Mueller Report Release: Live Updates As William Barr Delivers Findings on Trump-Russia Investigation

12:40 p.m.

This is what Russia wanted from Donald Trump—Mueller report reveals Putin's five-point plan for the U.S.

Donald Trump's response to Mueller appointment: "this is the end of my presidency. I'm f***ed"

11:50 a.m.

Below are the 11 key issues and events special counsel Robert Mueller examined while looking into possible obstruction of justice by President Donald Trump, taken directly from his report:

The Campaign's response to reports about Russian support for Trump.

During the 2016 presidential campaign, questions arose about the Russian government's apparent support for candidate Trump. After WikiLeaks released politically damaging Democratic Party emails that were reported to have been hacked by Russia, Trump publicly expressed skepticism that Russia was responsible for the hacks at the same time that he and other Campaign officials privately sought information about any further planned WikiLeaks releases. Trump also denied having any business in or connections to Russia, even though as late as June 2016 the Trump Organization had been pursuing a licensing deal for a skyscraper to be built in Russia called Trump Tower Moscow. After the election, the President expressed concerns to advisors that reports of Russia's election interference might lead the public to question the legitimacy of his election.

Conduct involving FBI Director Comey and Michael Flynn.

In mid-January 2017, incoming National Security Advisor Michael Flynn falsely denied to the Vice President, other administration officials, and FBI agents that he had talked to Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak about Russia's response to U.S. sanctions on Russia for its election interference. On January 27, the day after the President was told that Flynn had lied to the Vice President and had made similar statements to the FBI, the President invited FBI Director Corney to a private dinner at the White House and told Corney that he needed loyalty. On February 14, the day after the President requested Flynn's resignation, the President told an outside advisor, "Now that we fired Flynn, the Russia thing is over." The advisor disagreed and said the investigations would continue.

Later that afternoon, the President cleared the Oval Office to have a one-on-one meeting with Corney. Referring to the FBI's investigation of Flynn, the President said, "I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy. T hope you can let this go." Shortly after requesting Flynn's resignation and speaking privately to Corney, the President sought to have Deputy National Security Advisor K.T. McFarland draft an internal letter 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.

The President's reaction to the continuing Russia investigation.

In February 2017, Attorney General Jeff Sessions began to assess whether he had to recuse himself from campaign related investigations because of his role in the Trump Campaign. Tn early March, the President told White House Counsel Donald McGahn to stop Sessions from recusing. And after Sessions announced his recusal on March 2, the President expressed anger at the decision and told advisors that he should have an Attorney General who would protect him. That weekend, the President took Sessions aside at an event and urged him to "unrecuse." Later in March, Corney publicly disclosed at a congressional hearing that the FBI was investigating "the Russian government's efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election," including any links or coordination between the Russian government and the Trump Campaign. In the following days, the President reached out to the Director of National Intelligence and the leaders of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the National Security Agency (NSA) to ask them what they could do to publicly dispel the suggestion that the President had any connection to the Russian election-interference effort. The President also twice called Corney directly, notwithstanding guidance from McGahn to avoid direct contacts with the Department of Justice. Corney had previously assured the President that the FBI was not investigating him personally, and the President asked Corney to " lift the cloud" of the Russia investigation by saying that publicly.

The President's termination of Comey.

On May 3, 2017, Corney testified in a congressional hearing, but declined to answer questions about whether the President was personally under investigation. Within days, the President decided to terminate Corney. The President insisted that the termination letter, which was written for public release, state that Corney had informed the President that he was not under investigation. The day of the firing, the White House maintained that Corney's termination resulted from independent recommendations from the Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General that Corney should be discharged for mishandling the Hillary Clinton email investigation. But the President had decided to fire Corney before hearing from the Department of Justice. The day after firing Corney, the President told Russian officials that he had "faced great pressure because of Russia," which had been "taken off' by Corney's firing. The next day, the President acknowledged in a television interview that he was going to fire Corney 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." In response to a question about whether he was angry with Corney about the Russia investigation, the President said, "As far as I'm concerned, I want that thing to be absolutely done properly," adding that firing Corney "might even lengthen out the investigation."

The appointment of a Special Counsel and efforts to remove him.

On May 17, 2017, the Acting Attorney General for the Russia investigation appointed a Special Counsel to conduct the investigation and related matters. The President reacted to news that a Special Counsel had been appointed by telling advisors that it was "the end of his presidency" and demanding that Sessions resign. Sessions submitted his resignation, but the President ultimately did not accept it. The President told aides that the Special Counsel had conflicts of interest and suggested that the Special Counsel therefore could not serve. The President's advisors told him the asserted conflicts were meritless and had already been considered by the Department of Justice.

On June 14, 2017, the media reported that the Special Counsel's Office was investigating whether the President had obstructed justice. Press reports called this "a major turning point" in the investigation: while Corney had told the President he was not under investigation, following Corney's firing, the President now was under investigation. The President reacted to this news with a series of tweets criticizing the Department of Justice and the Special Counsel's investigation. On June 17, 2017, the President called McGahn at home and directed him to call the Acting Attorney General and say that the Special Counsel had conflicts of interest and must be removed. McGahn did not carry out the direction, however, deciding that he would resign rather than trigger what he regarded as a potential Saturday Night Massacre.

Efforts to curtail the Special Counsel's investigation.

Two days after directing McGahn to have the Special Counsel removed, the President made another attempt to affect the course of the Russia investigation. On June 19, 2017, the President met one-on-one in the Oval Office with his former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, a trusted advisor outside the government, and dictated a message for Lewandowski to deliver to Sessions. The message said that Sessions should publicly announce that, notwithstanding his recusal from the Russia investigation, the investigation was "very unfair" to the President, the President had done nothing wrong, and Sessions planned to meet with the Special Counsel and "let [him] move forward with investigating election meddling for future elections." Lewandowski said he understood what the President wanted Sessions to do.

One month later, in another private meeting with Lewandowski on July 19, 2017, the President asked about the status of his message for Sessions to limit the Special Counsel investigation to future election interference. Lewandowski told the President that the message would be delivered soon. Hours after that meeting, the President publicly criticized Sessions in an interview with the New York Times, and then issued a series of tweets making it clear that Sessions's job was in jeopardy. Lewandowski did not want to deliver the President's message personally, so he asked senior White House official Rick Dearborn to deliver it to Sessions. Dearborn was uncomfortable with the task and did not follow through.

Efforts to prevent public disclosure of evidence.

In the summer of 2017, the President learned that media outlets were asking questions about the June 9, 2016 meeting at Trump Tower between senior campaign officials, including Donald Trump Jr., 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." On several occasions, the President directed aides not to publicly disclose the emails setting up the June 9 meeting, suggesting that the emails would not leak and that the number of lawyers with access to them should be limited. Before the emails became public, the President edited a press statement for Trump Jr. by deleting a line that acknowledged that the meeting was with "an individual who [Trump Jr.] was told might have information helpful to the campaign" and instead said only that the meeting was about adoptions of Russian children. When the press asked questions about the President's involvement in Trump Jr.' s statement, the President's personal lawyer repeatedly denied the President had played any role.

Further efforts to have the Attorney General take control of the investigation.

In early summer 2017, the President called Sessions at home and again asked him to reverse his recusal from the Russia investigation. Sessions did not reverse his recusal. In October 2017, the President met privately with Sessions in the Oval Office and asked him to "take [a] look" at investigating Clinton. In December 2017, shortly after Flynn pleaded guilty pursuant to a cooperation agreement, the President met with Sessions in the Oval Office and suggested, according to notes taken by a senior advisor, that if Sessions unrecused and took back supervision of the Russia investigation, he would be a "hero." The President told Sessions, "I'm not going to do anything or direct you to do anything. I just want to be treated fairly." In response, Sessions volunteered that he had never seen anything "improper" on the campaign and told the President there was a "whole new leadership team" in place. He did not unrecuse.

Efforts to have McGahn deny that the President had ordered him to have the Special Counsel removed.

In early 2018, the press reported that the President had directed McGahn to have the Special Counsel removed in June 2017 and that McGahn had threatened to resign rather than carry out the order. The President reacted to the news stories by directing White House officials to tell McGahn to dispute the story and create a record stating he had not been ordered to have the Special Counsel removed. McGahn told those officials that the media reports were accurate in stating that the President had directed McGahn to have the Special Counsel removed. The President then met with McGahn in the Oval Office and again pressured him to deny the reports. In the same meeting, the President also asked McGahn why he had told the Special Counsel about the President's effort to remove the Special Counsel and why McGahn took notes of his conversations with the President. McGahn refused to back away from what he remembered happening and perceived the President to be testing his mettle.

Conduct towards Flynn, Manafort.

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." 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. During Manafort's prosecution and when the jury in his criminal. trial was deliberating, the President praised Manafort in public, said that Manafort was being treated unfairly, and declined to rule out a pardon. After Manafort was convicted, the President called Manafort "a brave man" for refusing to "break" and said that "flipping" "almost ought to be outlawed."

Conduct involving Michael Cohen.

The President's conduct towards Michael Cohen, a former Trump Organization executive, changed from praise for Cohen when he falsely minimized the President's involvement in the Trump Tower Moscow project, to castigation of Cohen when he became a cooperating witness. From September 2015 to June 2016, Cohen had pursued the Trump Tower Moscow project on behalf of the Trump Organization and had briefed candidate Trump on the project numerous times, including discussing whether Trump should travel to Russia to advance the deal. In 2017, Cohen provided false testimony to Congress about the project, including stating that he had only briefed Trump on the project three times and never discussed travel to Russia with him, in an effort to adhere to a "party line" that Cohen said was developed to minimize the President's connections to Russia. While preparing for his congressional testimony, Cohen had extensive discussions with the President's personal counsel, who, according to Cohen, said that Cohen should "stay on message" and not contradict the President. 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. 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.

11:30 a.m.

Special counsel Robert Mueller's report describes the first moments when President Donald Trump found he was under investigation.

First Time
Here's what President Trump said when he first heard of this investigation. Robert Mueller

11:04 a.m.

The Mueller report has been made public and is now available on the Department of Justice website. We will be reading along with you and highlighting key findings.

10:50 a.m.

One interesting tidbit from Attorney General William Barr's press conference on the Mueller report about the WikiLeaks hacks of Democratic emails:

The Special Counsel also investigated whether any member or affiliate of the Trump campaign encouraged or otherwise played a role in these dissemination efforts. Under applicable law, publication of these types of materials would not be criminal unless the publisher also participated in the underlying hacking conspiracy.

This means that even if those associated with President Donald Trump did collude with WikiLeaks to release hacked emails of the president's opponents, it's not illegal because WikiLeaks did not help hack the emails. In other words, members of the Trump campaign may have helped propagate emails hacked by Russia to aid Trump, but so long as they did not work with Russia directly they are safe legally.

10:40 a.m.

From Newsweek's Jessica Kwong:

Attorney General William Barr in his press conference Thursday morning repeated 16 times in just 22 minutes that there was no collusion, conspiracy or coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia.

10:30 a.m.

Read the full remarks of Attorney General William Barr's press conference here.

Some choice quotes:

As the Special Counsel's report makes clear, the Russian government sought to interfere in our election. But thanks to the Special Counsel's thorough investigation, we now know that the Russian operatives who perpetrated these schemes did not have the cooperation of President Trump or the Trump campaign -- or the knowing assistance of any other Americans for that matter. That is something that all Americans can and should be grateful to have confirmed.

But again, the Special Counsel's report did not find any evidence that members of the Trump campaign or anyone associated with the campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its hacking operations. In other words, there was no evidence of Trump campaign "collusion" with the Russian government's hacking.

So that is the bottom line. After nearly two years of investigation, thousands of subpoenas, and hundreds of warrants and witness interviews, the Special Counsel confirmed that the Russian government sponsored efforts to illegally interfere with the 2016 presidential election but did not find that the Trump campaign or other Americans colluded in those schemes.

After carefully reviewing the facts and legal theories outlined in the report, and in consultation with the Office of Legal Counsel and other Department lawyers, the Deputy Attorney General and I concluded that the evidence developed by the Special Counsel is not sufficient to establish that the President committed an obstruction-of-justice offense.

Although the Deputy Attorney General and I disagreed with some of the Special Counsel's legal theories and felt that some of the episodes examined did not amount to obstruction as a matter of law, we did not rely solely on that in making our decision. Instead, we accepted the Special Counsel's legal framework for purposes of our analysis and evaluated the evidence as presented by the Special Counsel in reaching our conclusion.

President Trump faced an unprecedented situation. As he entered into office, and sought to perform his responsibilities as President, federal agents and prosecutors were scrutinizing his conduct before and after taking office, and the conduct of some of his associates. At the same time, there was relentless speculation in the news media about the President's personal culpability. Yet, as he said from the beginning, there was in fact no collusion. And as the Special Counsel's report acknowledges, there is substantial evidence to show that the President was frustrated and angered by a sincere belief that the investigation was undermining his presidency, propelled by his political opponents, and fueled by illegal leaks.

10:20 a.m.

Fox News' Chris Wallace on the Barr press conference: "The Attorney General seemed almost to be acting as the counselor for the defense, the counselor for the president, rather than the Attorney General, talking about his motives, his emotions... Really, as I say, making a case for the president."

Democrats have also been critical...

Barr served the @POTUS well today but he did a terrible disservice to the institution of the DOJ.

— David Axelrod (@davidaxelrod) April 18, 2019

It's a disgrace to see an Attorney General acting as if he's the personal attorney and publicist for the President of the United States.

— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) April 18, 2019

Now that President @realDonaldTrump's campaign press conference is over:

It's time for Congress and the American public to see the #MuellerReport.

— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) April 18, 2019

.@realDonaldTrump needs to publicly acknowledge and apologize for trusting Vladimir Putin over his own intelligence chiefs.

— Eric Swalwell (@ericswalwell) April 18, 2019

10:10 a.m.

President Donald Trump responded to the Barr press conference by tweeting out a Game of Thrones-inspired image where he wrote "no collusion. No obstruction. For the haters and the radical left Democrats- game over."

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 18, 2019

10:05 a.m.

Barr said the Mueller report outlines 10 instances of potential obstruction of justice by the President and his administration "and discusses potential legal theories for connecting these actions to elements of an obstruction offense." But the attorney general said he and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein "disagreed with some of the special counsel's legal theories."

10:00 a.m.

Attorney General William Barr said multiple times during his press conference that there was "no collusion" between President Donald Trump and Russia, borrowing a term from his boss. He also defended the president against what he called attacks from the media and others.

"In assessing the President's actions discussed in the report, it is important to bear in mind the context. President Trump faced an unprecedented situation," he said.

"As he entered into office, and sought to perform his responsibilities as President, federal agents and prosecutors were scrutinizing his conduct before and after taking office, and the conduct of some of his associates. At the same time, there was relentless speculation in the news media about the President's personal culpability. Yet, as he said from the beginning, there was in fact no collusion."

9:50 a.m.

Attorney General William Barr said during his conference that the White House and President Donald Trump's lawyers received early copies of the redacted Robert Mueller report. The president's personal lawyer was also given a chance to review the redacted report.

"Following my March 29th letter, the Office of the White House Counsel requested the opportunity to review the redacted version of the report in order to advise the President on the potential invocation of privilege, which is consistent with long-standing practice. Following that review, the President confirmed that, in the interests of transparency and full disclosure to the American people, he would not assert privilege over the Special Counsel's report," he said.

"In addition, earlier this week, the President's personal counsel requested and were given the opportunity to read a final version of the redacted report before it was publicly released. That request was consistent with the practice followed under the Ethics in Government Act, which permitted individuals named in a report prepared by an Independent Counsel the opportunity to read the report before publication. The President's personal lawyers were not permitted to make, and did not request, any redactions."

9:25 a.m.

Watch Attorney General William Barr address press live at 9:30 a.m.


President Donald Trump's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, said that he will be "ready to rumble" following the release of the Mueller report. He indicated that the White House has prepared a "counter-report" which runs about 30 pages long but not when, or if, the president intends to release it to the public.

9:15 a.m.

Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said that Attorney General William Barr's press conference this morning will be about the DOJ's discussions with the White House over the report and whether the president invoked executive privilege. He'll also talk about redacting parts of the document. Special counsel Robert Mueller was reportedly consulted on the decision to black out certain parts of his report.

9:10 a.m.

President Donald Trump's first public appearance will be at 10:30am et today, where he is expected to give remarks at the Wounded Warrior Project Soldier Ride in the White House East Room. The event will be live-streamed.

No Collusion - No Obstruction!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 18, 2019

9:00 a.m.

A bit of a timing update: Attorney General William Barr is expected to give a press conference at 9:30am et, and then release the redacted report to members of Congress on a CD between 11:00am and 12:00pm. The public will recieve the report shortly thereafter.

Key House Democrats and some journalists have been crying foul over this change in timing, saying it's unfair that Barr will not allow the press to digest or even see the report before giving public statements.

Barr reportedly wants to brief the press on the redactions in the report ahead of its release.

I’m deeply troubled by reports that the WH is being briefed on the Mueller report AHEAD of its release. Now, DOJ is informing us we will not receive the report until around 11/12 tomorrow afternoon — AFTER Barr’s press conference. This is wrong. #ReleaseTheReport

— Rep. Nadler (@RepJerryNadler) April 17, 2019

For the media:

You have two options at the Barr press conference.

You can be a reporter, or a stenographer.

The White House is *absolutely* counting on you being a stenographer.

— Rick Wilson (@TheRickWilson) April 18, 2019

So there is a press conference for people to ask questions about a report no one has read?

— Josh Dawsey (@jdawsey1) April 17, 2019

It's the day every political junkie has been waiting for: The near 400-page report by special counsel Robert Mueller, the result of a 22-month investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, is set to be released this morning.

Attorney General William Barr is scheduled to hold a press conference at 9:30 a.m. EDT with the report expected to be released to Congress and the public shortly thereafter. President Donald Trump said Wednesday evening that he might hold his own press conference as well.

FBI Director Robert Mueller speaks during a news conference at the FBI headquarters. Alex Wong/Getty Images

What we're going to see today won't be the report in full: There will be redactions... So many redactions that Barr said he would create a color-coded system that explains what has been redacted and why. But it is still likely to be seriously comprehensive.

The report is expected to reveal what Mueller's investigation, which resulted in more than 2,800 subpoenas, 500 search warrants and indictments, convictions or guilty pleas from 34 people and three companies, uncovered about ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.

It will also detail what Mueller found about pivotal moments in the Trump presidency and campaign, like the decision to fire FBI director James Comey and the now infamous Trump Tower meeting between Jared Kushner, Donald Trump Jr., Paul Manafort and a Kremlin-linked lawyer.

Mueller's report concluded that the president and his campaign did not collude with Russia but that Russia did interfere in the 2016 presidential election, according to Barr's summary. The report will likely outline how they worked to sway the results in the current president's favor.

Newsweek will be paying close attention to what Mueller had to say about the Trump administration working to obstruct justice during the investigation. That includes Trump's handling of Comey's firing, his tweets and statements attacking and sometimes threatening investigators and witnesses, and his misleading statement given to The New York Times about what occurred at Trump Tower.

Mueller's team did not make any conclusions about obstruction of justice and instead decided to lay out all of the information. Attorney General Barr then decided that the president had not acted with corrupt intent and was clear of any obstruction charges. This morning we may be able to see the evidence for ourselves. We could also see if Mueller had intended for Congress, not Barr, to draw a final conclusion about possible obstruction.

Either way, it's unlikely that Trump will face any additional legal scrutiny based on the release of the full report. What the president has to worry about is the court of public opinion. Trump has said multiple times that the report fully exonerated him of any wrongdoing. We're about to find out if that's true.

We'll also see how factual Barr's four-page summary of the Mueller report was, and whether his testimony to Congress was credible.