The Mueller report is out

By Veronica Rocha, Meg Wagner, Amanda Wills and Brian Ries, CNN

Updated 7:55 PM ET, Thu April 18, 2019
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1:53 p.m. ET, April 18, 2019

Pelosi and Schumer: There are stark differences between what Mueller and Barr said

From CNN's Ashley Killough 

Win McNamee/Getty Images
Win McNamee/Getty Images

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer issued a joint statement following the release of special counsel Robert Mueller's report.

They said there are "stark" differences between what Attorney General William Barr and Mueller have said about obstruction.

"Barr presented a conclusion that the president did not obstruct justice while Mueller's report appears to undercut that finding," they said.

Here's the full statement:

1:49 p.m. ET, April 18, 2019

Betsy DeVos' brother financed effort to find Clinton's emails

From CNN's Marshall Cohen

Security contractor Erik Prince, who is the brother of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, helped finance an effort to obtain Hillary Clinton's deleted emails in 2016.

This effort was led by Barbara Ledeen, a onetime GOP Hill staffer and associate of President Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Flynn reached out to Ledeen after Trump privately and repeatedly asked him and other campaign officials to obtain the deleted emails from Clinton’s private server, according to the report.

One thing to note: This was one of multiple Flynn-linked efforts to get Clinton’s emails, another being with GOP operative Peter Smith. 

In September 2016, Ledeen claimed to have received “a trove of emails” that belonged to Clinton but wanted to authenticate the emails. Prince “provided funding to hire a tech advisor to ascertain the authenticity of the emails,” the report said. The analysis determined the emails weren’t real.

Prince, former Blackwater CEO, and Flynn provided information about these efforts to investigators, according to the footnotes.

1:42 p.m. ET, April 18, 2019

Minimal reference to Trump's finances in Mueller report

From CNN's Kara Scannell

There are no references in special counsel Robert Mueller's report to President Trump's taxes or loans to his business beyond the discussions around Trump Tower projects in Moscow that was evaluated under the "collusion" umbrella.

It isn't clear if that information was reviewed or redacted or referred out in a separate investigation.

1:38 p.m. ET, April 18, 2019

Trump Jr. told others about Clinton dirt, including Ivanka Trump and Hope Hicks

From CNN's Katelyn Polantz

Donald Trump Jr., at a morning meeting with top campaign and Trump campaign members, announced "that he had a lead on negative information about the Clinton Foundation" in the days before the Trump Tower meeting, special counsel Robert Mueller wrote. 

Then-deputy campaign manager Rick Gates, a top Mueller cooperator, recounted that Trump Jr. believed the information would come from a group in Kyrgyzstan — potentially a reference Aras Agalarov, the Azerbaijani-Russian who helped to orchestrate the meeting, according to the special counsel.

Mueller wrote that, according to Gates, Trump Jr., Eric Trump, former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, then-White House communications director Hope Hicks, Ivanka Trump and Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner all attended the meeting. Ivanka Trump and Kushner attended late, according to Gates, Mueller wrote.

According to the report, Gates said Manafort, however, cautioned the group to be careful and raised doubts the upcoming meeting would actually yield vital information.

Hicks later denied knowing about the meeting in advance, and Kushner said he did not recall knowing about it.

1:31 p.m. ET, April 18, 2019

Trump's outside legal team reviewed the Mueller report at the Justice Department, his lawyer says

From CNN's Jim Acosta

President Trump's lawyer Jay Sekulow said they were not briefed on special counsel Robert Mueller's report.

"We were not briefed," Sekulow said. "We were able to review it in the SCIF at DOJ. No DOJ personnel present and no interaction."

Sekulow would not say whether they then talked to Trump about it, saying he would not talk about those discussions.

3:25 p.m. ET, April 18, 2019

Special counsel investigated rumored compromising tapes of Trump in Moscow

From CNN's Erica Orden and Kara Scannell

The special counsel examined whether President Trump learned during the presidential campaign of the rumored existence of compromising tapes made of him years earlier when he visited Moscow.

According to a footnote in the special counsel’s report, in October 2016, prior to the election, former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen received a text from Russian businessman, Giorgi Rtskhiladze, that said: "Stopped flow of tapes from Russia but not sure if there's anything else. Just so you know..."

Rtskhiladze told the special counsel that "tapes" referred to “compromising tapes of Trump rumored to be held by persons associated with the Russian real estate conglomerate Crocus Group,” which had helped host the 2013 Miss Universe Pageant, according to the report. Cohen told the special counsel that he spoke to Trump about the issue after receiving Rtskhiladze’s text.

Rtskhiladze, however, told prosecutors that he was told the tapes were fake, but that he didn’t convey that to Cohen. 

Scott Balber, a lawyer for Aras Agalarov, founder of Crocus Group, said the allegation that “compromising tapes rumored to be held by persons associated with the Russian real estate conglomerate Crocus Group,” is “total nonsense.” He added that Crocus Group does not have any compromising tapes.

Why this matters: The footnote raises the matter in the context of explaining that former FBI Director James Comey had briefed the President-elect in January 2017 on a dossier compiled by retired British spy Christopher Steele, including that “the Russians had compromising tapes of the President involving conduct when he was a private citizen during a 2013 trip to Moscow for the Miss Universe Pageant.”

About the dossier: The controversial 35 pages of intelligence memos compiled by Steele paint a picture of widespread conspiracy of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.

See more:

1:18 p.m. ET, April 18, 2019

Mueller thought Trump's written answers were "inadequate"

From CNN's Jeremy Herb

Mark Wilson/Getty Images
Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Special counsel Robert Mueller considered President Donald Trump’s written responses “inadequate” and sought an interview with Trump, but ultimately decided not to issue a subpoena for the interview. 

Why this matters: The criticism stands in contrast to the attorney general saying Thursday the White House had “fully cooperated.” 

In a report appendix, the special counsel wrote that it sought an interview with the President for more than a year, beginning in December 2017, and considered an interview “vital to our investigation.” 

The special counsel agreed to receive written responses from Trump, but it "viewed the written answers to be inadequate."

"We noted, among other things, that the President stated on more than 30 occasions that he ‘does not 'recall' or 'remember' or have an 'independent recollection' of information called for by the questions. Other answers were ‘incomplete or imprecise,'" the report states. 

“The written responses, we informed counsel, ‘demonstrate the inadequacy of the written format, as we have had no opportunity to ask follow-up questions that would ensure complete answers and potentially refresh your client's recollection or clarify the extent or nature of his lack of recollection,’” the special counsel added.

Why there wasn't a subpoena: The special counsel said it considered a subpoena, but ultimately decided against it because the investigation had already “made significant progress.”

“We thus weighed the costs of potentially lengthy constitutional litigation, with resulting delay in finishing our investigation, against the anticipated benefits for our investigation and report,” the report states. “We determined that the substantial quantity of information we had obtained from other sources allowed us to draw relevant factual conclusions on intent and credibility, which are often inferred from circumstantial evidence and assessed without direct testimony from the subject of the investigation.”

1:15 p.m. ET, April 18, 2019

Trump asked campaign aides to find Clinton’s emails

From CNN's Marshall Cohen and Katelyn Polantz

After Trump publicly asked Russia to hack Hillary Clinton’s emails at a July 2016 press conference, he privately and repeatedly “asked individuals affiliated with his campaign to find the deleted Clinton emails,” the report says.

The public request was also followed within five hours by Russian intelligence's first effort to infiltrate Clinton’s emails, the special counsel said.

They sent 15 email accounts connected to Clinton's campaign malicious links, Mueller said. This was only a small part of the broad effort the Russians made to hack the Democratic Party for damaging information and election officials.

One of the campaign people Trump asked was Michael Flynn, who later told investigators that Trump repeatedly made the request, according to the report. Flynn then tried to get Clinton’s emails and reached out to “multiple” associates — including GOP operative Peter Smith, whose efforts have been detailed in press accounts.

Why this matters: This confirms for the first time that a senior Trump campaign adviser was involved in Smith’s pursuit to find Clinton’s emails. Smith killed himself in May 2017 and left a note saying there was “no foul play.”

This seems to contradict what an unnamed Trump campaign official told The Wall Street Journal in June 2017, that if Mr. Flynn coordinated with Smith, it was only in Flynn’s capacity as a private individual. 

During Smith’s shadowy pursuit of the emails, he told associates that he was working with Russian hackers. But the investigation concluded that Smith was never actually in contact with any Russians. 

In emails to associates while trying to find the emails, Smith claimed he was working “in coordination” with the Trump campaign and name-dropped Flynn, Sam Clovis, Steve Bannon and Kellyanne Conway. The Mueller investigation established that Smith communicated with “at least” Flynn and Clovis but did not find any evidence suggesting that Smith was in contact with the other Trump campaign officials.

Mueller’s office interviewed multiple people about Smith’s efforts, according to footnotes in the report, and Flynn provided a lot of information about his role and Trump’s interest in the emails. Flynn was a marquee cooperator in the investigation and pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI in 2017.

1:13 p.m. ET, April 18, 2019

Sarah Sanders admitted to Mueller that her public comments about the FBI weren't based in fact

From CNN's Kaitlan Collins and Kevin Liptak

 BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images
 BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images

Speaking to Robert Mueller about her comments following the firing of FBI Director James Comey, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders conceded she made statements to the media that were not based in fact.

Specifically, Sanders said her assertion in response to a question about FBI agents supporting Comey wasn’t "founded on anything," according to Mueller. 

In a back-and-forth during a briefing, a reporter told Sanders the "vast majority" of FBI agents supported Comey. 

"We've heard from countless members of the FBI that say very different things," Sanders said.

What Sanders told Mueller: She said that comment was a "slip of the tongue" made "in the heat of the moment."

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