THE MUELLER REPORT: A READING

A Paper Trail Media Podcast

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Episode List:

EP. 0: “Introducing The Mueller Report: A Reading
Welcome! Here’s what you can expect from this podcast.

Listen to Episode 0 HERE.

Ep. 1: “Introduction to Volume I”
In this section of the report, Special Counsel Mueller lays out the events leading to which initiated his appointment and the broad outlines of the investigation.

Listen to Episode 1 HERE.

Ep. 2: “Executive Summary to Volume I”
This Executive Summary lays out a summary of the contents of Volume I of the Report, which covers the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. The Summary is divided into sections which cover (1) the Russian Social Media Campaign, (2) the Russian Hacking Operations, (3) Russian contacts with the Trump campaign, and the Special Counsel’s charging decisions.

Listen to Episode 2 HERE.

Download Attorney General Barr’s four-page summary letter of March 24, 2019 to the Senate and the House HERE

Download Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s letter to AG Barr of March 27, 2019 HERE

Ep. 3: “I. The Special Counsel’s Investigation”
Section I of the report recounts the genesis of the investigation, the appointment of Robert Mueller by Deputy Attorney General (then Acting Attorney General for the Russia Investigation) Rod Rosentein, the scope of Mueller’s mandate, and details the structure and procedures of the Office of the Special Counsel.

Listent to Episode 3 HERE.
Download Acting Attorney General (for the Russia Investigation) Rod J. Rosenstein’s Appointment Order: Office of the Deputy Att’y Gen., Order No. 3915-2017 HERE

Related legal matters:
United States v. Manafort, 312 F. Supp. 3d 60, 79-83 (D.D.C 2018)
United States v. Manafort, 321 F. Supp. 3d 640, 650-655 (E.D. Va 2018)


Ep. 4: “II. Russian ‘Active Measures’ Social Media Campaign”
This section of Volume I begins to detail the efforts of the Russian government to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election—efforts that date back as far as 2014. This section contains a significant number of redactions, both of the text itself and of many of its more than 100 footnotes, but I will inform listeners of the reason for each redaction and narrate any available footnote text that is substantive.
Listen to Episode 4 HERE.


Ep. 5, Pt. I: “III. Russian Hacking and Dumping Operations”
Section III, “Russian Hacking and Dumping Operations,” is comprised of four sub-sections that detail the who/what/when/where/why of the Russians’ infiltration, theft of information, and dissemination of stolen information. It then goes on to detail the Trump campaign’s interest in the stolen information, its contacts with WikiLeaks, and efforts to obtain deleted Clinton emails. It is quite a dense section, covering 30 pages and including 177 footnotes, and so for your convenience I have broken it up into two parts.

This episode, Episode 5, Part 1, will cover the first three sections, which spans 14 pages and includes 81 footnotes. Included in this episode are subsection A: “GRU Hacking Directed at the Clinton Campaign,” B: “Dissemination of the Hacked Materials,” and C: “Additional GRU Cyber Operations.”

The next episode, Episode 5, Part 2, will cover the final subsection, D: “Trump Campaign and the Dissemination of the Hacked Materials.” It is longer than the first three subsections combined at 16 pages long and including 96 footnotes.

Listen to Episode 5, Part I HERE.


Ep. 5, Pt. 2: “III. Russian Hacking and Dumping Operations”
This episode concludes Section III of Volume I of the Mueller Report: “Russian Hacking and Dumping Operations.” Narration of this episode will cover the second half of the section, which is comprised of the fourth and final subsection D: “Trump Campaign and the Dissemination of the Hacked Materials.”

Section III lays out the details of how the Russians infiltrated our cyber systems, manipulated social media, perpetrated fraud upon unsuspecting social media users, stole information, and disseminated it. Subsection D addresses the Trump campaign’s Russian contacts and involvement in dissemination of hacked materials.

Listen to Episode 5, Part II HERE.


Ep. 6: “IV. Russian Government Links to and Contacts with the Trump Campaign” (part 1)
This episode will be the first part of several to cover Volume I, Section IV of the Mueller Report, which is entitled “Russian Government Links to and Contacts with the Trump Campaign.”

In its entirety this section spans 108 pages and includes 987 footnotes. There are some, but not an inordinate number, of redactions in this section. And as always I will read any unredacted and substantive footnotes in place, where they are called out in the text.

This section is divided into two parts: A, which covers the campaign period between September 2015 and election day, November 8, 2016; and B, which covers contacts between Russia and the Trump campaign during the post-election transition period.

This episode will narrate the first half of part A, the Campaign Period, which includes sections (1) Trump Tower Moscow Project, and (2) George Papadopoulos.

Listen to Episode 6 HERE.

Images described in the episode:

Trump Campaign Foreign Policy Team Meeting, March 21, 2016.
(Vol. I, page 86)
George Papadopoulos (far right) & Sam Clovis (2nd from right) at TAG Summit, July 16, 2016
(Vol I, page 91)
George Papadopoulos journal entry detailing September 2016 meetings.
(Vol. I, pg. 92)

Ep. 7: “IV. Russian Government Links to and Contacts with the Trump Campaign” (part 2)

This is the second part of several to cover Volume I, Section IV of the Mueller Report, which is entitled “Russian Government Links to and Contacts with the Trump Campaign.”

This episode covers Section A, Part 3, Carter Page; and Part 4, Dimitri Simes and the Center for the National Interest (CNI). These sections relate the Russian contacts of Trump campaign policy advisor, Carter Page, and detail the connections to the Trump campaign (including to then-Senator from Alabama Jeff Sessions and Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner) through CNI and its CEO, Dimitri Simes, all during the period of the campaign from September 2015 through election day, November 8, 2016.

Carter Page, was the subject of a FISA warrant—FISA an acronym for the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which allows for surveillance of agents of foreign governments. Trump has repeatedly used this warrant as the basis for his claim that the Obama administration spied on his campaign. If you’d like more details on this controversial FISA warrant, Phillip Ewing breaks it all down in an article on the NPR website (which also includes a full copy of the redacted document itself). You can find a link to the article HERE.

The Center for the National Interest is a Washington, DC–based think tank with expertise in Russian government and policy. Dimiri Simes, is the organization’s Soviet-born CEO.

Listen to Episode 7 HERE

Ep. 8: “IV. Russian Government Links to and Contacts with the Trump Campaign” (part 3)

In this episode we’ll continue with part A, the Campaign Period (September 2015—November 8, 2016) of section IV, the narration will cover subsections 5, 6, and 7.

Section 5, June 9, 2016 Meeting at Trump Tower, discusses the now infamous Trump Tower meeting between members of the Trump campaign and Russian representatives.

Section 6, Events at the Republican National Convention, covers the campaign presence at the RNC in July 2016, and their involvement with the party’s platform change regarding the U.S. policy toward Russia and Ukraine.

Lastly, Section 7, Post-Convention contacts with Kislyak, outline the contact between Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak and members of the Trump campaign following the RNC.

List to Episode 8 HERE.

Ep. 9: “IV. Russian Government Links to and Contacts with the Trump Campaign” (part 4)

This ninth episode is the fourth to cover the first half of Section IV–the portion of the report which describes the many and varied connections between members of the Trump Campaign and the Russian government . . . during the campaign period.

Even though it hasn’t been a long read in terms of pages, it’s been a lot to digest. At least it has been for me. I hope it hasn’t been as arduous for you! In any case, you can rest easy knowing that this episode will conclude the portion of the report dealing with the campaign’s contacts with Russia during the campaign period. And who better to wrap up this part of the report than former campaign chairman for Trump during the summer of 2016, Paul Manfort, who is the subject of section 8.

Manafort, who is now a convicted felon incarcerated on eight counts of tax and bank fraud, has a long history of associations and work with Russia and Ukraine. The period examined by Mueller and narrated in this episode represents a faction of his involvement in the region. If you’d like more insight into his background The Atlantic sheds some more light on him.

Listen to Episode 9 HERE.

Ep. 10: “IV. Russian Government Links to and Contacts with the Trump Campaign” (part 5)

Episode 10 will cover the second part of and conclude the seemingly never-ending Section IV “Russian Government Links to and Contacts with the Trump Campaign.”

Part A covered all contact between the Trump campaign and Russian during the campaign period from the fall of 2015 through November 8, 2016. This Part B covers campaign contacts in the post-election / transition period, picking up on election night and continuing until just before Inauguration Day on January 2017.

If you’ve been following along I doubt you’ll be surprised by anything you hear. If you’re anything like me it might make you angry. Especially since there is a tradition in this country of only having one president at a time and the post-election activities among the Trump campaign would seem to belie that fact.

A good reference regarding the transition of power in the United States can be found on the Center Forward website here.

List to Episode 10 HERE.

Ep. 11: “V. Prosecution and Declination Decisions

This episode cover the entirety of the final section of Volume I of the Mueller Report–Section V: Prosecution and Declination Decisions.

Briefly  recapping the material coveedr in prior sections, this section concludes the volume with discussion and explanation of what charges were brought against whom and why. 

List to Episode 11 HERE.

Ep. 12: “Volume II: Introduction to Volume II and Executive Summary to Volume II

Today’s episode will launch us into Volume II of the Report on the Investigation Into Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Election. This is the part of the investigation that focuses on the obstruction-of-justice investigation into Donald Trump.

This episode’s narration will consist of the first two preliminary sections: the Introduction to Volume II and the Executive Summary to Volume II.

We’ll get a brief overview and conclusions of the obstruction-of-justice investigation, including the methodology and guidelines. These sections also outline the key issues investigated and describe the statutory and constitutional defenses asserted by the president’s counsel, and explains their lack of merit in this case.

List to Episode 11 HERE.