Donald Trump allegedly tried to obtain stolen Democratic emails during the 2016 presidential campaign, newly-released memos from Special Counsel Robert Mueller show.
A series of interview notes from Mueller’s investigation obtained and published this week by CNN showed that Trump and top campaign officials held private conversations about how they might be able to obtain the emails from WikiLeaks. The report noted that deputy campaign chair Rick Gates, who was hit with federal charges of making false statements to investigators and conspiracy against the United States, spoke to Trump about how to get their hands on the damaging information on Hillary Clinton.
In one memo summarizing an interview that Gates had in April 2018 with investigators, the former campaign official said that Trump ordered them to find a way to obtain the emails.
“Gates recalled a time on the campaign aircraft when candidate Trump said, ‘get the emails.’ [Michael] Flynn said he could use his intelligence sources to obtain the emails,” investigators wrote in the memo.
Gates told investigators that Trump and his advisers discussed how they could obtain the emails. These discussions included Donald Trump Jr., who would ask about the location of the emails during meetings.
Donald Trump would go on to publicly ask Russia to help obtain Hillary Clinton’s missing emails.
“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing, I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press,” Trump said in a press conference on July 27, 2016.
Close to the same day that Trump made the public request, Russian hackers began targeting email addresses of those close to Hillary Clinton, PBS News reported. An indictment against Russian nationals involved in the hacking attempt showed that Russian actors sent phishing emails trying to obtain email passwords at a domain that Clinton used in her personal office. They also targeted 76 email addresses at Clinton’s campaign.
Donald Trump frequently declared that he did not collude with Russia and after the release of the Mueller report declared the matter closed. That appeared to be the case, as Democrats were hesitant to launch an inquiry into Trump’s alleged actions to obstruct justice, but that went on the back burner after a whistleblower report claiming that Trump improperly pressured Ukraine into digging up dirt on Joe Biden. They have now launched an impeachment inquiry and this week took a vote to formalize the process, including setting public hearings.