Federal elections laws are clear and provide that no one can solicit, accept, or receive anything of value from a foreign national in connection with a United States election. The specific law is as follows:
Federal statute 52 USC 30121 entitled “Contributions and donations by foreign nationals” provides:
It shall be unlawful for-
(1) a foreign national, directly or indirectly, to make-
(A) a contribution or donation of money or other thing of value, or to make an express or implied promise to make a contribution or donation, in connection with a Federal, State, or local election;
(B) a contribution or donation to a committee of a political party; or
(C) an expenditure, independent expenditure, or disbursement for an electioneering communication (within the meaning of section 30104(f)(3) of this title); or
(2) a person [including a candidate for office] to solicit, accept, or receive a contribution or donation described in subparagraph (A) or (B) of paragraph (1) from a foreign national.
(b) “Foreign national” defined
As used in this section, the term “foreign national” means-
(1) a foreign principal … except that the term “foreign national” shall not include any individual who is a citizen of the United States; or
(2) an individual who is not a citizen of the United States or a national of the United States
IT IS ILLEGAL TO ACCEPT ANY ELECTION HELP FROM FOREIGN GOVERNMENTS
On June 13, 2019 Chairwoman Ellen Weintraub, the head of the Federal Election Commission made it 100% clear that it is illegal to accept any election help from foreign governments by candidates running for President. In a statement released to the public she said:
“Electoral intervention from foreign governments has been considered unacceptable since the beginning of our nation.”
Weintraub made it clear that any presidential campaign that receives an offer of help from a foreign source should call the FBI. Weintraub noted that there is a distinction as to the different types of communications saying talking with foreign governments is clearly part of the job of president. The FEC chair made it clear that soliciting, accepting or receiving “anything of value from a foreign national in connection with a U.S. election” is illegal.
There are 3 specific instances of conduct by President Trump where he admitted to soliciting a foreign national, directly or indirectly, to interfere with a US Presidential election.
FIRST ARTICLE OF IMPEACHMENT: SOLICITING RUSSIA FOR ELECTION INTERFERENCE
On July 27, 2016, while running for office, then Presidential candidate Donald Trump encouraged Russian hackers to find emails that had been deleted from Hillary Clinton’s private server that she used while serving as secretary of state when he said at a press conference in Florida:
“I will tell you this, Russia: If you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing … “I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.” Trump
On July 27, 2016, according to the federal indictment of the 12 Russian intelligence officers for their involvement in hacking the Democratic National Committee during the 2016 election, the Russian hacking occurred hours after Trump gave his press conference and solicited Russian hackers to find Clinton’s emails.
The indictment states that on July 27, 2016, the same day as Trump’s press conference, Russian hackers, “for the first time,” attempted to break into email accounts, including those used by Clinton’s personal office. Notably, the indictment is very specific that the hack happened in the evening, meaning the Russian officials did it after Trump’s press conference where he asked for Russian help and Russia acted on Trump’s request.
EVIDENCE OF RUSSIAN INTERFERENCE SOLICITED BY TRUMP
Three senior intelligence officials said the intelligence community has found clear evidence that Russia did indeed compromised or interfered with voter registries in the states of Alaska, Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Texas and Wisconsin, and there are probably more.
(February 28, 2018 NBC News report: “U.S. intel: Russia compromised seven states prior to 2016 election”.)
Thirteen United States intelligence agencies found that Russia tried to influence our election in favor of Trump. According to an APRIL 18, 2019 Time Magazine report “Over the course of the 2016 election, a wide-ranging group of Russians probed state voter databases for insecurities; hacked the Hillary Clinton campaign, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the Democratic National Committee; tried to hack the campaign of Sen. Marco Rubio and the Republican National Committee; released politically damaging information on the internet; spread propaganda on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram; staged rallies in Florida and Pennsylvania; set up meetings with members of the Trump campaign and its associates; and floated a business proposition for a skyscraper in Moscow to the Trump Organization. The goal, as determined by the U.S. intelligence community and backed up by evidence gathered by Special Counsel Robert Mueller was to damage the Clinton campaign, boost Trump’s chances and sow distrust in American democracy overall.” Instead of condemning Russian interference with the 2016 election, Trump denied it and accepted the help from Russia to discredit Clinton in order to get elected.
SECOND ARTICLE OF IMPEACHMENT: SOLICTING UKRAINE TO INVESTIGATE BIDENS AND A “QUID PRO QUO”
“Quid pro quo” is Latin and simply translated means something of value given or received in exchange for something of value.
Trump withheld this past summer nearly $400 million in foreign aid to Ukraine already authorized by congress and as leverage for Ukrain to investigate Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden. Trump has repeatedly denied publicly that there was any “quid pro quo” when he used the funding as leverage to encourage Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to pursue an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden.
According to a White House memo of the July phone call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Trump asked his Ukrainian counterpart to “look into” his political rival and former Vice President Joe Biden and Biden’s son. The memo was compiled by White House officials who listened to the call and the memo is not a verbatim transcript. Trump has said that a transcript does exist but the transcript has not been released.
According to the memo, Trump asked for 3 favors that essentially would help interfere with the 2020 Presidential election by discrediting presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden.
The 3 favors Trump asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky were to:
1. “Look into” his political rival and former Vice President Joe Biden
2. Trump asked Zelensky several times to speak with U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr to speak with Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani and
3. Help investigate something to do with the Russian hack of the Democratic National Committee
EXCERPTS FROM MEMO RELEASED BY WHITE HOUSE
Following are the relevant excerpts from the 5 page memo released by the White House documenting the phone call:
Ukrain President Zelenskyy: “… I would also like to thank you for your great support in the area of defense. We are ready to continue to cooperate for the next steps specifically we are almost ready to buy more Javelin [missiles] from the United States for defense purposes.”
President Trump: I would like you to do us a favor though because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it. I would like you to find out what happened with this whole situation with Ukraine, they say Crowdstrike … I guess you have one of your wealthy people… The server, they say Ukraine has it. There are a lot of things that went on, the whole situation. I think you’re surrounding yourself with some of the same people. I would like to have the Attorney General call you or your people and I would like you to get to the bottom of it. As you saw yesterday, that whole nonsense ended with a very poor performance by a man named Robert Mueller, an incompetent performance, but they say a lot of it started with Ukraine. Whatever you can do, it’s very important that you do it if that’s possible.
Ukrain President Zelenskyy: Yes, it is very important for me and everything that you just mentioned earlier. For me as a President, it is very important and we are open for any future cooperation. We are ready to open a new page on cooperation in relations between the United States and Ukraine. For that purpose, I just recalled our ambassador from United States and he will be replaced by a very competent and very experienced ambassador who will work hard on making sure that our two nations are getting closer. I would also like and hope to see him having your trust and your confidence and have personal relations with you so we can cooperate even more so. I will personally tell you that one of my assistants spoke with Mr. Giuliani just recently and we are hoping very much that Mr. Giuliani will be able to travel to Ukraine and we will meet once he comes to Ukraine. …
President Trump: Good because I heard you had a prosecutor who was very good and he was shut down and that’s really unfair. A lot of people are talking about that, the way they shut your very good prosecutor down and you had some very bad people involved. Mr. Giuliani is a highly respected man. He was the mayor of New York City, a great mayor, and I would like him to call you. I will ask him to call you along with the Attorney General. Rudy very much knows what’s happening and he is a very capable guy. If you could speak to him that would be great. The former ambassador from the United States, the woman, was bad news and the people she was dealing with in the Ukraine were bad news so I just want to let you know that. The other thing, there’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it… It sounds horrible to me.
Ukrain President Zelenskyy: I wanted to tell you about the prosecutor. First of all I understand and I’m knowledgeable about the situation. Since we have won the absolute majority in our Parliament, the next prosecutor general will be 100% my person, my candidate, who will be approved by the parliament and will start as a new prosecutor in September. He or she will look into the situation, specifically to the company that you mentioned in this issue. The issue of the investigation of the case is actually the issue of making sure to restore the honesty so we will take care of that and will work on the investigation of the case. On top of that, I would kindly ask you if you have any additional information that you can provide to us, it would be very helpful for the investigation to make sure that we administer justice in our country with regard to the Ambassador to the United States from Ukraine as far as I recall her name was Ivanovich. It was great that you were the first one who told me that she was a bad ambassador because I agree with you 100%. Her attitude towards me was far from the best as she admired the previous President and she was on his side. She would not accept me as a new President well enough.
President Trump: Well, she’s going to go through some things. I will have Mr. Giuliani give you a call and I am also going to have Attorney General Barr call and we will get to the bottom of it. I’m sure you will figure it out. I heard the prosecutor was treated very badly and he was a very fair prosecutor so good luck with everything.
You can review the entire White House memo here:
Trump has insisted that his July conversation with Mr. Zelensky was “perfect” even after the release by the White House of the memo showing him imploring the Ukrainian leader to “do us a favor” by investigating the Bidens and other Democrats shortly after President Zelensky discussed his need for more American aid to counter Russian aggression in his country. The only thing that was mad perfect was that Trump wanted and solicited a “favor”.
TEXT MESSAGES CONFIRM QUID PRO QUO TO HAVE UKRAIN INTERFER WITH PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION
On October 3, House Democrats conducting the impeachment inquiry of President Trump released text messages provided to Congress by Kurt Volker, the former special envoy to Ukraine who testified more than eight hours behind closed doors on Capitol Hill. The text messages revealed that U.S. ambassadors worked to persuade Ukraine to publicly commit to investigating Trump’s political opponents and explicitly linking the inquiry to whether Ukraine’s president would be granted an official White House visit and improve relations between the two countries.
You can read the text messages at the below link:
The text messages show how top US diplomats and Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer, sought to advance Trump’s goal of getting the Ukrainians to investigate meddling in the 2016 election and investigate Vice President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter.
On July 25, former U.S. special representative for Ukraine negotiations Kurt Volker texted the top Zelenskiy just before Trump spoke by phone to Zelenskiy as follows:
“Heard from White House – assuming President Z convinces trump he will investigate / ‘get to the bottom of what happened’ in 2016, we will nail down date for a visit to Washington. ”
It was the July phone call led a U.S. intelligence official to file a whistleblower complaint that lead to the impeachment inquiry of Trump.
The released text messages reveal that Volker and U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland repeatedly stressed the need to get the Ukrainians to agree to the exact language that Zelenskiy would use in announcing an investigation. In August, Volker proposed to Sondland that they give Ukraine President Zelenskiy a statement to use at a news conference citing “alleged involvement of some Ukrainian politicians” in interference in U.S. elections.
Volker and Sondland agreed that the Ukrainian president should say:
“We intend to initiate and complete a transparent and unbiased investigation of all available facts and episodes, including those involving Burisma and the 2016 U.S. elections. ”
Burisma Holdings is the Ukrainian gas company that Hunter Biden joined its board in 2014 while his father was vice president. Zelenskiy never did make the statement.
On August 29, Zelenskiy aide Andrey Yermak texted Volker:
“Need to talk with you.” The text messaged reflected a panicking top aide to Zelenskiy reaching out to Volker after Trump unexpectedly halted upwards of $400 million in military assistance to Ukraine as he increased pressure on Zelenskiy to investigate.
The released text messages show Volker and Sondland playing an active role in advancing Trump’s goal of forcing the Ukrainian to investigate the former Vice President Biden and his son Hunter Biden.
After Trump canceled a planned meeting with Zelenskiy in Poland William Taylor, a career diplomat who became the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, pushed backed in a text by saying:
“Are we now saying that security assistance and WH [an acronym for the White House] meeting are conditioned on investigations?”.
A full week later, Taylor told Sondland:
“As I said on the phone, I think it’s crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign.”
Sondland a few hours later texted Taylor and said:
“Bill, I believe you are incorrect about President Trump’s intentions. The President has been crystal clear, no quid pro quos of any kind …”
Sonland went on to suggest they stop discussing the matter via text messages ostensibly realizing that he was suggesting a meeting with Trump was a “quid pro quo” for Ukraine to first investigate the Bidens.
ARTICLE THREE OF IMPEACHMENT: SOLICTING SOLICITING CHINA AND OTHER COUNTRIES FOR ELECTION INTERFERENCE
On Thursday, October 4, President Trump publicly called on China and again Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden thereby again requesting help from a foreign power that could benefit Trump, this time in the 2020 election.
Trump proclaimed on the White House lawn before departing for Florida:
“China should start an investigation into the Bidens, because what happened in China is just about as bad as what happened with Ukraine. … I would [also] say that President Zelensky [of Ukraine], if it were me, I would recommend that they start an investigation into the Bidens .. Because nobody has any doubt that they weren’t crooked.”
Democrat Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee leading the impeachment inquiry, said Trump’s solicitation for China to investigate Biden were further evidence of Trump’s betrayal of duty and said:
“The president of the United States encouraging a foreign nation to interfere and help his campaign by investigating a rival is a fundamental breach of the president’s oath of office. ”
Kate Bedingfield, former Vice President Joe Biden’s deputy campaign manager, said in a statement:
“What Donald Trump said on the South Lawn of the White House was this election’s equivalent of his infamous ‘Russia, if you’re listening’ moment from 2016 — a grotesque choice of lies over truth and self over the country ” referring to the on camera called on Russia to hack Hillary Clinton’s email servers.
Hillary Clinton for her part weighed in on Twitter by saying:
“Someone should inform the president that impeachable offenses committed on national television still count”.
President Trump and Attorney General Barr have solicited help from Australia and Italy to uncover information undermining the origin of Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Russian interference in the 2016 election. The Times of London reported that Trump sought help from Prime Minister Boris Johnson of Britain. Trump has pushed back against critics who have called such requests an abuse of power, arguing that there was nothing wrong with seeking foreign help to fight corruption.
COUNT FOUR OF IMPEACHEMENT: OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE IN 2016 RUSSIAN INTERFERENCE INVESTIGATION
On May 29, 2019, US Justice Department Special Counsel Robert Mueller ended his two-year investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Mueller noted the Justice Department’s longstanding policy against indicting a sitting president and said that his office was never able to even consider bringing charges against Donald Trump, either openly or under seal until Trump left office. According to Mueller:
“We concluded that we would not reach a determination—one way or the other—about whether the president committed a crime. … Charging the president with a crime was therefore not an option we could consider.”
Despite the fact that the special counsel’s report on Russian interference did not come to a conclusion as to whether President Trump obstructed justice, the Mueller Report did find 10 incidents in which Trump may have indeed “obstructed justice”. However, Special Council Mueller left it up to congress to decide if there was obstruction of justice. Any one of the 10 acts could form the basis of impeachment by the Democratic Controlled US House of Representatives.
CBS News did an exceptional summary of the 10 times Trump may have obstructed justice. In the postscript to this article is a listing of the 10 times Trump may have obstructed justice and quoting a CBS News article with the link below outlining the 10 instances of obstruction of justice.
COUNT FIVE OF IMPEACHMENT: OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE IN UKRAIN IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY
On October 8, Trump administration moved to block ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland from testifying in the expanding impeachment inquiry. The administration directed Sondland, a Trump appointee whose texts with other officials in the U.S. and Ukraine caused a firestorm when they surfaced this week, not to appear before the House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs, and Oversight committees as scheduled. His testimony was to follow that of former Ukraine envoy Kurt Volker, who last week provided Democrats with a trove of messages in which he, Sondland, and Bill Taylor, Charge d’Affaires at the U.S. embassy in Ukraine, discussed military aid to Kiev and a White House visit for new Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Sondland was a key player in the administration’s interactions with Ukraine and is seen as a central witness in the president’s apparent abuses of power. House democrats immediately announced they intend to subpoena him, and that the State Department’s efforts to stop Sondland from testifying will be considered obstruction of justice in their inquiry.
There have now been two whistle blowers that have come forward with information. Given the pace of the scandal, it is more likely than not more obstruction of justice incidents will be alleged.
Article II, Section 4 of the United States Constitution provides as follow:
“The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”
High crimes and misdemeanor are whatever the House of Representatives say it is in Articles of Impeachment. The power and authority to bring Articles of Impeachment rests solely with the United States House of Representatives and articles of impeachment are passed by a simple majority vote. After Articles of Impeachment are passed by the House, the charges are forwarded to the United States Senate for a trial presided over by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. A trial is then conducted by the United State Senate for removal from office and two-thirds of the United Senate, or 67 votes, are needed to convict and to remove a President.
TREASON AND OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE
Treason against the United States is defined under federal law as when “a person, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere is guilty of treason and shall suffer death, or shall be imprisoned not less than five years and fined under this title but not less than $10,000; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United State” (18 U.S. Code § 2381 – Treason)
Under federal law, “obstruction of justice” is defined as an act that “corruptly or by threats or force, or by any threatening letter or communication, influences, obstructs, or impedes, or endeavors to influence, obstruct, or impede, the due administration of justice.” (18 U.S.C. § 1503). Someone obstructs justice when that person has a specific intent to obstruct or interfere with a judicial proceeding, such as the firing of an FBI Director during an ongoing FBI investigation which is what the Russian probe investigation was all about.
For a person to be convicted of obstructing justice, that person must not only have the specific intent to obstruct the proceeding, but that person must know:
(1) that a proceeding was actually pending at the time; and
(2) there must be a connection between the endeavor to obstruct justice and the proceeding, and the person must have knowledge of this connection.
COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS
A “high crimes and misdemeanor” can be whatever the House of Representatives say it is in Articles of Impeachment. It is clearly illegal and a felony for any President or for that matter Vice President, to solicit accept or receiving “anything of value from a foreign national in connection with a U.S. election”. Vice President Mike Pence is also being implicated in the scandal. This would include asking another country or its leaders to investigate and provide “dirt” on a potential political opponent or their family.
Congressional Democrats with their Impeachment Inquiry are now at a crossroad when it comes to President Trump and Vice Prsident Pence with the end not at all guaranteed. If impeached by the House, Trump is not likely to be convicted and removed by the Senate. Trump will be the Republican nominee, unless he is forced to resign by the Republican controlled Senate. The eventual Democrat nominee is far from certain.
When you review the entire 466 page Mueller Report, the one conclusion that any reasonable person can come to is that the Russian probe uncovered evidence of a President “giving aid and comfort” to Russia to influence his election to become President and to hide or stop the Russia investigation to disrupt the 2016 election by firing FBI James Comey or both.
Articles of Impeachment in the US House of Representatives are passed by a simple majority vote. It is clear that the Democratic controlled House of Representatives now has more than enough grounds and votes for impeachment with Trump’s solicitation of foreign and even hostile government’s such as Russia and China for help.
What is as equally clear is that the Republican controlled United State Senate probably will not vote to convict and remove Trump from office. Republican Majority Floor leader has already said in his own re election commercials that Trump will not be convicted in the Senate as long as he is Majority leader. If all 48 Senate Democrats vote yes to convict, 19 Republican Senators still would have to vote with all the Democrats to convict and remove Trump from office. Nineteen Republican Senators voting to convict is not at all likely given Trumps strangle hold over the Republican Senators and the Republican Party, but that does not mean Trump should not be charged and impeached.
Impeachment of Trump seems to be all but certain by the House for his solicitation of Russia, Ukrain and China and other countries to interfere with our elections and for obstruction of justice in the Mueller investigation. Trump’s active and very public solicitation of countries, some who very hostile towards the United State, to interfere with our elections is an afront to our democracy that cannot be ignored nor tolerated.
No one is above the law, including a dictator such as Trump who is desperate and who now do anything to hold on to power. Let the Republican Senators vote and show they put their own party and their own interests over the good and best interest of our country. As the impeachment process proceeds, voters will see that Trump and the Republican Senators who support him need to be voted out of office.
OCTOBER 10 UPDATE
On October 10, the New York Times reported that Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, two of Rudy Giuliani associates, were arrested with one-way tickets out of the United States within hours after having lunch with Rudy Guiliani, Trumps personal attorney, at Trump’s International Hotel in Washington. Both were arrested after Federal prosecutors unsealed charges against the two men who have aided President Trump’s efforts to gather damaging information in Ukraine about his political opponents. Giuliani has been public about his hunt for damaging information about Democrats. The indictment of the two men gives a more complete picture of how Guiliani subcontracted part of the work to Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman.
Parnas and Fruman are executives of an energy company that donated $325,000 to a pro-Trump super PAC last year, which prompted a Federal Election Commission complaint by a nonpartisan campaign finance watchdog accusing the men and the company of violating campaign finance laws. The two men were charged with making illegal campaign donations. According to the indictment, the two men are connected to a key element of the Ukrain pressure campaign and the effort to recall the United States ambassador to Ukraine, Marie L. Yovanovitch, after she became a focus of criticism from many of Mr. Trump’s allies. Parnas and Fruman donated money and pledged to raise additional funds in 2018, some amounts violating legal limits for a congressman who was then enlisted in the campaign to oust her.
You can read the full New York Time article here:
The Mueller report cited the following 10 incidents in which Trump may have “obstructed justice” but Mueller left it up to congress to decide if there was obstruction of justice:
1.”THE CAMPAIGN’S RESPONSE TO REPORTS ABOUT RUSSIAN SUPPORT FOR TRUMP”
“The first instance of possible obstruction detailed in the report occurred during the 2016 campaign, when questions first “arose about the Russian government’s apparent support for candidate Trump. The report states that while Mr. Trump was publicly skeptical Russia had released emails from Democratic officials, he and his aides were also trying to get information about “any further Wikileaks releases.” The report also notes that despite Mr. Trump’s insistence he had no business connections to Russia, his namesake company was trying to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. And once the election was over, Mr. Trump “expressed concerns to advisers that reports of Russia’s election interference might lead the public to question the legitimacy of his election.”
2.”CONDUCT INVOLVING FBI DIRECTOR COMEY AND MICHAEL FLYNN”
“The second instance involves Mr. Trump’s first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, who left the administration just weeks into Mr. Trump’s presidency after he misled FBI agents and top administration officials — including Vice President Mike Pence — about his conversations with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Flynn had said he had not discussed sanctions on Russia with Kislyak, a lie that Pence and others then repeated. The day that Mr. Trump found out Flynn had lied to Pence and the FBI, he had dinner with Comey, whom he asked for “loyalty.” Mr. Trump then secured Flynn’s resignation on Feb. 13, 2017. “Now that we fired Flynn, the Russia thing is over,” he told an outside adviser, who disagreed with the president’s assessment. That same day, Mr. Trump had another meeting with Comey and encouraged him to stop investigating Flynn. “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,” Mr. Trump said. The president then asked Deputy National Security Adviser K.T. McFarland to draft an internal memo “stating that the president had not directed Flynn to discuss sanctions with Kislyak. McFarland declined because she did not know whether that was true, and a White House Counsel’s Office attorney thought that the request would look like a quid pro quo for an ambassadorship she had been offered.”
3.”THE PRESIDENT’S REACTION TO THE CONTINUING RUSSIA INVESTIGATION”
“The third instance involves then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who was debating whether to recuse himself from the Russia investigation in February 2017, as well as Comey. Mr. Trump asked White House Counsel Don McGahn to talk Sessions out of recusal, and became angry when Sessions announced he would recuse himself on March 2. The president then asked Sessions to “unrecuse” himself. After Comey testified to Congress that there was an FBI investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, Mr. Trump reached out to his CIA and NSA directors to help “dispel the suggestion that the President had any connection to the Russian election-interference effort.” Comey had told Mr. Trump he wasn’t under investigation and, against Mc Gahn’s advice, the president twice called the FBI director to ask him to say that publicly.”
4.”THE PRESIDENT’S TERMINATION OF COMEY”
“The fourth instance stems from Mr. Trump’s decision to fire Comey, which directly led to Mueller’s appointment. Mr. Trump decided to fire Comey in May 2017 — days after the FBI director declined to tell Congress that Mr. Trump wasn’t under investigation. After Mr. Trump dismissed Comey, the White House insisted he had done so at the recommendation of the Department of Justice. In reality, Mr. Trump had not consulted with the Justice Department before deciding to fire Comey. In conversations that followed, Mr. Trump indicated the Russia investigation was the real reason he had let Comey go: “The day after firing Comey, the president told Russian officials that he had ‘faced great pressure because of Russia,’ which had been ‘taken off’ by Comey’s firing. The next day, the president acknowledged in a television interview that he was going to fire Comey regardless of the Department of Justice’s recommendation and that when he ‘decided to just do it,’ he was thinking that ‘this thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story.’”
5.”THE APPOINTMENT OF SPECIAL COUNSEL AND EFFORTS TO REMOVE HIM”
“The fifth instance revolves around Mr. Trump’s reaction to Mueller’s appointment. Upon hearing the news that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein had tasked Mueller with investigating the Russia matter in May 2017, the president privately declared it was “the end of his presidency.” Mr. Trump then demanded Sessions’ resignation, although he did not accept it at the time, and told aides Mueller had conflicts of interest that should preclude him from acting as the special counsel. It was then reported in June that Mueller was investigating Mr. Trump for obstruction of justice, prompting the president to publicly attack Mueller and the Justice Department. Within days of the first report, he told Mc Gahn to tell Rosenstein that Mueller had conflicts of interest and must be removed. Mc Gahn ignored the request, explaining that he would rather resign.”
6.”EFFORTS TO PREVENT PUBLIC DISCLOSURE OF EVIDENCE”
“The sixth instance stems from the June 2016 meeting between top campaign aides and “a Russian lawyer who was said to be offering damaging information about Hillary Clinton as ‘part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.’” Mr. Trump told his aides “not to publicly disclose the emails setting up the June 9 meeting, suggesting that the email would not leak and that the number of lawyers with access to them should be limited.” Donald Trump Jr., who had been present at the Trump Tower meeting, wrote a press release saying “the meeting was with ‘an individual who [Trump Jr.] was told might have information helpful to the campaign’” — a line that was edited out about the president. Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer then denied to reporters the president had “played any role” in Trump Jr.’s statement.
7.”FURTHER EFFORTS TO HAVE THE ATTORNEY GENERAL TAKE CONTROL OF THE INVESTIGATION”
“The seventh instance has to do with Mr. Trump’s repeated attempts to have Sessions “reverse his recusal.” Mr. Trump asked Sessions to do this in the summer of 2017. The following December, Mr. Trump told Sessions he would be a “hero” if he took control of the investigation. Additionally, in October 2017, the president asked Sessions to “take [a] look” at investigating Hillary Clinton.”
8.”EFFORTS TO HAVE MCGAHN DENY THAT THE PRESIDENT HAD ORDERED HIM TO HAVE THE SPECIAL COUNSEL REMOVED”
“The eighth instance concerns Mr. Trump’s efforts to get Mc Gahn to dispute press accounts that the president had instructed him to try and get rid of Mueller. In early 2018, Mr. Trump told White House officials to tell Mc Gahn to rebut the stories, but Mc Gahn told the officials the stories were true. Mr. Trump then personally appealed to Mc Gahn, telling him in an Oval Office meeting to deny the reports. In the same meeting, the president also asked McGahn why he had told the special counsel about the president’s efforts to remove the Special Counsel and why McGahn took notes of his conversations with the president,” the report states. “McGahn refused to back away from what he remembered happening and perceived the president to be testing his mettle.”
9.”CONDUCT TOWARDS FLYNN, MANAFORT, [REDACTED]”
“The ninth instance stems from Mr. Trump’s response to the prosecutions of Flynn and Paul Manafort, his former campaign chairman, as well as an individual whose identity was redacted. “After Flynn withdrew from a joint defense agreement with the president and began cooperating with the government, the president’s personal counsel left a message for Flynn ‘s attorneys reminding them of the president’s warm feelings towards Flynn, which he said ‘still remains,’ and asking for a ‘heads up’ if Flynn knew ‘information that implicates the president,’” the report states. When Flynn’s counsel reiterated that Flynn could no longer share information pursuant to a joint defense agreement, the president’s personal counsel said he would make sure that the president knew that Flynn’s actions reflected ‘hostility’ towards the president. Meanwhile, Mr. Trump praised Manafort during his “prosecution and when the jury in his criminal trial was deliberating. At one point, he praised Manafort as “a brave man” who refused to “break.”
10.”CONDUCT INVOLVING MICHAEL COHEN”
“The tenth and final instance of potential obstruction concerns Mr. Trump’s behavior toward Michael Cohen, his onetime personal lawyer. Mr. Trump profusely praised Cohen when he remained loyal to the administration, at one point personally calling to encourage him to “stay strong,” only to criticize him viciously when he began cooperating with the government. After the FBI searched Cohen’s home and office in April 2018, the president publicly asserted that Cohen would not ‘flip,’ contacted him directly to tell him to ‘stay strong,’ and privately passed messages of support to him,” the report states. Cohen also discussed pardons with the president’s personal counsel and believed that if he stayed on message, he would be taken care of. But after Cohen began cooperating with the government in the summer of 2018, the president publicly criticized him, called him a ‘rat,’ and suggested that his family members had committed crimes.”
You can review the full unedited CBS News report here:
Mueller: Did Not Clear Trump, Could Not Indict Trump, Up To Congress Or Voters To Remove Trump