After Buzzfeed News filed a Freedom of Information Act request for the background documents behind the 2-year investigation conducted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller into the Trump administration and successfully fought the Justice Department in court to obtain access to them, new details are being discovered in the first cache of materials that were released this morning.
Here are a few of the revelations that have emerged as reporters and politically-curious amateur criminologists pore through the trove of documents— despite the numerous redactions— to find previously undisclosed details of the Trump campaign’s efforts to win the election and the legally suspect methods that they employed in their quest.
1. The Republican National Committee had advance notice of the release of information damaging to Hillary Clinton’s campaign by Wikileaks.
According to an interview conducted by Mueller’s team of Rick Gates — the deputy to convicted Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and someone who eventually pleaded guilty to conspiracy against the United States and making false statements in the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 elections — someone at the RNC claimed to have knowledge of the timing of Wikileak’s data dumps.
2. Michael Flynn claimed that he could use his intelligence sources to gain access to Hillary Clinton’s emails.
During the same interview, Rick Gates disclosed that former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn offered to use his “intelligence sources” to get the emails after Trump asked to get access to them. Yet, General Flynn simultaneously denigrated the ability of U.S. intelligence agencies to find the source of the hack of the DNC servers while possessing the most contacts with Russian sources of any campaign staff.
3. Rick Gates points to a possible origin of Trump’s conspiracy theory that Ukraine was behind the hacks of the DNC server as coming from Paul Manafort and Konstantin Kilimnik, a suspected Russian intelligence operative.
4. Trump’s then-personal attorney Michael Cohen was told to “keep TRUMP out of the Russia conversation” ahead of his initial testimony before Congress and was told that Trump “had his back” — if he stayed on message.
5. Steve Bannon said that Jared Kushner spent part of his time during the campaign partying on a luxury yacht with a Russian billionaire oligarch.
With 274 pages having been just released today, with new batches of documents promised each week going forward until the bulk of the materials are made public, there are sure to be many more revelations to come from the documentary evidence of the lengthy investigation.
Investigative journalists and historians will be poring over these materials for years to come, but given the speed with which the House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry is moving forward, chances are good that Trump will be long gone before the last of the materials is even vetted, redacted, and set for release.
In the meantime, we will have a new set of documents to pore through every week to confirm the damning conclusions that we’ve already gathered from the Special Counsel’s two-volume report. Occupy Democrats will be sure to cherrypick the most interesting details for your reading pleasure as they become available.
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Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music and art.