Special counsel Robert Mueller's 448-page report contains plenty of new details about President Donald Trump's actions before and after the 2016 election — but it also puts a spotlight on the family members he's leaned on during the campaign and his presidency.
Notably, the report contains revelations about a 2016 meeting between the president's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, incoming national security adviser Michael Flynn and a Russian envoy. It also provides details about how the president's daughter, Ivanka Trump, and other members of the president's inner circle reacted after learning about eldest son Donald Trump Jr.'s emails setting up the infamous June 2016 Trump Tower meeting with Russians; and it confirms correspondence between Donald Jr. and WikiLeaks about hacked Clinton campaign emails.
Among Kushner's many appearances in the report is his and Flynn's meeting with Russian Ambassador to the United States Sergey Kislyak at Trump Tower in New York after the 2016 election. The New York Times and others reported that the meeting that November was about improving relations between the two countries, and they discussed establishing a secure line of communication with Russia.
Mueller's report confirms those details and adds that the three also discussed U.S. policy toward Syria.
At the 30-minute meeting, which Kislyak requested, Kushner "expressed a desire on the part of the incoming Administration to start afresh with U.S.-Russian relations," the report said.
Kushner "asked Kislyak to identify the best person (whether Kislyak or someone else) with whom to direct future discussions — someone who had contact with Putin and the ability to speak for him," the report said, referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The three men "also discussed U.S. policy toward Syria, and Kislyak floated the idea of having Russian generals brief the Transition Team on the topic using a secure communications line," the report said.
When Flynn replied that there was no secure line in the transition team offices, "Kushner asked Kislyak if they could communicate using secure facilities at the Russian Embassy. Kislyak quickly rejected that idea."
Kushner gets Russia reconciliation plan
Mueller's report also outlines the "most senior levels” of the Russian government’s efforts to encourage Kremlin-connected persons to make inroads into the Trump transition team — including through a friend of Kushner, Richard Gerson, a New York hedge-fund manager with no official involvement in the transition.
That December and January, Gerson worked with the chief executive officer of Russia's sovereign wealth fund, Kirill Dmitriev, on a U.S.-Russia reconciliation proposal that Gerson passed on to Kushner, who later gave copies to Trump adviser Steve Bannon and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
When Dmitriev, who initially talked joint ventures between their funds, expressed interest in meeting someone in the incoming administration about improving economic relations between the countries, Gerson told him he would ask Kushner and Flynn who that person might be, the report said.
After receiving the reconciliation proposal, Kushner placed it in a file and said he would get it to the right people -- ultimately Bannon and Tillerson, neither of whom followed up with him about it, according to Kushner.
Days later, Dmitriev followed up with Gerson to ask about how the plan was received, saying his “boss” was interested in any feedback, and that Putin would be talking with Trump by phone about “very confidential” information. Dmitriev also touched base with a close associate who had introduced them, United Arab Emirates adviser George Nader, to confirm that some of the ideas would be used in the phone call between Trump and Putin. Nader told him, "Definitely paper was so submitted to Team by Rick and me. They took it seriously!" the report said.
After the call between Trump and Putin, Dmitriev wrote to Nader to say "the call went very well. My boss wants me to continue making some public statements that us [sic] Russia cooperation is good and important,” Mueller’s report said.
“Gerson also wrote to Dmitriev to say that the call had gone well, and Dmitriev replied that the document they had drafted together ‘played an important role,’" the report said.
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The president's eldest daughter and senior White House aide is mentioned a handful of times in the redacted report, including in the response of senior administration officials to learning about Donald Jr.'s emails setting up a June 9, 2016, Trump Tower meeting with then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort, Kushner and Russians offering negative information on Hillary Clinton.
The president became aware of the emails, which said the meeting was "part of Russia and its government's support for Mr. Trump," by June 2017, the report said.
On multiple occasions over the next several weeks, Trump told his aides not to publicly disclose the emails, and then he dictated a statement about the meeting, to be issued by Donald Jr., that described the meeting as having been about foreign adoptions, the report said.
Then-communications adviser Hope Hicks recalled discussing with Kushner and Ivanka Trump that the emails were damaging and would inevitably be leaked, suggesting the best strategy would be to proactively release the emails to the press, the report said. But when they approached the president about the emails, Trump shut the conversation down and told them not to go to the media.
At a meeting between them and the president in late June, "Hicks warned the President that the emails were 'really bad' and the story would be 'massive' when it broke, but the President was insistent that he did not want to talk about it and said he did not want details," the report said.
Ivanka Trump was also present at a "regular morning meeting of senior campaign staff and Trump family members" in the days before the Trump Tower meeting in which Donald Jr. announced he had a lead on "negative information about the Clinton Foundation," the report said, citing interviews with former deputy campaign manager Rick Gates. Manafort, Eric Trump and Hicks were also at the meeting, with Ivanka Trump and Kushner joining late, the report said.
"Gates believed that Trump Jr. said the information was coming from a group in Kyrgyzstan and that he was introduced to the group by a friend," the report said. It added, "According to Gates, Manafort warned the group that the meeting likely would not yield vital information and they should be careful."
Donald Trump Jr.
In addition to his well-publicized interactions over the meeting with Russians at Trump Tower in the summer of 2016, Donald Jr. is also mentioned in the report regarding his correspondence with WikiLeaks prior to its dumping of hacked emails from Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman John Podesta.
In September 2016, the report says, Trump Jr. received a direct message on Twitter from WikiLeaks about a soon-to-be-launched anti-Trump website, PutinTrump.org, and asking for any comments.
Several hours later, the report said, Trump Jr. emailed senior campaign staff telling them he "got a weird Twitter DM from wikileaks." He responded to WikiLeaks' by direct message: "Off the record, l don't know who that is but I'll ask around. Thanks."
A couple weeks later, WikiLeaks messaged him again, asking for help spreading a link alleging that Clinton had pushed for using a drone to target Julian Assange.
"Trump Jr. responded that he already 'had done so,' and asked, 'what's behind this Wednesday leak I keep reading about?'" the report said.
WikiLeaks did not respond, but several days later it wrote him again, saying it was "great to see you and your dad talking about our publications. Strongly suggest your dad tweets this link if he mentions us wlsearch.tk," which the group said would help Trump parse through leaked emails. Two days later, Trump Jr. tweeted the link.