewandowski said he understood what the President wanted Sessions to do.
5. President asked about the status of his message for Sessions to limit the Special Counsel
6. would be delivered soon. Hours afier that meeting, the President publicly criticized Sessions in an
7. interview with the New York Times, and then issued a series of tweets making it clear that Sessions's job was in jeopardy. Lewandowski did not want to deliver the President's message
8. interview with the New York Times, and then issued a series of tweets making it clear that
9. summer 2017, the President called Sessions at home and again asked him to reverse his recusal
10. from the Russia investigation. Sessions did not reverse his recusal. In October 2017, the President
11. agreement, the President met with Sessions in the Oval Office and suggested, according to notes
12. taken by a senior advisor, that if Sessions unrecused and took back supervision of the Russia
13. investigation, he would be a "hero." The President told Sessions "I'm not going to do anything
14. or direct you to do anything. I just want to be treated fairly." In response, Sessions volunteered
15. Efforts to curtail the Special Counsel's investigation. Two days after directing McGahn to have the Special Counsel removed, the President made another attempt to affect the course of
16. Efforts to have McGahn deny that the President had ordered him to have the Special
17. Counsel removed. In early 2018, the press reported that the President had directed McGahn to
PAGE V2-6
1. Conduct towards Flynn, Manafort
2. After Flynn withdrew from a joint defense
3. counsel left a message for Flynn's attorneys reminding them of the President's warm feelings
4. towards Flynn which he said "still remains," and asking for a "heads up" if Flynn knew
5. "information that implicates the President." When Flynn's counsel reiterated that Flynn could no
6. said he would make sure that the President knew that Flynn's actions reflected "hostility" towards
7. Conduct involving Michael Cohen. The President's conduct towards Michael Cohen, a
8. former Trump Organization executive, changed from praise for Cohen when he falsely minimized
9. the President's involvement in the Trump Tower Moscow project, to castigation of Cohen when
10. he became a cooperating witness. From September 2015 to June 2016, Cohen had pursued the
11. to advance the deal. In 2017, Cohen provided false testimony to Congress about the project,
12. travel to Russia with him, in an effort to adhere to a "party line" that Cohen said was developed to
13. minimize the President's connections to Russia. While preparing for his congressional testimony, Cohen had extensive discussions with the President's personal counsel, who, according to Cohen
14. said that Cohen should "stay on message" and not contradict the President. After the FBI searched Cohen's home and office in April 2018, the President publicly asserted that Cohen would not
15. to him. Cohen also discussed pardons with the President's personal counsel and believed that if
16. he stayed on message he would be taken care of. But after Cohen began cooperating with the
17. have the Special Counsel removed in June 2017 and that McGahn had threatened to resign rather
18. officials to tell McGahn to dispute thc story and create a record stating he had not been ordered to
19. have the Special Counsel removed. McGahn told those officials that the media reports were
20. accurate in stating that the President had direrted McGahn to have the Special Counsel removed.
21. The President then met with McGahn in the Oval Office and again pressured him to deny the
22. reports. In the same meeting, the President also asked McGahn why he had told the Special
23. Counsel about the President's effort to remove the Special Counsel and why McGahn took notes
24. of his conversations with the President. McGahn refused to back away from what he remembered
PAGE V2-7
1. phase covered the period from the President's first interactions with Comey through the President's
2. firing of Comey. During that time, the President had been repeatedly told he was not personally
3. under investigation. Soon atter the firing of Comey and the appointment of the Special Counsel,
PAGE V2-12
1. Advisor Michael Flynn and the Russian Ambassador;
2. asked Comey not to pursue an investigation of Flynn
3. (a) The President's January 27, 2017 dinner with former FBI Director James Comey in which
4. the President reportedly asked for Comey's loyalty, one day after the White House had
5. (b) The President's February 14, 2017 meeting with Comey in which the President reportedly
6. (c) The President's private requests to Comey to make public the fact that the President was
7. (e) The President's stated rationales for terminating Comey on May 9, 2017, including
8. investigation was a factor in Comey's termination; and
PAGE V2-15
1. the FBI investigation of Michael Flynn; the President's reaction to public confirmation of the FBI's
2. unrecuse; and conduct towards McGahn, Cohen and other witnesses.
3. Russia investigation‚ events leading up to and surrounding the termination of FBI Director Comey
PAGE V2-16
1. that campaign advisor Michael Flynn was seated next to Vladimir Putin at an RT gala in Moscow
2. in December 2015 and that Flynn had appeared regularly on RT as an analyst. The press also
3. pertaining to Flynn are described in Volume I, Section IV.B.7, supra.
4. that campaign chairman Paul Manafort had done work for the Russian-backed former Ukrainian
PAGE V2-17
1. Michael Cohen, then-executive vice president of the
2. Cohen recalled that Trump responded, "oh good, alright,"
3. Cohen 8/7/18 302, at 8; see a/so Volume I, Section III.D. I, supra. According to Cohen after
4. WikiLeaks's subequent release of stolenDNC emails on July 22, 2016, Tiump said to Cohen words to the effect of Cohen 9/18/18 302, at 10. Cohen's role in the candidate's and later
PAGE V2-19
1. on developments, including possible trips by Michael Cohen to Moscow to promote the deal and
2. by Trump himself to finalize it. Cohen recalled speaking with Trump after the press conference about Trump's denial of
3. any business dealings in Russia, which Cohen regarded as untrue. Trump told Cohen that Trump
4. Tower Moscow was not a deal yet and said, "Why mention it if it is not a deal?" According to Cohen at around this time, in response to Trump's disavowal of connections to Russia, campaign
5. Cohen 9/18/18 302, at 4.
6. Cohen 9/18/18 302, at 4-5.
PAGE V2-20
1. Cohen 11/20/18 302, at 1; Cohen 9/18/18 302, at 3-5. The formation of the "party line" is
PAGE V2-22
1. Comey 11/15/17 302, at 3.
PAGE V2-24
1. The President's Conduct Concerning the Investigation of Michael Flynn
2. During the presidential transition, incoming National Security Advisor Michael Flynn had
3. U.S. sanctions imposed because of Russia's election interference. After the press reported on Flynn's contacts with the Russian Ambassador, Flynn lied to incoming Administration officials
4. press interviews. The FBI, which previously was investigating Flynn for other matters,
5. interviewed him about the calls in the first week after the inauguration, and Flynn told similar lies
6. that Flynn and the Russian Ambassador had discussed sanctions and that Flynn had been
7. interviewed by the FBI. The next night, the President had a private dinner with FBI Director James Comey in which he asked for Comey's loyalty. On February 13, 2017, the President asked Flynn to resign. The following day, the President had a one-on-one conversation with Comey in which
8. he said, "I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go."
9. Shortly after the election, President-Elect Trump announced he would appoint Michael Flynn as his National Security Advisor. For the next two months, Flynn played an active role on
10. sanctions and the impact they would have on the incoming Administration, and Flynn informed
11. Flynn 11/16/17 302, at 7; President-Elect Donald J. Trump Selects U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions for
12. Attorney General, Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn as Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs and
13. Press Release (Nov. 18, 2016); see also, e.g., Bryan Bender, Trump names Mike Flynn national security
14. Flynn 11/16/17 302, at 8-14; Priebus 10/13/17 302, at 3-5.
15. 12/29/16 Email, O'Brien to McFarland et al.; 12/29/16 Email, Bossert to Flynn et al.; 12/29/16
16. Email, McFarland to Flynn et al.; SF000001 (12/29/16 Text Message, Flynn to Flaherty) ("Tit for tat w
17. Russia not good. Russian AMBO reaching out to me today."); Flynn 1/19/18 302, at 2.
PAGE V2-25
1. Flynn who was in the Dominican Republic at the time, and K.T. McFarland, who was slated to
2. the President-Elect and other senior staff, talked by phone about what, if anything, Flynn should
3. mentioned in those conversations that Flynn was scheduled to speak with Kislyak. Based on
4. those conversations, McFarland informed Flynn that incoming Administration officials at Mar-a-Lago did not want Russia to escalate the situation. At 4:43 p.m. that afternoon, McFarland sent
5. meeting‚ someone may have mentioned to the President-Elect that Flynn was speaking to the
6. Immediately after discussing the sanctions wtth McFarland on December 29, 2016, Flynn called Kislyak and requested that Russia respond to the sanctions only in a reciprocal manner,
7. without escalating the situation. After the call, Flynn briefed McFarland on its substance. Flynn told McFarland that the Russian response to the sanctions was not going to be escalatory
8. Statement of Offense at 2-3, United Slates v. Michael T. Flynn I:17cr-232 (D.D.C. Dec. 1,
9. 2017), Doc. 4 (Flynn Statement of Offense); Flynn 11/17/17 302, at 3-4; Flynn 11/20/17 302, at 3;
10. 4 Flynn Statement of Offense, at 3; Flynn 11/17/17 302, at 3-4; McFarland 12/22/17 302, at 6-7.
11. 12/29/16 Email, McFarland to Flynn et al.
12. McFarland 12/22/17 302, at 7. Priebus thought it was possible that McFarland had mentioned Flynn's scheduled call with Kislyak at this meeting, although he was not certain. Priebus 1/18/18 302, at
13. Flynn Statement of Offense, at 3; Flynn 11/17/17 302‚ at 3-4. Flynn Statement of Offense, at 3; McFarland 12/22/17 302, at 7-8; Flynn 11/17/17 302, at 4.
PAGE V2-26
1. On December 31, 2016, Kislyak called Flynn and told him that Flynn's request had been
2. Later that day, Flynn told McFarland about this follow-up conversation with Kislyak and Russia's
3. decision not to escalate the sanctions situation based on Flynn's request. McFarland recalled
4. that Flynn thought his phone call had made a difference. Flynn spoke with other incoming
5. Flynn recalled discussing the sanctions issue with incoming Administration official
6. Flynn said that Bannon appeared to know about Flynn's
7. response" to the sanctions. On January 3, 2017, Flynn saw the President-Elect in person and
8. thought they discussed the Russian reaction to the sanctions, but Flynn did not have a specific
9. in response to the sanctions. When analyzing Russia's response, they became aware of Flynn's
10. discussion of sanctions with Kislyak. Previously, the FBI had opened an investigation of Flynn based on his relationship with the Russian government. Flynn's contacts with Kislyak became
11. Flynn 1/19/18 302, at 3; Flynn Statement of Offense, at 3.
12. @realDonaldTrump 12/30/16 (2:41 p.m. ET) tweet.
13. McFarland 12/22/17 302, at 10; see Flynn 1/19/18 302, at 4.
14. Flynn 11/1 7/17 302, at 5-6.
15. Flynn 1/19/18 302, at 4-5. Bannon recalled meeting with Flynn that day‚ but said he did not
16. Flynn 11/21/17 302, at 1; Flynn 1/19/18 302, at 5.
17. Flynn 1/19/18 302, at 6; Flynn 11/17/17 302, at 6,
18. McCord 7/17/17 302, at 2-3; Comey 11/15/17 302, at 5.
PAGE V2-27
1. Michael Cohen received a text from Russian businessman Giorgi Rtskhiladze that said, "Stopped flow of
2. Rtskhiladze to Cohen. Rtskhiladze said "tapes" referred to compromising tapes of Trump rumored to be
3. concluded, Comey spoke with the President-Elect privately to brief him on unverified, personally
4. sensitive allegations compiled by Steele. According to a memorandum Comey drafted
5. immediately after their private discussion, the President-Elect began the meeting by telling Comey he had conducted himself honorably over the prior year and had a great reputation.
6. President-Elect stated that he thought highly of Comey, looked forward to working with him, and
7. Steele reporting. Comey recalled that the President-Elect seemed defensive, so Comey decided
8. 115th Cong. (June 8, 2017) (Statement for the Record of James B. Comey former Director of the FBI, at
9. Comey 11/15/17 302, at 3; Hearing on Russian Election Interference Before the Senate Select
10. Intelligence Committee, 115th Cong. (June 8, 2017) (Statement for the Record of James B. Comey former
11. Comey 1/7/17 Memorandum, at 1. Comey began drafting the memorandum summarizing the
12. meeting immediately after it occurred. Comey 11/1.5/17 302, at 4. He finished the memorandum that
13. Comey 1/7/17 Memorandum, at I; Comey 1 1/15/17 302, at 3. Comey identified several other
14. occasions in January 2017 when the President reiterated that he hoped Comey would stay on as FBI director.
15. On January 11, President-Elect Trump called Comey to discuss the Steele reports and stated that hc thought
16. Comey was doing great and the President-Elect hoped he would remain in his position as FBI director. Comey 11/15/17 302, at 4; Hearing on Russian election Interference Before the Senate Select Intelligence
17. Committee‚ 115th Cong. (June 8, 2017) (testimony of JJames B. Comey former Director of the FBI), CQ
18. enforcement, the President greeted Comey and said he looked forward to working with him. Hearing on
19. (testimony of James B. Comey former Director of the FBI), CQ Cong. Transcripts, at 22. And as discussed
20. in greater detail in Volume II, Section II.D, infra, on January 27, the President invited Comey to dinner at
21. the White House and said he was glad Comey wanted to stay on as FBI Director.
22. Comey 1/7/17 Memorandum, at 1; Comey 11/15/17 302, at 3.
23. Comey 1/7/17 Memorandum, at 1-2; Comey 11/15/17 302, at 3. Comey's briefing included the
PAGE V2-28
1. the 2013 Miss Universe Pageant inRussia. Rtskhiladze 4/4/18 302, at12. Cohen said he spoke to Trump
2. about the issue after receiving the texts from Rtskhiladze. Cohen 9/12/18 302, at 13. Rtskhiladze said he
3. was told the tapes were fake, but he did not communicate that to Cohen. Rtskhiladze 5/10/18 302, at 7.
4. to assure him that the FBI was not investigating him personally. Comey recalled he did not
5. On January 10, 2017, the media reported that Comey had briefed the President-Elect on
6. Comey 11/15/17 302, at 3-4; Hearing on Russian election interference Before the Senate Select
7. Intelligence Committee, 115th Cong. (June 8, 2017) (Statement for the Record of James B. Comey former
8. Comey 11/15/17 302, at 3.
9. See 1/11/17 Email, Clapper to Comey ("He asked if I could put out a statement. He would prefer
10. of course that I say the documents are bogus, which, of course, I can't do."); 1/12/17 Email, Comey to
11. Clapper ("He called me at 5 yesterday and we had a very similar conversation."); Comey 11/15/17 302, at
PAGE V2-29
1. On January 12, 2017, a Washington Post columnist reported that Flynn and Kislyak
2. column questioned whether Flynn had said something to "undercut the U.S. sanctions" and
3. whether Flynn's communications had violated the letter or spirit of the Logan Act.
4. Priebus called Flynn and told him that the President-Elect was angry about the reporting on Flynn's
5. spoken to the "boss" and said Flynn needed to "kill the story." Flynn directed McFarland to
6. McFarland recalled that Flynn said words to the effect of, "I want to kill the story." McFarland
7. made the call as Flynn had requested although she knew she was providing false information, and
8. the Washington Post updated the column to refiect that a "Trump official" had denied that Flynn and Kislyak discussed sanctions.
9. When Priebus and other incoming Adminisuation officials questioned Flynn internally
10. Kislyak. Flynn repeated that claim to Vice President-Elect Michael Pence and to incoming press
11. Flynn 1 I/21/17 302, at 1;, Flynn 11/20/1 7 302, at 6.
12. Flynn 11/17/17 302, at 1, 8; Flynn I/19/18 302, at 7; Priebus 10/13/17 302, at 7-8; S. Miller
13. Flynn 11/1 7/I 7 302, at I, 8; Flynn I/19/18 302, at 7; S.Miller 8/31/17 302, at 10-11.
PAGE V2-30
1. Spicer denied that Flynn and Kislyak had discussed sanctions, basing those denials on their
2. conversations with Flynn.
3. The public statements of incoming Administration officials denying that Flynn and Kislyak
4. not true. Those officials were concerned that Flynn had lied to his colleagues — who in turn had
5. unwittingly misled the American public — creating a compromise situation for Flynn because the
6. Department of Justice assessed that the Russian government could prove Flynn lied. The FBI
7. investigative team also believed that Flynn's calls with Kislyak and subsequent denials about
8. On January 20, 2017, President Trump was inaugurated and Flynn was sworn in as
9. that he had spoken with Flynn the night before, who confirmed that the calls with Kislyak were
10. concerns that Russia had leverage over Flynn based on his lies and could use that derogatory
11. On January 24, 2017, Flynn agreed to be interviewed by agents from the FBI. During
12. the interview, which took place at the White House, Flynn falsely stated that be did not ask Kislyak
13. sanctions as a result of Flynn's request.
14. Flynn Statement of Offense, at 2.
15. Flynn Statement of Offense, at, 2. On December 1, 2017, Flynn admitted to making these false
PAGE V2-31
1. denying that Flynn and Kislyak discussed sanctions were not true and put Flynn in a potentially
2. compromised position because the Russians would know he had lied. Yates disclosed that Flynn had been interviewed by the FBI. She declined to answer a specific question about how Flynn had performed during that interview, but she indicated that Flynn's statements to the FBI were
3. National Security Council, to examine potential legal issues raised by Flynn's FBI interview and
4. discuss concerns about Flynn. McGahn described what Yates had told him, and the President
5. asked him to repeat it, so he did. McGahn recalled that when he described the FBI interview of Flynn he said that Flynn did not disclose having discussed sanctions with Kislyak, but that there
6. Donald McGahn and informed him that she needed to discuss a sensitive matter with him in
7. Department of Justice, met at the White House with McGahn and White House Counsel's Office
8. sanctions. McGahn came away from the meeting with the impression that the FBI had not
9. That afternoon, McGahn notified the President that Yates had come to the White House to
10. 1001, and McGahn explained the law to him, and also explained the Logan Act. The President
11. McGahn 11/30/17 302, at 5; Yates 8/15/l7 302, at 7; McCord 7/17/17 302, at 7; Bumham
12. McGahn 11/30/17 302, at 5.
13. President); McGahn 11/30/17 302, at 6, 8.
14. McGahn 11/30/17 302, at 6; SCR015 000278 (White House Counsel's Office Memorandum
15. McGahn 11/30l17 302, at 6.
16. McGahn 11/30/17 302, at 7.
PAGE V2-32
1. with Flynn in light of what Yates had told the White House and said, "not again, this guy, this
2. Eisenberg's initial legal research into Flynn's conduct, and specifically whether Flynn may have
3. research, Eisenberg informed McGahn that there was a possibility that Flynn had violated 18
4. prosecuted an individual under the Logan Act and that Flynn could have possible defenses, and
5. Priebus 10/13/17 302, at 8. Several witnesses said that the President was unhappy with Flynn for other reasons at this time. Bannon said that Flynn's standing with the President was not good by
6. had warned him about Flynn shortly after the election. Bannon 2/12/18 302, at 4-5; Hicks 12/8/17 302, at
7. that the President had become unhappy with Flynn even before the story of his calls with Kislyak broke
8. and had become so upset with Flynn that he would not look at him during intelligence briefings. Priebus
9. 1/18/18 302, at 8. Hicks said that the President thought Flynn had bad judgment and was angered by tweets
10. sent by Flynn and his son, and she described Flynn as "bemg on thin ice" by early February 2017. Hicks
11. Coats, who was at the dinner, no one openly advocated terminating Comey but the consensus on
12. him was not positive. Coats told the group that he thought Comey was a good director. Coats
13. encouraged the President to meet Comey face-to-face and spend time with him before making a
14. instructed McGahn to work with Priebus and Bannon to look into the matter further and directed
15. 5. McGahn has a Follow-Up Meetin About Flynn
16. The next day, January 27, 2017, McGahn and Eisenberg discussed the results of
17. McGahn 11/30/17 302, at 7; SCR015 000198-99 (2/15/17 Draft Memorandum to file from the
18. President); McGahn 11/30/17 302, at 8.
PAGE V2-33
1. That same morning, McGahn asked Yates to return to the White House to discuss Flynn again. In that second meeting, McGahn expressed doubts that the Department of Justice would
2. bring a Logan Act prosecution against Flynn but stated that the White House did not want to take
3. action that would interfere with an ongoing FBI investigation of Flynn. Yates responded that
4. information the Department of Justice possessed pertaining to Flynn's discussions with Kislyak.
5. object to the White House taking action against Flynn."
6. Also on January 27, the President called FBI Director Comey and invited him to dinner
7. in law enforcement. When Bannon learned about the President's planned dinner with Comey
8. he suggested that he or Priebus also attend, but the President stated that he wanted to dine with Comey alone. Comey said that when he arrived for the dinner that evening, he was surprised
9. '" Comey 11/15/17 302, at 6„SCR012b 000001 (President's Daily Diary, 1/27/1 7);Hearing an
10. (Statement for. the Record of James B. Comey former Director of the FBI, at 2-3).
11. 115th Cong. (June 8, 2017) (Statement for the Record of James B. Comey former Director of the FBI, at
12. 3); see Comey 11/15/17 302, at 6.
13. told McGahn that he believed it was unlikely that a prosecutor would pursue a Logan Act charge
14. information provided. McGahn ended the meeting by asking Yates for access to the underlying
15. at the dinner. McGahn had previously advised the President that he should not communicate
16. President); McGahn 11/30/17 302, at 8; Yates 8/15/17 302, at 8.
17. Yates 8/15/17 302, at 9; McGahn 11/30/17 302, at 8.
18. '" Yates 9/15/17 302, at 9; Burnhain 11/3/17 302, at 5. In accordance with McGahn apos;s request, tire
PAGE V2-34
1. brought up Flynn and said, "the guy has serious judgment issues.*' 4 Comey did not comment on Flynn and the President did not acknowledge any FBI interest in or contact with Flynn ' 7
2. Comey provided an account of the dinner in a contemporaneous memo, an interview with
3. this Office, and congressional testimony. A ccording to Comey apos;s account of the dinner, the
4. President repeatedly biought up Comey apos;s future, asking whether he wanted to stay on as FBI
5. director.' ' Because the President had previously said he wanted Comey to stay on as FBI director, Comey interpreted the President's comments as an effort to create a patronage relationship by
6. having Comey ask for his job.' s Thc Pt'esident also brought up the Steele reporting that Comey had raised in the January 6, 2017 briefing and stated that hc was thinking about ordering the FBI
7. According to Comey apos;s account, at one point during the dinner the President stated, "I need
8. loyalty, I expect loyalty.'uss Comey did not respond and the conversation moved on to other
9. topics, but thc President returned to the subject of Comey apos;s job at the end of the dinner and
10. r epeated, "I need loyalty Ju s Comey responded, "You will always get honesty from me."" T h e
11. Comey I I/15/17 302, at 7; Comey 1/28/17 Memorandum, at I, 3; Hearing on Russian election
12. the Record of James B, Comey former Director of the FBI, at 3).
13. ' ' Comey 11/15/17 302, at 7; Hearing on Russian election interference Before the Senate Seleci
14. Intelligence Committee, 115th Cong. (June 8, 2017) (Statement for the Record of James B. Comey former
15. Select Intelligence Committee, 115th Cong. (June 8, 2017) (Statement for the Record of James B. Comey
16. former Director of the FBI, at 4). Comey 1/28/17 Memorandum, at 3; Hearing on Russian election interference Before the Senate
17. Select Intelligence Committee, 115th Cong. (June 8, 2017) (Statement for the Record of James B. Comey
18. Comey 1/28/17 Memorandum, at 4; Comey 11/15/17 302, at 7.
19. Comey 1/28/17 Memorandum, at 4; Comey 11/15/17 302, at 7.
20. rn Comey 1/28/18 Memorandum, at 2; Comey 11/15/17 302, at 7; Hearing on Russian election
21. the Record of James B. Comey former Director of the FBI, at 3). Comey 1/28/17 Memorandum, at 3; Comey 11/15/17 302, at 7" ‚Hearing on Russian election
22. the Record of James B. Comey former Director of the FBI, at 3-4).
23. " Comey 1/28/17 Memorandum, at 3; Comey 11/15/17 302, at 7; Hearing on Russian election
24. the Record of James B. Comey former Director of the FBI, at 4).
PAGE V2-35
1. President said, "That's what I want, honest Ioyalty." Comey said, "You will get that from
2. After Comey's account of the dinner became public, the President and his advisors disputed
3. that he had asked for Comey's loyalty. The President also indicated that he had not invited Comey to dinner, telling a reporter that he thought Comey had "asked for the dinner" because "he
4. wanted to stay on." But substantial evidence corroborates Comey's account of the dinner
5. "extend[ed] a dinner invitation"to Comey on January 27. With respect to the substance of the
6. dinner conversation, Comey documented the President's request for loyalty in a memorandum he
7. began drafting the night of the dinner; senior FBI officials recall that Comey told them about
8. the loyalty request shortly after the dinner occurred; and Comey described the request while
9. Comey 1/28/17 Memorandum, at 3; Comey 11/15/17 302, at 71 Hearing on Russian election
10. the Record of James B. Comey former Director of the FBI, at 4). Comey 1/28/17 Memorandum, at 3; Comey 11/15/17 302, at 7; Hearing on Russian election
11. the Record of James B. Comey former Director of the FBI, at 4).
12. never even suggest the expectation of personal loyalty"); Ali Vitali, Trump Never Asked for Comey's
13. as saying, "The president also never told Mr. Comey 'I need loyalty, I expect loyalty,' in form or
14. that he had never asked for Comey's loyalty, but added that if he had asked for loyalty, "Who cares?'
15. Spicer 10/16/17 302, at 4. The President also told McGahn that he never said what Comey said he had. McGahn 12/12/17 302, at 17.
16. SCR012b_000001 (President's Daily Diary‚ 1/27/17) (reflecting that the President called Comey in the morning on January 27 and "[t]he purpose of the call was to extend a dinner invitation"). In addition,
17. two witnesses corroborate Comey's account that the President reached out to schedule the dinner, without Comey having asked for it. Priebus 10/13/17 302, at 17 (the President asked to schedule the January 27
18. dinner because he did not know much about Comey and intended to ask him whether he wanted to stay on
19. as FBI Director); Rybicki 11/21/18 302, at 3 (recalling that Comey told him about the President's dinner
20. Comey 11/15/17 302, at 8; Hearing on Russian Election interference Before the Senate Select
21. Intelligence Committee, 115th Cong. (June 8, 2017) (Statement for the Record of James B. Comey former
22. McCabe 8/17/17 302, at 9-10; Rybicki 11/21/18 302, at 3. After leaving the White House, Comey called Deputy Director of the FBI Andrew McCabe, summarized what he and the President had
23. McCabe 8/17/17 302, at 9. Comey also convened a meeting with his senior leadership team to discuss what
24. properly. McCabe 8/17/17 302, at 10; Rybicki 11/21/18 302, at 3. In addition, Comey distributed his
PAGE V2-36
1. On February 2, 2017, Eisenberg reviewed the underlying information relating to Flynn's
2. that could apply to Flynn's conduct, but he did not believe the White House had enough
3. conclusion that Flynn was unlikely to be prosecuted for violating the Logan Act. Because White House officials were uncertain what Flynn had told the FBI, however, they could not assess his
4. The week of February 6, Flynn had a one-on-one conversation with the President in the
5. Oval Office about the negative media coverage of his contacts with Kislyak. Flynn recalled that
6. the dates he listed. The President asked Flynn what he and Kislyak discussed and Flynn responded that he might have talked about sanctions.
7. na Flynn 11/21/17 302, at 2.
8. w4 Flynn 11/21/17 302, at 2.
9. 'ss Flynn 11/21/17 302, at 2.
10. '" Flynn 11/21/17 302, at 2-3.
11. to penalties for lying under 18 U.S.C. 1001. Comey's memory of the details of the dinner,
12. memorandum captured what Comey said on the telephone call immediately following the dinner. McCabe
13. There also is evidence that corroborates other aspects of the memoranda Comey wrote
14. discussions about firing Comey the President told Rosenstein and others that Comey had told him three
PAGE V2-37
1. On February 9, 2017, the Washington Post reported that Flynn discussed sanctions with
2. content of Flynn apos;s calls,iss He and other advisors then sought access to an'd reviewed the
3. underlying information about Flynn apos;s contacts with Kislyak.'w FBI Deputy Director Andrew
4. they reviewed it, recalled the. officials asking him whether Flynn apos;s conduct violated the Logan
5. . it was a possibility.2 ' Based on the evidence of Flynn apos;s contacts with Kislyak, McGahn and
6. Priebus concluded that Flynn could not have forgotten the details of th'e discussions of sanctions
7. but Eisenberg did not believe him. m After reviewing the materials and speaking with Flynn McGahn and Pi iebus concluded that Flynn should be terminated and recommended that course of
8. That weekend, Flynn accompanied the President to Mar-a-Lago. Flynn recalled that on
9. Greg Miller et al., National security adviser Flynn discussed sanctions with Russian
10. Flynn 1/19/18 302, at 9; Flynn 11/17/17 302, at 8.
11. Flynn 11/17/17 302, at 8; Flynn 1/19/18 302, at 9.
12. Flynn 1/19/18 302, at 9.
13. President); McGahn 11/30/17 302‚ at 12,
14. President); McCabe 8/17/17 302, at 11-13; Priebus 10/13/17 302, at 10; McGahn 11/30/17 302, at 12.
15. McCabe 8/17/17 302, at 13. McGahn 11/30/17 302, at 12; Priebus 1/18/18 302, at 8; Priebus 10/13/17 302, at 10;
16. McGahn 11/30/17 302, at 11; Eisenberg 11/29/17 302, at 9; Priebus 10/13/17 302, at 11.
17. President); Priebus 10/13/17 302, at 10; McGahn 11/30/17 302, at 12.
PAGE V2-38
1. On February 13, 2017, Priebus told Flynn he had to resign. Flynn said he wanted to say
2. President hugged Flynn shook his hand, and said, "We'll give you a good recommendation.
3. President that Flynn was unlikely to be prosecuted, and the President had determined that the issue
4. with Flynn was one of trust. Spicer told the press the next day that Flynn was forced to resign
5. and General Flynn had ... to the point where [the President] felt he had to make a change.
6. On February 14, 2017, the day after Flynn's resignation, the President had lunch at the
7. during the lunch the President said, “Now that we fired Flynn, the Russia thing is over.”
8. here on Valentine’s Day 2018 talking about this.” The President said, “[w]hat do you mean? Flynn met with the Russians. That was the problem. I fired Flynn It’s over.” Christie recalled
9. investigated, firing Flynn would not end the investigation. Christie said there was no way to
10. Priebus 1/18/18 302, at 9; Flynn 11/17/17 302, at 10.
11. Priebus 1/18/18 302, at 9; Flynn 11/17/17 302, at 10.
12. Sean Spicer, White House Daily Briefing, C-SPAN (Feb. 14, 2017). After Flynn pleaded guilty
13. to violating 18 U.S.C. § 1001 in December 2017, the President tweeted,“I had to fire General Flynn because
14. Trump’s lawyer says he was behind President’s tweet about firing Flynn, CNN (Dec. 3, 2017).
15. distributed to the White House communications team stated that McGahn had advised the
PAGE V2-39
1. frustrated at times. Christie also told the President that he would never be able to get rid of Flynn, “like gum on the bottom of your shoe.”
2. Christie 2/13/19 302, at 3. Christie also recalled that during the lunch, Flynn called Kushner,
3. who was at the lunch, and complained about what Spicer had said about Flynn in his press briefing that day.
4. Kushner told Flynn words to the effect of, “You know the President respects you. The President cares about you.
5. I'll get the President to send out a positive tweet about you later.” Kushner looked at the
6. President when he mentioned the tweet, and the President nodded his assent. Christie 2/13/19 302, at 3.
7. At 4 p.m. that afternoon, the President met with Comey, Sessions, and other officials for a
8. Towards the end of the lunch, the President brought up Comey and asked if Christie was
9. still friendly with him. Christie said he was. The President told Christie to call Comey and
10. lunch, the President repeated his request that Christie reach out to Comey. Christie had no
11. intention of complying with the President’s request that he contact Comey. He thought the
12. President’s request was “nonsensical” and Christie did not want to put Comey in the position of
13. attendees and stated that he wanted to speak to Comey alone. Sessions and senior advisor to the
14. SCR012b_000022 (President’s Daily Diary,2/14/17); Comey 11/15/17 302, at 9.
15. Comey 11/15/17 302, at 10; 2/14/17 Comey Memorandum, at 1; Hearing on Russian Election
16. the Record of James B. Comey, fomer Director of the FBI, at 4); Priebus 10/13/17 302, at 18
17. (confirming that everyone was shooed out “like Comey said’ in his June testimony).
PAGE V2-40
1. the conversation by saying, “I want to talk about Mike Flynn.” The President stated that Flynn had not done anything wrong in speaking with the Russians, but had to be terminated because he
2. information, but the President returned to Flynn saying “he is a good guy and has been through a lot.”
3. He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.” Comey agreed that Flynn “is a good guy,”
4. but did not commit to ending the investigation of Flynn. Comey testified under oath that he
5. took the statement as an order to shut down the Flynn investigation).
6. the Record of James B. Comey, former Director of the FBI, at 4). Sessions recalled that the President asked
7. to speak to Comey alone and that Sessions was one of the last to leave the room; he described Comey's
8. testimony about the events leading up to the private meeting with the President as “pretty accurate.” Sessions 1/17/18 302, at 6. Kushner had no recollection of whether the President asked Comey to stay
9. excused them, repeating that he wanted to speak only with Comey, At some point after others
10. According to Comey's account of the meeting, once they were alone, the President began
11. Comey 11/15/17 302, at 10; Comey 2/14/17 Memorandum, at 1; Hearing on Russian Election
12. Coiney 2/14/17 Memorandum, at 2; Priebus 10/13/17 302, at 18. Comey 11/15/17 302, at 10; Comey 2/14/17 Memorandum, at 1; Hearing on Russian Election
13. the Record of James B. Comey, former Director of the FBI, at 4).
14. Comey 2/14/17 Memorandum, at 1; Hearing on Russian Election Interference Before the Senate
15. Select Intelligence Committee, 115th Cong. (June 8, 2017) (Statement for the Record of James B. Comey
16. Comey 11/15/17 302, at 10; Comey 2/14/17 Memorandum, at 2; Hearing on Russian Election
17. the Record of James B. Comey, former Director of the FBI, at 5).
18. 115th Cong. (June 8, 2017) (Statement for the Record of James B. Comey, former Director of the FBI, at 5);
19. Comey 2/14/17 Memorandum, at 2. Comey said he was highly confident that the words in quotations
20. remembered the words used by the President and wrote them down soon after the meeting. Comey 11/15/17 302, at 10-11.
21. Comey 11/15/17 302, at 10; Comey 2/14/17 Memorandum, at 2.
22. 115th Cong. (June 8, 2017) (CQ Cong. Transcripts, at 3 1) (testimony of James B. Comey, former Director
23. of the FBI). Comey further stated, “I mean, this is the president of the United States, with me alone, saying,
PAGE V2-41
1. President’s request, and they agreed not to inform FBI officials working on the Flynn case of the
2. After Flynn was forced to resign, the press raised questions about why the President waited
3. more than two weeks after the DOJ notification to remove Flynn and whether the President had
4. known about Flynn's contacts with Kislyak before the DOJ notification. The press also
5. On February 15, 2017, the President told reporters, “General Flynn is a wonderful man. I think
6. the press included, "if [the President] was notified 17 days ago that Flynn had misled the Vice President,
7. ambassador]?") Priebus recalled that the President initially equivocated on whether to fire Flynn because
8. for a meeting with Sessions and requested that Sessions not leave Comey alone with the President
9. "' Comey 11/15/17 302, at 11; Rybicki 6/9/17 302, at 4-5; Rybicki 6/22/17 302 at 1-2; Sessions 1/17/18 302, at 6 (confirming that later in the week following Comey 's one-on-one meeting with the
10. President); Hunt 2/1/18 302, at 6 (within days of the February 14 Oval Office meeting, Comey told Sessions he did not think it was appropriate for the FBI Director to meet alone with the President); Rybicki 11/21/18
11. 302, at 4 (Rybicki helped to schedule the meeting with Sessions because Comey wanted to talk about his
12. Shortly after meeting with the President, Comey began drafting a memorandum
13. documenting their conversation. Comey also met with his senior leadership team to discuss the
14. President’s statements so the officials would not be influenced by the request. Comey also asked
15. Comey 11/15/17 302, at 11; Hearing on Russian election interference Before the Senate Select
16. Intelligence Committee, 115th Cong. (June 8, 2017) (Statement for the record of James B. Comey former
17. Comey 11/15/17 302, at 11; Rybicki 6/9/17 302, at 4; Rybicki 6/22/17 302, at 1; Hearing on
18. (Statement for the record of James B. Comey former Director of the FBI, at 5-6).
19. President in the Oval Office, Comey told the Attorney General that he did not want to be alone with the
20. Senate Select, Intelligence Committee, 115th Cong. (June 8, 2017) (Statement for the record of James B. Comey former Director of the FBI, at 6).
21. Russian officials during campaign, CNN (Feb. 15, 2017); Austin Wright, Comey briefs senators amid furor
PAGE V2-42
1. a press conference and said that he removed Flynn because Flynn "didn't tell the Vice President
2. me. The President said he did not direct Flynn to discuss sanctions with Kislyak, but it
3. In listing the reasons for terminating Flynn the President did not say that Flynn had lied to him.
4. McFarland draft an internal email that would confirm that the President did not direct Flynn to call
5. did not direct Flynn to talk to Kislyak. McFarland told Priebus she did not know whether the
6. President had directed Flynn to talk to Kislyak about sanctions, and she declined to say yes or no
7. also said that Flynn's conduct "wasn't wrong — what he did in terms of the information he saw." The
8. president said that Flynn was just "doing the job," and "if anything, he did something right.'
PAGE V2-43
1. but that the President and Priebus wanted a letter from her denying that the President directed Flynn to discuss sanctions with Kislyak. Eisenberg advised McFarland not to write the
2. Around the same time, the President asked Priebus to reach out to Flynn and let him know
3. that the President still cared about him. Priebus called Flynn and said that he was checking in
4. and that Flynn was an American hero. Priebus thought the President did not want Flynn saying
5. On Match 31, 2017, following news that Flynn had offered to testify before the FBI and
6. congressional investigators in exchange for immunity, the President tweeted, "Mike Flynn should
7. whether he did or didn't, but was in Mar-a-Lago the week between Christmas and New Year's (while Flynn
8. was on vacation in Carribean) and I was not aware of any Flynn-Trump, or Trump-Russian phone calls" )
9. Priebus 1/18/18 302, at 9; Flynn 1/19/18 302, at 9.
PAGE V2-44
1. message to Flynn telling him the President felt bad for him and that he should stay strong.
2. In analyzing the President's conduct related to the Flynn investigation, the following
3. letting Flynn go.... I hope you can let this go." In analyzing whether these statements constitute
4. After Comey's account of the President's request to "let[] Flynn go" became public, the
5. that he had asked Comey ta "let[] Flynn go" or otherwise communicated that Comey should drop
6. the investigation of Flynn. In private, the President denied aspects of Comey's account to White House advisors, but acknowledged to Priebus that he brought Flynn up in the meeting with Comey and stated that Flynn was a goad guy. Despite those denials, substantial evidence corroborates Comey 's account.
7. @realDonaldTrump 3/31/17 (7:04 a.m. ET) tweet; see Shane Harris at al., Mike Flynn Offers
8. expressed his view that General Flynn is a decent man who served and protected our country, the President
9. General Flynn . . . This is not a truthful or accurate portrayal of the conversation between the President
10. 12/3/17 (6:I5 a.m, ET) tweet "I never asked Comey to stop investigating Flynn Just more Fake News
11. Priebus recalled that the President acknowledged telling Comey that Flynn was a good guy and
12. President denied saying to Comey that he hoped Comey would let Flynn go, but added that he was "allowed
13. Obstructive act. According to Comey's account of his February 14, 2017 meeting
14. an obstructive act, a threshold question is whether Comey 's account of the interaction is accurate,
15. remember having a one-on-one conversation with Comey as The President also publicly denied
16. recalled that the President told her he had never asked Comey to stay behind in his office. Hicks 12/8/17
17. has never asked Mr. Comey or anyone else to end any investigation, including any investigation involving
18. and Mr. Comey. See Michael S. Schmidt, Comey Memorandum Says Trump Asked Him to End Fiynn
19. covering another Comey lie I").
20. he hoped "everything worked out for him." Priebus 10/13/17 302, at 19. McGahn recalled that the
21. to hope." The President told McGahn he did not think he had crossed any lines. McGahn 12/14/I 7 302, at
PAGE V2-45
1. Second, Comey provided testimony about the president's request that he let[] Flynn go"
2. And the President acknowledged to Priebus and McGahn that he in fact spoke to Comey about Flynn in their one-on-one meeting.
3. having asked him to "let[] Flynn go." Comey met with the FBI leadership team, which agreed to
4. keep the President's statements closely held and not to inform the team working on the Flynn investigation so that they would not be influenced by the President's request. Comey also promptly
5. order to Comey could impede or interfere with the FBI's investigation of Flynn. While the
6. President said he "hope[d]" Comey could "let[] Flynn go," rather than affirmatively directing him
7. the FBI's investigation into Flynn. First, the President arranged the meeting with Comey so that
8. Kushner and Sessions lingered and had to be shooed out by the President, and that Priebus briefly
9. verified by Sessions, FBI Chief of Staff James Rybicki, and Jody Hunt, who was then the Attorney
10. ii See Priebus 10/13/17 302‚ at 18; Sessions 1/17/18 302, at 6.
11. First, Comey wrote a detailed memorandum of his encounter with the President on the
12. same day it occurred. Comey also told senior FBI officials about the meeting with the President
13. that day, and their recollections of what Comey told them at the time are consistent with Comey's
14. penalties for lying under 18 U.S.C. 1001. Comey's recollections of the encounter have remained
15. occur support Comey's description of the event. Comey recalled that the President cleared the
16. room to speak with Comey alone after a homeland security briefing in the Oval Offlce, that
17. confirmed Comey's account of how he ended up in a one-on-one meeting with the President.
18. General from the meeting signals that the President wanted to be alone with Comey which is
19. consistent with the delivery of a message of the type that Comey recalls, rather than a more
20. Finally, Comey's reaction to thc President's statements is consistent with the President
21. to do so, the circumstances of the conversation show that the President was asking Comey to close
22. President meant to make a request to Comey that he did not want anyone else to hear. Second,
23. President wants. Indeed, the President repeated a version of "let this go'" three times, and Comey
PAGE V2-46
1. investigation of Flynn was likely to lead to a grand jury investigation or prosecution.
2. , and resulted in Flynn's
3. prosecution for violating 18 U.S.C. 1001. By the time the President spoke to Comey about Flynn DOJ officials had informed McGahn who informed the President, that Flynn's statements
4. to senior White House officials about his contacts with Kislyak were not true and that Flynn had
5. told the same version of events to the FBI. McGahn also informed the President that Flynn's
6. reviewed the underlying information about Flynn's calls on February 10, 2017, they believed that Flynn could not have forgotten his conversations with Kislyak and concluded that he had been lying. In addition, the President's instruction to the FBI Director to "let[] Flynn go" suggests his
7. personal stake in the outcome of an investigation into Flynn ‚ for example, whether the President
8. was aware of Flynn's communications with Kislyak close in time to when they occurred, such that
9. the President knew that Flynn had lied to senior White House officials and that those lies had been
10. content of Flynn's calls when they occurred, but the evidence is inconclusive and could not be
11. relied upon to establish the President's knowledge. In advance of Flynn's initial call with Kislyak,
12. mentioned that Flynn was scheduled to talk to Kislyak. Flynn told McFarland about the substance
13. train on Russia's response" to the sanctions. It would have been reasonable for Flynn to have
14. wanted the President to know of his communications with Kislyak because Kislyak told Flynn his
15. "[g]reat move." And the President never said publicly or internally that Flynn had lied to him
16. Flynn
17. But McFarland did not recall providing the President-Elect with Flynn's read-out of his
18. calls with Kislyak, and Flynn does not have a specific recollection of telling the President-Elect
19. directly about the calls. Bannon also said he did not recall hearing about the calls from Flynn
20. And in February 2017, the President asked Flynn what was discussed on the calls and whether he
21. accordingly did not produce evidence that established that the President knew about Flynn's
22. discussions in late January 2017. The evidence also does not establish that Flynn otherwise
23. way Comey reacted at the time.
24. At the time of the president's one-on-one meeting with Comey no grand jury subpoenas
PAGE V2-47
1. to end the FBI's inquiry into Flynn's conduct.
2. Evidence does establish that the President connected the Flynn investigation to the FBI's
3. broader Russia investigation and that he believed, as he told Christie, that terminating Flynn would
4. end "the whole Russia thing." Flynn's firing occurred at a time when the media and Congress
5. paid careful attention to negative coverage of Flynn and reacted with annoyance and anger when
6. the story broke disclosing that Flynn had discussed sanctions with Kislyak. Just hours before
7. meeting one-on-one with Comey the President told Christie that firing Flynn would put an end to
8. the Russia inquiries. And after Christie pushed back, telling the President that firing Flynn would
9. the room and asked Comey to "let[] Flynn go."
10. We also sought evidence relevant to assessing whether the President's direction to Comey was motivated by sympathy towards Flynn In public statements the President repeatedly
11. described Flynn as a good person who had been harmed by the Russia investigation, and the
12. Priebus, and Hicks, said that the President had become unhappy with Flynn well before Flynn was
13. forced to resign and that the President was frequently irritated with Flynn Priebus said he believed
14. the President's initial reluctance to fire Flynn stemmed not from personal regard, but from concern
15. support for Flynn were motivated by the President's desire to keep Flynn from saying negative
16. into Flynn he told McGahn Bannon, and Priebus not to discuss the matter with anyone else in the
17. that Flynn had judgment issues. When the President met with Comey the day after Flynn's
18. termination, shortly after being told by Christie that firing Flynn would not end the Russia
19. activities. And the President later denied that he cleared the room and asked Comey to "let[] Flynn go" a denial that would have been unnecessary if he believed his request was a proper exercise
20. not end the Russia investigation, the President asked Christie to reach out to Comey and convey
21. The way in which the President communicated the request to Comey also is relevant to
22. White House. The next day, the President invited Comey for a one-on-one dinner against the
23. could again speak to Comey alone. The President's decision to meet one-on-one with Comey contravened the advice of the White House Counsel that the President should not communicate
PAGE V2-48
1. President had directed Flynn to discuss sanctions with Kislyak highlights the President's concern
2. about being associated with Flynn's conduct. The evidence does not establish that the President
3. that McFarland - who did not know the full extent of Flynn's communications with the President
4. In early March 2017, the President learned that Sessions was considering recusing from
5. the Russia investigation and tried to prevent the recusal. After Sessions announced his recusal on
6. March 2, the President expressed anger at Sessions for the decision and then privately asked Sessions to "unrecuse" On March 20, 2017, Comey publicly disclosed the existence of the FBI's
7. Attorney General Sessions Recuses From the Russia Investigation
8. In late February 2017, the Department of Justice began an internal analysis of whether Sessions should recuse from the Russia investigatian based on his role in the 2016 Trump
9. become Attorney General, Senator Sessions had not disclosed two meetings he had with Russian
10. Ambassador Kislyak before the presidential election, leading to congressional calls for Sessions to recuse or for a special counsel to investigate Russia's interference in the presidential election.
11. President talked about Sessions a bit, said that he had heard Comey was "doing great," and said
12. that he hoped Comey would came by to say hello when he was at the White House. Comey Sessions 1/17/18 302, at 1; Hunt 2/1/18 302, at 3.
13. E.g., Adam Entous et al., Sessions met with Russian envoys twice last year , encounters he later
14. Russia investigation. I n the days that followed, the President contacted Comey and other
15. Also on March 1, the President called Comey and said he wanted to check in and see how
16. Comey. According to an email Comey sent to his chief af staff after the call, the
17. 3/1/17 Email, Comey to Rybicki; SCR012b 000030 (President's Daily Diary, 3/1/17, reflecting
18. call with Comey at 11:55 am.)
19. 3/1/17 Email, Comey to Rybicki; see Hearing on Russian election interference Before the
PAGE V2-49
1. as an attempt by the President to find out what Comey was doing with the Flynn investigation,
2. The next morning, the President called McGahn and urged him to contact Sessions to tell
3. be concerned that a recusal would make Sessions look guilty for omitting details in his
4. Presidential Address to Congress the President had delivered earlier in the week. McGahn reached out to Sessions and reported that the President was not happy about the possibility of
5. back to the President about the call with Sessions and the President reiterated that he did not want Sessions to recuse.Throughout the day, McGahn continued trying on behalf of the President to
6. avert Sessions's recusal by speaking to Sessions's personal counsel, Sessions's chief of staff, and
7. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and by contacting Sessions himself two more times." Sessions recalled that other White House advisors also called him that day to argue against his
8. That afternoon, Sessions announced his decision to recuse from any existing or future
9. States. Sessions believed the decision to recuse was not a close call, given the applicable
10. Sessions 1/17/18 302, at 3.
11. McGahn 11/30/17 302, at 18-19; Sessions 1/17/18 302, at 3; Hunt 2/1/18 302, at 4; Donaldson
12. Sessions 1/17/18 302, at 3.
13. Attorney General Sessions Statement on Recusal, Department of Justice Press Release (Mar. 2,
14. of the United States."). At the time of Sessions's recusal, Dana Boente, then the Acting Deputy Attorney
15. of James B. Comey former Director of the FBI) ("[H]e called me one day.. .. [H]e just called to check in
16. Comey 11/15/17 302, at 17-18.
17. him not to recuse himself,from the Russia investigation. McGahn understood the President to
18. recusal. Sessions replied that he intended to follow the rules on recusal. McGahn reported
19. McGahn 11/30/17 302, at 16. McGahn 11/30/17 302, at 16-17; see SC AD 00123 (Donaldson 3/2/17 Notes) (" Just in the
20. McGahn 1/30/17 302, at 17.
21. McGahn 11/30/17 302, at 17.
PAGE V2-50
1. language in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), which Sessions considered to be clear and
2. Shortly after Sessions announced his recusal, the White House Counsel's Office directed
3. that Sessions should not be contacted about the matter. Internal White House Counsel's Office
4. On March 3, the day after Sessions's recusal, McGahn was called into the Oval Office.
5. Sessions 1/17/18 302, at 1-2. 28 C.F.R. 5 45.2 provides that "no employee shall participate in a
6. Sessions 1/17/18 302, at 2.
7. Sessions 1/17/18 302, at 3.
8. the President was aware of the White House Counsel's Office direction not to contact Sessions about his
9. saying "crazy things" and trying to spin Sessions's recusal in a way that would raise concerns about
10. no one should contact Sessions Donaldson 11/6/17 302, at 11.
11. conversation by saying, "I don't have a lawyer."The President expressed anger at McGahn about the recusal and brought up Roy Cohn, stating that he wished Cohn was his attorney.
12. SC AD 00123 (Donaldson 3/2/17 Notes). McGahn said he believed the note "No comms /
13. Serious concerns about obstruction may have referred to concerns McGahn had about the press team
14. obstruction. McGahn 11/30/17 302, at 19. Donaldson recalled that "No comms" referred to the order that
15. McGahn 12/12/17 302, at 2.
16. McGahn 12/12/17 302, at 2.
17. McGahn 12/12/17 302, at 2.
18. McGahn 12/12/17 302, at 2. Cohn.had previously served as a lawyer for the President during
PAGE V2-51
1. asking for transition-period records relating to Flynn, indicating that the FBI was still actively
2. President whereas McGahn would not. The President wanted McGahn to talk to Sessions about
3. the recusal, but McGahn told the President that DOJ ethics officials had weighed in on Sessions's
4. at McGahn about how weak Sessions was. Bannon recalled telling the President that Sessions's
5. recusal was not a surprise and that before the inauguration they had discussed that Sessions would
6. That weekend, Sessions and McGahn flew to Mar-a-Lago to meet with the President. Sessions recalled that the President pulled him aside to speak to him alone and suggested that Sessions should "unrecuse" from the Russia investigation. The President contrasted Sessions with Attorneys General Holder and Kennedy, who had developed a strategy to help their presidents
7. where Sessions had not. Sessions said he had the impression that the President feared that the
8. investigation could spin out of control and disrupt his ability to govern, which Sessions could have
9. Sessions 1/17/18 302, at 3; Hunt 2/1/18 302, at 5; McGahn 12/1 2/17 302, at 3.
10. Sessions 1/17/18 302, at 3-4.
11. Sessions 1/17/18 302, at 3-4 Sessions 1/17/18 302, at 3-4. Hicks recalled that after Sessions recused, the President was angry
12. and scolded Sessions in her presence, but she could not remember exactly when that conversation occurred.
13. McGahn 12/12/17 302, at 2. McGahn 12/12/17 302, at 2.
14. McGahn 12/12/17 302, at 3. Bannon said the President saw Robert Kennedy and Eric Holder
15. McGahn 12/12/17 302, at 3.
PAGE V2-52
1. is not clear whether the President knew at that time of the FBI's recent request concerning Flynn
2. We know something on Flynn / GSA got contacted by FBI / There's something hot").
3. On March 9, 2017, Comey briefed the "Gang of Eight" congressional leaders about the
4. to Russia. The week after Comey's briefing, the White House Counsel
5. On March 20, 2017, Comey was scheduled to testify before HPSCI. In advance of Comey's testimony, congressional officials made clear that they wanted Comey to provide
6. Attorney General for the Russia investigation, authorized Comey to confirm the existence of the
7. Russia investigation and agreed that Comey should decline to comment on whether any particular
8. Comey 11/15/17 302, at 13-14; SNS-Classified-0000140-44 (3/8/17 Email, Gauhar to Page et
9. FBI‚ the Department of Justice, and Comey and the notes track the background materials prepared by the
10. FBI for Comey's briefing to the Gang of 8 on Match 9. See SNS-Classified-0000140-44 (3/8/17 Email,
11. Comey 11/15/17 302, at 16; McCabc 8/17/17, at 15; McGahn 12/14/17 302, at 1.
12. Boente 1/31/18 302, at 5; Comey 11/15/17 302, at 16-17.
13. at the time, notes taken by Annie Donaldson, then McGahn's chief of staff, on March 12, 2017,
14. U.S.C. 1001 for lying to the FBI). SC AD 00198(Donaldson 3/16/17 Notes). Donaldson and McGahn both said they believed these were targets of SSCI. Donaldson 11/6/17 302, at 15; McGahn 12/12/17 302,
15. told McGahn those individuals were the FBI's targets).
PAGE V2-53
1. Department of Justice, Comey stated that he had "been authorized by the Department of Justice to
2. crimes were committed. Comey added that he would not comment further on what the. FBI
3. the investigation. Comey was specifically asked whether President Trump was "under
4. Comey was also asked whether the FBI was
5. According to McGahn and Donaldson‚ the President had expressed frustration with Comey before his March 20 testimony, and the testimony made matters worse. The President had
6. previously criticized Comey for too frequently making headlines and for not attending intelligence
7. briefings at the White House, and the President suspected Comey of leaking certain information
8. to the media. McGahn said the President thought Comey was acting like "his own branch of
9. B. Comey; Comey 11/15/17 302, at 17; Boente 1/31/18 302, at 5 (confirming that the Department of Justice
10. authorized Comey's remarks).
11. B. Comey ).
12. B. Comey .
13. B. Comey .
14. Donaldson 11/6/17 302, at 21; McGahn 12/12/17 302, at 7.
15. Donaldson 11/6/17 302, at 21; McGahn 12/12/17 302, at 6-9.
PAGE V2-54
1. Press reports following Comey's March 20 testimony suggested that the FBI was
2. investigating the President, contrary to what Comey had told the President at the end of the January
3. Miller recalled that the President was upset with Comey's testimony and the press coverage that
4. himself" over Comey's testimony,. ' The President called McGahn repeatedly that day to ask him
5. seek Boente's assistance in having Comey or the Department of Justice correct the misperception
6. E.g., Matt Apuzzo et al., F.B.I. Is Investigating Trump's Russia Ties, Comey Confirms, New
7. investigated by FBI, Comey confirms, Guardian (Mar. 20, 2017); see Comey 1/6/17 Memorandum, at 2.
8. 6, 2017 intelligence assessment briefing. McGahn Donaldson, and senior advisor Stephen
9. At the President's urging, McGahn contacted Boente several times on March 21, 2017, to
10. although he did remember one conversation with McGahn around this time where McGahn asked
11. said McGahn told him the President was under a cloud and it made it hard for him to govern.
12. Boente recalled telling McGahn that there was no good way to shorten the investigation and
13. attempting to do so could erode confidence in the investigation's conclusions.Boente said McGahn agreed and dropped the issue. The President also sought to speak with Boente directly,
14. but McGahn told the President that Boente did not want to talk to the President about the request
15. Donaldson 11/6/17 302, at 16-17; S. Miller 10/31/17 302, at 4; McGahn 12/12/17 302, at 5-7.
16. Donaldson 11/6/17 302, at 16-21; McGahn 12/12/17 302, at 5-7.
PAGE V2-55
1. to intervene with Comey McGahn recalled Boente telling him in calls that day that he did not
2. think it was sustainable for Comey to stay on as FBI director for the next four years, which McGahn said he conveyed to the President. Boente did not recall discussing with McGahn or
3. anyone else the idea that Comey should not continue as FBI director.
4. In the weeks following Comey's March 20, 2017 testimony, the President repeatedly asked
5. Coats told this Office that the President never asked him to speak to Comey about the FBI
6. SC AD 00210 (Donaldson 3/21/17 Notes); McGahn 12/12/17 302, at 7; Donaldson 11/6/17
7. 302, at 19. McGahn 12/12/17 302, at 7; Burnham 11/03/17 302, at 11.
PAGE V2-56
1. reporting that Coats was upset because the President had asked him to contact Comey to convince
PAGE V2-57
1. On the morning of March 30, 2017, the President reached out to Comey directly about the
2. Russia investigation. According to Comey's contemporaneous record of the conversation, the
3. SCR012b 000044 (President's Daily Diary, 3/30/17, reflecting call to Comey from 8:14 - 8:24
4. a.m.); Comey 3/30/17 Memorandum, at 1 (" The President called me on my CMS phone at 8: 13 am today .
5. the Record of James B.Comey former Director of the FBI, at 6).
PAGE V2-58
1. that difficult." The President asked Comey what could be done to "lift the cloud." Comey explained "that we were running it down as quickly as possible and that there would be great
2. our work. Comey also told the President that congressional leaders were aware that the FBI
3. get that fact out." The President commented that if there was "some satellite" (which Comey took to mean an associate of the President's or the campaign) that did something, "it would be
4. good to find that out" but that he himself had not done anything wrong and he hoped Comey "would find a way to get out that we weren't investigating him. After the call ended, Comey called Boente and told him about the conversation, asked for guidance on how to respond, and said
5. 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
6. under investigation." s' Comey responded that he had passed the request to Boente but not heard
7. s ' Comey 3/30/17 Memoraiidum, at 1. Comey subsequently testified before Congress about this
8. (' June 8, 201 7) (Statement for the Record of James B. Comey former Director of the FBI, at 6); Comey 11/15/17 302, at 18.
9. " C omey 3/30/17 Memorandum, at I; Comey 11/15/17 302, at 18.
10. m' Comey 3/30/17 Memorandum, at I; Comey 11/15/17 302, at 18.
11. ' 4 Comey 3/30/1 7 Memorandum, at I; Hearing on Russian election Intevference Before the Senate
12. Select Intelligence Committee, 115th Cong. (June 8, 2017) (Statement, for the Record of James B. Comey
13. Comey 3/30/17 Memorandum, at 1; Hearing on Russian election interference Before the Senate
14. Select Intelligence Committee, 115th Cong. (June 8, 2017) (Statement for the Record of James B. Comey
15. Comey 3/30/17 Memorandum, at 1; Hearing on Russian election interference Before the Senate
16. Select Intelligence Committee, 115th Cong. (June 8, 2017) (Statement for the Record of James B. Comey
17. Comey 3/30/17 Memorandum, at 2; Boente 1/31/18 302, at 6-7; Hearing on Russian election
18. the Record of James B. Comey former Director of the FBI, at 7).
19. SCR012b 000053 (President's Daily Diary, 4/11/17, reflecting call to Comey from 8:27 - 8:31
20. a.m.); Comey 4/11/17 Memorandum, at 1 ("I returned the president's call this morning at 8:26 am EDT.
21. Comey 4/11/17 Memorandum, at 1. Comey subsequently testified before Congress about this
22. the Record of James B. Comey former Director of the FBI, at 7).
PAGE V2-59
1. asked if it was too late for him to ask Comey to step down; the President responded, "No, it's not
2. comment about Comey should be removed from the broadcast of the interview, but the President
3. had reached out to Comey twice in recent weeks. The President acknowledged that McGahn
4. President that he should not talk to Comey directly to prevent any perception that the White House
5. was interfering with investigations. The President told McGahn that Comey had indicated the
6. the Department of Justice cleared it. McGahn recalled that Boente said Comey had told him
7. there was nothing obstructive about the calls from the President, but they made Comey uncomfortable. According to McGahn Boente responded that he did not want to issue a
8. ramifications and did not want to order Comey to do it because that action could prompt the
9. Comey 4/11/17 Memorandum, at l.
10. Comey 4/11/17 Memorandum, at 1.
11. Comey 4/11/17 Memorandum, at 1. In a footnote to this statement in his memorandum, Comey wrote, "His use of these words did not fit with the flow of the call, which at that point hsd moved away
12. Later in April, the President told other attorneys in the White House Counsel's Office that he had called Comey even though he knew they had advised against direct contact. Dhillon 11/21/17 302, at 2 (recalling
13. that the President said, "I know you told me not to, but I called Comey anyway.").
14. McGahn 12/12/17 302, at 9. McGahn 12/12/17 302, at 9; see Boente 1/31/18 302, at 6 (recalling that Comey told him after
15. Later that day, the President told senior advisors, including McGahn and Priebus, that he
16. would not approve of the outreach to Comey because McGahn had previously cautioned the
17. of Justice approved that action. After speaking with the President, McGahn followed up with
18. Priebus 10/13/17 302, at 23; McGahn 12/12/17 302, at 9.
19. Priebus 10/13/17 302, at 231 McGahn 12/12/17 302, at 9; see McGahn 11/30/17 302, at 9;
PAGE V2-60
1. In analyzing the President's reaction to Sessions's recusal and the requests he made. to
2. prevent Sessions's recusal, and in reaching out to Coats, Pompeo, Rogers, and Comey following
3. appointment of a Special Counsel" Boente did not recall that aspect of his conversation with McGahn but did recall telling McGahn that the direct outreaches from the President to Comey were a problem. Boente recalled that McGahn agreed and said he would do what he could to
4. Coats, Pompeo, Rogers, and Comey the following evidence is relevant to the elements of
5. Obstructive act. The evidence shows that, after Comey's March 20, 2017
6. meeting that the President asked Coats to intervene with Comey and "stop" the investigation. But
7. did not ask him to speak with Comey or to help end the investigation. The other outreaches by the
8. anything to refute the stories linking the President to Russia, and the President asked Comey to
9. yet involve grand jury proceedings. The outreaches, however, came after and were in response to Comey's March 20, 2017 announcement that the FBI, as a part of its counterintelligence mission,
10. was conducting an investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Comey testified that the investigation included any links or coordination with Trump campaign
11. and the President affirmatively told Comey that if "some satellite" was involved in Russian election interference "it would be good to find that out." But the President's intent in trying to
12. McGahn 12/12/17 302, at 9-10.
13. Boente 1/31/18 302, at 7; McGahn 12/12/17 302, at 9,
PAGE V2-61
1. investigation or had links to Russia. In early March, thc President attempted to prevent Sessions's
2. recusal, even after being told that Sessions was following DOJ conflict-of-interest rules. After Sessions recused, the White House Counsel's Office tried to cut off further contact with Sessions about the matter, although it is not clear whether that direction was conveyed to the President. The
3. President continued to raise the issue of Sessions 's recusal and, when he had the opportunity, he
4. pulled Sessions aside and urged him to unrecuse. The President also told advisors that he wanted
5. Comey’s public announcement. of the FBI's Russia investigation, is nevertheless relevant to
6. After Comey publicly confirmed the existence of the FBI's Russia investigation on March
7. 20, 2017, the President was "beside himself" and expressed anger that Comey did not issue a
8. contact Boente to request that Comey make a clarifying statement. The President then asked other
9. an ongoing investigation, the President made personal outreaches to Comey asking him to "lift the
10. based on Comey's representations. The President complained to advisors thatif people thought
11. the Russians' was interfering with his ability to conduct foreign affairs, and he told Comey that
12. President sought to speak with Acting Attorney General Boente directly and told McGahn to
PAGE V2-62
1. Events Leading Up To and Surrounding the Termination of FBI Bdrector Comey Overview
2. Comey was scheduled to testify before Congress on May 3, 2017. Leading up to that
3. testimony, the President continued to tell advisors that he wanted Comey to make public that the
4. President was not under investigation. At the hearing, Comey declined to answer questions about
5. going to fire Comey and on May 9, he did so, using his official termination letter to make public
6. The President decided to fire Comey before receiving advice or a recommendation from the
7. it to a recommendation from the Department of Justice based on Comey's handling of the Clinton
8. to his recommendation, the President acknowledged that he intended to fire Comey regardless of
9. On May 3, 2017, Comey was scheduled to testify at an FBI oversight hearing before the
10. President said that it would be the last straw if Comey did not take the opportunity to set the record
11. hearing, Comey declined to answer questions about the status of the Russia investigation, stating
12. completed. " Comey also declined to answer questions about whether investigators had "ruled
13. Called Comey — Day we told him not to? 'You are not under investigation' NK/China/Sapping
14. Transcripts, at 70) (May 3, 2017) (testimony by FBI Director James Comey). Comey repeated this point
15. email investigation. After Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein resisted attributing the firing
16. had previously told McGahn that the perception that the President was under investigation was
17. McGahn 12/12/17 302, at 10-11.
18. McGahn 12/12/17 302, at 7, 10-11 (McGahn believed that two foreign leaders had expressed
PAGE V2-63
1. and Sessions's Chief of Staff Jody Hunt. At that meeting, the President asked McGahn how
2. upset and directed his anger at Sessions. According to notes written by Hunt, the President said,
3. authority with foreign leaders. Sessions responded that he had had no choice but to recuse, and
4. it was a mandatory rather than discretionary decision. Hunt recalled that Sessions also stated at
5. Sessions 1/17/18 302, at 8; Hunt 2/1/18 302; at 8. Sessions 1/17/18 302, at 8; Hunt-000021 (Hunt 5/3/17 Notes); McGahn 3/8/18 302, at 6.
6. Sessions 11/17/18 302, at 8-9.
7. invesdgated") Sessions 1/17/18 302, at 8 (Sessions recalled that a Chinese leader had said to the President
8. Sessions 1/17/18 302, at 8; Hunt-000022 (Hunt 5/31/17 Notes).
9. whether the FBI had "ruled out the president of the United States." Comey was also asked at the hearing about his decision to announce 11 days before the
10. presidential election that the FBI was reopening the Clinton email investigation. Comey stated
11. In the afternoon following Comey's testimony, thc President met with McGahn Sessions,
12. Comey had done in his testimony and McGahn relayed that Comey had declined to answer
13. Comey .
14. (CQ Cong. Transcripts, at 17) (testimony by FBI Director James B. Comey').
15. (CQ Cong. Transcripts, at 92) (testimony by FBI Director James B. Comey .
PAGE V2-64
1. President should consider replacing Comey as FBI director. According to Sessions when the
2. meeting concluded, it was clear that the President was unhappy with Comey but Sessions did not
3. Sessions 1/17/18 302, at 9.
4. think the President had made the decision to terminate Comey
5. Bannon recalled that the President brought Comey up with him at least eight times on May
6. know any Russians. There was no collusion" Bannon told the President that he could not fire Comey because "that ship had sailed" Bannon also told the President that firing Comey was
7. various advisors and family members, including Jared Kushner and senior advisor Stephen Miller
PAGE V2-65
1. important to the President to show that Comey was not being terminated based on any such
2. investigation. According to Miller, the President wanted to establish as a factual matter that Comey had been under a "review period" and did not have assurance from the President that he
3. Director Comey. While I greatly appreciate your informing me, on three separate occasions, that I
4. went on to critique Comey's judgment and conduct, including his May 3 testimony before the
5. leakers accountable. The letter stated that Comey had "asked [the President] at dinner shortly
6. advisors, including McGahn Priebus, and Miller, and informed them he had decided to terminate Comey. The President read aloud the first paragraphs of the termination letter he wrote with
7. SCR013c_000003-06 (Draft Termination Letter to FBI Director Comey
8. SCR013_c_000003-06 (Draft Termination Letter to FBI Director Comey. Kushner said that the
9. termination letter reflected the reasons the President wanted to fire Comey and was the truest represeiitation
10. SCR013c_000003 (Draft Termination Letter to FBI Director Comey .
11. McGahn 12/12/17 302, at 11; Priebus 10/13/17 302, at 24; S. Miller 10/31/17 302, at 11; Dhillon
PAGE V2-66
1. and suggested that White House Counsel's Office attorneys should talk with Sessions and Rod Rosenstein, who had recently been confirmed as the Deputy Attorney General.McGahn said
2. that previously scheduled meetings with Sessions and Rosenstein that day would be an opportunity
3. At noon, Sessions Rosenstein and Hunt met with McGahn and White House Counsel
4. to fire Comey and asked for Sessions's and Rosenstein's views. Sessions and Rosenstein criticized Comey and did not raise concerns about replacing him. McGahn and Dhillon said the
5. fact that neither Sessions nor Rosenstein objected to replacing Comey gave them peace of mind
6. Office meeting was scheduled later that day so that Sessions and Rosenstein could discuss the
7. At around 5 p.m., the President and several White House officials met with Sessions and Rosenstein to discuss Comey. The President told the group that he had watched Comey's May
8. Dhillon 11/21/17 302, at 7-9, Sessions 1/17/18 302, at 9; McGahn 12/12/17 302, at 13.
9. authority to terminate Comey without cause." In an effort to slow down the decision-making
10. process, McGahn told the President that DOJ leadership was currently discussing Comey's status
11. to find out what they thought about firing Comey
12. that the President's decision to fire Comey was not an attempt to obstruct justice.
13. (the President announced in an irreversible way that he was firing Comey ; Eisenberg 11/29/17 302, at 13
14. (the President did not leave whether or not firing Comey up for discussion); Priebus 10/13/17 302, at 25;
15. Because of the Attorney General's recusal, Rosenstein became the Acting Attorney General for the Russia
16. Rosenstein 5/23/17 302, at 2; McGahn 12/12/17 302, at 14; eee Gauhar-000057 (Gauhar 5/16/17
17. Office attorney Uttam Dhillon at the White House.McGahn said that the President had decided
18. &Dhillon 302 11/21/17, at 6; Eisenberg 11/29/17 302, at 13; McGahn 12/12/17 302, at 11.
19. McGahn 12/12/17 302, at 12, 13; S. Miller 10/31/17 302, at 11; Dhillon 11/21/17 302, at 7.
20. McGahn 12/12/17 302, at 12.
21. Dhillon 11/21/17 302, at 7; McGahn 12/12/17 302, at 13; Gauhar-000056 (Gauhsr 5/16/17
22. 16, 2017). McGahn 12/12/17 302, at 13; see Gauhar-000056 (Gauhar 5/16/17 Notes).
23. McGahn 12/I 2/17 302, at 13; Dhillon 11/21/I 7 302, at 9.
PAGE V2-67
1. President said that Comey should be removed and asked Sessions and Rosenstein for their
2. views. Hunt, who was in the room, recalled that Sessions responded that he had previously
3. President was adamant that he be fired. The group discussed the possibility that Rosenstein and Sessions could provide a recommendation in writing that Comey should be removed. The
4. Sessions 1/17/18 302, at 10; see Gauhar-000058 (Gauhar 5/16/17 Notes) (POTUS to AG: What
5. Sessions 1/17/18 302 at 10; McCabe 9/26/17 302, at 13; see Gauhar-000059 (Gauhar 5/16/17
6. testimony over the weekend and thought that something was "not right" with Comey The
7. recommended that Comey be replaced. McGahn and Dhillon said Rosenstein described his
8. concerns about Comey's handling. of the Clinton email investigatian.
9. and the discussion turned to the mechanics of how to fire Comey and whether the President's letter
10. should be used. McGahn and Dhillon urged the President to permit Comey to resign, but the
11. recommendation the fact that Comey had refused to confirm that the President was not personally
12. the fact that although Comey talks about the investigation he refuses to say that the President is not under
13. investigation...So it would be good if your recommendation would make mention of the fact that Comey
14. President agreed and told Rosenstein to draft a memorandum, but said he wanted to receive it first
15. thing the next morning. Hunt's notes reflect that the President told Rosenstein to include in his
16. under investigation. According to notes taken by a senior DOJ official of Rosenstein's
17. Rosenstein responded that the Russia investigation was not the basis of his
18. Rosenstein he would appreciate it if Rosenstein put it in his letter anyway. When Rosenstein
19. McCabe 9/26/17 302, at 13; Rosenstein 5/23/17 302, at 2; see Gauhar-000059 (Gauhat' 5/16/17
20. Hunt-600028 (Hunt 5/8/17 Notes). McGahn 12/12/17 302, at 13.
PAGE V2-68
1. On May 9, Hunt delivered to the White House a letter from Sessions recommending Comey's removal and a memorandum from Rosenstein addressed to the Attorney General, titled
2. for the firing than what was in Rosenstein's and Sessions apos;s memoranda.44i The President asked
3. Rosenstein 5/23/17 302, at 4; McGahn 12/12/17 302, at 15; 5/9/17 Letter, Sessions to President
4. Memorandum, Rosenstein to Sessions (concluding with, "The way the Director handled the conclusion of
5. left the meeting, he knew that Comey would be terminated, and he told DOJ colleagues that his
6. own reasons for replacing Comey were "not [the President's] reasons."
7. Miller to draft a new termination letter and directed Miller to say in the letter that Comey had
8. end?" because she was worried that the decision to terminate Comey and the manner in which it was carried
9. Rosenstein 5/23/17 302, at 2; Gauhar-000059 (Gauhar 5/16/17 Notes) ("DAG reasons not their
10. "Restoring Public Confidence in the FBI," McGahn recalled that the President liked the DOJ
11. informed the President three times that he was not under investigation. McGahn, Priebus, and
12. Dhillon objected to including that language, but the President insisted that it be included. McGahn, Priebus, and others perceived that language to be the most important part of the letter to
13. S. Miller 10/31/17 302, at 12; McGahn 12/12/17 302, at 15; Hunt-000032 (Hunt 5/9/17 Notes).
14. McGahn 12/12/17 302, at 15; S. Miller 10/31/17 302, at 12; Dhillon 11/21/17 302, at 8, 101
PAGE V2-69
1. stated in the letters by Rosenstein and Sessions. To announce Comey's termination, the White House released a statement, which Priebus thought had been dictated by the President. In full,
2. recommendations of both Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
3. thc President. Dhillon made a final pitch to the President that Comey should be permitted to
4. press team to the Oval Office, where they were told that Comey had been terminated for the reasons
5. the statement read: "Today, President Donald J. Trump informed FBI Director James Comey that
6. President at the White House. The President told McCabe that he had fired Comey because of
7. the decisions Comey had made in the Clinton email investigation and for many other reasons.
8. The President asked McCabe if he was aware that Comey had told the President three times that
9. FBI disliked Comey and whether McCabe was part of the "resistance" that had disagreed with Comey's decisions in the Clinton investigation. McCabe told the President that he knew Comey had told the President he was not under investigation, that most people in the FBI felt positively
10. about Comey and that McCabe worked "very closely" with Comey and was part of all the
11. thc line that said Comey advised the President on three separate occasions that the President was not under
12. investigation). According to Hunt's notes, the reference to Comey's statement would indicate that
13. "'notwithstanding" Comey's having informed the President that he was not under investigation, the
14. President was terminating Comey Hunt-000032 (Hunt 5/9/17 Notes). McGahn said he believed the
15. President wanted the language included so that people would not think that the President had terminated Comey because the President was under investigation. McGahn 12/12/17 302, at 15,
16. McGahn 12/12/17 302, at 15; Donaldson 11/6/17 302, at 25‚ see SC AD 00342 (Donaldson
17. Spicer 10/16/17 302, at 9; McGahn 12/12/17 302, at 16.
PAGE V2-70
1. press, coverage of Comey's termination and ordered them to go out and defend him. The
2. press over Comey's termination. The President asked what he should do. Christie asked,
3. White House wanted to put out a statement saying that it was Rosenstein's idea to fire Comey
4. coverage had been great, and that he wanted Rosenstein to do a press conference. Rosenstein responded that this was not a good idea because if the press asked him, he would tell the truth that Comey's firing was not his idea. Sessions also informed the White House Counsel's Office that
5. evening that Rosenstein was upset that his memorandum was being portrayed as the reason for Comey's termination.
6. Gauhar-000071 (Gauhar 5/16/17 Notes). DOJ notes from the week of Comey's firing indicate
7. The President then called Rosenstein directly and said he was watching Fox News, that the
8. Rosenstein 5/23/17 302, at 4-5; Gauhar-000059 (Gauhar 5/16/17 Notes).
9. Rosenstein 5/23/17 302, at 4-5; Gauhar-000071 (Gauhar 5/16/17 Notes).
10. that Priebus was "screaming' at the DOJ public affairs office trying to get Rosenstein to do a press
11. conference, and the DOJ public affairs office told Priebus that Rosenstein had told the President he was not
PAGE V2-71
1. received from Rosenstein and Sessions
2. President's decision to terminate Comey was driven by the recommendations the President
3. prior day to terminate Comey telling Lavrov and Kislyak; "I just fired the head of the F.B.I. He
4. politicizing the investigation into Russia's actions, James Comey created unnecessary pressure on
5. and obviously, the termination of Comey would not have ended it. Once again, the real story is
6. President about his comments to Lavrov, the President said it was good that Comey was fired
7. comments on the Comey termination by Vice President Pence).
8. the Comey termination letter to Stephen Miller. SCR08 001274 (5/10/17 Email‚ Ciaramella to Kelly et al.
9. Matt Apuzzo et al., Trump Told Russians That Firing "Nut Job" Comey Eased Pressure From
10. President had said similar things about Comey in an off-the-record meeting with reporters on May 18, 2017,
11. calling Comey a "nut job" and "crazy").
12. Lavrov, he did not look concerned and said of Comey, "he is crazy."m' When McGahn asked the
13. McGahn 12/12/17 302, at 18.
PAGE V2-72
1. Also on May 10, 2017, Sessions and Rosenstein each spoke, to McGahn and expressed
2. indicating their support for terminating Comey. The President also told McCabe that Comey should not have been permitted to travel back to Washington, D.C. on the FBI's airplane after he
3. had been terminated and that he did not want Comey "in the building again," even to collect his
4. President about his decision to fire Comey and then spoke to reporters in a televised press
5. members of Congress had lost confidence in Comey "[a]nd most importantly, the rank and file of
6. recommendatian of his Deputy Attorney General to remove James Comey from his position."
7. review Comey's performance and that Rosenstein decided "on his own" to come to the President
8. on Monday, May 8 to express his concerns about Comey When a reporter indicated that the "vast
9. majority" of FBI agents supported Comey Sanderssaid, "Look, we've heard from countless
10. interview that rank-and-file FBI agents had lost confidence in Comey was a comment she made
11. McCabe 5/10/17 Memorandum, at 1; Rybicki 6/13/17 302, at 2. Comey had been visiting the
12. FBI's Los Angeles office when he found out he had been terminated. Comey 11/15/17 302, at 22.
13. In response to questions from reporters,Sanders said that Rosenstein decided "on his own'" to
14. concern that the White House was creating a narrative that Rosenstein had initiated the decision to
PAGE V2-73
1. really happened. During the interview, the President stated that he had made the decision to fire Comey before the President met with Rosenstein and Sessions. The President told Holt, "I was
2. fire Comey. The White House Counsel's Office agreed that it was factually wrong to say that
3. the Department of Justice had initiated Comey's termination, and McGahn asked attorneys in
4. regardless of recommendation, I was going to fire Comey knowing there was no good time to do
5. In response to a question about whether he was angry with Comey about the Russia
6. properly. The President added that he realized his termination of Comey "probably maybe will
7. to do the right thing for the American people" and Comey was "the wrong man for that position."
8. The President described Comey as "a showboat" and "a grandstander," said that "[t]he FBI has
9. President had demanded that Comey pledge his loyalty to the President in a private dinner shortly
10. McGahn 12/1 2/17 302, at 16-17; Donaldson 11/6/17 302, at 26; see Dhillon 11/21/17 302, at
11. McGahn 12/12/17 302, at 17.
PAGE V2-74
1. as an excuse for losing the election." The President also tweeted, "James Comey better hope
2. In analyzing the President's decision to fire Comey the following evidence is relevant to
3. Obstructive act. The act of firing Comey removed the individual overseeing the
4. FBI's Russia investigation. The President knew that Comey was personally involved in the
5. investigation based on Comey's briefing of the Gang of Eight, Comey's March 20, 2017 public
6. testimony about the investigation, and the President's one-on-one conversations with Comey
7. Firing Comey would qualify as an obstructive act if it had the natural and probable effect
8. or other law enforcement officials in their conduct of the Russia investigation. The President fired Comey abruptly without offering him an opportunity to resign, banned him from the FBI building,
9. highly critical of the investigation; for example, three days after firing Comey the President
10. could not fire the FBI. The White House issued a press statement the day after Comey was fired
11. that said, "The investigation would have always continued, and obviously, the termination of Comey would not have ended it." In addition, in his May 11 interview with Lester Holt, the
12. President stated that he understood when he made the decision to fire Comey that the action might
13. Michael S. Schmidt, In a private Dinner, Trump Demanded Loyalty. Comey Demurred, New
PAGE V2-75
1. that Flynn was still under criminal investigation and could potentially be prosecuted, despite the
2. President's February 14, 2017 request that Comey "let Flynn go." On March 5, 2017, the White House Counsels Office was informed that the FBI was asking for transition-period records
3. relating to Flynn, indicating that the FBI was still actively investigating him. The same day, the
4. On March 31, 2017, the President signaled his awareness that Flynn remained in legal jeopardy by
5. tweeting that "Mike Flynn should ask for immunity" before he agreed to provide testimony to the
6. message to Flynn telling him that the President felt bad for him and that he should stay strong,
7. further demonstrating the President's awareness of Flynn's criminal exposure.
8. investigated. Comey's refusal angered the President, who criticized Sessions for leaving him
9. though McCabe told the President he had worked "very closely" with Comey and was part of all
10. objectively foreseeable and actually contemplated by the president when he terininated Comey
11. Several facts would be relevant to such a showing. At, the time the President fired Comey
12. subpoenas had been issued. On March 20, 2017, however, Comey had announced that the FBI
13. In addition, at the time the President fired Comey evidence indicates the President knew
14. to fire Comey was Comey's unwillingness to publicly state that the President was not personally
15. under investigation, despite the President's repeated requests that Comey make such an
16. announcement. In the week leading up to Comey's May 3, 2017 Senate Judiciary Committee
17. testimony‚ the President told McGahn that it would be the last straw if Comey did not set the record
18. 3 testimony, Comey refused to answer questions about whether the President was being
19. advisors he had decided to fire Comey and dictated a letter to Stephen Miller that began with a
20. "Russia" in his memorandum and to say that Comey had told the President that he was not under
21. insistence and against McGahn's advice, stating that Comey had told the President on three
22. The President's other stated rationales for why he fired Comey are not similarly supported
23. story on a Trump-Russia relationship .... " The President later asked Rosenstein to include
PAGE V2-76
1. investigation into his campaign. The day atter learning about the FBI's interview of Flynn the
2. to personal and political concerns. Although the President publicly stated during and after the election that he had no connection to Russia, the Trump Organization, through Michael Cohen ,
3. "this Russia business" was making it difficult to run the country, The President told Sessions and McGahn that foieign leaders had expressed sympathy to him for being under investigation and that
4. been very loyal to you, very loyal, we had that thing, you know." After the President learned of Sessions's recusal from the Russia investigation, the President was furious and said he wanted an
5. cited Comey's handling of the Clinton email investigation, and the President told McCabe he fired Comey for that reason. But the facts surrounding Comey's handling of the Clinton email
6. had made it clear to both Comey and the President's senior staff in early 2017 that he wanted Comey to stay on as director. And Rosenstein articulated his criticism of Comey's handling of the Clinton investigation after the President had already decided to fire Comey. The President's draft
7. press after Comey's termination that the White House had heard from "countless" FBI agents who
8. had lost confidence in Comey. But the evidence does not support those claims. The President told Comey at their January 27 dinner that "the people of the FBI really like [him]," no evidence
9. suggests that the President heard otherwise before deciding to terminate Comey and Sanders
10. We also considered why it was important to the President that Comey announce publicly
11. foreign affairs, particularly in dealings with Russia. The President told Comey that the "cloud" of
12. may have viewed Comey as insubordinate for his failure to make clear in the May 3 testimony that
13. President had a one-on-one dinner with Comey against the advice of senior aides, and told Comey he needed Comey's "loyalty." When the President later asked Comey for a second time to make
14. The evidence does not establish that the termination of Comey was designed to cover up a
PAGE V2-77
1. particular, Michael Cohen was a potential subject of investigation because of his pursuit of the Trump
2. York, ultimately led to the conviction of Cohen in the Southern District of New York for campaign-finance
3. the President to state that it was the end of his presidency and that Attorney General Sessions had
4. failed to protect him and should resign. Sessions submitted his resignation, which the President
5. press and the public for Comey's termination. In the immediate aftermath of the firing, the
6. decided to fire Comey before the White House solicited those recommendations. Although the
7. President ultimately acknowledged that he was going to fire Comey regardless of the Department
8. resist the White House's suggestion that they had prompted the process that led to Comey's
9. investigation could uncover, we considered whether the President's intent in firing Comey was connected
10. II.K,S, infra. The investigation, however, did not establish that when the President fired Comey he was
11. intent in firing Comey was otherwise connected to a concern about these matters coming to light.
PAGE V2-78
1. from the investigation. The President learned of the Special Counsel's appointment from Sessions who was with the President, Hunt, and McGahn conducting interviews for a new FBI
2. Director. Sessions stepped out of thc Oval Office to take a call from Rosenstein who told him
3. about the Special Counsel appointment, and Sessions then returned to inform the President of the
4. news."' According to notes written by Hunt, when Sessions told the President that a Special
5. most important appointment and that Sessions had "let [him] down," contrasting him to Eric
6. Sessions 1/17/18 302, at 13; Hunt 2/1/18 302, at 18; McGahn 12/14/17 302, at 4; Hunt-000039
7. Sessions 1/17/18 302, at 13; Hunt 2/1/18 302, at 18‚ McGahn 12/14/17 302, at 4; Hunt-000039
8. Hunt-000039 (Hunt 5/17/17 Notes); Sessions 1/17/18 302, at 13-14.
9. Hunt-000040; see Sessions 1/17/18 302, at 14.
10. Sessions 1/17/1 8 302, at 14.
11. Hunt-000040 (Hunt 5/1 7/17 Notes)„see Sessions 1/1 7/18 302, at 14. Early the next morning,
12. On May 17, 2017, Acting Attorney General Rosenstein appointed Robert S. Mueller, III as
13. criticizing the Special Counsel's investigation. That weekend, the President called McGahn and
14. directed him to have the Special Counsel removed because of asserted conflicts of interest, McGahn did not carry out the instruction for fear of being seen as triggering another Saturday
15. Night Massacre and instead prepared to resign. McGahn ultimately did not quit and the President
16. did not follow up with McGahn on his request to have the Special Counsel removed.
PAGE V2-79
1. The President then told Sessions he should resign as Attorney General. Sessions agreed
2. to submit his resignation and left the Oval Office. Hicks saw the President shortly after Sessions departed and described the President as being extremely upset by the Special Counsel's
3. Also on May 18, Sessions finalized a resignation letter that stated, "Pursuant to our
4. conversation of yesterday, and at your request, I hereby offer my resignation." Sessions
5. President put the resignation letter in his pocket and asked Sessions several times whether he
6. Sessions ultimately told the President he
7. wanted to stay, but it was up to the President. The President said he wanted Sessions to stay.
8. At the conclusion of the meeting, the President shook Sessions's hand but did not return the
9. When Priebus and Bannon learned that the President was holding onto Sessions's
10. Justice. Priebus told Sessions it was not good for the President to have the letter because it
11. Hunt-000041 (Hunt 5/17/17 Notes); Sessions 1/17/18 302, at 14.
12. Hunt-600041 (Hunt 5/17/17 Notes); Sessions 1/17/18 302, at 14.
13. Hunt-000047 (Hunt 5/18/17 Notes); 5/18/17 Letter, Sessions to President Trump (resigning as
14. Hunt-000047-49 (Hunt 5/18/17 Notes); Sessions 1/17/18 302, at 14.
15. Hunt-600047-49 (Hunt 5/18/17 Notes); Sessions 1/17/18 302, at 14.
16. Hunt-0'00048-49 (Hunt 5/18/17 Notes); Sessions 1/17/18 3Q2, at 14.
17. Sessions 1/17/18 302, at 14.
18. discussed an investigation related to Comey's termination and directed the White House to
19. The next day, May 18, 2017, FBI agents delivered to McGahn a preservation notice that
20. preserve all relevant documents. When he received the letter, McGahn issued a document hold
21. McGahn 12/14/17 302, at 9; SCR015 000175-82 (Undated Draff Memoranda to White House
22. McGahn 12/14/17 302, at 9; SCR015 000175-82 (Undated Draft Memoranda to White House
23. SCR015 000171 (2/17/17 Memorandum from McGahn to Executive Office of the President Staff).
PAGE V2-80
1. said the President had "DOJ by the throat." Priebus and Bannon told Sessions they would
2. attempt to get the letter back from the President with a notation that he was not accepting Sessions's resignation.
3. the President's flight from Saudi Arabia to Tel Aviv, the President pulled Sessions's resignation
4. about it. During the trip, Priebus asked about the resignation letter so he could return it to Sessions but the President told him that the letter was back at the White House, somewhere in the
5. Pmsident returned the letter to Sessions with a notation saying, "Not accepted."
6. Hunt-000052-53 (Hunt 5/30/17 Notes); 5/18/17 Letter, Sessions to President Trump (resignation
7. President returned from the Middle East trip, the President took Sessions's letter out of a drawer in the Oval
8. advisors, including Priebus, Bannon, and McGahn that Special Counsel Mueller had conflicts of
9. Priebus 1/18/18 302, at 12‚ Barmen 2/14/18 302, at 10; McGahn 3/8/18 302, at 1; McGahn 12/14/17 302, at 10; Bannon 10/26/18 302, at 12.
PAGE V2-81
1. President complained about the asserted conflicts and prodded McGahn to reach out to Rosenstein about the issue. McGahn said he responded that he could not make such a call and that the
2. reflect that McGahn told the President that he would not call Rosenstein and that he would suggest
3. Contemporaneous notes of a May 23, 2017 conversation between McGahn and the President
4. that the President not make such a call either.'s' McGahn advised that the President could discuss
5. Priebus 4/3/18 302, at 3, Bannon 10/26/18 302, at 13 (confirming that he, Priebus, and McGahn pushed back on the asserted conflicts).
6. probe, Washington Post (May 23, 2017). McGahn 3/8/18 302, at 1; McGahn 12/14/17 302, at 10; Priebus 1/18/18 302, at 12.
7. McGahn 3/8/18 302, at 1. McGahn and Donaldson said that after the appointment of the Special
8. inquiries related to the investigation should be brought to his personal counsel. McGahn 12/14/17 302, at
PAGE V2-82
1. just[ice]. McGahn told the President that his "biggest exposure" was not his act of firing Comey but his "other contacts" and "calls," and his "ask re: Flynn" By the time McGahn provided this advice to the President, there had been widespread reporting on the President's
2. request for Comey's loyalty, which the President publicly denied; his request that Comey "let [] Flynn go," which the President also denied; and the President's statement to the Russian Foreign
3. before his termination, including the request for loyalty, the request that Comey "let [] Flynn go,"
4. Asked Him to End Flynn Investigation, New York Times (May 16, 2017); Matt Apuzzo et al., Trump Told
5. Minister that the termination of Comey had relieved "great pressure related to Russia, which the
6. On June 8, 2017, Comey testified before Congress about his interactions with the President
7. and the request that Comey "lift the cloud" over the presidency caused by the ongoing
8. investigation. Comey's testimony led to a series of news reports about whether the President
9. See, e.g. Michael S. Schmidt, In A Private Dinner, Trump Demanded Loyalty. Comey Demurred., New York Times (May 11, 2017}; Michael S. Schmidt‚ Comey Memorandum Says Trump
10. Russians That Firing 'Nut Job ' Comey Eased Pressure From Investigation, New York Times (May 19,
11. 115th Cong. (June 8, 2017) (Statement for the Record of James B. Comey former Director of the FBI, at
12. 5-6). Comey testified that he deliberately caused his memorandum documenting the February 14, 2017
13. 2017, that stated "James Comey better hope that there are no 'tapes' of our conversations before he starts
14. Intelligence Committee, 115th Cong. (Junc 8, 2017) (CQ Cong. Transcripts, at 55} (testimony by James B. Comey former Director of the FBI).
15. See, e,g, Matt Zapotosky, Comey lays out the case that Trump obstructed justice, Washington
16. Post (June 8, 2017) ("Legal analysts said Comey's testimony clarified and bolstered the case that the
PAGE V2-83
1. like the one that followed the termination of Comey did not happen. Later that day, Ruddy
2. personal relationship he had with Comey. That same day, Rosenstein had testified publicly
3. 14) (testimony by Rod Rosenstein, Deputy Attorney General).
PAGE V2-84
1. and Rogers, about what the President had asked them to do in response to Comey's March 20,
2. James B. Comey starting in January that he was nat personally under investigation," "[o]fficials
3. say that changed shortly after Comey's firing."' That evening, at approximately 10:31 p.m., the
4. President called McGahn on McGahn's personal cell phone and they spoke for about 15
5. minutes. McGahn did not have a clear memory of the call but thought they might have discussed
6. SCR026 000183 (President's Daily Diary, 6/14/17) (reflecting call from the President to McGahn an 6/14/17 with start time 10:31 p.m. and end time 10:46 p.m.); Call Records of Don McGahn .
7. McGahn 2/28/19 302, at 1-2. McGahn thought he and the President also probably talked about
8. day. McGahn 2/28/18 302, at 2.
PAGE V2-85
1. both occasions directed him to call Rosenstein and say that Mueller had conflicts that precluded
2. On Saturday, June 17, 2017, the President called McGahn and directed him to have the
3. interviews with this Office, McGahn recalled that the President called him at home twice and on
4. On the first call, McGahn recalled that the President said something like‚ "You gotta do
5. this. You gotta call Rod." McGahn said he told the President that he would see what he could
6. do. McGahn was perturbed by the call and did not intend to act on the request. He and other
7. communicated that view to the President. McGahn also had made clear to the President that the
8. White House Counsel's Office should not be involved in any effort to press the issue of conflicts. McGahn was conrerned about having any role in asking the Acting Attorney General to fire the
9. @realDonaldTrump 6/16/17 (7:53 a.m. ET) tweet.
10. McGahn 3/8/18 302, at 1-2; McGahn 12/1 4/17 302, at 10. Phone records show that the President
11. called McGahn in the atternoon on June 17, 2017, and they spoke for approximately 23 minutes.
12. SCR026 000196 (President's Daily Diary, 6/17/17) (reflecting call from the President to McGahn on
13. 6/17/17 with start time 2;23 p.m. and end time 2:46 p.m.); (Call Records of Don McGahn ). Phone records
14. do not show another call between McGahn and the President that day. Although McGahn recalled receiving
15. under investigation for obstruction of Justice. McGahn 2/28/19 302, at 1-3. While McGahn was not certain
16. of the specific dates of the calls, McGahn was confident that he had at least two phone conversations with
17. Counsel removed. McGahn 2/28/19 302, at 1-3.
18. McGahn 3/8/18 302, at 1.
19. McGahn 3/8/1 8 302, at 1.
20. McGahn 3/8/18 302, at 1-2.
21. McGahn 3/8/18 302, at 1-2.
PAGE V2-86
1. McGahn understood the President to be saying that the Special Counsel had to be removed by Rosenstein. To end the conversation with the president, McGahn left thc president with the
2. impression that McGahn would call Rosenstein. McGahn recalled that he had already said no
3. Robert Bork and not "Saturday Night Massacre Bork." McGahn considered the President's
4. When the President called McGahn a second time to follow up on the order to call the
5. Department of Justice, McGahn recalled that the President was more direct, saying something like,
6. "Call Rod‚ tell Rod that Mueller has conflicts and can't be the Special Counsel" McGahn recalled the President telling him "Mueller has to go" and "Call me back when you do it."
7. to the President's request and he was worn down, so he just wanted to get off the phone. McGahn recalled feeling trapped because he did not plan to follow thc President's directive
8. but did not know what he would say the next time the President called. McGahn decided he had
9. Donaldson recalled that McGahn told her the President had called and
10. that McGahn did not want to do. McGahn told Donaldson that the President had called at least
11. twice and in one of the calls asked "have you done it" McGahn did not tell Donaldson the
12. McGahn 3/8/18 302, at 2, 5; McGahn 2/28/19 302, st 3. McGahn 3/8/18 302, at 1-2, 5.
13. McGahn 2/28/19 302, at 3; McGahn 3/8/18 302, at 2.
14. McGahn 3/8/18 302, at 2.
15. McGahn 3/8/18 302, at 2.
16. McGahn 3/8/1 8 302, at 2-3; McGahn 2/28/19 302, at 3; Donaldson 4/2/18 302, at 4; Call Records
17. Don McGahn. McGahn 3/8/18 302, at 2; Donaldson 4/2/18 302, at 4.
PAGE V2-87
1. Obstructive act. As with the President's firing of Comey the attempt to remove
2. with calling Rosenstein
3. investigation, but Donaldson prepared to resign along with McGahn
4. That evening, McGahn called both Priebus and Bannon and told them that he intended to
5. resign. McGahn recalled that, after speaking with his attorney and given the nature of the
6. President's request, he decided not to share details of the President's request with other White House staff. Priebus recalled that McGahn said that the President had asked him to "do crazy
7. shit," but he thought McGahn did not tell him the specifics of the President's request because McGahn was trying to protect Priebus from what he did not need to know. Priebus and Bannon
8. both urged McGahn not to quit, and McGahn ultimately returned to work that Monday and
9. when they next saw each other the President did not ask McGahn whether he had followed through
10. In analyzing the President's direction to McGahn to have the Special Counsel removed,
11. McGahn 2/28/19 302, at 3-4; Donaldson 4/2/18 302, at 4-5. Donaldson said she believed McGahn consciously did not share details with her because he did not want to drag her into the
12. McGahn 12/14/17 302, at 10; Call Records of Don McGahn McGahn 2/28/19 302, at 3-4;
13. McGahn 2/28/19 302, at 4. Priebus and Bannon confirmed that McGahn did not tell them the
14. McGahn 3/8/18 302, at 3; McGahn 2/28/19 302, at 3-4.
15. McGahn 3/8/18 302, at 3.
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1. directed McGahn to call Rosenstein to have the Special Counsel removed.
2. First, McGahn's clear recollection was that the President directed him to tell Rosenstein
3. the President had no reason to have McGahn call Rosenstein that weekend to raise conflicts issues
4. A threshold question is whether the President in fact directed McGahn to have the Special
5. Counsel removed. After news organizations reported that in June 2017 the President had ordered McGahn to have the Special Counsel removed, the President publicly disputed these accounts, and
6. privately told McGahn that he had, simply wanted McGahn to bring conflicts of interest to the
7. specific language that McGahn recalled from the calls is consistent with that explanation.
8. not only that canflicts existed but also that "Mueller has to go." McGahn is a credible witness
9. with no motive to lie or exaggerate given the position he held in the White House. McGahn spoke with the President twice and understood the directive the same way both times, making it
10. Second, in the days before the calls to McGahn the President, through his counsel, had
11. Third, the President's sense of urgency and repeated requests to McGahn to take immediate
12. action on a weekend‚ "You gotta do this. You gotta call Rod." support McGahn's recollection
13. process in motion on a Saturday and to make repeated calls to McGahn
14. in a May 23, 2017 call with McGahn reflecting that the, President connected the conflicts to a plan
15. When this Office first interviewed McGahn about this topic, he was reluctant to share detailed
16. information about what had occurred and only did so after continued questioning, See McGahn 12/14/17
PAGE V2-89
1. was not his act of firing Comey but his "other contacts" and "calls," and his "ask re: Flynn " By
2. subpoenas in the Flynn inquiry and that the Special Counsel had taken over the Flynn investigation. On June 9, 2017, the Special Counsel's Office informed the White House that
3. widespread reporting, the President knew that such an investigation could include his request far Comey's loyalty; his request that Comey "let[] Flynn go"; his outreach to Coats and Rogers; and
4. "[t]his is the end of my Presidency." The President also faulted Sessions for recusing, saying you
5. his termination of Comey and statement to the Russian Foreign Minister that the termination had
6. Before the President terminated Comey the President considered it critically important that
7. drafting the Comey termination letter, to be concerned more than atiything else about getting out
8. grand jury. On May 23, 2017, McGahn explicitly warned the President that his "biggest exposure"
9. relieved "great pressure" related to Russia. And on June 16, 2017, the day before he directed McGahn to have the Special Counsel removed, the President publicly acknowledged that his
PAGE V2-90
1. to be delivered to Attorney General Sessions that would have had the effect of limiting the Russia
2. Lewandowski and followed up on the request to have Sessions limit the scope of the Russia
3. the President publicly criticized Sessions in an unplanned press interview, raising questions about Sessions's job security.
4. 1. The President Asks Corey Lewandowski to Deliver a Message to Sessions to
5. to call McGahn and seek to have the Special Counsel removed. By mid-June, the Department of
6. President to write critical tweets about the Special Counsel's investigation. The President called McGahn at home that night and then called him on Saturday from Camp David. The evidence
7. President to call McGahn to have the Special Counsel terminated,
8. There also is evidence that the President knew that he should not have made those calls to McGahn. The President made the calls to McGahn after McGahn had specifically told the
9. President that the White House Counsel's Offlice, and McGahn himself‚could not be involved
10. reported on the President's actions, he denied that he ever ordered McGahn to have the Special
11. Counsel terminated and made repeated efforts to have McGahn deny the story, as discussed in
12. President's awareness that the direction to McGahn could be seen as improper.
13. Two days after the President directed McGahn to have the Special Counsel removed, the
14. On June 19, 2017, two days alter the President directed McGahn to have the Special
PAGE V2-91
1. President brought up Sessions and criticized his recusal from the Russia investigation. The
2. President told Lewandowski that Sessions was weak and that if the President had known about the
3. likelihood of recusal in advance, he would not have appointed Sessions. The president then
4. asked Lewandowski to deliver a message to Sessions and said "write this down." This was the
5. The President directed that Sessions should give a speech publicly announcing:
6. The dictated message went on to state that Sessions would meet with the Special Counsel to limit
PAGE V2-92
1. and Paul Manafort had been publicly disclosed. In the July 19 meeting with Lewandowski, the
2. The President said that if Sessions delivered that statement he would be the "most popular guy in
3. the country." Lewandowski told the President he understood what the President wanted Sessions to do
4. Lewandowski wanted to pass the message to Sessions in person rather than over the
5. log of his visit and did not want Sessions to have an advantage over him by meeting on what
6. Lewandowski described as Sessions's turf. Lewandowski called Sessions and arranged a
7. meeting for the following evening at Lewandowski's office, but Sessions had to cancel due to a
8. had an opportunity to meet with Sessions to convey the President's message. Lewandowski
9. then a senior White House official, and asked if Dearborn could pass a message to Sessions
10. Dearborn would meet with Sessions for dinner in late July and could deliver the message then.
11. better messenger because he had a longstanding relationship with Sessions and because Dearborn
PAGE V2-93
1. President raised his previous request and asked if Lewandowski had talked to Sessions
2. recalled that the President told him that if Sessions did not meet with him, Lewandowski should
3. tell Sessions he was fired.
4. had dictated to be delivered to Sessions Lewandowski told Dearborn that the notes were the
5. Dearborn also said that being asked to serve as a messenger to Sessions made him
6. did not actually follow through with delivering the message to Sessions and he did not keep a
7. 3. The President Public Criticizes Sessions in a New York Times Interview
8. gave an unplanned interview to the New York Times in which he criticized Sessions's decision to
9. "Sessions's recusal, the President said‚ was "very
10. approximately May or June 2017 the President had asked Lewandowski to get Sessions's resignation.
PAGE V2-94
1. with Sessions and joking with her about the idea of firing Sessions as a private citizen if Sessions would not meet with him. As Hicks remembered the conversation, Lewandowski told her the
2. President had recently asked him to meet with Sessions and deliver a message that he needed to
3. criticizing Sessions was playing out.
4. 4. The President Orders Priebus to Demand Sessions's Resignation
5. intercepts showed that Sessions had discussed campaign-related matters with the Russian
6. ambassador, contrary to what Sessions had said publicly. That evening, Priebus called Hunt to
7. talk about whether Sessions might be fired or might resign. Priebus had previously talked to
8. Hunt when the media had reported on tensions between Sessions and the President, and, after
9. speaking to Sessions Hunt had told Priebus that the President would have to fire Sessions if he
10. wanted to remove Sessions because Sessions was not going to quit. According to Hunt, who
11. discussed, Sessions had no intention of resigning. Hunt asked Priebus what the President would
12. concerning the Sessions-Kislyak contacts are discussed in Volume 1, Section IV.A.4.c, supra.
PAGE V2-95
1. accomplish by firing Sessions pointing out there was an investigation before and there would be
2. INTELLIGENCE LEAK from the Amazon Washington Post, this time against A.G. Jeff Sessions .
3. Marine One on the, way to Norfolk, Virginia, the President told Priebus that he had to get Sessions to resign immediately. The President said that the country had lost confidence in Sessions and
4. and that Sessions had "no choice" but "must immediately resign." Priebus replied that if they
5. fired Sessions they would never get a new Attorney General confirmed and that the Department
6. could make a recess appointment to replace Sessions s"
7. wrong." Although the President tied his desire for Sessions to resign to Sessions's negative
8. desire to replace Sessions was driven by the President's hatred of Sessions's recusal from the
9. These illegal leaks, like Comey's, must stop!" Approximately one hour later, the President
10. tweeted, "So many people are asking why isn't the A.G. or Special Council looking at the many Hillary Clinton or Comey crimes. 33,000 e-mails deleted?" Later that morning, while aboard
11. Priebus believed that the President's request was a problem, so he called McGahn and
12. Russia investigation. McGahn told Priebus not to follow the President's order and said they
13. should consult their personal counsel, with whom they had attorney-client privilege." McGahn
14. RP 000074 (Priebus 7/22/1 7 Notes); McGahn 12/14/17 302, at 11; Priebus 1/18/1 8 302, at 14.
15. Priebus followed McGahn's advice and called his personal attorney to discuss the President's request
PAGE V2-96
1. President'sorder to fire Sessions.
2. That afternoon, the President followed up with Priebus about demanding Sessions's
3. that he believed that his job depended on whether he followed the order to remove Sessions
4. the President's directive, he told the President he would get Sessions to resign. Later in the day,
5. Priebus called the President and explained that it would be a calamity if Sessions resigned because
6. off on demanding Sessions's resignation until after the Sunday shows the next day‚ to prevent the
7. ask Sessions to resign. Over the next several days, the President tweeted about Sessions. On
8. the morning of Monday, July 24, 2017, the President criticized Sessions for neglecting to
9. General Jeff Sessions has taken a VERY weak position on Hillary Clinton crimes (where are Emails &DNC server) & Intel leakers!" The following day, July 26, the President tweeted, "Why
10. didn't A.G. Sessions replace Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, a Comey friend who was in
11. attacks, Sessions prepared another resignation letter and for the rest of the year carried it with him
12. Priebus expected that Rosenstein and Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand would also resign
13. McGahn 12/14/17 302, at 11; RP 000074 (Priebus 7/22/17 Notes) (" discuss resigning
PAGE V2-97
1. In analyzing the President's efforts to have Lewandowski deliver a message directing Sessions to publicly announce that the Special Counsel investigation would be confined to future election interference, the following evidence, is relevant to the elements of obstruction of justice:
2. Obstructive act. The President's effort to send Sessions a message through
3. The President sought to have Sessions announce that the President "shouldn't have a
4. Special Prosecutor/Counsel" and that Sessions was going to "meet with the Special Prosecutor to
5. meddling for future elections so that nothing can happen in future elections." The President wanted Sessions to disregard his recusal from the investigation, which had followed from a formal DOJ
6. ethics review, and have Sessions declare that he knew "for a fact" that "there were no Russians
7. involved with the campaign" because he "was there." The President further directed that Sessions should explain that the President should not be subject to an investigation "because he hasn't done
8. anything wrong." Taken together, the President's directives indicate that Sessions was being
9. Intent. Substantial evidence indicates that the President's effort to have Sessions limit thc scope of the Special Counsel's investigation to future election interference was intended
10. sought that result. The President's initial direction that Sessions should limit the Special Counsel's
11. investigation came just two days after the president had ordered McGahn to have the Special
PAGE V2-98
1. cause to remove the Special Counsel. Instead, the President tried to use Sessions to restrict and
2. redirect the Special Counsel's investigation when Sessions was recused and could not properly
3. the message for Sessions demonstrating he still sought to pursue the request. And just hours afier
4. Lewandowski assured the President that the message would soon be delivered to Sessions the
5. President gave an unplanned interview to the New York Times in which he publicly attacked Sessions and raised questions about his job security. Four days later, on July 22, 2017, the
6. President directed Priebus to obtain Sessions's resignation, That evidence could raise an inference
7. that the President wanted Sessions to realize that his job might be on the line as he evaluated
8. whether to comply with the President's direction that Sessions publicly announce that,
9. message to Sessions, senior Administration officials became aware of emails exchanged during
10. an inference that he was working outside White House channels, including McGahn who had
PAGE V2-99
1. the campaign arranging a meeting between Donald Trump Jr, Paul Manafort, Jared Kushner, and
PAGE V2-105
1. met with reporters for the New York Times. In addition to criticizing Sessions in his Times
PAGE V2-107
1. From summer 2017 through 2018, the President attempted to have Attorney General Sessions reverse his recusal, take control of the Special Counsel's investigation, and order an
2. 1. The President Again Seeks to Have Sessions Reverse his Recusal
3. Atter returning Sessions 's resignation letter at the end of May 2017, but before the
4. President's July 19, 2017 New York Times interview in which he publicly criticized Sessions for
5. recusing from the Russia investigation, the President took additional steps to have Sessions reverse
6. his recusal. In particular, at some point after the May 17, 2017 appointment of the Special Counsel, Sessions recalled, the President called him at home and asked if Sessions would "unrecuse"
7. himself. According to Sessions the President asked him to reverse his recusal so that Sessions could direct the Department of Justice to investigate and prosecute Hillary Clinton, and the "gist"
8. of the conversation was that the President wanted Sessions to unrecuse from "all of it," including
9. the Special Counsel's Russia investigation. Sessions listened but did not respond, and he did
10. Sessions 1/17/18 302, at 15. That was the second time that the President asked Sessions to
11. President's March 2017 request at Mar-a-Lago for Sessions to unrecuse).
12. "' Sessions 1/17/18 302, at 15.
13. ' Sessions 1/17/18 302, at 15.
PAGE V2-108
1. that if Sessions were no longer in his position the Special Counsel would report directly to a nonrecused Attorney General. McGahn told the President that things might not change much under
2. frequently brought up his displeasure with Sessions. Hicks recalled that the President viewed Sessions's recusal from the Russia investigation as an act of disloyalty. In addition to criticizing Sessions's recusal, the President raised other concerns about Sessions and his job performance
3. Porter 4/13/18 302, at 11; Porter 5/8/18 302, at 6. Because of Sessions's recusal, if Rosenstein were no longer in his position, Brand would, by default, become the DOJ official in charge of supervising
4. the Special Counsel's investigation, and if both Sessions and Rosenstein were removed, Brand would be
5. effort to end the investigation or fire the Special Counsel. McGahn recalled that during the summer of 2017, he and the President discussed the fact
6. a new Attorney General. McGahn also recalled that in or around July 2017, the President
7. with McGahn and Hicks.
8. McGahn 12/14/17 302, at 11. McGahn 12/14/17 302, at 11.
9. McGahn 12/14/17 302, at 9.
10. McGahn 12/14/17 302, at 9; Hicks 3/13/18 302, at 10.
PAGE V2-109
1. On December 6, 2017, five days after Flynn pleaded guilty to lying about his contacts with
2. 2. Additional Efforts to Have Sessions Unrecuse or Direct Investiations Covered
3. Later in 2017, the President continued to urge Sessions to reverse his recusal from
4. campaign-related investigations and considered replacing Sessions with an Attorney General who
5. On October 16, 2017, the President met privately with Sessions and said that the
6. take [a] look. Sessions did not offer any assurances or promises to the President that the
7. the Russian government, the President asked to speak with Sessions in the Oval Office at the end
8. again suggested that Sessions could "unrecuse," which Porter linked to taking back supervision of
9. According to Porter's notes, Sessions responded, "We are taking steps; whole new leadership
10. President, Gen. Kelly, and Sessions (who I pulled in after the Cabinet meeting)"); SC_RRP000033 (Porter
11. 12/6/17 Notes) ("Post-cabinet meeting — POTUS asked me to get AG Sessions. Asked me to stay. Also
12. the President tweeted, "Wow, FBI confirms report that James Comey drafted letter exonerating
13. including Clinton herself. Comey stated under oath that he, didn't do this-obviously a fix? Where
14. UNITY" over a "lack of investigation" of Clinton and "the Comey fix‚" and concluded: "DO
PAGE V2-110
1. previous discussion about Clinton. Porter understood Sessions to be reassuring the President
2. At the end of December, the President told the New York Times it was "too bad" that Sessions had recused himself from the Russia investigation. When asked whether Holder had
3. been a more loyal Attorney General to President Obama than Sessions was to him, the President
4. President brought up the idea of replacing Sessions and told Porter that he wanted to "clean house"
5. biggest failings as President was that he had not surrounded himself with good attorneys, citing Sessions as an example. The President raised Sessions's recusal and brought up and criticized
6. Over the next several months, thc President continued to criticize Sessions in tweets and
7. See, e.g., @realDonaldTrump 2/28/18 (9:34 a.m. ET) Tweet ("Why is A.G Jeff Sessions asking
8. 4/22/18 (8:22 a.m. ET) tweet ("'GOP Lawmakers asking Sessions to Investigate Comey and Hillary
9. See, e.g., @realDonaldTrump 2/28/18 (9:34 a.m. ET) tweet ("Why is A.G, Jeff Sessions asking
10. Deadline for turning over UNREDACTED Documents relating to FISA abuse, FBI, Comey Lynch,
PAGE V2-111
1. Justice were politically motivated because Paul Manafort had been prosecuted but Democrats had
2. tweeted, "The Russian Witch Hunt Hoax continues, all because Jeff Sessions didn't tell me he was
3. wasted, so many lives ruined . . . and Sessions knew better than most that there was No
4. Collusion!" On August 1, 2018, the President tweeted that "Attorney General Jeff Sessions
5. criticized Sessions in a press interview and suggested that prosecutions at the Department of
6. Department, Jeff Sessions. That day, Sessions issued a press statement that said, "I took control
7. On November 7, 2018, the day afler the midterm elections, the President replaced Sessions with Sessions's chief of staff as Acting Attorney General.
8. In analyzing the President's efforts to have Sessions unrecuse himself and regain control
9. (" Jeff Sessions should be ashamed of himself for allowing this total HOAX to get started in the first
10. Sessions 8/23/18 Press Statement.
11. all of the corruption on the 'other side' including deleted Emails, Comey lies & leaks, Mueller
PAGE V2-112
1. Special Counsel investigation would be confined to future election interference. Yet Sessions remained recused. In December 2017, shortly after Flynn pleaded guilty, the President spoke to Sessions in the Oval Office with only Porter present and told Sessions that he would be a hero if
2. other campaign-related matters. The inquiry would not turn on what Attorney General Sessions would actually do if unrecused, but on whether the efforts to reverse his recusal would naturally
3. On multiple occasions in 2017, the President spoke with Sessions about reversing his
4. prosecution of Hillary Clinton. For example, in early summer 2017, Sessions recalled the
5. President asking him to unrecuse, but Sessions did not take it as a directive. When the President
6. spanned from March 2017 to August 2018 — and the fact that the President repeatedly criticized Sessions in public and in private for failing to tell the President that he would have to recuse is
7. relevant to assessing whether the President's efforts to have Sessions unrecuse could qualify as
8. c. Intent. There is evidence that at least one purpose of the President's conduct toward Sessions was to have Sessions assume control over the Russia investigation and supervise it in a
9. President had previously and unsuccessfully sought to have Sessions publicly announce that the
10. he unrecused. Porter linked that request to the President's desire that Sessions take back
PAGE V2-113
1. The President Orders McGahn to Deny that the, President Tried to Fire the
2. In late January 2018, the media reported that in June 2017 the President had ordered McGahn to have the Special Counsel fired based on purported conflicts of interest but McGahn had refused, saying he would quit instead. After the story broke, the President, through his
3. personal counsel and two aides, sought to have McGahn deny that he had been directed to remove
4. the Special Counsel. Each time he was approached, McGahn responded that he would not refute
5. Special Counsel removed. The President later personally met with McGahn in the Oval Office
6. with only the Chief of Staff present and tried to get McGahn to say that the President never ordered
7. him to fire the Special Counsel. McGahn refused and insisted his memory of the President's
8. challenged McGahn for taking notes of his discussions with the President and asked why he had
9. ordered McGahn to have the Department of Justice fire the Special Counsel. According to the
PAGE V2-114
1. The next day, the Washington Post reported on the same event but added that McGahn had
2. 2. The President Seeks to Have McGahn Dispute the Press Reports
3. On January 26, 2018, the President's personal counsel called McGahn's attorney and said
4. that the President wanted McGahn to put out a statement denying that he had been asked to fire
5. the Special Counsel and that he had threatened to quit in protest. McGahn's attorney spoke with McGahn about that request and then called the President's personal counsel to relay that McGahn would not make a statement."' McGahn's attorney informed the President's personal counsel that
6. removed. Accordingly, McGahn's attorney said, although the article was inaccurate in some
7. other respects, McGahn cauld not comply with the President's request to dispute the story.
8. unacceptable conflicts of interest and moved to remove him from his position. ... In response, McGahn said he would not remain at the White House if Trump went through with the move. ... McGahn did not
9. House counsel to the brink of leaving, Washington Post (Jan. 26, 2018); see McGahn 3/8/17 302, at 3-4.
10. McGahn 3/8/18 302, at 3 (agent note).
11. McGahn 3/8/18 302, at 3 (agent note).
12. McGahn 3/8/18 302, at 4 (agent note).
13. with Chief of Staff John Kelly and that the President said Kelly told him that McGahn had totally refuted
14. speak to McGahn when the article came out and did not tell anyone he had done so. Kelly 8/2/18 302, at
PAGE V2-115
1. Also on January 26, 2017, Hicks recalled that the President askedSandersto contact McGahn about the story. McGahn toldSandersthere was no need to respond and indicated that
2. some of the article was accurate. Consistent with that position, McGahn did not correct the
3. terminate the Special Counsel. The President said that McGahn leaked to the media to make
4. himself look good. The President then directed Porter to tell McGahn to create a record to make
5. clear that the President never directed McGahn to fire the Special Counsel. Porter thought the
6. wanted McGahn to write a letter to the file "for our records" and wanted something beyond a press
7. statement to demonstrate that the reporting was inaccurate. The President referred to McGahn as a "lying bastard" and said that he wanted a record from him. Porter recalled the Picsident
8. Hicks 3/13/18 302, at 11.Sandersdid not recall whether the President asked her to speak to McGahn or if she did it on her own.Sanders7/23/18 302, at 2.
9. Staff Kelly, Porter 4/13/18 302, at 17, and Kelly took notes dated February 5, 2018, that state "POTUS Don McGahn letter — Mueller + resigning." WH000017684 (Kelly 2/5/18 Notes). Kelly said he did not
10. recall what the notes meant, but thought the President may have "mused" about having McGahn write a
11. letter. Kelly 8/2/18 302, at 3. McGahn recalled that Porter spoke with him about the President's request
12. taking place on or about February 5. McGahn 3/8/18 302, at 4.
PAGE V2-116
1. Later that day, Porter spoke to McGahn to deliver the President's message. Porter told McGahn that he had to write a letter to dispute that he was ever ordered to terminate the Special
2. Counsel. McGahn shrugged off the request, explaining that the media reports were true. McGahn told Porter that the President had been insistent on firing the Special Counsel and that McGahn had planned to resign rather than carry out the order, although he had not personally told
3. the President he intended to quit.' Porrter told McGahn that the President suggested that McGahn would be fired if he did not write the letter. McGahn dismissed the threat, saying that the optics
4. issue of McGahn's letter never came up with the President again, but Porter did recall telling Kelly
5. about his conversation with McGahn
6. The next day, on February 6, 2018, Kelly scheduled time for McGahn to meet with him
7. the President's personal counsel called McGahn's attorney and said that the President was going
8. to be speaking with McGahn and McGahn could not resign no matter what happened in the
9. The President began the Oval Office meeting by telling McGahn that the New York Times
10. story did not "look good" and McGahn needed to correct it. McGahn recalled the President
11. Porter 4/13/18 302, at 17; McGahn 3/8/18 302, at 4.
12. Porter 4/13/18 302, at 17; McGahn 3/8/18 304, at 4.
13. Porter 4/13/18 302, at 17; McGahn 3/8/18 302, at 4.
14. Porter 4/13/18 302, at 17; McGahn 3/8/18 302, at 4.
15. Porter 4/13/18 302, at 17; McGahn 3/8/18 302, at 4.
16. Porter 4/13/18 302, at 17-18; McGahn 3/8/18 302, at 4.
17. McGahn 3/8/18
18. Porter 4/13/18 302, at 18. McGahn 3/8/18 302 at 4; WH000017685 (Kelly 2/6/18 Notes). McGahn recalled that, before
19. the Oval Office meeting, he told Kelly that he was not inclined to fix the article. McGahn 3/8/18 302, at 4.
20. McGahn 3/8/18 302, at 5 (agent note); 2/26/19 Email, Counsel for Don McGahn to Special
21. McGahn 3/8/18 302, at 4; Kelly 8/2/18 302, at 2.
22. McGahn 3/8/18 302, at 4; Kelly 8/2/18 302, at 2.
PAGE V2-117
1. with Rosenstein and leave it to him to decide what to do. McGahn told the President he did not
2. In response, McGahn acknowledged that he had not told the President directly that he
3. planned to resign, but said that the story was otherwise accurate. The President asked McGahn
4. "I never said that." The President said he merely wanted McGahn to raise the conflicts issue
5. Mueller has to go." The President asked McGahn whether he would "do a correction," and McGahn said no. McGahn thought the President was testing his mettle to see how committed McGahn was to what happened. Kelly described the meeting as "a little tense."
6. The President also asked McGahn in the meeting why he had told Special Counsel's Office
7. investigators that the President had told him to have the Special Counsel removed. McGahn responded that he had to and that his conversations with the President were not protected by
8. notes? Lawyers don't take notes. I never had a lawyer who took notes." McGahn responded
9. After the Oval Office meeting concluded, Kelly recalled McGahn telling him that McGahn and the President "did have that conversation" about removing the Special Counsel. McGahn recalled that Kelly said that he had pointed out to the President after the Oval Office that McGahn
10. McGahn 3/8/18 302, at 4; Kelly 8/2/18 302, at 2.
11. McGahn 3/8/18 302, at 5.
12. McGahn 3/8/18 302, at 5.
13. McGahn 3/8/18 302, at 5; Kelly 8/2/18 302, at 2. McGahn 3/8/18 302, at 5.
14. McGahn 3/8/18 302, at 5.
15. McGahn 3/8/18 302, at 5.
16. McGahn 3/8/I 8 302, at 5. McGahn said the President was referring to Donaldson's notes, which
17. the President thought of as McGahn's notes. McGahn 3/8/18 302, at 5.
18. McGahn 3/8/18 302, at 5.
PAGE V2-118
1. never told McGahn to have Rosenstein remove the Special Counsel. The President correctly
2. personal counsel called McGahn's counsel and relayed that the President was "fine" with McGahn
3. In analyzing the President's efforts to have McGahn deny that he had been ordered to have
4. Obstructive act. The President's repeated efforts to get McGahn to create a record
5. obstructive act if it had the natural tendency to constrain McGahn from testifying truthfully or to
6. understood that McGahn had not told the President directly that he planned to resign. In addition,
7. in the Oval Office meeting with McGahn the President said, "I never said to fire Mueller. I never
8. said 'fire.'" That evidence could indicate that the President was not attempting to persuade McGahn to change his story but was instead offering his own — but different — recollection of the
9. substance of his June 2017 conversations with McGahn and McGahn's reaction to them.
10. described, see Volume II, Section II.E, supra, substantial evidence supports McGahn's account
11. context of the President's directive; the manner in which McGahn reacted; and the fact that the
12. of Justice, and should be raised with the President's personal counsel rather than brought to McGahn In addition, the President's subsequent denials that he had told McGahn to have the
13. And when the President spoke with McGahn in the Oval Office, he focused on whether he had
14. word 'fire'?" The President's assertion in the Oval Office meeting that he had never directed McGahn to have the Special Counsel removed thus runs counter to the evidence.
15. In addition, even if the President sincerely disagreed with McGahn's memory of the June
16. McGahn 3/8/18 302, at 5. Kelly did not recall discussing the Oval Office meeting with the
17. McGahn 3/8/18 302, at 5 (agent note).
PAGE V2-119
1. President had in fact ordered him to have Rosenstein remove the Special Counsel. That evidence
2. meeting that McGahn's account differed and that McGahn was fum in his views. Shortly aller the
3. story broke, the President's counsel told McGahn's counsel that the President wanted McGahn to
4. make a statement denying he had been asked to fire the Special Counsel, but McGahn responded
5. with the President's request. The President then directedSandersto tell McGahn to correct the
6. story, but McGahn told her he would not do so because the story was accurate in reporting on the
7. President's order. Consistent with that position, McGahn never issued a correction. More than a
8. President thought McGahn had leaked the story, and directed Porter to have McGahn create a
9. said he might "have to get rid of " McGahn if McGahn did not comply. McGahn again refused and
10. indicates that by the time of the Oval Office meeting the President was aware that McGahn did not
11. facts that McGahn believed to be true. The President nevertheless persisted and asked McGahn to
12. repudiate facts that McGahn had repeatedly said were accurate.
13. detailed list of topics for a possible interview with the President. The President knew that McGahn had personal knowledge of many of the events the Special Counsel was investigating and
14. that McGahn had already been interviewed by Special Counsel investigators. And in the Oval
15. Office meeting, the President indicated he knew that McGahn had told the Special Counsel's
16. Office about the President's effort to remove the Special Counsel. The President challenged McGahn for disclosing that information and for taking notes that he viewed as creating
17. communication of information to investigators. Because McGahn had spoken to Special Counsel
18. statements in those interviews, But because McGahn had repeatedly spoken to investigators and
19. to have McGahn refute the New York Times article, a nexus to a proceeding or to further
20. investigative interviews would not be shown. But the President's efforts to have McGahn write a
PAGE V2-120
1. The President's Conduct Towards Flynn Manafort,
2. actions directed at possible witnesses in the Special Counsel's investigation, including Flynn
3. Manafort, [redacted] and as described in the next section, Cohen When Flynn withdrew from a joint
4. defense agreement with the President; the President's personal counsel stated that Flynn's actions
5. As previously noted, see Volume II, Section II.B, supra, the President asked for Flynn's
6. resignation on February 13‚ 2017. Following Flynn's resignation, the President made positive
7. public comments about Flynn describing him as a "wonderful man," "a fine person," and a "very
8. Intent. Substantial evidence indicates that in repeatedly urging McGahn to dispute
9. influencing McGahn's account in order to deflect or prevent further scrutiny of the President's
10. Several facts support that conclusion. The President made repeated attempts to get McGahn to change his story. As described above, by the time of the last attempt, the evidence
11. suggests that the President had been told on multiple occasions that McGahn believed the President
12. had ordered him to have the Special Counsel terminated. McGahn interpreted his encounter with
13. his memory of what had occurred, The President had already laid the groundwork for pressing McGahn to alter his account by telling Porter that it might be necessary to fire McGahn if he did
14. not deny the story, and Porter relayed that statement to McGahn. Additional evidence of the
15. prospect of the President's meeting with McGahn that he called McGahn's counsel and said that McGahn could not resign no matter what happened in the Oval Office that day. The President's
16. counsel was well aware of McGahn's resolve not to issue what he believed to be a false account
17. Special Counsel investigation in his Oval Office meeting with McGahn and criticized him for
18. In addition to the interactions with McGahn described above, the President has taken other
PAGE V2-121
1. good person." The President also privately asked advisors to pass messages to Flynn conveying
2. In late November 2017, Flynn began to cooperate with this Office. On November 22, 2017, Flynn withdrew from a joint defense agreement he had with the President. Flynn's counsel told
3. the President's personal counsel and counsel for the White House that Flynn could no longer have
4. President's personal counsel left a voicemail for Flynn's counsel that said;
5. president and his feelings toward Flynn and, that still remains ...
6. On November 23, 2017, Flynn's attorneys returned the call from the President's personal
7. counsel to acknowledge receipt of the voicemail. Flynn's attorneys reiterated that they were no
8. According to Flynn's
9. President's personal counsel said that he interpreted what they said to him as a reflection of Flynn's
10. 2017) (stating that Flynn is a "very good person").
11. See Priebus 1/18/17 302, at 9-10 (the President asked Priebus to contact Flynn the week he was
12. Priebus thought the President did not want Flynn to have a problem with him); McFarland 12/22/17 302,
13. at 18 (about a month or two after Flynn was terminated, the President asked McFarland to get in touch with Flynn and tell him that he was a good guy, he should stay strong, and the President felt bad for him); Flynn I/19/18 302, at 9 (recalling the call from Priebus and an additional call from Hicks who said she wanted to
14. relay on behalf of the President that the President hoped Flynn was okay); Christie 2/13/19 302, at 3
15. (describing a phone conversation between Kushner and Flynn the day after Flynn was tired where Kushner
16. Counsel for Flynn 3/1/18 302, at 1,
17. out a positive tweet about you later," and the President nodded his assent to Kushner's comment promising
18. Counsel for Flynn 3/1/18 302, at 1,
19. Counsel for Flynn 3/1/18 302, at 1.
PAGE V2-122
1. hostility towards the President and that he planned to inform his client of that interpretation. Flynn's attorneys understood that statement to be an attempt to make them reconsider their position
2. because the President's personal counsel believed that Flynn would be disturbed to know that such
3. On Decembet 1, 2017, Flynn pleaded guilty to making false statements pursuant to a
4. about what Flynn might tell the Special Counsel. In response to a question about whether the
5. President still stood behind Flynn the President responded, "We'll see what happens." Over
6. the next several days, the President made public statements expressing sympathy for Flynn and
7. press inquiry about whether he was considering a pardon for Flynn by saying, "I don't want to talk
8. about pardons for Michael Flynn yet. We'll see what happens. Let's see. I can say this: When
9. Counsel for Flynn 3/I/18 302, at 2. Because of attorney-client privilege issues, we did not seek
10. to interview the President's personal counsel about the extent to which he discussed his statements to Flynn's attorneys with the President.
11. Counsel for Flynn 3/1/18 302, at 2.
12. Information, United States v. Michael T. Flynn, 1:17-cr-232 (D.D.C. Dec. 1, 2017), Doc. 1; Plea
13. Agreement, United States v. Michael T. Flynn, 1:17-cr-232 (D.D.C. Dec. I, 2017), Doc. 3.
14. President Trump Remarks on Tax Reform and Michael Flynn's Guilty Plea, C-SPAN (Dec. 2,
15. President Trump Remarks on Tax Reform and Michael Flynn's Guilty Plea, C-SPAN (Dec. 2,
16. See @realDonaldTrump 12/2/17 (9:06 p.m. ET) tweet ("So General Flynn lies to the FBI and
17. for General Flynn I feel very badly. He's led a very strong life. And I feel very badly.").
18. 2. Conduct Directed at Paul Manafort
PAGE V2-123
1. Porter 5/8/18 302, at 11; McGahn 12/14/17 302, at 14.
PAGE V2-124
1. the President tweeted, "Wow, what a tough sentence for Paul Manafort, who has represented
2. Manafort was the head of the Mob. What about Comey and Crooked Hillary and all the others?
PAGE V2-125
1. tweeted," Paul Manafort worked for Ronald Reagan, Bob Dole and many other highly prominent
2. worse, Alfonse Capone, legendary mob boss, killer and 'Public Enemy Number One,' or Paul Manafort, political operative & Reagan/Dole darling, now serving solitary confinement — although
3. Manafort trial were widely covered by the press. When asked about the President's tweets,Sanderstold the press, "Certainly, the President's been clear. He thinks Paul Manafort's been
4. 2018); Frank Bruni, Paul Manafort's Trial Is Donald Trump's, Too, New York Times Opinion (July 31,
5. See, e.g., Carol D. Leonnig et al., Trump calls Manafort prosecution "a hoax," says Sessions should stop Muellsr investigation "right now" Washington Post (Aug. 1, 2018); Louis Nelson, Trump
6. claim Manafort case has "nothing to do with collusion", Politico (Aug. 1. 2018).
7. CNN (Aug. 16, 2018); David Voreacos, What Mueller's Manafort Case Means for the Trump Battle to
8. situation and Attorney General Jeff Sessions should stop this Rigged Witch Hunt right now, before
PAGE V2-126
1. August 21, Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to eight offenses, including a campaign-finance
2. Michael Cohen, he refused to 'break' — make up stories in order to get a 'deal.' Such respect for
3. Transcript at 23, United States v. Michael Cohen, 1:18-cr-602 (S.D.N.Y. Aug. 21, 2018), Doe.
4. very sad what they've, done to Paul Manafort." The President did not take further questions.
5. " Paul Manafort's a good man" and "it's a very sad thing that happened. The President
6. day, the President tweeted, "I feel very badly for Paul Manafort and his wonderful family. 'Justice'
7. deal when he uses me, like everybody else. And one of the reasons I respect Paul Manafort so
8. Trump call Manafort "very good person," All In with Chris Hayes (Aug. 17, 2018) (transcript);
PAGE V2-127
1. President "really thinks Manafort has been horribly treated" and that he and the President had
PAGE V2-128
1. pardon for Paul Manafort still a possibility, New York Post (Nov. 28, 2018). That one day, the President
2. Trump says pardon for Paul Manafort still a possibility, New York Post (Nov. 28, 2018).
PAGE V2-131
1. In analyzing the President's conduct towards Flynn Manafort
2. With regard to Flynn the President sent private and public messages to Flynn encouraging
3. cooperate with the government. When Flynn's attorneys withdrew him from a joint defense
4. agreement with the President, signaling that Flynn was potentially cooperating with the
5. government, the President's personal counsel initially reminded Flynn's counsel of the President's
6. warm feelings towards Flynn and said "that still remains." But when Flynn's counsel reiterated
7. that Flynn could no longer share information under a joint defense agreement the President's
8. personal counsel stated that the decision would be interpreted as reflecting Flynn's hostility
9. towards the President. That sequence of events could have had thc potential to affect Flynn s
10. the specific message his counsel delivered to Flynn's counsel.
PAGE V2-132
1. Nexus to an official proceeding. The President's actions towards Flynn, Manafort,
2. each individual. The President's conduct towards Flynn [redacted] principally occurred when both
3. Intent. Evidence concerning the President's intent related to Flynn as a potential
4. with Flynn's counsel stating that Flynn's decision to withdraw from the joint defense agreement
5. continued to express sympathy for Flynn afler he pleaded guilty pursuant to a cooperation
6. agreement, stating that Flynn had "led a very strong life" and the President "fe[lt] very badly"
7. Manafort "happens to be a very good person" and that "it's very sad what they' ve done to Paul Manafort " had the potential to influence jurors who learned of the statements, which the President
8. conduct toward Manafort was directly connected to the official proceedings involving him. The
9. Evidence concerning the President's conduct toward Manafort indicates that the President
PAGE V2-133
1. they've done to Paul Manafort" right afler calling the Special Counsel's investigation a "rigged
PAGE V2-134
1. The President's Conduct Involving Michael Cohen
2. The President's conduct involving Michael Cohen spans the full period of our
3. investigation. During the campaign, Cohen pursued the Trump Tower Moscow project on behalf
4. of the Trump Organization. Cohen briefed candidate Trump on the project numerous times,
5. began questioning Trump's connections to Russia, Cohen promoted a "party line" that publicly
6. distanced Trump from Russia and asserted he had no business there. Cohen continued to adhere
7. Russia investigation. In an attempt to minimize the President's connections to Russia, Cohen submitted a letter to Congress falsely stating that he only briefed Trump on the Trump Tower
8. Moscow project three times, that he did not consider asking Trump to travel to Russia, that Cohen had not received a response to an outreach he made to the Russian
9. congressional statement, Cohen had extensive discussions with the President's personal counsel,
10. who, according to Cohen said that Cohen should not contradict the President and should keep the
11. statement short and "tight." After the FBI searched Cohen's home and office in April 2018, the
12. President publicly asserted that Cohen would not "flip" and privately passed messages of support
13. to him. Cohen also discussed pardons with the President's personal counsel and believed that if
14. the investigation end. But after Cohen began cooperating with the
15. The President's interactions with Cohen as a witness took place against the background of
16. negotiations conducted by Cohen then-executive Vice President of the Trump Organization and
17. In August 2018 and November 2018, Cohen pleaded guilty to multiple crimes of deception,
18. in this section. When Cohen first met with investigators from this Office, he repeated the same lies he told
19. Congress about the Trump Tower Moscow project. Cohen 8/7/18 302‚ at 12-17. But after Cohen pleaded
20. and corrected the record. The Office found Cohen's testimony in these subsequent proffer sessions to be
21. The Office's sentencing submission in Cohen's criminal case stated: "Starting with his second meeting with
PAGE V2-135
1. unsuccessfully pursued a building project in Moscow. " According to Cohen in approximately
2. and brand. Cohen thereafter had numerous brief conversations with Trump about the project. Cohen recalled that Trump wanted to be updated on any developments with Trump Tower Moscow
3. and on several occasions brought the project up with Cohen to ask what was happening on it. Cohen also discussed the project on multiple occasions with Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka
4. negotiations between Cohen and the Russian corporation, asked Cohen for a copy of his and
5. financing partners. Cohen recalled discussing the trip with Trump and requesting a copy of
6. By January 2016, Cohen had become frustrated that Sater had not set up a meeting with
7. Russian government officials, so Cohen reached out directly by email to the office of Dmitry
8. information provided by Cohen about the [Trump Tower] Moscow project in these proffer sessions is
9. v Michael Cohen 1:18-cr-850 (S.D.N.Y. Dec. 7, 2018), Doc. 14. At Cohen's sentencing, our Office further
10. explained that Cohen had "provided valuable information ... while taking care and being careful to note
11. what he knows and what he doesn't know." Transcript at 19, United States v. Michael Cohen , I:18-cr-850
12. Cohen 9/12/18 302, at 1-4; Cohen 8/7/18 302, at 15.
13. Cohen 9/12/18 302, at 2, 4.
14. Cohen 9/12/18 302, at 4.
15. Cohen 9/12/18 302, at 4, 10.
16. LLC and Andrey Rozov, I.C. Expert Investment Company}; Cohen 9/12/18 302, at 3; Written Responses
17. MDC-H-000600 (12/19/15 Email, Sater to Cohen).
18. Cohen 9/12/18 302, at 5.
PAGE V2-136
1. Peskov, who was Putin's deputy chief of staff and press secretary. On January 20, 2016, Cohen received an email response from Elena Poliakova, Peskov's personal assistant, and phone records
2. confirm that they then spoke for approximately twenty minutes, during which Cohen described the
3. Trump Tower Moscow project and requested assistance in moving the project forward. Cohen recalled briefing candidate Trump about the call soon afterwards. Cohen told Trump he spoke
4. with a woman he identified as "someone from the Kremlin," and Cohen reported that she was very
5. professional and asked detailed questions about the project. Cohen recalled telling Trump he
6. Kremlin. Cohen thought his phone call renewed interest in the project. The day after Cohen's call
7. with Poliakova, Sater texted Cohen asking him to "[c]all me when you have a few minutes to chat
8. ... It's about Putin they called today." Sater told Cohen that the Russian government liked the
9. project and on January 25, 2016, sent an invitation for Cohen to visit Moscow "for a working
10. After the outreach from Sater, Cohen recalled telling Trump that he was waiting to hear
11. After January 2016, Cohen continued to have conversations with Sater about Trump Tower
12. of the project. Cohen recalled that he and Trump wanted Trump Tower Moscow to succeed and
13. March or April 2016, Trump asked Cohen if anything was happening in Russia. Cohen also
14. See FS00004 (12/30/15 Text Message, Cohen to Sater); TRUMPORG_MC_000233 (1/11/16
15. Email, Cohen to pr_peskova@prpress.gof.ru); MDC-H-000690 (1/14/16 Email, Cohen to
16. info@prpress.gov.ru); TRUMPORG_MC_000235 (1/16/16 Einail, Cohen to pr_peskoba@prpress.gov.ru).
17. 1/20/16 Email, Paliakova to Cohen Call Records of Michael Cohen . (Showing a 22-minute call
18. on January 20, 2016, between Cohen and the number Paliakova provided in her smail); Cohen 9/12/18 302,
19. at 2-3. After the call, Cohen saved Poliakova's contact information in his Trump Organization Outlook
20. contact list. 1/20/16 Cohen Microsoft Outlook Entry (6:22 a.m.).
21. Cohen 11/20/18 302, at 5.
22. Cohen 11/20/18 302, at 5-6; Cohen 11/12/18 302, at 4.
23. Cohen 11/20/18 302, at 5.
24. Cohen 9/12/18 302, at 5.
25. FS00011 (1/21/16 Text Messages, Sater & Cohen).
26. Cohen 9/12/18 302, at 5; 1/25/16 Email, Sater to Cohen (attachment).
27. Cohen 11/2018 302, at 5.
28. Cohen 9/12/18 302, at 6. In later congressional testimony, Cohen stated that he briefed Trump
29. Transcripts, at 24) (testimony of Michael Cohen ).
30. Cohen 9/12/18 302, at 6.
31. Cohen 9/18/18 302, at 4.
PAGE V2-137
1. recalled briefing Donald Trump Jr. in the spring — a conversation that Cohen said was not "idle
2. chit chat" because Trump Tower Moscow was potentially a $1 billion deal. Cohen recalled that around May 2016, he again raised with candidate Trump the possibility
3. of a trip to Russia to advance the Trump Tower Moscow project. At that time, Cohen had
4. wrote to Cohen "I had a chat with Moscow. ASSUMING the trip does happen the question is
5. before or after the convention... . . Obviously the premeeting trip (you only) can happen anytime Cohen you want but the 2 big guys [is] the question. I said I would confirm and revert."
6. convention. On May 5, 2016, Sater followed up with a text that Cohen thought he probably
7. dates and subjects are on the table to discuss. Cohen recalled discussing the invitation to the St. Petersburg Economic Forum with
8. there. Cohen remembered that Trump said that he would be willing to travel to Russia if Cohen could "lock and load" on the deal. In June 2016, Cohen decided not to attend the St. Petersburg
9. Economic Forum because Sater had not obtained a formal invitation for Cohen from Peskov. Cohen said he had a quick conversation with Trump at that time but did not tell him that the project
10. During the summer of 2016, Cohen recalled that candidate Trump publicly claimed that he
11. had nothing to do with Russia and then shortly afterwards privately checked with Cohen about the
12. status of the Trump Tower Moscow project, which Cohen found "interesting."
13. Cohen 9/12/18 302, at 10.
14. Cohen 9/12/18 302, at 7.
15. Cohen 9/12/18 302, at 7.
16. FS00015 (5/4/16 Text Message, Sater to Cohen .
17. FS00015 (5/4/16 Text Message, Cohen to Sater).
18. F800016-17 (5/5/16 Text Messages, Sater & Cohen .
19. Cohen 9/12/18 302, at 7.
20. Cohen 9/12/18 302, at 7. Cohen 9/12/18 302, at 7-8.
21. Cohen 9/12/18 302, at 8. Cohen 3/19/19 302, at 2.
PAGE V2-138
1. that summer, Cohen recalled having a brief conversation with Trump in which Cohen said the
2. had not secured a piece of property for the project. Trump said that was "too bad," and Cohen did not recall talking with Trump about the project after that. Cohen said that at no time during
3. 2. Cohen Determines to Adhere to a "Party Line" Distancing Candidate Trump
4. denied having any personal, financial, or business connection to Russia, which Cohen described
5. advance of the inauguration Cohen recalled that Trump Tower Moscow was on the list of deals
6. In approximately January 2017, Cohen began receiving inquiries from the
7. inquiries came in. Cohen was concerned that truthful answers about the Trump Tower Moscow
8. In an effort to "stay on message," Cohen told a New York Times reporter that the Trump
9. Tower Moscow deal was not feasible and had ended in January 2016. Cohen recalled that this
10. Cohen 3/19/19 302, at 2. Cohen could not recall the precise timing of this conversation, but said
11. he thought it occurred in June or July 2016. Cohen recalled that the canversation happened at some point
12. after candidate Trump was publicly stating that he had nothing to do with Russia. Cohen 3/19/19 302, at
13. Cohen 3/19/19 302, at 2.
14. Cohen 3/19/19 302, at 2.
15. Cohen 11/20/18 302, at 1; Cohen 9/18/18 302, at 3, 5; Cohen 9/12/18 302, at 9.
16. Cohen 9/1 8/18 302, at 1-2; see also Rtskhiladze 4/4/18 302, at 8-9.
17. Cohen 9/18/18 302, at 1-2.
18. Cohen 11/20/18 302, at 4.
19. Cohen 9/18/18 302, at 5. The article was published on February 19, 2017, and reported that
20. Sater and Cohen had been working an plan for a Trump Tower Moscow "as recently as the fall of 2015
21. but had came to a halt because of the presidential campaign. Consistent with Cohen's intended party line
PAGE V2-139
1. dismiss the idea of a substantial connection between Trump and Russia. Cohen said that he
2. were untrue because Trump already knew they were untrue. Cohen thought it was important to
3. presumptive nominee. 3 Cohen Submits False Statements to Congress Minimizing the Trump Tower
4. In early May 2017, Cohen received requests from Congress to provide testimony and
5. documents in connection with congressional investigations of Russian interference in the 2016 election. At that time, Cohen understood Congress's interest in him to be focused on the
6. allegations in the Steele reporting concerning a meeting Cohen allegedly had with Russian officials
7. in Prague during the campaign. Cohen had never traveled to Prague and was not concerned
8. about those allegations, which he believed were provably false. On May 18, 2017, Cohen met
9. with the President to discuss the request from Congress, and the President instructed Cohen that
10. he should cooperate because there was nothing there. Cohen eventually entered into a joint defense agreement (JDA) with the President and other
11. congressional testimony, Cohen frequently spoke with the President's personal counsel. Cohen
12. Cohen 9/18/18 302, at 6.
13. Cohen 9/12/18 302, at 10.
14. P-SCO-000000328 (5/9/17 Letter, HPSCI to Cohen ; P-SCO-000000331 (5/12/17 Letter‚SSCI
15. to Cohen .
16. Cohen 11/20/18 302, at 2-3.
17. Cohen 11/20/18 302, at 2-3.
18. Cohen 11/1 2/18 302, at 2; Cohen 11/20/19 302, at 3. Cohen 11/12/18 302, at 2.
19. Cohen 11/12/18 302, at 2-3; Cohen 11/20/18, at 2-6. Cohen told investigators about his
20. what Cohen told us about his conversations with the President's personal counsel concerned what Cohen had communicatedto thePresident's personal counsel,and not what was said in response. Cohen described
21. certain statements made by the President's personal counsel, however, that are set forth in this section. Cohen and his counsel were better positioned than this Office to evaluate whether any privilege protected
22. interviewing Cohen about these matters, we asked the President's personal counsel if he wished to provide
23. information to us about his conversations with Cohen related to Cohen's congressional testimony about
PAGE V2-140
1. just been with the President. Cohen recalled that the President's personal counsel told him the
2. message the investigations would come to an end soon. At that time, Cohen's legal bills were
3. being paid by the Trump Organization„sm and Cohen was told not to worry because the
4. personal counsel also conveyed that, as part of the JDA, Cohen was protected, which he would not
5. In August 2017, Cohen began drafting a statement about Trump Tower Moscow to submit
6. Organization abandoned the proposa." Second, although Cohen and candidate Trump had
7. definitive agreement in place. Third, although Cohen had regularly briefed Trump on the status
8. that he could not disaggregate information he had obtained from Cohen from information he had obtained
9. from other parties in the JDA. In view of the admonition this Office gave to Cohen's counsel to withhold
10. a claim of privilege, and the substance of the statements themselves, we have included relevant statements Cohen provided in this report. If the statements were to be used in a context beyond this report, further
11. Cohen 11/20/18 302, at 2, 4.
12. Cohen 11/20/18 302, at 4.
13. Cohen 9/18/18 302, at 8; Cohen 11/20/1 8 302, at 3-4. Cohen 11/20/18 302, at 4. Cohen 9/18/18 302, at 11; Cohen 11/20/18 302, at 2.
14. P-SCO-000003680 and P-SCO-0000003687 (8/16/17 Email and Attachment, Michael Cohen"s
15. Counsel to Cohen). Cohen said it was not his idea to write a letter to Congress about Trump Tower Moscow. Cohen 9/18/18 302, at 7.
16. P-SCO-00009478 (Statement of Michael D. Cohen , Esq. (Aug. 28, 2017)).
17. P-SCO-00009478 (Statement of Michael D. Cohen , Esq. (Aug. 28, 2017)).
18. P-SCO-00009478 (Statement of Michael D. Cohen , Esq. (Aug. 28, 2017)).
PAGE V2-141
1. non-binding letter of intent in 2015. Fourth, although Cohen 2016 had resulted in a lengthy phone call with a representative from the Kremlin, the statement
2. said that Cohen did "not recall any response to my email [to Peskov], nor any other contacts by
3. me with Mr. Peskov or other Russian government officials about the proposal. Cohen's statement was circulated in advance to, and edited by, members of the JDA.
4. take out that sentence, and hc did nat push back on the deletion. Cohen recalled that he told the
5. President's personal counsel that he would not contest a decision of the JDA. Cohen also recalled that in drafting his statement for Congress‚ he spoke with the
6. President's personal counsel about a different issue that connected candidate Trump to Russia: Cohen's efforts to set up a meeting between Trump and Putin in New York during the 2015 United
7. Natians General Assembly. In September 2015, Cohen had suggested the meeting to Trump,
8. who told Cohen to reach out to Putin's office about it. Cohen spoke and emailed with a Russian
9. the proposed meeting with putin. When Cohen called the Russian official a second time, she
10. told him it would not follow proper protocol for Putin to meet with Trump, and Cohen relayed that
11. P-SCO-00009478 (Statement of Michael D. Cohen , Esq. (Aug. 28, 2017)).
12. P-SCO-00009478 (Statement of Michael D. Cohen , Esq. (Aug, 28, 2017)).
13. Cohen 9/12/18 302, at 8-9. Cohen also testified in Congress that the President's counsel
14. by Michael Cohen ). Because of concerns about the common interest privilege, we did not obtain or review
15. all drafts of Cohen's statement. Based on the drafts that were released through this Office's filter process,
16. early draft prepared by Cohen and his counsel. P-SCO-0000003680 and P-SCO-0000003687 (8/16/17
17. Email and Attachment, Cohen's counsel to Cohen).
18. P-SCO-0000003687 (8/16/17 Dratt Statement of Michael Cohen); Cohen 11/20/18 302, at 4.
19. Cohen 11/20/18 302, at 4. A different line stating that Cohen did "not recall any response to my
20. Michael D. Cohen , Esq. (Aug. 28, 2017)).
21. Cohen 11/20/18 302, at 4.
22. Cohen 11/20/18 302, at 5.
23. Cohen 9/18/18 302, at 10-11.
24. Cohen 9/18/18 302, at 11; Cohen 11/12/18 302, at 4.
25. Cohen 9/18/18 302, at 11; Cohen 11/12/18 302, at 5.
PAGE V2-142
1. message to Trump. Cohen anticipated he might be asked questions about the proposed Trump-Putin meeting when he testified before Congress because he had talked about the potential meeting
2. in it. Cohen recalled that he and the President"s personal counsel talked about keeping Trump
3. out of the narrative, and the President's personal counsel told Cohen the story was not relevant and
4. should not be included in his statement to Congress. Cohen said that his "agenda" in submitting the statement to Congress with false
5. him by not contradicting anything the President had said. Cohen recalled he was concerned that
6. group. Cohen wanted the support of the President and the White House, and he believed that
7. 2017, when the statement was submitted to Congress, phone records reflect that Cohen spoke with
8. the President's personal counsel almost daily. On August 27, 2017, the day before Cohen
9. Cohen 11/12/18 302, at 5.
10. Cohen 9/18/18 302, at 11.
11. Cohen 3/19/19 302, at 2.
12. Cohen 3/19/19 302, at 2; see Cohen 9/18/18 302, at 11 (recalling that he was told that if he
13. Cohen 9/12/18 302, at 8; Information at 4-5, United States v. Michael Cohen, 1:18-cr-850
14. Cohen 11/20/18 302, at 4.
15. Cohen 11/20/1 8 302, at 4; Cohen 11/12/18 302, at 2-3, 4, 6.
16. Cohen 9/12/18 302, at 9.
17. Cohen 9/12/18 302, at 8-9.
18. Cohen 11/12/18 302, at 2-3; Cohen 11/20/18 302, at 5; Call Records of Michael Cohen
PAGE V2-143
1. submitted the statement to Congress, Cohen and the President's personal counsel had numerous
2. contacts by phone, including calls lasting three, four, six, eleven, and eighteen minutes. Cohen recalled telling the President's personal counsel, who did not have first-hand knowledge of the
3. candidate Trump than the statement reflected. Cohen stated that the President's personal
4. did not progress and that Cohen should keep his statement short and "tight" and the matter would
5. appreciated Cohen that Cohen should stay on message and not contradict the President, that there
6. was no need to muddy the water, and that it was time to move an. Cohen said he agreed because
7. it was what he was expected to do. After Cohen later pleaded guilty to making false statements
8. President's personal counsel about these conversations with Cohen but counsel declined, citing
9. At the same time that Cohen finalized his written submission to Congress, he served as a
10. before the presidential primaries began, several people familiar with the proposal said. Cohen recalled that in speaking to the Post, he held to the false story that negotiations for the deal ceased
11. Cohen 11/20/18 302, at 5; Call Records of Michael Cohen . (Reflecting 14 contacts on August
12. Cohen 11/20/18 302, at 5.
13. Cohen 11/20/18 302, at 5. Cohen also vaguely recalled teging the President's personal counsel
14. effect of "so what?" because the deal never happened. Cohen 11/20/18 302, at 5.
15. Cohen 11/20/18 302, at 5.
16. Cohen 11/20/18 302, at 5.
17. Cohen 9/18/18 302, at 7; Carol D. Leannig et al., Trump's business sought deal on a Trump
18. Cohen 9/1 8/18 302‚ at 7.
PAGE V2-144
1. On August 28, 2017, Cohen submitted his statement about the Trump Tower Moscow
2. project to Congress. Cohen did not recall talking to the President about the specifics of what
3. the statement said or what Cohen would later testify to about Trump Tower Moscow. He
4. testimony. On September 19, 2017, in anticipation of his impending testimony, Cohen orchestrated the public release of his opening remarks to Congress, which criticized the allegations
5. primary. Cohen said the release of his opening remarks was intended to shape the narrative
6. and let other people who might be witnesses know what Cohen was saying so they could follow
7. personal counsel had told Cohen the President liked Cohen recalled that on September 20,
8. 2017, after Cohen's opening remarks had been printed by the media, the President's personal
9. On October 24 and 25, 2017, Cohen testified before Congress and repeated the false
10. records show that Cohen spoke with the President's personal counsel immediately after his
11. 4. The President Sends Messages of Support to Cohen In January 2018, the media reported that Cohen had arranged a $130,000 payment during
12. P-SCO-000009477 - 9478 (8/28/17 Letter and Attachment, Cohen to SSCI).
13. Cohen 11/12/18 302, at 2; Cohen 9/12/18 302‚ at 9.
14. Cohen 9/12/18 302, at 9.
15. Cohen 9/18/18 302, at 7; see, e g., READ: Michael Cohen's statement to the Senate intelligence
16. Cohen 9/18/18 302, at 7.
17. Cohen 9/18/18 302, at 7; Cohen 11/20/18 302, at 6. Cohen 11/20/18 302, at 6. Phone records show that the President's personal counsel called