In February, Trump pulled Comey aside in the Oval Office and, referring to the FBI's investigation [and] asked him to "let this go," according to Comey's account.
Shortly after, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that he would rescue himself from any investigation of the 2016 campaign. The recusal came after The Washington Post reported that during the presidential campaign, Sessions, had twice met with Russia's ambassador to the United States. Sessions had not disclosed the meetings when he was asked at his confirmation hearing about contacts between Russians and the Trump campaign.
On May 9, 2017, Trump snapped; the president unceremoniously fired Comey. He conveyed the news in a terse letter, hand-delivered to FBI headquarters.
Trump's closest aides had warned him that the move could trigger a political uproar and lead to an expansion of the Russia inquiry--and it did. Lawmakers on Capitol Hill cried foul. The FBI, already deep into its investigation of election interference, now feared that the most powerful man in the country was trying to obstruct its work.
Robert Mueller was appointed to lead an independent investigation of interference in the 2016 election and other matters that might stem from the inquiry. It was a broad mandate.
Mueller's team racked up an extraordinary record. His prosecutors charged thirty-four people, including twenty-six Russian nationals. They secured guilty pleas from seven people, including a former national security adviser and the chairman of Trump's campaign. They reconstructed day-to-day interactions of Trump's closest aides and his adult children, exploring dozens of instances of Russian contacts with the Trump campaign. They documented the Russian attack on American democracy in breathtaking detail, even tracing individual keystrokes of Russian military officers in Moscow.
Donald Trump grew up in a 23-room manse in Queens, a faux Southern plantation house with a Cadillac limousine in the driveway. He attended private school from kindergarten on; his focus in school, Trump told The Washington Post in 2016, was "creating mischief, because, for some reason, I liked to stir things up and I liked to test people.. It wasn't malicious so much as it was aggressive."
In second grade, he said, he punched his music teacher in the face. He got into trouble often. Before eighth grade started, his father sent him to military school.
Mueller's 24-page statement of offenses describes all of Paul Manafort's crimes. He agreed that he conspired against the US by illegally laundering through offshore accounts the $60 million he earned in Ukraine from 2006 to 2016. He evaded $15 million in US taxes. He failed to register as a foreign lobbyist while helping his Ukraine clients press their views in Washington.
The conduct outlined by Mueller painted a devastating portrait of Donald Trump's campaign chairman. Manafort had volunteered to work for Trump for free but was drowning in debt at the time. He appeared eager to use his campaign role to angle for money from his wealthy patrons in Ukraine and Russia, working in concert with an alleged Russian intelligence asset. His service for Trump coincided with the ramp-up of Russians intervention in the US election and a ratcheting-up of Trump's pro-Russia campaign rhetoric.
The special counsel's office would reveal that Cohen met with its investigators seven times. The motive for his lying to Congress was to "minimize links" between the Moscow project and Trump. [Cohen was imprisoned in May 2019, after the publication of the Mueller Report].
The letter was a political windfall for President Trump. No one else would be indicted, Barr wrote, Mueller had declined to make a prosecution judgement on the question of whether Trump obstructed justice, but instead had described the facts he had found and noted "while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him." Barr wrote that he [and Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein,] reviewed the question themselves and determined the evidence was "not sufficient to establish that the President committed an obstruction-of-justice offense." Trump seized on the letter to declare he had been vindicated.
A little more than a year into his investigation, Mueller made this much clear: he knew exactly who carried out the hack, and how they did it. In Mueller's 29-page indictment of a dozen officers of the Russian military intelligence, known as the GRU, Mueller described in granular detail how the group hacked the emails, then laundered the stolen messages through fake online personas so they could be shared to influence voters.
Notably, Mueller did not include any Americans in the indictment, and he similarly spared the anti-secrecy organization WikiLeaks.
The indictment alleged, "At or around the same time they also targeted 76 email addresses at the domain for the Clinton campaign."
The recusal came after The Washington Post reported that during the presidential campaign, Sessions had twice met with Russia's ambassador to the US. Sessions had not disclosed the meetings when he was asked at his confirmation hearing about contacts between Russians and the Trump campaign. "I did not have communications with the Russians," Sessions had said.
At a news conference, Sessions insisted that his recusal was not a reaction to the Post's reporting. Sessions told advisers in the months that followed that he had no choice in the matter. The investigation was of Trump's campaign and its relationship with a foreign power. How could Sessions oversee that without raising questions about whether he had a conflict of interest?
Some Democrats immediately said that the report provided evidence the president committed a crime. "Even in its incomplete form," Representative Jerry Nadler (D-New York), the chair of the House Judiciary Committee, said in a statement, "the Mueller report outlines disturbing evidence that President Trump engaged in obstruction of justice and other misconduct." Nadler vowed to press on with the investigations of Trump as Republicans called for them to end.
Some Democrats vowed to press on with the investigations of Trump as Republicans called for them to end. "Democrats who have been running around for the last two years making outlandish claims about the president and his family ought to apologize to the American people for misleading them and the press about this smear campaign," said Representative Steve Scalise (R-Louisiana), the Republican whip. "This report. delivered a death blow to their baseless conspiracy theories."
I am a fifth generation son of the state of Washington, and am proud to have roots in this state that are as wide as they are deep. My family came to this state as fishermen and gold miners. I am proud of the working people of Washington, and I know their work, having driven bulldozers in Bellevue, painted houses in Burien, run the business end of a jackhammer, prosecuted drunk drivers and raised hay in the Yakima Valley. Washington has welcomed many people to our great state from all points of the compass, but no matter when you and your family arrived here, in our souls all of us in Washington are pioneers.
|2020 Presidential contenders on Principles & Values:|
Democrats running for President:
Sen.Michael Bennet (D-CO)
V.P.Joe Biden (D-DE)
Mayor Mike Bloomberg (I-NYC)
Gov.Steve Bullock (D-MT)
Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D-IN)
Sen.Cory Booker (D-NJ)
Secy.Julian Castro (D-TX)
Gov.Lincoln Chafee (L-RI)
Rep.John Delaney (D-MD)
Rep.Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI)
Sen.Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
Gov.Deval Patrick (D-MA)
Sen.Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
CEO Tom Steyer (D-CA)
Sen.Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)
Marianne Williamson (D-CA)
CEO Andrew Yang (D-NY)
2020 Third Party Candidates:
Rep.Justin Amash (L-MI)
CEO Don Blankenship (C-WV)
Gov.Lincoln Chafee (L-RI)
Howie Hawkins (G-NY)
Gov.Jesse Ventura (I-MN)
Republicans running for President:
Rep.Joe Walsh (R-IL)
Gov.Bill Weld(R-MA & L-NY)
2020 Withdrawn Democratic Candidates:
Sen.Stacey Abrams (D-GA)
Mayor Bill de Blasio (D-NYC)
Sen.Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
Sen.Mike Gravel (D-AK)
Sen.Kamala Harris (D-CA)
Gov.John Hickenlooper (D-CO)
Gov.Jay Inslee (D-WA)
Mayor Wayne Messam (D-FL)
Rep.Seth Moulton (D-MA)
Rep.Beto O`Rourke (D-TX)
Rep.Tim Ryan (D-CA)
Adm.Joe Sestak (D-PA)
Rep.Eric Swalwell (D-CA)
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