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What the Mueller report says about Trump and more

Updated April 18, 2019

In March, Special Counsel Robert Mueller submitted his long-awaited report to Attorney General William Barr with results of his investigation into any potential links between President Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and the Russian government, as well as other related matters. Barr then provided a four-page summary of the “principal conclusions” to Congress. On Thursday, he released the 448-page Mueller report itself, with color-coded redactions that he said were designed to protect sensitive material. What are the Mueller report’s findings? Here’s what we know so far.

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Conspiracy (collusion)

Obstruction of justice

False statements/perjury

Campaign finance violations

Money laundering

Charity improprieties

Additional allegations

Does the Mueller report cover conspiracy?

Yes, it does

What does the report say?

For many, this is the biggest question: Was there collusion? Was there a conspiracy involving Russia, Trump, and his associates to secure the presidential 2016 election? Mueller’s report states that Russians allegedly conspired to influence the election. But the report said the investigation “did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.”

There were two primary Russian efforts to influence the election, according to the Mueller report: One involved disinformation and social-media operations, and the other involved hacking into computers to get e-mails from people affiliated with Hillary Clinton's campaign and Democratic Party organizations to gather and disseminate information.

Mueller’s investigation "identified numerous links between the Russian government and the Trump campaign."

The probe found that the Russian government "perceived it would benefit from a Trump presidency and worked to secure that outcome."

The report also said the Trump campaign "expected it would benefit” in the election from the stolen material that was released through the Russians' efforts.

What happened earlier?

Media reports have pointed to a number of questionable contacts and dealings between Trump and his associates and Russia.

Contacts: Trump and associates had a host of contacts with Russians during the campaign, and they repeatedly denied having such contacts.

Moscow tower deal: Trump secretly tried to secure a deal to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. Negotiations continued through much of the 2016 campaign on the deal, which would have been highly profitable for Trump.

Trump Tower meeting: Trump’s son Donald Jr., son-in-law Jared Kushner, and then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort met at Trump Tower with a “Russian government attorney” and others promising dirt on Democrat Hillary Clinton. Former Trump attorney Michael Cohen suggested in recent testimony that Trump knew about the meeting in advance.

Campaign collaboration: Manafort, who’d worked for pro-Russian figures in Ukraine and was in debt to a Russian oligarch, gave Trump campaign polling data to an associate linked to a Russian intelligence service.

Hacking: Russian operatives hacked the e-mails of the Democratic National Committee and the chairman of Democrat Hillary Clinton’s campaign to help Trump, and gave them to Wikileaks. Trump confidant Roger Stone claimed to be in contact with Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, prosecutors say, and Stone told Trump in advance about Wikileaks’ release of the e-mails, according to former Trump attorney Michael Cohen.

Influence operations: Russian operatives conducted information warfare against the United States via social media to help Trump and undermine other political candidates and the political system.

Kompromat: A dossier compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele, which made headlines days before Trump took office, alleged that Trump engaged in sexual behavior during a trip to Moscow that provided “kompromat” (compromising material) for Russia and made him vulnerable to blackmail.

Bromance with Putin: Trump has repeatedly praised Russian president Vladimir Putin. He has met with Putin with no aides present and taken steps to hide what was said, including taking his interpreter’s notes.

Sanctions: Trump officials reportedly orchestrated a change to the Republican party platform to weaken US support for Ukraine against Russia. The Trump administration also lifted sanctions on three Russian firms tied to Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska and declined to impose new sanctions on Russia, despite a law meant to punish Russian meddling in the election.

Who has been charged with or convicted of conspiracy?

Does the Mueller report cover obstruction of justice?

Yes, it does

What does the report say?

Mueller’s team investigated the question of whether Trump committed obstruction of justice, looking closely at 11 actions by the president. The report did not conclude that Trump committed a crime but “it also does not exonerate him” and leaves it up to Congress to determine whether further action should be taken.

Trump expressed concerns to his advisers that reports of Russia's election interference might lead to questions about the legitimacy of his election.

Trump told an adviser that firing National Security Advisor Michael Flynn meant "the Russia thing is over."

When Trump heard that Mueller had been appointed as special counsel, he told advisers that it was "the end of his presidency" and directed that he be removed for conflicts of interest.

Trump sought to prevent disclosure of evidence about a 2016 Trump Tower meeting 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 of Trump."

The president tried to pressure then-White House counsel Don McGahn to deny reports Trump had directed him to remove Mueller as special counsel.

According to Attorney General William Barr's summary of the report, Mueller’s lack of a legal conclusion “leaves it to the Attorney General to determine whether the conduct described in the report constitutes a crime.”

Barr says that after reviewing the report and consulting with Justice Department officials, he and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein concluded that the evidence “is not sufficient to establish that the President committed an obstruction-of-justice offense.”

What happened earlier?

According to reports, Trump has repeatedly tried to stymie investigations into him and his associates.

Flynn investigation: Trump asked FBI director James Comey to stop an investigation into Trump’s then-national security adviser, Michael Flynn, according to Comey. Flynn has since pleaded guilty.

Firing of Yates, Bharara: Trump fired Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates and Preet Bharara, US Attorney for the Southern District of New York; both were conducting investigations linked to Trump.

Firing of Comey: Trump fired Comey, who was investigating Russian election meddling and possible collusion, triggering an FBI investigation into whether Trump obstructed justice. Trump told Russians visiting the White House that firing Comey had relieved “great pressure” on him. He told NBC News’s Lester Holt that when he’d fired Comey, “I said to myself, I said: ‘You know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story.” Comey later testified that he believed Trump fired him because of the investigation.

Criticism of Sessions: After Comey’s firing, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed Mueller as special counsel to lead the investigation. Rosenstein was in charge of the probe because Attorney General Jeff Sessions had recused himself. Trump attacked Sessions relentlessly, saying he would never have appointed Sessions if he’d known he would recuse himself. Trump even tried to remove Sessions at one point.

Attacks on Mueller probe: Trump has publicly attacked the Mueller investigation many times, calling it a “witch hunt.” He has also lashed out repeatedly at Comey, the Justice Department, Sessions, and intelligence agencies.

Attempted firing of Mueller: Trump ordered the firing of Mueller but backed down after the White House counsel threatened to resign rather than carry out the order.

New York probe: Trump asked then-acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker to put Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York and a Trump ally, in charge of a probe into Trump’s role in hush-money payments to women during the 2016 campaign. But Berman had already recused himself.

Pardon dangle: A Trump lawyer reached out to lawyers for Manafort and Flynn to discuss possible pardons, raising questions about whether he was trying to dissuade them from cooperating with Mueller.

Who has been charged with or convicted of obstruction of justice?

Does the Mueller report cover false statements or perjury?

Yes, it does

What does the report say?

The Mueller report determined that some people associated with Trump’s campaign lied to investigators about campaign contacts with Russia or tried to interfere with the investigation.

The report specifically cited charges against George Papadopoulos, Michael Flynn, and Michael Cohen.

The names of two other people and information about their activities were redacted because the information either was involved in grand jury proceedings or could harm an ongoing matter.

Mueller's team investigated former attorney general Jeff Sessions, but concluded that there was insufficient evidence that he was "willfully untruthful" in his statements to Congress related to interactions with former Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

What happened earlier?

Trump’s propensity for making false statements is well known. And lying to the FBI, Congress, or the special counsel has already gotten six Trump associates in trouble: Trump’s former presidential campaign chairman and deputy campaign chairman, national security advisor, personal lawyer, and two advisers.

Sheer volume: The Washington Post has tallied nearly 9,000 false or misleading statements by Trump since he took office.

“Perjury trap”: Trump’s lawyers resisted having Trump answer Mueller’s questions in person because they feared a “perjury trap”: Trump might make a false statement and increase his exposure to criminal charges.

Trump aides: Five Trump associates have been caught lying by Mueller’s team and seen consequences: Paul Manafort, Michael Cohen, Michael Flynn, Rick Gates, and George Papadopoulos. Trump adviser Roger Stone has also been charged with making false statements.

Who has been charged with or convicted of perjury or making false statements?

Does the Mueller report cover campaign finance violations?

Yes, it does

What does the report say?

The report looked at whether two efforts by foreign nationals to provide the Trump campaign with negative information about Hillary Clinton or distribute it to the public constituted violations of campaign finance laws but determined the evidence “was not sufficient.”

Mueller investigated whether the offer by a Russian lawyer, at the 2016 Trump Tower meeting, of information about Clinton violated the ban on foreign contributions.

The report said the government would be unlikely to prove that the Trump campaign officials in the meeting knew their conduct was unlawful.

Mueller's team also investigated a second episode, but details about that were redacted because they could harm an ongoing matter.

What happened earlier?

Trump is facing possible legal trouble because he allegedly directed his then-attorney Michael Cohen to make large hush-money payments to two women to prevent a sex scandal in advance of the 2016 election. Such payments, if designed to influence the election, may be considered illegal “in kind” campaign contributions.

Hush money: Michael Cohen has admitted in court to orchestrating a scheme to buy the silence of two women, Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal, who said they had affairs with Trump.

Trump’s alleged involvement: Both Cohen and prosecutors have alleged that Cohen made the payments at the direction of Trump.

Involvement as president: Cohen testified to Congress that Trump, after he took office, reimbursed him for the hush-money payments and told him to lie about them.

Trump tower meeting: Federal law bars foreigners from contributing to political campaigns, and experts say that can include even promises of non-cash support, possibly including opposition research. Since the law also prohibits Americans from aiding or inviting such support, that might spell trouble for Donald Trump Jr. and others.

Who has been charged with or convicted of campaign finance violations?

Does the Mueller report cover money laundering?

Yes, it does

What does the report say?

As a result of the Mueller investigation, former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort pleaded guilty to charges that included money laundering. The report only briefly mentions money laundering related to a July indictment of Russian military officers on charges of conspiracy to commit money laundering related to hacking of the Clinton campaign and others. But the report does not include any unredacted mention of Deutsche Bank, which loaned hundreds of millions of dollars to Trump.

What happened earlier?

Questions have been raised about Trump’s financial ties to Russians and whether his company may have laundered money for them.

Property sales: Russians have invested large sums of money in Trump-branded properties for years, often paying cash or using shell companies to hide their identities -- actions that can raise red flags as a way to launder money.

Deutsche Bank: Trump owes hundreds of millions of dollars to Deutsche Bank, which has been penalized for a Russian money-laundering scheme, raising questions that House Democrats want answered.

Who has been charged with or convicted of money laundering?

Does the Mueller report cover charity improprieties?

It’s unclear

What does the report say?

There are no unredacted mentions in the report of the Donald J. Trump Foundation. The New York attorney general’s office has filed a lawsuit alleging illegal activity at Trump’s personal charity, but Mueller’s team was not involved.

What happened earlier?

Questions have been raised about how Trump used his personal charity, the Donald J. Trump Foundation.

Charity shutdown: Trump has agreed to close down his foundation and give away its money amid allegations that he used it for personal and political gain, as the New York attorney general pursues a lawsuit alleging “persistently illegal conduct” there.

Material from Globe wire services was used in this report.