Mueller Interview Notes Reveal That Trump Sought Stolen DNC Emails In 2016
Senior Trump campaign officials, including then-candidate Donald Trump, repeatedly discussed ways the campaign could gain access to Democratic emails stolen by WikiLeaks in 2016, CNN reported on Monday.
The revelation came with the first of what will be numerous releases of witness interview notes taken by former special counsel Robert Mueller during his investigation into Russian election interference.
After CNN and Buzzfeed News sued the Justice Department for access to the notes, a judge ordered the DOJ to “release new tranches of the Mueller investigative notes monthly” to the news outlets.
The first batch contained notes from Mueller’s interviews with Rick Gates, who served the Trump campaign alongside former chairman Paul Manafort.
"[Rick] Gates recalled a time on the campaign aircraft when candidate Trump said, 'get the emails.' [Michael] Flynn said he could use his intelligence sources to obtain the emails," notes from a summary of Gates’ April 2018 interview with Mueller's team reveal.
"Flynn had the most Russia contacts of anyone on the campaign and was in the best position to ask for the emails if they were out there," Gates indicated, according to the notes.
The former campaign official also described other discussions between Trump, his family members, and several of his close advisers.
"Gates said Donald Trump Jr. would ask where the emails were in family meetings. Michael Flynn, [Jared] Kushner, [Paul] Manafort, [Redacted] [Corey] Lewandowski, Jeff Sessions, and Sam Clovis expressed interest in obtaining the emails as well. Gates said the priority focuses of the Trump campaign opposition research team were Clinton's emails and contributions to the Clinton Foundation. Flynn, [Redacted] [Jeff] Sessions, Kushner, and [Donald] Trump Jr. were all focused on opposition topics," the interview notes reveal.
Notes from interviews with former Trump campaign official Steve Bannon echo Gates’ remarks. Bannon told investigators that Trump took great interest in obtaining the 33,000 emails Hillary Clinton claimed were erased from her personal server.
Trump shocked the nation in 2016 when he publicly asked Russia to find the missing emails.
Other revelations from the first dump of documents — which CNN said includes 274 pages of Mueller’s interview notes — include Fox News host Sean Hannity’s involvement with the Trump campaign.
Gates told Mueller’s team that “during the campaign, Trump and [campaign chairman Paul] Manafort talked to Sean Hannity in their offices often.”
The notes also indicate that Manafort “emailed Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner and others three days before the 2016 presidential election, saying Manafort had briefed Hannity,” CNN reported.