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Dec 7, 2020

This episode covers Section II. Factual Results of the Obstruction Investigation, pages 15 to 158 of Volume 2 of the "Report on the Investigation into Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Election."

This section of the report details the evidence obtained. Beginning with an overview of how Russia became an issue in the 2016 presidential campaign, and how candidate Trump responded. Included are key events that were investigated: the President’s conduct concerning the FBI investigation of Michael Flynn; the President’s reaction to public confirmation of the FBI’s Russia investigation; events leading up to and surrounding the termination of FBI Director Comey; efforts to terminate the Special Counsel; efforts to curtail the scope of the Special Counsel’s investigation; efforts to prevent disclosure of information about the June 9, 2016 Trump Tower meeting between Russians and senior campaign officials; efforts to have the Attorney General unrecuse; and conduct towards McGahn, Cohen, and other witnesses.

Factual Results of the Obstruction Investigation (1:12)

A. The Campaign's Response to Reports About Russian Support for Trump (3:03)

  1. Press Reports Allege Links Between the Trump Campaign and Russia (4:05)
  2. The Trump Campaign Reacts to WikiLeaks's Release of Hacked Emails (5:27)
  3. The Trump Campaign Reacts to Allegations That Russia was Seeking to Aid Candidate Trump (7:55)
  4. After the Election, Trump Continues to Deny Any Contacts or Connections with Russia or That Russia Aided his Election (12:15)

B. The President's Conduct Concerning the Investigation of Michael Flynn (16:44)

  1. Incoming National Security Advisor Flynn Discusses Sanctions on Russia with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak (18:07)
  2. President-Elect Trump is Briefed on the Intelligence Community’s Assessment (22:34)
  3. Flynn Makes False Statements About his Communications with Kislyak (25:08)
  4. DOJ Officials Notify the White House of Their Concerns About Flynn (28:20)
  5. McGahn has a Follow-Up Meeting About Flynn with Yates; President Trump has Dinner with FBI Director Comey (30:44)
  6. Flynn’s Resignation (35:12)
  7. The President Discusses Flynn with FBI Director Comey (38:33)
  8. The Media Raises Questions About the President’s Delay in Terminating Flynn (41:56)
  9. The President Attempts to Have K.T. McFarland Create a Witness Statement (43:21)
  10. Analysis (45:58)

C. The President's Reaction to Public Confirmation of the FBI's Russia Investigation (57:21)

  1. Attorney General Sessions Recuses From the Russia Investigation (58:15)
  2. FBI Director Comey Publicly Confirms the Existence of the Russia Investigation in Testimony Before HPSCI (1:03:43)
  3. The President Asks Intelligence Community Leaders to Make Public Statements that he had No Connection to Russia (1:09:01)
  4. The President Asks Comey to "Lift the Cloud" Created by the Russia Investigation (1:14:04)
  5. Analysis (1:17:37)

D. Events Leading Up To and Surrounding the Termination of FBI Director Comey (1:23:18)

  1. Comey Testifies Before the Senate Judiciary Committee and Declines to Answer Questions About Whether the President is Under Investigation (1:24:50)
  2. The President Makes the Decision to Terminate Comey (1:28:09)
  3. Analysis (1:44:04)

E. The President's Efforts to Remove the Special Counsel (1:54:44)

  1. The Appointment of the Special Counsel and the President's Reaction (1:56:03)
  2. The President Asserts that the Special Counsel has Conflicts of lnterest (2:00:04)
  3. The Press Reports that the President is Being Investigated for Obstruction of Justice and the President Directs the White House Counsel to Have the Special Counsel Removed (2:05:51)
  4. Analysis (2:12:04)

F. The President's Efforts to Curtail the Special Counsel Investigation (2:20:49)

  1. The President Asks Corey Lewandowski to Deliver a Message to Sessions to Curtail the Special Counsel Investigation (2:21:42)
  2. The President Follows Up with Lewandowski (2:24:31)
  3. The President Publicly Criticizes Sessions in a New York Times Interview (2:26:31)
  4. The President Orders Priebus to Demand Sessions's Resignation (2:28:05)
  5. Analysis (2:32:29)

G. The President's Efforts to Prevent Disclosure of Emails About the June 9, 2016 Meeting Between Russians and Senior Campaign Officials (2:37:37)

  1. The President Learns About the Existence of Emails Concerning the June 9, 2016 Trump Tower Meeting (2:38:21)
  2. The President Directs Communications Staff Not to Publicly Disclose Information About the June 9 Meeting (2:41:03)
  3. The President Directs Trump Jr.'s Response to Press Inquiries About the June 9 Meeting (2:43:35)
  4. The Media Reports on the June 9, 2016 Meeting (2:47:47)
  5. Analysis (2:51:36)

H. The President's Further Efforts to Have the Attorney General Take Over the Investigation (2:56:14)

  1. The President Again Seeks to Have Sessions Reverse his Recusal (2:56:37)
  2. Additional Efforts to Have Sessions Unrecuse or Direct Investigations Covered by his Recusal (2:59:23)
  3. Analysis (3:05:07)

I. The President Orders McGahn to Deny that the President Tried to Fire the Special Counsel (3:09:23)

  1. The Press Reports that the President Tried to Fire the Special Counsel (3:10:33)
  2. The President Seeks to Have McGahn Dispute the Press Reports (3:11:57)
  3. Analysis (3:17:39)

J. The President's Conduct Towards Flynn, Manafort, and Stone (3:25:23)

  1. Conduct Directed at Michael Flynn (3:26:15)
  2. Conduct Directed at Paul Manafort (3:29:08)
  3. Conduct Directed at Roger Stone (3:39:33)
  4. Analysis (3:44:28)

K. The President's Conduct Involving Michael Cohen (3:54:42)

  1. Candidate Trump's Awareness of and Involvement in the Trump Tower Moscow Project (3:56:37)
  2. Cohen Determines to Adhere to a "Party Line" Distancing Candidate Trump From Russia (4:02:42)
  3. Cohen Submits False Statements to Congress Minimizing the Trump Tower Moscow Project in Accordance with the Party Line (4:04:27)
  4. The President Sends Messages of Support to Cohen (4:14:27)
  5. The President's Conduct After Cohen Began Cooperating with the Government (4:20:29)
  6. Analysis (4:30:51)

L. Overarching Factual Issues (4:42:44)


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Music by Lee Rosevere