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On April 18th 2019, the Justice Department released the redacted Mueller Report to the public. The 448 page document details a story that has captured America's attention. From Russian plots to interfere in our election to constitutional questions of executive power, the Mueller Report is potentially one of the most important and consequential documents of our time. But there's a problem. Very few people have read it.


There is still so much confusion about the Report. What it says, who it implicates, and what it means for our country. At Lawfare, we are distilling the report into a multi part audio narrative series, telling you the story of what is in this document, the story Mueller wants you to understand.


We are grateful to the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and the Democracy Fund for their support for this project.



Produced by Goat Rodeo.

www.goatrodeodc.com



Lawfare

www.lawfareblog.com

18 Episodes
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2019-07-1200:02:5218

On April 18th 2019, The Justice Department released the redacted Mueller Report to the public. The 448 page document details a story that has captured America’s attention. From Russian plots to interfere in our election to constitutional questions of executive power, the Mueller Report is potentially one of the most important and consequential documents of our time. But there’s a problem: Very few people have read it.There is still so much confusion about the Report. What it says, who it implicates, and what it means for our country. At Lawfare, we are distilling the report into a multi part audio narrative series, telling you the story of what is in this document, the story Mueller wants you to understand.
Part I: Active Measures

Part I: Active Measures

2019-07-1900:38:1978

It is 2014 in St. Petersburg, Russia. In the heart of the city, a small nondescript office building sits beside the Bolshaya Nevka River. Inside, workers stare at computer screens open to Facebook and Twitter, furiously typing. Their task: Sow discord, disinformation, and doubt. Their target: The United States of America. Through fake social media accounts and armies of bots, they are flooding online media with disinformation. This is a Troll Farm. It’s name: The Internet Research Agency.
Part II: Hack. Dump. Divide.

Part II: Hack. Dump. Divide.

2019-07-2600:50:5030

It's March 2016. John Podesta is sitting at his computer. He opens an email. Something’s wrong with his password, it says. It looks a little fishy, but IT says it is legit. And so he clicks. He follows the prompt. inputs his old password, resets a new one. And just like that hackers from a Russian military intelligence unit are in. It barely takes a minute, one click and a few keystrokes and there is no going back.This is Episode 2 of The Report: Hack. Dump. Divide
It’s July 27, 2016. Donald Trump has just given a press conference during which he suggests that Russia hack Hillary Clinton and release the 30,000 allegedly missing emails from her private email server. The Russians, unbeknownst to people in the United States, appear to take the request seriously and hour later begin cyber-attacking Clinton’s private office for the first time.Privately, Trump has instructions for his top aides: He repeatedly asks individuals affiliated with his Campaign to find the deleted Clinton emails too. His national security adviser, Michael Flynn, says Trump made this request repeatedly. And so Flynn acts on it, teaming up with a shadowy Republican political operative in an ill-fated attempt to track down a trove of Clinton emails from Russian hackers
As the Russians were engaged in operations to hack and dump emails, the Trump campaign and its associates were in communication with Wikileaks about the distribution of stolen materials. But that’s far from the whole story of the Trump campaign’s connections to Russia during the 2016 election. As Special Counsel Robert Mueller began to piece together the rest of that story, his investigation came to focus on two Trump Towers.The first is Trump Tower Moscow. Beginning all the way back in 2013 and through the spring of 2016, the Trump organization is pursuing a project to build a skyscraper in Russia. For a long time, the plans for Trump Tower Moscow had gone nowhere. But when Donald Trump announces he is running for president, things start to get interesting.
Part V: Russian Overtures

Part V: Russian Overtures

2019-08-1601:06:3912

It’s the morning of April 25, 2016. At a hotel in London, a Maltese professor meets with a young foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign. The two have been in touch over the past few weeks; the professor has been helping the young man connect with Russian officials. Now, over breakfast, the professor lets him in on a secret. On a recent trip to Moscow, high-level government officials told him that the Russians have “dirt” on Trump’s opponent. What was the “dirt” in question? “Emails,” he says. They have “have thousands of emails.”
Part VI: Back Channels

Part VI: Back Channels

2019-08-2301:01:2110

It’s December 29, 2016. The Obama administration announces that it’s imposing sanctions on Russia, as punishment for election interference. Michael Flynn has been tapped to become Trump’s national security advisor when the new administration takes office in January, but it’s still the transition period. Flynn is taking a few days vacation at the beach, when he sees the news. He grabs his phone and texts the transition team at Mar a Lago. He writes “Tit for tat with Russia not good” and says that the Russian ambassador, Sergey Kislyak is reaching out to him today. Flynn calls Kislyak and asks that Russia not escalate in response to the sanctions. Apparently, it works. The next day, in a surprise move, Putin says that Russia won’t retaliate. Trump tweets, “Great move on delay (by V. Putin). I always knew he was very smart.”
Part VII: Charging Decisions

Part VII: Charging Decisions

2019-08-3000:57:357

It’s April 18, 2019, Attorney General Bill Barr summons reporters to the Department of Justice in Washington DC. Robert Mueller’s report is about to be released. Before the press and the public finally see the document for themselves, Barr wants a chance to tell his own version of the story it contains. But is the bottom line according to Barr the same as the bottom line according to Robert Mueller? We’ll let you decide.Previous episodes have told the story of the factual findings of the Mueller report—what did investigators figure out about what happened? And what were the questions they couldn’t fully answer? Conducting the investigation is one part of the Special Counsel’s job: collecting evidence and assembling a record. But the investigation actually supports Mueller’s larger responsibility: he must reach a set of legal conclusions about the evidence his team has found. The Special Counsel needs to decide which parts of the story laid out in Volume One of the Report amount to prosecutable crimes.This episode covers those decisions. Where does Mueller decide to bring charges? And when he doesn’t, is that because he thinks nothing improper or possibly criminal occurred? Or is it because he finds that the evidence just isn’t sufficient to prove things beyond a reasonable doubt? Here’s what the Mueller Report says about how the Special Counsel’s office made these decisions.This is The Report: Episode 7: Charging Decisions
It’s July 2016. Then-FBI Director James Comey gives a press conference explaining that, while he has recommended that the Justice Department not pursue charges against Hillary Clinton for her mishandling of classified information, Clinton’s conduct was “extremely careless.” Evidence has never surfaced that Clinton’s account was compromised. But a Republican political operative named Peter Smith becomes obsessed with the idea that Russia might have gained access. He spends the next year trying to get ahold of Clinton emails that he thinks Russia has hacked. But he never gets to see what Special Counsel Robert Mueller makes of his efforts—because a year later, he dies by suicide.This is a bonus episode of The Report. We’ve just finished Volume I of our podcast bringing to life Robert Mueller’s report on Russian election interference. In a few weeks, we’ll be back with new episodes on Volume II of Mueller’s report—covering President Trump’s efforts to obstruct the Russia investigation.
We’ve just finished Volume I of our podcast bringing to life Robert Mueller’s report on Russian election interference, and are hard at work on Volume II. We’ll have that ready for you soon. But in the meantime, we’ve put together some bonus episodes for you to enjoy. In this episode, the Lawfare teams brings you some of the more interesting pieces of Volume I that didn't make it into our episodes. From Donald Trump Jr's grand jury redactions, the role of Bitcoin in election interference, to Michael Flynn's wild plot involving a Turkish national, in the footnotes of the Mueller Report are some wild details.
It’s May 12, 2017. The FBI is still reeling from the sudden firing of Director James Comey. Andrew McCabe has only been the acting Director for 3 days. He’s trying to talk to Rod Rosenstein about the issue weighing on his mind: how are they going to protect the Russia investigation? The FBI is already investigating whether the president has tried to interfere with that inquiry. But the Deputy Attorney General is distracted and upset; he can’t believe the White House is making it look as if firing Comey were his idea. He says “There’s no one I can talk to. There’s no one here I can trust.”McCabe urges Rosenstein to appoint a special counsel. The credibility of the FBI and DOJ are on the line; without a special counsel a firestorm threatens to destroy the nation’s storied law enforcement institutions. It’s five days later—Wednesday, May 17—when McCabe sits beside Rosenstein in the basement of the United States Capitol where they’ve assembled the Gang of Eight. Then Rosenstein announces that he’s made a decision. He’s appointed a special counsel to oversee the Russia investigation and the new inquiry into the president: Robert S. Mueller III.
Part IX: Honest Loyalty

Part IX: Honest Loyalty

2019-09-2700:53:304

It’s January 26, 2017. Sally Yates is the acting Attorney General; she’s leading the Justice Department until Jeff Sessions is confirmed by the Senate. Yates has just learned some alarming news. The new National Security Advisor Michael Flynn has lied to FBI agents. He’s told them that he hadn’t discussed sanctions in a call with Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak. But he had. And it looks like Flynn has lied to the vice president about it as well. Yates calls White House Counsel Don McGahn. She says they have to meet right away. Yates knows that the FBI has the tape to prove Flynn lied, which is a crime, but right now there’s an even bigger problem: the Russians probably have the tape too.
Part X: You're Fired

Part X: You're Fired

2019-10-0401:02:589

It’s March 7, 2017. The Senate Judiciary Committee is holding a hearing on the nomination of Rod Rosenstein to be the Deputy Attorney General. Rosenstein’s whole career has been leading up to this moment. He’s a non-partisan sort of guy. He’s served under both President Bush and Obama. Now he’s being elevated to the role of running the day to day at DOJ.But this hearing is about more than just confirming a new deputy attorney general. On March 2, five days earlier, Attorney General Jeff Sessions had announced his recusal from all investigations involving the 2016 election, a recusal which included the Russia investigation. And so, the moment he becomes deputy, Rosenstein will also become the acting attorney general for the purposes of the Russia investigation.Rosenstein is confirmed and he’s sworn in on April 26, 2017. But his oath is about to be tested, like never before. Less than two weeks later, President Trump says he wants to fire the FBI Director and Rosenstein decides to help.
Part XI: A Special Counsel

Part XI: A Special Counsel

2019-10-1100:58:202

It’s May 17, 2017. White House Counsel Don McGahn is in the Oval Office with the president. McGahn’s job is to represent the office of the presidency, which isn’t quite the same as representing the president personally. It’s a delicate line to walk, and Trump hasn’t made the job any easier. McGahn is supposed to act as the point of contact between the White House and the Department of Justice, to ensure all the rules are being followed. But the president has made clear, he’s not interested in following the rules. Trump has already fired his FBI director. That’s why McGahn is in the Oval that morning, they need to interview a new nominee for the position. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is there too.Sessions interrupts the meeting. He has an urgent phone call from the Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, so he steps outside to take it. Sessions returns a moment later and relays the message: Rosenstein has appointed a Special Counsel to oversee the Russia investigation. It’s the former FBI director, Robert Mueller.  Trump slumps back in his chair. He says, “Oh my God. This is terrible. This is the end of my Presidency. I’m fucked.”
It’s February 6, 2018. Don McGahn is back in the Oval Office with President Trump and the new White House chief of staff John Kelly. The New York Times has just published a story reporting that, back in June of 2017, Trump had directed McGahn to have Mueller fired and that McGahn had threatened to resign rather than carry out the order. The story doesn’t look good. Trump says: “You need to correct this. You’re the White House counsel.”Trump wants McGahn to say it never happened. But McGahn knows that it did happen. The White House Counsel is sticking to his guns. He’s not going to lie. The president asks again. Is McGahn going to do a correction? McGahn feels Trump is testing his mettle, seeing how far he can be pushed. And so he answers: No. He’s not.
It’s January 2018. Paul Manafort and Rick Gates are in a whole lot of trouble. The past is catching up to them. Three months earlier, they’d both been indicted on multiple felony counts and now it looks like there might be even more charges coming. Gates is getting nervous--they’re facing many years in prison. Manafort tells Gates to relax. He’s talked to the president’s personal counsel. He says they’re going to “take care of us.” Manafort tells Gates he’d be stupid to plead guilty now, “just sit tight, we’ll be taken care of.” Gates wants to be crystal clear on what exactly Manafort’s getting at. So he asks: Is the president going to pardon them?
Part XIV: The Fixer Flips

Part XIV: The Fixer Flips

2019-11-0101:01:094

We’re almost at the end of our story. This episode will cover the final set of activity that the Special Counsel examines for possible obstruction of justice: the president’s behavior towards his long time attorney Michael Cohen. Unlike the other possible acts of obstruction in Volume II, which mostly occur after Trump takes office, the relevant conduct towards Cohen spans the entire time period at issue in the Mueller investigation. It starts all the way back before the campaign. To Trump Tower Moscow.
Part XV: Mueller's Report

Part XV: Mueller's Report

2019-11-0800:52:223

It Friday, March 22, 2019. It’s been nearly two years since Robert Mueller was first appointed Special Counsel. Now, he’s ready to submit a final report to the Attorney General. He has uncovered a sprawling and systematic effort by Russia to interfere in the 2016 election. And he’s developed a mountain of evidence about the president’s efforts to obstruct his investigation, things like witness tampering, ordering the creation of false records, and trying to fire Mueller himself. But Mueller’s got a problem: a Department of Justice memo says he can’t indict a sitting president. So what is he supposed to do with all this evidence? Mueller decides to just lay it all in the report, all 448 pages of it. It’ll be someone else’s problem to decide what to do about it: maybe a future prosecutor, maybe Congress, maybe the America electorate. That isn’t really Mueller’s concern. He’s done what he was asked to do. Now his report can speak for itself._______________________Thank you for listening to the final chapter of The Report. This podcast is made possible by the generous support of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and the Democracy Fund. And by listeners like you. To support this project, please go to lawfareblog.com. The Report is a production of Lawfare & Goat Rodeo in Washington D.C. Ian Enright is the executive producer. Production assistance from Char Dreyer. From the Lawfare team, the Project is lead by Executive Editor Susan Hennessey. Editor in Chief is Benjamin Wittes. Interviews conducted by Managing Editor Quinta Jurecic. Recordings by Mikhaila Fogel and Jacob Shulz. Additional assistance by Gordon Ahl . Special thanks to Daniel Hemel, Chuck Rosenberg, Jack Goldsmith, John Barrett, Paul Rosensweig, Mary McCord, Mike Schmidt, and everyone who made this podcast possible. And thank you, the listening audience. If you think this story matters, and the more Americans should understand what is in the Mueller Report, please share this podcast widely and leave us a rating and review wherever you listen to podcasts. And continue following this feed for bonus episodes and additional content in the future. On behalf of Lawfare and Goat Rodeo, thanks for listening.
Comments (59)

Diane Thompson

Thank you Lawfare SO much for this explanatory readout of the Report!! i will miss Benjamin Wittes's soothing voice 😊

Nov 8th
Reply

jersey2777

I read the w.post write up on this very thing this morning & its something I've been wondering about for some time...

Nov 8th
Reply (1)

jersey2777

what about the president's oath of office violations? ..hasn't trump negated his article 2 protections by breaking his oath to .."faithfully execute.."?!

Nov 8th
Reply

Mel Vis

Fabulous podcast series. Interesting and frightening.

Nov 4th
Reply

Chips Fowler

Continued thanks for putting this together. So frustrating hearing this and knowing the outcome.

Oct 28th
Reply (1)

daisy

I look forward to new episodes every week like a soap opera

Oct 27th
Reply (1)

Brian Sims

Informative and well done podcast! As a side note. I couldn't help but picture Pontius Pilate from Monty Python's "The Life of Brian" everytime one of the British interviewees was speaking. "I have a gweat fwiend in Wome named Biggus Dickus." lol

Oct 20th
Reply (1)

Scott Thomas

if only in real life that Ben Wittess had a read speed button for 1.2 to 1.5x. Real Ben... every single letter in every word doesn't need articulation.

Oct 16th
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Chips Fowler

Another great episode. Unfortunately getting completely lost in everything else that is coming out daily. Still very frustrating to hear out it played out.

Oct 7th
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Chips Fowler

Clearly there a reason for fighting for keeping the redactions. Hopefully we get to see the entirety someday soon.

Sep 18th
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Chips Fowler

So many unanswered questions that will probably never be given the proper treatment. Another good job on this short podcast.

Sep 6th
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Chips Fowler

Great work. I continue to be frustrated by what was know, what could be implied and the charging decisions.

Sep 4th
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jersey2777

so if trump & his campaign knew of a nation states' illegal activity regarding our elections, weren't they obligated to alert proper authorities? and would the failure to do so indicate a conspiracy of sorts, even "tacitly " between Russia & the trump machine?

Aug 30th
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Chips Fowler

The more I listen the more infuriating the whole affair becomes. Great work!

Aug 28th
Reply (1)

Cecilia Morales

I’ve read the actual redacted report, listened to another podcast that read the report and while I understood what I read and was being read this podcast does a great job of putting it all together. I have shared this podcast with friends and family and all agree this is fantastic work! Thank you for putting this together and making the Mueller report in a format that makes sense.

Aug 24th
Reply

Terri Hunt

This series is mindblowing. The chasm between what is known and what. an be proved appears to be vast. Thank you for the deep dive into a very controversial document!

Aug 24th
Reply

Otis Jefferson

Great work!

Aug 13th
Reply (1)

Leigh Sheppard

the background music when wittus is quoting from the Mueller report is unbelievably annoying. all you really hear is what sounds like and annoying tap tap tap in the background unless you have the volume up so loud that you can hear the rest of the instrumentation, but then the audio is too loud. get rid of the background music were you something but doesn't have drums in it

Aug 9th
Reply

JK Villahermosa

This is the best for understanding Muellers report. Thank you for putting the work and effort into this for us!

Aug 3rd
Reply (1)

Jeffrey Frick

Thank you for giving us the audio condensed version. Perfectly done

Aug 3rd
Reply
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