Mueller report says no collusion, but questions remain about Trump Tower meeting
Special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia interference during the 2016 presidential race has ended — and some major players in one of the key events so far remain unscathed.
During the course of the Mueller probe, 34 people were indicted or pleaded guilty — including five former Trump advisers.
But the summary of the report by Attorney General William Barr denied any larger criminal conspiracy between Trump and Russia.
Barr also wrote there wasn’t sufficient evidence to prosecute any obstruction of justice charges, but he stopped short of exonerating Trump on those allegations.
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While the details of the report remain secret, many expected the now infamous Trump Tower meeting to play a key part in it, as it allegedly involves high-ranking members talking to foreigners to get dirt on Hillary Clinton, Trump’s rival.
Since it’s illegal for a campaign to accept help from a foreign person or government, this could have had major implications in the report.
READ MORE: Why the 2016 Trump Tower meeting matters
Some have suggested the absence of any mention of the Trump Tower meeting signifies it could continue to be under investigation by other departments.
But others say the meeting clearly didn’t result in collusion.
“I’m sure it’s discussed in Mueller’s report itself, but the existence of the meeting, in and of itself, clearly did not result in anything further that would constitute even a tacit agreement to co-ordinate,” Brad Moss, national security attorney based in Washington D.C., told Global News
“If it had, Mueller’s findings would have understandably been different.”
Here’s a look at how the Trump Tower meeting went down:
Who set up the meeting:
Music promoter Rob Goldstone sent an email to Trump Jr. saying, “The Crown prosecutor of Russia met with his father Aras this morning and in their meeting offered to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary (Clinton) and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father.”
In agreeing to the meeting, the younger Trump told Goldstone, “if it’s what you say I love it.”
Who was at the meeting:
For the Trump campaign, Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and then-campaign manager Paul Manafort attended.
For the Russians, lawyer and lobbyist Natalia Veselnitskaya was there, along with Russian-American lobbyist Rinat Akhmetshin.
As for other participants, Goldstone was also there, along with a translator for Veselnitskaya. A representative for the Agalarov family, whose son Emin was represented by Goldstone, was also present.
Here is a look at the key players in the Trump Tower meeting:
Trump’s former campaign chairman was convicted in a financial fraud trial that focused on his work as a consultant for the pro-Russian former leader of Ukraine prior to the 2016 election.
Facing a second trial, Manafort agreed to co-operate with the special counsel’s investigators and pleaded guilty to two additional conspiracy charges, but Mueller later accused him of breaching his plea deal by lying to prosecutors.
Manafort was sentenced to a total of seven-and-a-half years in prison and prosecutors in New York have announced he’s been indicted on 16 new charges, including residential mortgage fraud.
Donald Trump Jr.
Trump Jr., along with Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner, met Russian nationals at the now infamous June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower in New York, where they promised damaging information on his father’s Democratic rival Hillary Clinton in the presidential race.
Trump Jr. originally said the meeting was about Russian adoption policy, but the president later said it was about political opposition research. Trump’s lawyers have said he dictated his son’s first misleading explanation, which led to questions about whether the president sought to obstruct an investigation by the Justice Department.
There is no public knowledge of an interview between Trump Jr. and Mueller’s team.
Kushner, a senior White House adviser and President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, has been interviewed by Mueller’s team and Congress regarding his contacts with the Russians during the election campaign.
Aside from being at the Trump Tower meeting, Kushner also made repeated contact with Russian ambassador Sergei Kislyak — that he initially failed to disclose.
Kushner also reportedly encouraged Trump to fire FBI director James Comey in the spring of 2017, when Comey was beginning to dig into the Trump-Russia connection.
Kushner has been interviewed by Mueller’s team.
Rob Goldstone, manager of Russian pop star Emin Agalarov, contacted Donald Trump Jr. on behalf of his client to set up that now-infamous meeting at Trump Tower in June 2016.
Goldstone sent an email to Trump Jr. promising dirt on Hillary Clinton, in an exchange that is a key piece of evidence in Mueller’s probe.
Goldstone appeared before Mueller’s grand jury in March 2018.
*with files from the Associated Press
© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.