Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report has finally been released to the public — and we're beginning to get a sense of what's inside.
The Independent's Chris Riotta, Victoria Gagliardo-Silver and Lily Puckett reviewed the report, finding numerous examples of inappropriate contacts between Russian operatives and members of the Trump campaign throughout the 2016 presidential election, as well as extensive business discussions between Mr Trump and his associates to discuss a major real estate project in Moscow as he was running for the White House.
Mr Trump’s efforts to influence the Russia investigation “were mostly unsuccessful,” according to the report, but that was because the people surrounding the president “declined to carry out orders to accede to his requests.”
Mr Mueller’s report details instances by several officials, including former FBI Director James Comey, former White House counsel Don McGahn and former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, ignoring or refusing the president's requests to interfere in the investigation.
The most heavily redacted portion of the report appears in its first section, which covers Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election and examines contacts between Russian representatives and the Trump campaign. The report concludes there was no criminal culpability by Trump aides.
Several pages in that first section are almost entirely blacked out. The report’s second section, examining possible obstruction by Mr Trump, appeared more lightly redacted.
The Justice Department’s careful excisions begin as early as the fourth page of the report.
Mr Barr said he was withholding grand jury and classified information as well as portions relating to ongoing investigation and the privacy or reputation of uncharged “peripheral” people.
In referencing an oligarch who headed up a team of Russian tech experts who used US social media to exploit American political controversies, Justice officials blacked out details about the man’s ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Additional reporting by AP. Check out The Independent's initial live-read of the document below.
Please allow a moment for the liveblog to load
Here's the report: https://www.justice.gov/storage/report.pdf
We'll begin digging through and posting updates now.
FIRST REDACTION: Noted right underneath a section titled “Trump campaign and the Dissemination of Hacked Materials.”
The redaction is listed as “harm to ongoing matter” — meaning it may pertain to ongoing investigations.
Mueller concludes in his report that the Russian government “interfered in the 2016 presidential election in sweeping and systematic fashion.”
“Evidence of Russian government operations began to surface in mid-2016,” the report states.
The special counsel goes on to detail the investigatory efforts that were launched soon after these discoveries, ultimately leading to the appointing of Robert Mueller.
The report makes clear that Russian operatives favored Donald Trump and were seeking to disparage Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign.
“The investigation also identified numerous links between the Russian government and the Trump campaign,” the report reads.
“Although the investigation established that the Russian government perceived it would benefit from a Trump presidency and worked to secure that outcome, and that the campaign expected it would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts, the investigation did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.”
Mueller notes his team applied the framework of conspiracy law in order to determine whether evidence of collective actions employed by multiple individuals constituted a crime.
The special counsel specifically notes the office did not use “the concept of ‘collusion.’”
Just a heads up that I’m being joined by two fellow US reporters to help look through the massive report.
Their names are Victoria Gagliardo-Silver and Lily Puckett. Look out for their posts throughout the live blog as well.
The report is broken down into two separate volumes.
Volume 1 describes “factual results of the Special Counsel’s investigation of Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election and its interactions with the Trump Campaign.”
Volume 2 addresses Donald Trump’s “actions towards the FBI’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election and related matters, and his actions towards the Special COunsel’s investigation.”
To get a sense of the redactions, the very first portion of the first volume includes heavy ones surrounding Russian President Vladimir Putin and his connections.
Mueller notes that the Russian Internet Research Agency was used as one of its core entities carrying out foreign influence operations.
“The investigation did not identify evidence that any US persons conspired or coordinated with the IRA,” the report notes.
It goes on to describe how the Russian government began a multi pronged attack on the election by supporting Mr Trump in early 2016 and releasing hacked emails from the Clinton campaign.
Independent reporter Victoria Gagliardo-Silver notes that the report discusses the controversial 9 June Trump Tower meeting in which campaign manager Paul Manafort, and Donald Trump Jr. met with Russian lawyer who had promised "official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary" although the information fell short of what was promised. The email communication indicated that the documents were offered as "part of Russia and it's government's support for Mr. Trump".
The report also states that “days after the June 9 meeting, on June 14, 2016, a cybersecurity firm and the DNC announced that Russian government hackers had infiltrated the DNC and obtained access to opposition research on candidate Trump, among other documents”.
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