Here Are the 5 Biggest Revelations From the Newly Released FBI Interview Notes From the Mueller Investigation

 In GDI, Russia, Defense
  • Nearly 300 pages of doc­u­ments relat­ed to the Mueller inves­ti­ga­tion were released on Monday as part of a pub­lic records law­suit brought for­ward by BuzzFeed News and CNN.
  • The doc­u­ments include sum­maries of FBI inter­views as part of spe­cial coun­sel Robert Mueller’s inves­ti­ga­tion into Russian inter­fer­ence in the 2016 elec­tion.
  • The sum­maries shed light on inter­views con­duct­ed with key wit­ness­es as part of Mueller’s inves­ti­ga­tion, includ­ing Trump’s for­mer lawyer and fix­er Michael Cohen, for­mer White House chief of staff John Kelly, and for­mer Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, among oth­ers.
  • Here are the top five biggest rev­e­la­tions from the trove of doc­u­ments. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s home­page for more sto­ries.

Hundreds of pages of doc­u­ments relat­ed to for­mer spe­cial coun­sel Robert Mueller’s inves­ti­ga­tion were released on Monday as part of a pub­lic records law­suit brought for­ward by BuzzFeed News and CNN.

In response to the law­suit, the Justice Department on Monday released 295 pages of wit­ness mem­o­ran­da and sum­maries of FBI inter­views as part of spe­cial coun­sel Robert Mueller’s inves­ti­ga­tion into Russian inter­fer­ence in the 2016 elec­tion. Last month, both CNN and BuzzFeed pub­lished the first install­ment of doc­u­ments released by the Justice Department.   

In the doc­u­ments released on Monday, include heav­i­ly redact­ed inter­view notes and mem­os from President Donald Trump’s for­mer lawyer Michael Cohen, for­mer White House chief of staff John Kelly, and for­mer Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, among oth­ers.

Here are the five biggest rev­e­la­tions from the new­ly released doc­u­ments: 

1. Vice President Mike Pence pushed Trump to fire national security adviser Michael Flynn. 

Former Trump 2016 cam­paign aide Rick Gates said in an April 2018 inter­view that Pence was involved in Flynn’s fir­ing.

“Gates said Pence went to Trump about fir­ing Flynn and he thought it was one of the few times Pence pushed Trump hard like that,” Mueller’s team wrote in its sum­ma­ry of the inter­view. 

2. Michael Cohen told Trump’s lawyer Jay Sekulow that there was more contact with Russia than they were telling Congress, but Sekulow brushed it off. 

According to the sum­ma­ry, Cohen told Sekulow that there were more details about dis­cus­sions on Trump Tower Moscow and com­mu­ni­ca­tions with Russia than were dis­closed by Cohen in a let­ter to Congress. 

Cohen said in his inter­view that Sekulow told him not to elab­o­rate on any of those details, and to keep his let­ter “short and tight.”

“Sekulow said it did not mat­ter and Cohen should not con­tra­dict Trump and that it was time to move on,” accord­ing to the sum­ma­ry of Cohen’s inter­view. 

Cohen lat­er plead­ed guilty to lying to Congress about the work he did on the Russian project, in addi­tion to oth­er fed­er­al crimes includ­ing cam­paign finance vio­la­tions. He is cur­rent­ly serv­ing a three-year prison sen­tence. 

Cohen also said that he spoke to Sekulow about a pos­si­ble par­don after the FBI raid­ed his home and office. He called him­self a “loy­al lawyer and ser­vant and all of a sud­den he was the sub­ject of search and seizure,” accord­ing to the sum­ma­ry.

Sekulow refut­ed Cohen’s state­ment to the Associated Press on Monday, say­ing they were false.

3. John Kelly appeared to back up Former White House Counsel Don McGahn’ testimony. 

Summaries shed light on Kelly’s August 2018 inter­view, which appeared to cor­rob­o­rate tes­ti­mo­ny made by McGahn. McGahn had essen­tial­ly been Mueller’s key wit­ness on attempts by Trump to obstruct jus­tice in his report­ed efforts to fire Mueller.

The New York Times report­ed last year that Trump ordered Mueller’s fir­ing but then backed off when McGahn threat­ened to quit. 

Kelly recalled to inves­ti­ga­tors that a con­ver­sa­tion took place between Trump and McGahn in the Oval Office about the arti­cle, which Kelly called “a lit­tle tense.” Trump insist­ed that he did not recall a con­ver­sa­tion about fir­ing Mueller and asked McGahn to “cor­rect the record.” But McGahn remained defi­ant.

“The President may have asked McGahn to cor­rect the record, but McGahn was insist ant that it hap­pened the way he remem­bered,” the notes say. “The pres­i­dent said it was not the way he remem­bered it. Kelly assumed ‘cor­rect the record’ meant for McGahn to call the New York Times to cor­rect the sto­ry.”

McGahn lat­er went to Kelly’s office and insist­ed that he and Trump “did have that con­ver­sa­tion.”

4. Hope Hicks predicted that the 2016 Trump Tower meeting was going to be a “massive story,” but it was dismissed by Jared Kushner.

Donald Trump Jr., along with Kushner and oth­ers, met with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya at Trump Tower in June 2016. Emails ahead of the meet­ing sug­gest there was a promise for “dirt” on then-polit­i­cal oppo­nent Hillary Clinton.

According to the sum­ma­ry of her inter­view, Hicks sat down with Kushner, Ivanka Trump, and President Trump to dis­cuss emails exchanged about set­ting up the meet­ing. She sug­gest­ed get­ting Trump Jr. to do an inter­view with “soft­ball ques­tions” in order to bring the emails to light.

“Kushner respond­ed it was not a big deal,” accord­ing to the sum­ma­ry of her inter­view.

“Hicks told the President ‘this is going to be a mas­sive sto­ry,’ and that the emails were ‘real­ly bad’ in that meet­ing.”

“The President did not want to talk about it and did not want the details,” it added.

5. Trump asked former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie if he should fire Mueller. Christie told him it would be “political suicide.”

Christie said in his inter­view that he recalled Trump ask­ing him what he thought about fir­ing Mueller.

“Christie told him that there were two issues he saw,” the sum­ma­ry writes. “The first was that Mueller has giv­en Trump no sub­stan­tive rea­son to fire him. The sec­ond was that it would be polit­i­cal sui­cide and Trump would lose the Republicans in Congress if he did so.”

Christie said that in February of 2017, Trump also asked him to tell for­mer FBI Director James Comey in February 2017 that Trump “real­ly liked him.” Christie refused, say­ing it would be “non­sen­si­cal.”

“He would not put Comey in the posi­tion of hav­ing to receive that tele­phone call,” the sum­ma­ry states.

Comey was fired three months lat­er

Former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said in his inter­view that he was  “angry, ashamed, hor­ri­fied and embar­rassed” at the way Comey was fired.

Rosenstein was upset that he was “not copied” on Comey’s fir­ing, and expect­ed it to come from the pres­i­dent or Attorney General Jeff Sessions in per­son. Instead, Comey found out on tele­vi­sion

FBI mem­os from BuzzFeed News/CNN law­suit (PDF)
FBI mem­os from BuzzFeed News/CNN law­suit (Text)

Source: Business Insider (Military & Defense)

Recommended Posts
0

Start typing and press Enter to search