Trump talks “treason” in describing career Justice Department officials involved in the Trump-Russia investigation. As Trump’s crusade against the truth continues, Attorney General William Barr is poised to lead the charge. My latest post at Dan Rather’s News & Guts takes a closer look at disturbing developments.

Here’s a complete list of the latest updates to the Trump-Russia Timeline at Dan Rather’s News & Guts and at Just Security:

SOMETIME DURING THE WEEK OF MAY 20, 2019: Giuliani Seeks Information on Democrats From Ukrainian

MAY 20, 2019: White House Tells McGahn Not to Honor Congressional Subpoena 

MAY 20, 2019: House Intelligence Committee Releases Cohen Transcripts

MAY 20, 2019: GOP ‘Freedom Caucus’ Condemns Amash

MAY 20-21, 2019: Judge Rejects Trump’s Effort to Block Accountants From Producing His Tax Returns; Trump Appeals

MAY 21, 2019: McGahn Refuses to Appear Before House Judiciary Committee

MAY 21, 2019: House Judiciary Committee Subpoenas Hicks, McDonald

MAY 21, 2019: Trump Attacks ’18 Angry Trump-Hating Democrats’; Tweets ‘NO COLLUSION and NO OBSTRUCTION!’, Democrats Want ‘DO OVER’, ‘Fishing Expedition’

MAY 22, 2019: Trump Tweets ‘Illegally Started Investigation’, ‘NO COLLUSION’, ‘DO OVER’ – ‘Witch Hunt’, ‘PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT’, ‘ILLEGAL Witch Hunt’, Democrats’ ‘Wild Goose Chases’; Retweets Numerous Others

MAY 22, 2019: Justice Department Agrees to Produce Unredacted Mueller Materials to House

MAY 22, 2019: Trump Demands End of Investigation Before He’ll Legislate With Congress, Then Tweets About It

MAY 22, 2019: Another Judge Rejects Trump Attempt to Block Subpoena Seeking His Financial Records; NY Legislature Approves Bill to Allow Congress to Obtain Trump’s Financial Records

MAY 22, 2019: Deutsche Bank Blames ‘Software Glitch’ for Failure to Report Suspicious Transactions

MAY 23, 2019: Trump Continues Twitter Attack on Democrats: Doctored Video of Pelosi, ‘Re-Do of Mueller Report’, ‘Fishing Expedition’, Intelligence Agencies Used Against Him, ‘NO COLLUSION, NO OBSTRUCTION’

MAY 23, 2019: New Federal Charges Against Assange 

MAY 23, 2019: Trump Calls ‘Treason’ on Comey, McCabe, Strzok, Lisa Page, and ‘A Number of People’; Lewandowski Says They’ll Be On Trial in 2020

MAY 23, 2019: Trump Authorizes Barr to Declassify Documents As He Investigates Origins of Russia Probe

MAY 24, 2019: Trump Tweets About Impeachment, ‘No Collusion and No Obstruction’, ‘Dems Are Just Looking for Trouble and a Do-Over’; Retweets Attacks on Democrats 

MAY 25, 2019: Trump Attacks Warner on Twitter

MAY 26, 2019: Trump Wants Apology

MAY 27, 2019: Trump Tweets: ‘Impeach For What’, Dems “Only Want A Do-Over’


Trump continues to stonewall Congress, confuse the public, and undermine the rule of law. Unfortunately, in Attorney General William Barr, Trump has now found his Roy Cohn to help. Along with White House counsel Pat Cipollone, Barr is writing one of the legal profession’s saddest chapters.

The media are starting to take note. From The Guardian on May 20, 2019:

“Each new controversial memo or opinion feeds a running debate about where, exactly, assertive lawyering ends and malpractice begins. But while those debates spin on, entire ethical continents below are shifting, the critics warn, in an ominous drift away from previous legal norms. The question in play is whether there is a line past which lawyering for Trump means joining a historic assault on the justice system itself.

“Trump administration lawyers are at risk of neglecting a higher, sworn duty, said Steven J Harper, a professor and lawyer who has written on the topic for the American Bar Association.

“‘It goes beyond, I think, particular rules of professional responsibility,’ Harper said. ‘I think it goes to far more important things, like respect for the rule of law, respect for the constitution and the duty that all lawyers have to prevent a president from making the justice system a host species for his personal agenda.

“‘I think people really don’t realize the role lawyers can play,’ Harper continued. ‘Because ultimately, in order to co-opt the legal system, you need to have the help of insiders from within the legal system to do it. And so far Trump has put together a team that has, I think, in very large measure enabled him to do that.’”

“The president has tried to use the justice department to go after his political rivals before, as when he said in the spring of 2018 that he wanted prosecutions of Hillary Clinton and the former FBI director James Comey, only to be reportedly rebuffed by McGahn, then White House counsel.

“But Trump appears to have found his man in Barr, said Walter Shaub, a former director of the Office of Government Ethics and a senior adviser to Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (Crew).

“’I think it’s extremely troubling that Barr has now assigned a handpicked investigator to look into the investigation run by his own agency,’ Shaub said. ‘They have an inspector general for a reason, and the inspector general for the Department of Justice is one of the most respected inspectors general that there is, or ever has been. There’s no reason not to rely on him if you’re looking for the truth.’


“What motivates the lawyers who prop up Trump’s project? ‘Maybe it’s just the intoxication of power,’ said Harper. ‘Or maybe it’s something as simple as human nature, and how it relates to ambition and greed. I don’t know, but it’s really dangerous stuff.’”


Here’s a complete list of the latest updates to the Trump-Russia Timeline at Dan Rather’s News & Guts and at Just Security:

NOV. 8, 2016: Election Day Troubles (revision of previous entry)

BEFORE AND AFTER DEC. 1, 2017: Person ‘Connected to’ Congress Tries to Influence Flynn’s Cooperation with Mueller

APR. 3, 2018: Flynn Sends Gaetz a Message: ‘Keep the Pressure On’

MAR. 5, 2019: Mueller Tells Barr That His Report Will Include Executive Summaries

MAR. 14 – MAY 3, 2019: Trump’s Lawyers Receive Letters From Schiff, Trump’s Lawyers Resist Schiff’s Document Requests

APR. 8, 2019: Senate Intelligence Committee Subpoenas Don Jr.

APR. 18, 2019: Barr Says ‘No Collusion’, Not Bothered By ‘Spinning’ Mueller Report Before Its Release (revision of previous entry)

MAY 12, 2019: Trump Tweets Attack FBI, ‘Russian Hoax’, Burr; Says Barr is ‘Willing to Lead the Battle’; Condemns ‘Treasonous Hoax’, Democrats Requests for Documents and Witnesses; Wants Wray to Admit to ‘Spying’ on Trump Campaign (revision of previous entry)

MAY 12, 2019: Trump Attacks FBI Director Wray: ‘The FBI Has No Leadership’; Claims Attempted ‘Illegal Coup’

MAY 13, 2019: Trump Blasts ‘Attack Strategy of Harass’ Against Barr

MAY 13, 2019: Sweden Reopens Assange’s Rape Case

MAY 13, 2019: Barr Orders Another Review of Trump-Russia Investigation’s Origins

MAY 13, 2019: Gates Still Cooperating

MAY 13, 2019: Court Receives Certain Unredacted Pages of Mueller’s Report

MAY 12-14, 2019: Graham’s Advice to Don Jr.: ‘Ignore the Subpoena’, ‘Plead the Fifth’; Don Jr. Agrees to Testify

MAY 14, 2019: Florida Governor Says Russian Hackers Had Penetrated Two Florida County Voter Databases in 2016


[This post first appeared on May 13, 2019 at Dan Rather’s News & Guts]

From the Senate floor on May 7, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) told his colleagues to pack up their Trump-Russia investigation bags and go home: “The special counsel’s finding is clear: case closed.”

Robert Mueller disagrees. For starters, he didn’t exonerate Trump. But he concluded that, under Justice Department policy, indicting Trump wasn’t an option either. Rather, Mueller deferred to Congress in dealing with the misconduct of a sitting president — and examples of such misconduct pervade the report.

Mueller also identified five obstacles that keep the case against Trump open because they hindered the investigation. Those obstacles may have prevented the development of criminal cases beyond the 37 Trump-Russia players he charged. In Mueller’s own words, here they are:

#1: Some witnesses, including Trump, refused to talk

“Some individuals invoked their Fifth Amendment right against compelled self-incrimination….” (Vol. I, p. 10)

“We also sought a voluntary interview with the President. After more than a year of discussion, the President declined to be interviewed.” (Vol. II, p. 13)

“[Donald] Trump Jr.…declined to be voluntarily interviewed by the Office….” (Vol. I, p. 117)

#2: Some evidence was beyond Mueller’s reach:

“[T]he Office [of Special Counsel] faced practical limits on its ability to access relevant evidence as well — numerous witnesses and subjects lived abroad, and documents were held outside the United States.” (Vol. I, p. 10)

#3: Some witnesses lied to investigators:

“[T]he investigation established that several individuals affiliated with the Trump Campaign lied to the Office, and to Congress, about their interactions with Russian-affiliated individuals and related matters. Those lies materially impaired the investigation of Russian election interference. The Office charged some of those lies as violations of the federal false-statements statute.” (Vol. I, p. 9; emphasis supplied)

“Even when individuals testified or agreed to be interviewed, they sometimes provided information that was false or incomplete….” (Vol. I. p. 10; emphasis supplied)

#4: Some witnesses destroyed evidence:

“Further, the Office learned that some of the individuals we interviewed or whose conduct we investigated — including some associated with the Trump Campaign — deleted relevant communications or communicated during the relevant period using applications that feature encryption or that do not provide for long-term retention of data or communications records. In such cases, the Office was not able to corroborate witness statements through comparison to contemporaneous communications or fully question witnesses about statements that appeared inconsistent with other known facts.” (Vol. I, p. 10; emphasis supplied)

#5: Some witnesses obstructed justice and got away with it:

Mueller applied a criminal standard —“proof beyond a reasonable doubt” — in deciding not to charge members of the Trump campaign with conspiracy or obstruction. But along the way, many of them frustrated his search for the truth:

“[A]lthough the evidence of contacts between Campaign officials and Russia-affiliated individuals may not have been sufficient to establish or sustain criminal charges, several US persons connected to the Campaign made false statements about those contacts and took other steps to obstruct the Office’s investigation and those of Congress.” (Vol. I, p. 180; emphasis supplied)

Why Lie and Obstruct? Mueller Suggested Answers

“As described in Volume I, the evidence uncovered in the investigation did notestablishthat the President or those close to him were involved in the charged Russian computer-hacking or active-measure conspiracies, or that the President otherwise had an unlawful relationship with any Russian official. But the evidence does indicate that a thorough FBI investigation would uncover facts about the campaign and the President personally that the President could have understood to be crimes or that would give rise to personal and political concerns.” (Vol. II, p. 76; emphasis supplied)

The Counterintelligence Probe

The released report does not include the results of Mueller’s counterintelligence probe, which involves the nation’s security. This could include details of Trump’s financial dealings, as well as information about Putin’s potential leverage over Trump and his associates. As Mueller developed that evidence, it went to the FBI.

But that’s not all: “[T]he FBI also embedded personnel at the Office who did not work on the Special Counsel’s investigation, but whose purpose was to review the results of the investigation and to send — in writing — summaries of foreign intelligence and counterintelligence information to FBIHQ and FBI Field Offices. Those communications and other correspondence between the Office and the FBI contain information derived from the investigation, not all of which is contained in this Volume.” (Vol. I, p. 13)

One More Thing

Mueller’s report also lists 12 redacted criminal matters that he referred to other federal prosecutors. Congress and the public don’t know anything about their subject matter or status.

The special counsel’s role in the investigation may be concluding, but the Trump-Russia case isn’t closed. Congress and the FBI have the task of completing the job that Mueller began. As Yogi Berra said: “It ain’t over till it’s over.”

This is the fifth in a series of posts by Steven J. Harper, creator and curator of the Trump-Russia Timeline,  on the Mueller Report. The first four installments are available here, here, here, and here.


Trump wants the story to disappear. Even with an attorney general who acts as if he is Trump’s personal defense attorney, it won’t. There are too many holes in his ship of state. FBI Director Christopher Wray accounts for the latest ones.

Wray has been off-message for a while. He has warned repeatedly about Russian interference in US elections. He denied the Trump-Barr assertion that the FBI had “spied” on the 2016 Trump campaign. He rejected the notion that special counsel Robert Mueller was engaged in a “Witch Hunt” or participating in a “Russian Hoax.” And he now has at his disposal the results of Mueller’s counterintelligence probe — which Congress and the public haven’t seen. To Trump, all of that makes him dangerous.

Trump’s next move? It always starts with a tweet. Wray got his first one on May 12:

So how do you suppose this one ends? No differently from his predecessors James Comey and Andrew McCabe, I suspect.

Here’s the latest update to the Trump-Russia Timeline at Dan Rather’s News & Guts and at Just Security.

1985-1986: Trump Loses Millions 

1991: Trump Is Deep in Debt (revision of previous entry)

MID-APRIL 2019: Senate Intelligence Committee Subpoenas Don Jr.

APR. 19, 2019: Trump Asks McGahn to Deny Obstruction

APR. 19, 2019: Trump Twitter Rampage Continues as He Attacks McGahn’s ‘Notes’, Threatens to ‘Bring Justice to Some Very Sick and Dangerous People Who Have Committed Serious Crimes, Perhaps Even Spying or Treason’ (revision of previous entry)

MAY 6, 2019: Cohen Reports to Prison

MAY 6, 2019: Trump Late on Magnitsky Act Sanctions

MAY 6, 2019: Former Federal Prosecutors: If Trump Weren’t The President, He Would Have Been Charged With Obstruction of Justice

MAY 7, 2019: White House Instructs McGahn Not to Comply With Congressional Subpoena

MAY 7, 2019: Wray Tells Congress: No Evidence of Spying on Trump Campaign

MAY 7, 2019: McConnell: Trump-Russia ‘Case Closed’, Defends Barr

MAY 8, 2019: Trump Tweets: McConnell Says ‘Case Closed’; Attacks Democrats and Defends Barr; FBI ‘Tried to Sabotage’ Trump Campaign’; ‘Fake Dossier’; ‘TREASONOUS HOAX’

MAY 8, 2019: House Judiciary Committee Holds Barr in Contempt; House Intelligence Committee Subpoenas Unredacted Mueller Report

MAY 7-10, 2019: US Ambassador to Ukraine Recalled; Giuliani Seeks Ukrainian Help for Trump’s 2020 Election, Then Abandons Trip

MAY 9, 2019: Trump Attacks Comey

MAY 11, 2019: Trump Retweets Defend Barr, Attack Democrats, GOP Sen. Burr for Approving Don Jr. Subpoena, Clinton, Ohr, Comey; Tweets ‘No Collusion, No Obstruction, No Crime’, Attacks McGahn


[This post first appeared on May 4, 2019 at Dan Rather’s News & Guts]

This is the fourth in a series of posts by Steven J. Harper, creator and curator of the Trump-Russia Timeline, on the Mueller Report. The first three installments are available here, here, and here.

It’s just one sentence in special counsel Robert Mueller’s report, but it packs a powerful punch. In 2016, Russian intelligence penetrated a Florida voting system: “We understand the FBI believes that this operation enabled the GRU to gain access to the network of at least one Florida county government.” (Vol. I, p. 51) Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) then followed up with the revelation that Russian hackers were “in a position” to change voter roll data in his state.

On Apr. 26, 2019, FBI Director Christopher Wray sounded a similar alarm. “We recognize that our adversaries are going to keep adapting and upping their game,” he said. “So we are very much viewing 2018 as just kind of a dress rehearsal for the big show in 2020.”

Hardly anyone noticed. On Saturday, Apr. 27, 2019, The New York Times reported both stories on page A18. The Washington Post covered the Florida system penetration; News & Guts reported Wray’s warningThe Wall Street Journal didn’t mention either story.

The President’s Job: Defending “Against Enemies Foreign and Domestic”

The Trump-Russia Timeline reveals a pattern of Russian attacks on state voting systems far more ominous than hacking into candidates’ computers and promoting divisive social media campaigns. Trump’s refusal to shine a spotlight on the attacks — or to criticize Putin at all — remains one of the most dangerous aspects of the Trump-Russia story.

NOV. 8, 2016: On Election Day, voters in many states experience difficulties at the polls. At a North Carolina polling station, for example, poll workers tell dozens of would-be voters that they are ineligible to vote and turn them away, even though some have current registration cards.

It turns out that Russian hackers had targeted election systems in at least 21 states and successfully penetrated many of them, including Alaska, Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Texas and Wisconsin. Among the victims is VR Systems, an outside vendor that operated voting systems in North Carolina and seven other states. The GRU had also gained access to the network of at least one Florida county government and put Russia “in a position” to change voter roll data there.

FEB. 27, 2018: Adm. Mike Rogers, Trump’s then-director of the National Security Agency and chief of the US Cyber Command, tells the Senate Armed Service Committee that Trump hasn’t granted him the authority to disrupt Russian election hacking operations where they originate.

MAR. 1, 2018: Trump’s nominee to replace Rogers testifies at his confirmation hearing that Russia, China, and other countries do not expect a significant US response to their cyber attacks.

MAR. 6, 2018: Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats tells the Senate Armed Services Committee that the Trump administration lacks a “coherent strategy” for dealing with Russian election interference.

JUL. 13, 2018: Coats says that the persistent danger of Russian cyberattacks is akin to the warnings of stepped-up terror threats ahead of the Sept. 11 attacks: “The warning lights are blinking red again… These actions are persistent, they are pervasive and they are meant to undermine America’s democracy.”

AUG. 2, 2018: Coats and Wray appear together at the White House daily press briefing and discuss efforts to defend against Russia’s ongoing attacks on American elections. “Russia attempted to interfere with the last election,” Wray says, “and continues to engage in malign influence operations to this day.”

AUG. 8, 2018: Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL), who is seeking re-election in November, says that Russians have already successfully attacked some of Florida’s voter registration systems. After the election, a recount shows that Nelson loses the race by 10,000 votes out of more than 8 million cast (or .125%).

JAN. 29-30, 2019: The US intelligence community’s annual “Worldwide Threat Assessment” to Congress states, “Russia in 2016 and unidentified actors as recently as 2018 have already conducted cyber activity that has targeted US election infrastructure….”

Trump’s Motivated Reasoning

MAY 3, 2019: Trump calls Putin and they speak for more than an hour. They discuss Mueller’s report, and Trump later tweets that they talked about the “Russian Hoax.” Asked later if he told Putin not to interfere in the 2020 election, Trump says, “We didn’t discuss that.”

Trump could confront Putin and provide full-throated support for Wray, Coats, and others seeking to preserve democracy. But out of 136 million votes cast in 2016, he won by a combined total of 77,000 votes (0.6%) in three states that tipped the Electoral College victory to him. At least two — Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — have subsequently been confirmed as targets of Russian voter election system attacks. Perhaps that explains Trump’s behavior.

On Apr. 24, Dan Rather tweeted:

The story of whatever is happening to votes in Florida — and perhaps elsewhere — might qualify.



As William Barr dominates the Trump-Russia headlines, other important things are happening. Here are the latest updates to the Trump-Russia Timeline:

AUG. 2, 2016: Kilimnik Meets with Manafort, Discusses Ukraine Plan (revision of previous entry)

NOV. 8, 2016: Election Day Troubles (revision of previous entry)

AUG. 8, 2018: Russians Have Hacked Florida’s Voter Registration Systems, Says Sen. Bill Nelson; FBI Believes Russia Penetrated a Florida Voter Network (revision of previous entry)

SEPT. 23, 2018: Rosenstein Assures Trump: ‘I Can Land the Plane”

APR. 7, 2019: Nielsen Resigns

APR. 22, 2019: Trump Attacks Continue on Obama, Mueller Report Witnesses, ‘PRESIDENTIAL HARRASSMENT’

APR. 23, 2019: Trump Remains on the Offensive

APR. 23-24, 2019: Trump Vows to Resist Congressional Subpoenas for All Witnesses

APR. 24, 2019: Putin Continues Moves Against Ukraine

APR. 24, 2019: Trump Twitter Frenzy Continues: Obama Administration Spying, “I DID NOTHING WRONG’, ‘No Collusion, No Obstruction’, ‘Rigged System – WE WILL DRAIN THE SWAMP’

APR. 25, 2019: Trump Attacks McGahn, Mueller, ‘No Collusion, No Obstruction,’ Strzok, Democrats, McCabe, Baker, Page, Comey, ‘Collusion Delusion’

APR. 25-26, 2019: Rosenstein Praises Trump, Criticizes Obama and Comey; The Washington Post Publishes Unflattering Story About Him 

APR. 26, 2019: Trump: ‘I Never Told McGahn to Fire Mueller’

APR. 26, 2019: Trump Tweets: ‘NO C OR O!’

APR. 26, 2019: Wray Warns of Russian Election Interference in 2020

APR. 26, 2019: Butina Sentenced