The witnesses include: former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, former Trump 2016 campaign aide Rick Gates, former White House chief of staff John Kelly, former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, former White House communications director Hope Hicks and former campaign aide Corey Lewandowski.
Rosenstein and Jeff Sessions discussed replacing Comey during presidential transition
Rosenstein said he even reached out to “a few people” as potential candidates for the job. That search was shelved when Rosenstein heard Trump give public backing to Comey remaining in the post.
Rosenstein: ‘angry, ashamed, horrified and embarrassed’ at handling of Comey firing
Rosenstein would also tell FBI interviewers that he was “angry, ashamed, horrified and embarrassed,” at how the White House handled Comey’s firing in May 2017.
Rosenstein said he later learned that Comey had been notified of his firing by email and not, as Rosenstein had assumed it would be handled, either by the President directly or by Sessions or Rosenstein, as direct supervisors to the FBI director.
Rosenstein said he refused a White House request to attend a press conference on the Comey firing and told the Justice public affairs chief that the Justice Department “cannot participate in putting out a false story.”
Hope Hicks discusses how to handle Trump Tower meeting
Hicks told the President “this is going to be a massive story.” According to the document, “The President did not want to talk about it and did not want the details.”
Pence pushed Trump to fire Flynn, Gates said
“Gates said Pence went to Trump about firing Flynn and he thought it was one of the few times Pence pushed Trump hard like that,” Mueller’s team wrote in the summary of Gates’ April 2018 cooperation interview.
Giuliani wouldn’t have recused himself on Russia investigation, Gates said
Gates told the special counsel’s office — as they investigated possible obstruction of justice by the President — that if Rudy Giuliani had been the attorney general, some believed he wouldn’t have recused himself from the Russia investigation, which at times targeted Trump’s campaign advisers.
“After the recusal, he recalled conversations where people offered their opinion that had Rudy Giuliani been attorney general, he would not have recused himself. Gates knew Giuliani had been the first choice for attorney general, but turned it down because he wanted to be Secretary of State instead,” the FBI summary of the interview with Gates said.
Sekulow said it wasn’t necessary to elaborate on Trump Tower Moscow talks, Cohen says
But Sekulow told him it was “not necessary to elaborate or include those details because the transaction did not take place.”
“Sekulow said it did not matter and Cohen should not contradict Trump and that it was time to move on,” according to the summary of Cohen’s interview.
Cohen also recalled talking to Trump about his call with someone from the Kremlin — Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov’s assistant — who he said asked great questions about a possible Trump Tower in Moscow and noted that he wished the Trump Organization had assistants as competent as she was.
Manafort made clear Trump and others were behind him, Mueller learned
At one point, Manafort had apparently been speaking with attorneys and heard Trump say in the room “stay strong,” Gates said Manafort had told him.
Manafort also said to Gates he had an email of support from Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, Gates told the FBI.
Though Gates recounted these messages from Manafort as they both faced indictment, Gates noted to investigators that he was unsure if Manafort’s stories were true.
“Manafort told Gates it was stupid to plead and that he would get a better deal down the road,” the memos state. “Manafort said he had been in touch with Dowd and repeated they should ‘sit tight’ and ‘we’ll be taken care of.’ Manafort never explicitly mentioned pardons,” the FBI wrote about Gates’ retelling.
Kelly backed up McGahn’s testimony
Investigators quizzed Kelly about Trump’s efforts to fire Mueller in June 2017, and his efforts to contain the fallout when The New York Times revealed the unsuccessful attempt in a January 2018 article. The Mueller report determined that there was substantial evidence that both of these episodes constituted obstruction of justice, though Trump could not be charged due to Justice Department policy
Kelly told investigators about a “tense” conversation in the Oval Office that he witnessed between Trump and then-White House counsel Don McGahn, where Trump asked McGahn to “correct the record” after the Times article came out, but McGahn maintained that there was nothing to fix.
Cohen asked about a pardon from Trump
“Cohen said it was an uncomfortable position to be in and wanted to know what was in it for him,” one memo states.
This story is breaking and will be updated.