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US. Department of Justice

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National Security Agency—that concluded with high confidence that Russia had intervened in the
election through a variety of means to assist Trump’s candidacy and harm Clinton’s. A
declassified version of the assessment was publicly released that same day.

Between mid-January 2017 and early February 2017, three congressional committees—the
House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI), the Senate Select Committee on
Intelligence (SSCI), and the Senate Judiciary Committee (SJ C)—announced that they would
conduct inquiries, or had already been conducting inquiries, into Russian interference in the
election. Then-FBI Director James Comey later confirmed to Congress the existence of the FBI’s
investigation into Russian interference that had begun before the election. On March 20, 2017, in
open-session testimony before HPSCI, Comey stated:

1 have been authorized by the Department of Justice to confirm that the FBI, as part
of our counterintelligence mission, is investigating the Russian government’s efforts
to interfere in the 2016 presidential election, and that includes investigating the
nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and
the Russian government and Whether there was any coordination between the
campaign and Russia’s efforts. . . . As with any counterintelligence investigation,
this will also include an assessment of whether any crimes were committed.

The investigation continued under then-Director Comey for the next seven weeks until May 9,
2017, when President Trump fired Comey as FBI Director—an action which is analyzed in
Volume II of the report.

On May 17, 2017, Acting Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed the Special Counsel
and authorized him to conduct the investigation that Comey had confirmed in his congressional
testimony, as well as matters arising directly from the investigation, and any other matters within
the scope of 28 C.F.R. § 600.4(a), which generally covers efforts to interfere with or obstruct the
investigation.

President Trump reacted negatively to the Special Counsel’s appointment. He told advisors
that it was the end of his presidency, sought to have Attorney General Jefferson (Jeffi Sessions
unrecuse from the Russia investigation and to have the Special Counsel removed, and engaged in
efforts to curtail the Special Counsel’s investigation and prevent the disclosure of evidence to it,
including through public and private contacts with potential witnesses. Those and related actions
are described and analyzed in Volume II of the report.

**>l<

THE SPECIAL COUNSEL’S CHARGING DECISIONS

In reaching the charging decisions described in Volume I of the report, the Office
determined whether the conduct it found amounted to a violation of federal criminal law
chargeable under the Principles of Federal Prosecution. See Justice Manual § 9-27.000 et seq.
(2018). The standard set forth in the Justice Manual is whether the conduct constitutes a crime; if
so, whether admissible evidence would probably be sufficient to obtain and sustain a conviction;

U.S. Department of Justice

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and whether prosecution would serve a substantial federal interest that could not be adequately
served by prosecution elsewhere or through non-criminal alternatives. See Justice Manual § 9-
27.220.

Section V of the report provides detailed explanations of the Office’s charging decisions,
which contain three main components.

First, the Office determined that Russia’s two principal interference operations in the 2016
U.S. presidential election—the social media campaign and the hacking—and-dumping operations—
violated U.S. criminal law. Many of the individuals and entities involved in the social media
campaign have been charged with participating in a conspiracy to defraud the United States by
undermining through deceptive acts the work of federal agencies charged with regulating foreign
influence in U.S. elections, as well as related counts of identity theft. See United States v. Internet
Research Agency, et al., No. 18-cr-32 (D.D.C.). Separately, Russian intelligence officers who
carried out the hacking into Democratic Party computers and the personal email accounts of
individuals affiliated with the Clinton Campaign conspired to violate, among other federal laws,
the federal computer-intrusion statute, and the have been so chared. See United States v.

ksho, etal.,No. 18-cr-215 D.D.C. . Harm to Ongoing Matter



Second, while the investigation identified numerous links between individuals with ties to
the Russian government and individuals associated with the Trump Campaign, the evidence was
not sufficient to support criminal charges. Among other things, the evidence was not sufficient to
charge any Campaign official as an unregistered agent of the Russian government or other Russian
principal. And our evidence about the June 9, 2016 meeting and WikiLeaks’s releases of hacked
materials was not sufficient to charge a criminal campaign-finance Violation. Further, the evidence
was not sufficient to charge that any member of the Trump Campaign conspired with
representatives of the Russian government to interfere in the 2016 election.

Third, the 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. Former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn pleaded guilty to lying about
his interactions with Russian Ambassador Kislyak during the transition period. George
Papadopoulos, a foreign policy advisor during the campaign period, pleaded guilty to lying to
investigators about, inter alia, the nature and timing of his interactions with Joseph Mifsud, the
professor who told Papadopoulos that the Russians had dirt on candidate Clinton in the form of
thousands of emails. Former Trump Organization attorney Michael Cohen nleaded uilt to
makin; false statements to Con_ress about the Trum- ro'ect. Harm t0 Ongoing






And in February 2019, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia found that


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