The 448 page Mueller Report regarding the investigation of President Donald Trump was released April 18. Among other subjects, its contents detail Russian interference and obstruction of justice during the 2016 election. The conclusions leave the president exonerated to an extent with Mueller’s team stating, “If we had confidence... that the president clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state.” Another accusation regarding conspiracy with Russia was a case Mueller declined to prosecute. Despite the many redactions in the report, here's what can be gathered from reading the Mueller Report.
Vol. I: Russian Interference in the 2016 Election
While President Trump and his campaign were found to be receptive to help from Russia, Mueller could not find conclusive evidence that the individuals involved had willfully violated the law, according to V2-98 of the report. The infamous June 2016 meeting — where a Russian lawyer offered dirt on Hillary Clinton to members of the campaign — is inadequate evidence to support Mueller's case according to V2-98. The investigation team said the representatives involved, such as Paul Manafort, Jared Kushner and Donald Trump Jr., were unfamiliar with the consequences behind their actions. According to the team, it is likely they did not understand the implications of a foreign-contribution ban and several more federal laws.
Communication about the Trump Tower Moscow project included attempts to directly contact the Russian government. Felix Sater, a New York-based real estate advisor and friend of Trump, set up connections to pursue the project. In a September 2015 email to Michael Cohen, Sater states, "all we need is [Vladimir] Putin on board and we are golden," according to V1-72. A redacted name in the next sentence of the report is mentioned to have “coordinated” through Russian associates, but the person had not been in direct contact with the Russian government.
Lana Erchova, the ex-wife of Dmitry Klokov, sent an email to Ivanka Trump, which was then forwarded to Cohen. The purpose of this email was to help set up unofficial meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Klokov was a former press secretary to the Russian Energy Minister. In the email to Ivanka, Erchova wrote, “If you ask anyone who knows Russian to Google my husband Dmitry Klokov, you’ll see who he is close to and that he has done Putin’s political campaigns," according to V1-72.
According to V1-95 of the report, various Russians with government connections either attempted to or got in contact with Trump's campaign to offer assistance with his business ventures. Among other things, Klokov offered “political synergy" to Cohen over email, according to V1-73. Due to a misunderstanding, Cohen eventually dropped Klokov as a contact. A personal mixup by Cohen confused Dmitry Klokov, a former Olympic weightlifter, with the former press secretary, according to V1-73. No meeting between Putin, official or unofficial, ever occurred because of Klovkov, according to V1-73.
For other instances of communication initiated by Russians, refer to V1-95 on Carter Page, and V1-103 on Dimitri Simes.
WikiLeaks is still being investigated, however, Mueller's team has determined it to be insufficient to bring criminal charges for campaign-finance violation, according to V2-9 of the report.
Vol. II: Obstruction of Justice Inquiry
Matters regarding the obstruction of the inquiry compiles half the report but achieves little in legal battleground. There were many moments of concern, but ambiguity surrounding the case failed to provide sufficient evidence to prosecute.
Mueller had taken an interest in the president's decisions to diffuse the investigation, particularly the firing of James Comey and Trump's attempt to stop the “witchhunt” through his subordinates, according to V2-7. Mueller said the president's executive power “provided him with unique and powerful means of influencing official proceedings,” which was deemed relevant to a potential obstruction of justice charge, according to V2-7. Examples from the report detail a number of occasions where subordinates to Trump ignored his requests or orders.
After Michael Flynn’s resignation Feb. 14, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was directed to send a message to Comey that was vaguely detailed. According to V2-39, the president asked Christie to relay the message to Comey that he, “really like[s] him. Tell him he’s part of the team," which Christie called “nonsensical."
On the same day Christie and Trump met, during a Homeland Security briefing, the president asked to speak alone with Comey. According to Comey’s testimony, Trump subtly directed him stating, “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go," according to V2-41. However, Comey declined.
Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions was asked by the president to reverse his recusal from the investigation and Corey Lewandowski was involved in passing on this message. Lewandowski passed his duty to a subordinate, who also declined, according to V2-41.
According to V2-95, Reince Priebus, former White House chief of staff, was asked to demand Sessions' resignation but refused on the advice of former White House Counsel Don McGahn. According to V2-96, Trump asked for updates by texting Priebus “Did you get it? Are you working on it?"
Trump ordered McGahn to remove Mueller as Special Counsel June 17, 2017 to halt the investigation. Instead, McGahn resigned from his position, according to V2-86. In one of their phone calls, Trump and McGahn discussed the topic and Trump reportedly said, “Call Rod, tell Rod that Mueller has conflicts and can’t be the Special Counsel,” according to V2-86.
Cohen comes up again, alleging Trump requested he lie about the Trump Tower Moscow project during his congressional testimony, according to V2-153. While evidence shows that Trump knew Cohen lied, there is none to support that the president directed his former lawyer to do so, according to V2-153.
The aftermath of The Mueller Report left junior political science major Connor Whelan content and firm with his stance on the issue. Whelan said he initially felt this investigation was a waste of taxpayer money, which he said has been confirmed for him.
“I have not read the full report," Whelan said. "I’ve gone off news outlets, but every time I hear a talking point from Fox News, I back it up from a talking point from CNN so I get a balance.”
New charges and individual investigations are ongoing while redacted and public testimonies are being examined. Fourteen other investigations have spawned because of the report, 12 of which are redacted from the public.
Several Trump officials have been arrested due to dwelling topics in the report and one former Obama administration member was also charged with lying to the justice department over his involvement with Ukraine, which surfaced in the findings of the report.