Status of the Russia Investigation
One year ago, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) initiated its investigation of Russia’s interference in the 2016 U.S. election and pledged to follow the facts wherever they would lead. With yesterday’s announcement that the Majority will be prematurely shutting down the Russia investigation and issuing a report at odds with the consensus of the Intelligence Community and the overwhelming evidence produced during our own probe, they have broken that commitment.
The decision to shut down the investigation before key witnesses could be interviewed and vital documentary evidence obtained will prevent us from fully discharging our duty to the House and to the American people. But the Committee Minority will be issuing an interim report that lays out the facts that we know to date and identifies what significant investigative steps remain, especially with respect to the issues of collusion and obstruction of justice. In this document, we will set out the investigative threads that we have been pursuing—and in some cases, been prevented from pursuing—and will need to be completed at a later date to ensure not only that the public is fully informed, but also to determine whether the Russians have leverage over the President of the United States.
Below is a partial list of key witnesses that the Committee has yet to contact or interview, as well as document production requests that the Committee has yet to make from persons and entities of relevance to the investigation. As noted in the appendices below, many of these persons and entities were previously requested by the Minority—some as early as August 2017 and many repeatedly—but have yet to be contacted by, appear before, or produce documents to the Committee.
Appendix A details the Committee’s outstanding lines of inquiry, some of which have been addressed only in part and others not at all. Many of the Minority’s requests bear directly on the second and third prongs of our investigation: whether the Russian active measures campaign included links between Russia and individuals associated with political campaigns or any other U.S. persons, and what we need to do to protect ourselves and our allies from election interference in the future.
Among other witnesses, Appendix B includes:
formal and informal campaign foreign policy advisors who have yet to appear before or
produce documents to the Committee, including Reince Priebus, Stephen Miller, KT
McFarland, Sean Spicer, Keith Kellogg, Joseph E. Schmitz, and Tera Dahl;
individuals with knowledge about the June 9, 2016 Trump Tower meeting with Russian
emissaries, the stated purpose of which was to provide damaging information on Hillary
Clinton, including Natalia Veselnitskaya, who offered to cooperate, and Roman
Beniaminov, a witness with relevant information who resides in the United States;
persons and entities tied to the Trump campaign’s digital operation, including relevant
personnel from contractors such as Cambridge Analytica, along with documentary
evidence that would shed light on Cambridge Analytica’s efforts to obtain stolen DNC
emails from WikiLeaks;
individuals or groups who were involved in or may have knowledge of third-party
political outreach from the Kremlin to the Trump campaign, including persons linked to
the National Rifle Association (NRA) and who can shed light on the NRA’s relationship
with Alexander Torshin, a close ally of Russian President Putin, such as Maria Butina,
Paul Erickson, and Cleta Mitchell; and
U.S. government officials and experts focused on election security, such as officials from
the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the National Association of Secretaries of
State, the Department of Homeland Security, and key employees from CrowdStrike.
The Minority also has identified additional current and former U.S. government personnel, as well as outside experts, who can shed light on Russia’s active measures campaign and the U.S. government response. This list includes numerous Intelligence Community officials from specific agencies and entities of interest, such as the FBI’s new Foreign Influence Task Force, whom the Committee have yet to interview. These officials can provide important insights into Russia’s covert methods and activity, the U.S. government’s response under the Obama and Trump administrations, and policy and legislative recommendations to protect the United States moving forward.
Appendix C identifies more than 20 entities from which the Committee has yet to request documents, including Deutsche Bank, the Estate of Peter Smith (and associated entities), the Russian-American Chamber of Commerce in the USA, and social media companies. These
Appendix D outlines more than 15 persons and entities for which the Committee believes compulsory process for appearance and/or document production to the Committee is necessary. Included are witnesses who have refused to appear; who have invoked a nonexistent privilege to avoid pertinent testimony or who have simply refused to answer questions because the answers may be adverse to the interests of the President or his campaign; who have not produced any documentation; or whose production was insufficient and for whom we have a reasonable basis to believe that they possess documents responsive to the Committee’s investigation. This list includes, among others: Donald Trump Jr., Michael Cohen, Jared Kushner, Hope Hicks, Attorney General Sessions, Erik Prince, and the White House. The Committee must also initiate a contempt process to compel Stephen Bannon to testify to the Committee fully and without constraints.
In consideration of the Special Counsel’s ongoing investigative equities, the Committee also has deferred interviewing Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, Rick Gates, and George Papadopoulos, but these interviews will be essential to a complete understanding of the issues of collusion and obstruction of justice. To conduct a legitimate investigation, the Committee would need to interview these individuals, whether or not they have reached plea agreements or are the subject of criminal indictments. For example, Mr. Flynn specifically informed the Committee via his attorney on June 7, 2017 that he planned to invoke his Fifth Amendment privilege against self- incrimination; the Committee did not demand his appearance, as a result. In light of Mr. Flynn’s guilty plea, the Committee should revisit his appearance and seek to negotiate his testimony. The Committee also ought to interview other individuals who may be of investigative interest to the Special Counsel, reportedly such as George Nader and Simona Mangiante.
Open hearings are also an integral component of the Committee’s investigation and have allowed the public to hear from FBI Director James Comey (prior to his termination), former CIA Director John Brennan, former DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson, and senior executives from Facebook, Twitter, and Google about key aspects of Russia’s active measures campaign. Given the repeated warnings from the Intelligence Community and others that the Russians are seeking to reprise their 2016 operation in this year’s midterm elections, the Committee should have held open hearings on election security to clarify the extent of Russia’s intrusion into our election systems, highlight vulnerabilities in our elections infrastructure, and identify the technical and other solutions necessary to protect our country.
Conducting a thorough and impartial investigation of these matters has been a challenging undertaking that has been made much more so by the Majority’s concerted efforts, at the behest of the White House, to undermine our work and that of the FBI and Special Counsel. For our part, the HPSCI Democrats remain fully committed to conducting this investigation as originally envisioned, leaving no stone unturned in determining the facts of Russia’s interference in the 2016 U.S. elections and the steps we need to take to ensure the future integrity of our democratic process. To the best of our ability, we will continue to do so, until such time as the Congress once again lives up to its oversight responsibilities. The American people expect and deserve no less.
The heads of our intelligence agencies have uniformly concluded that Russia will again seek to influence our elections. With the midterm elections now only months away, it is imperative that we develop a comprehensive understanding of Russia’s 2016 covert and overt attack to adequately inform the American people about what happened, and to detect, deter, and counter, to the greatest extent possible, further attempts to influence our political process.
Curtailing the investigation prematurely would leave key lines of inquiry unanswered:
Hacking and dissemination of campaign emails. The Intelligence Community (IC) has
made it clear that Russia relied on third-party entities, or “cutouts,” such as WikiLeaks,
Guccifer 2.0, and DC Leaks to publicly disseminate with plausible deniability
information stolen from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the campaign of
Hillary Clinton. Our investigation must explore precisely how the Russians executed this
cyber operation, and how they communicated with and shared the stolen cache with these
cutouts. Outstanding questions include: Did the Trump campaign receive advanced
knowledge of or access to stolen information; did the stolen documents inform any of
their campaign activity, including voter persuasion and targeting; and what was the chain
of custody of the hacked and stolen emails that were then weaponized and strategically
Campaign knowledge of email hack. As the Special Counsel has revealed, weeks
before the world learned that Russian actors hacked into the DNC and the Clinton
campaign, the Russians, through intermediaries, informed one of candidate Trump’s five
named foreign policy advisors, George Papadopoulos, in April 2016 that the Russian
government had “dirt” on Hillary Clinton in the form of “thousands of emails.” In
evidenc evidence before the FISA Court, the DOJ also revealed that the Russians
previewed the release of this information to Mr. Papadopoulos at that time. The early date
of this contact is significant: even the Clinton campaign was not yet aware that Russia
possessed their stolen emails.
Several weeks later, in a direct approach by Russia in early June 2016 to the highest levels of the Trump campaign, the Kremlin offered dirt on Hillary Clinton as part of what was described as the Russian government’s “support for Mr. Trump.” The campaign response to the offer was two-fold: that they would “love” the help, particularly as the general election neared, and that they were disappointed with what the Russians provided at the meeting. At this point, several weeks after Russian agents informed Mr. Papadopoulos of their valuable cache, the campaign was on notice that Russia had far more helpful dirt to offer in the form of stolen emails. Days after the Trump Tower meeting, WikiLeaks would announce it had received stolen emails, documents we now know they received from the Russians.
Several outstanding questions remain: What more did the Russians relay to Mr. Papadopoulos and possibly others; how did they relay it; and with whom on the campaign did Mr. Papadopoulos—who was in frequent contact with numerous high-level Trump
Russia’s intermediaries. As the Committee’s investigation has uncovered, the Russian
government used a variety of intermediaries to approach the Trump campaign repeatedly
throughout the election and the presidential transition. As a counterintelligence matter,
we must investigate crucial unanswered questions, including: How were these Russian-
linked intermediaries tied to President Putin and the Kremlin; were they operating at the
Kremlin’s direction or in concert with it; what motivation did they have in probing and
communicating with Trump campaign officials; what messages did they convey; what
information or impressions did they glean from Trump associates; and how did these
approaches inform the Kremlin’s active measures campaign as election day neared?
After the election, when the Russian campaign was revealed and the United States sanctioned Russia for its unprecedented attack on our sovereignty, the President-elect’s National Security Advisor-designate, Michael Flynn, with the knowledge of other high- ranking transition officials, conspired with Russia to undermine the effect of U.S. sanctions, which were imposed to punish Russia for its intervention on Mr. Trump’s behalf. The Committee must seek to determine the extent of any coordination or collusion with or agreements made between Russian agents and individuals affiliated with the Trump campaign or transition with respect to sanctions relief.
Elections security. The Committee has only scratched the surface in examining what the
United States must do to protect ourselves and our allies against election interference. To
date, we have interviewed only a small number of relevant witnesses and experts, and we
have sought very limited data from the U.S. government and outside experts on this issue.
As we approach the 2018 mid-term elections, we must fully understand: What specific
vulnerabilities to voting systems exist and what remedial measures are needed; how
should political parties, campaigns, and candidates secure their communications to
defend against cyber-attacks; what measures and protocols should the Federal
Government, including our intelligence and law enforcement agencies, adopt; and how
can Congress facilitate these steps?
Social media campaign. The Committee has shared with the public examples of the
Russian government-directed social media campaign that relied on an extensive network
of fake accounts and personas posing as Americans. The February 16, 2018 Special
Counsel indictment of individuals connected to the Russian Internet Research Agency
further underscores the extensive planning, sophistication, organization, and scope of
Russia’s exploitation of social media platforms to influence American public opinion
during the election. Russia’s campaign amplified and influenced wide swaths of the U.S.
electorate and infected public debate, with a clear purpose: to help the Trump campaign,
vilify Hillary Clinton, and sow general discord—key points also confirmed in the
January 6, 2017 Intelligence Community Assessment.
As Facebook, Twitter, and Google acknowledged during their November 1, 2017 testimony before the Committee, more extensive forensic investigation is needed to
To answer these questions, the Committee must develop a more comprehensive picture of what happened on those platforms, but also how Russian disinformation spread to other social media platforms. The Committee also has a responsibility to investigate how Russian disinformation spread to press reporting and public debate; whether and how the presidential campaigns used or were harmed by this covert influence operation; and, where relevant, propose policy and legislative changes that can help guard against future foreign government weaponization of technology platforms.
Financial leverage. Donald Trump’s finances historically have been opaque, but there
have long been credible allegations as to the use of Trump properties to launder money
by Russian oligarchs, criminals, and regime cronies. There also remain critical
unanswered questions about the source of President Trump’s personal and corporate
financing. For example, Deutsche Bank, which was fined $630 million in 2017 over its
involvement in a $10 billion Russian money-laundering scheme, consistently has been
the source of financing for President Trump, his businesses, and his family. We have only
begun to explore the relationship between President Trump and Deutsche Bank, and
between the bank and Russia. Moreover, as the Committee has learned, candidate
Trump’s private business was actively negotiating a business deal in Moscow with a
sanctioned Russian bank during the election period. We must also seek to determine: Did
the Russian government, through business figures close to the Kremlin, seek to court
Donald Trump and launder funds through the Trump Organization; and did candidate
Trump’s financial exposure via Deutsche Bank or other private loans constitute a point of
leverage that Russia may have exploited and may still be using?
Money-laundering and foreign payments. The Special Counsel’s Office has secured
indictments against or guilty pleas from Paul Manafort, candidate Trump’s campaign
chairman, and Rick Gates, candidate Trump’s deputy campaign chairman. Numerous
criminal offenses have been charged by the grand jury, including money-laundering. As
the indictments and guilty pleas allege, Mr. Manafort and Mr. Gates funneled “millions
of dollars in payments into foreign nominee companies and bank accounts, opened by
them and their accomplices in nominee names and in various foreign countries, including
Cyprus, Saint Vincent & the Grenadines, and the Seychelles. Manafort and Gates hid the
existence of the foreign companies and bank accounts, falsely and repeatedly reporting to
their tax preparers and to the United States that they had no foreign bank accounts.”
Mr. Manafort also continued to communicate during his tenure on President Trump’s campaign with a former Russian associate, who the Special Counsel described in court as “a long-time Russian colleague...who is currently based in Russia and assessed to have ties to a Russian intelligence service.” The Committee’s investigation must seek to determine whether Mr. Manafort and Mr. Gates’s money-laundering activities, tied to pro-Russian interests, constituted a point of leverage that Russia sought to benefit from or
Post-election effects and Obstruction of Justice. Russia’s interference also profoundly affected developments after Election Day. Our investigation must follow these leads, for example:
Why did National Security Adviser-designate Michael Flynn intervene with Russia after the Obama Administration imposed new sanctions to punish the country for its election interference, and what specifically did he and his Russian contact discuss? Who directed Mr. Flynn’s intervention, and why did Mr. Flynn and others, including President-elect and then President Trump, lie about this contact?
Did President Trump seek to obstruct the FBI’s investigation into Michael Flynn by pressuring FBI Director Comey to drop the investigation, by repeatedly requesting his loyalty, and by firing him?
Why did President Trump fire Director Comey—was this because the President wanted to thwart the FBI’s broader investigation into Russian interference in the U.S. election, which Director Comey announced publicly at a hearing before the House Intelligence Committee weeks before? Or because he refused to lift the Russia “cloud” over the President’s head?
Why did President Trump and his advisors write a misleading public statement following revelations in the summer of 2017 that his son, Donald Trump Jr., and two other senior campaign advisors attended a June 2016 meeting in which they were promised sensitive information from the Russian government which would be damaging to Hillary Clinton?
Reince Priebus: In his role as RNC Chairman, Mr. Priebus interacted with Trump campaign officials of interest. The Committee has reason to believe that he met with Paul Manafort on June 9, 2016, the same day Mr. Manafort, Jared Kushner, and Donald Trump Jr. met with Russian persons claiming to have damaging information about Hillary Clinton. Mr. Priebus may also have valuable information to share about relevant events and communications of interest during the transition and first months of the Trump administration, including Mr. Flynn’s communications with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak and the Administration’s reaction to public disclosure of those contacts.
Stephen Miller: Mr. Miller served as a senior policy advisor to the Trump campaign and likely attended the March 2016 meeting of the foreign policy advisory board. Mr. Miller likely was involved in key decision points during the campaign and transition, and engaged with the campaign’s foreign policy advisors. He also could shed light on the RNC platform change on Ukraine and, as a speech writer during the campaign, the June speech of candidate Trump promising interesting new information about Hillary Clinton the week his son was set to meet secretly with the Russian delegation.
Kathleen (KT) McFarland: Ms. McFarland served on the transition team before becoming Michael Flynn’s deputy national security advisor and was a close associate of Flynn. Publicly reported emails coupled with the Michael Flynn’s Statement of the Offense indicate that Ms. McFarland may very well have known about Mr. Flynn’s communications with the Russian Ambassador in late December 2016. Ms. McFarland reportedly wrote in a December 29, 2016 email that sanctions announced hours earlier by the Obama administration were aimed at discrediting Trump’s victory. The email reportedly went on to state that the sanctions could make it much harder for Trump to ease tensions with Russia “which has just thrown the U.S.A. election to him.” This comment seems to indicate an acknowledgment by Ms. McFarland that the Kremlin not only interfered in the U.S. election but that the interference helped Trump win.
Sean Spicer: Former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer reportedly was present for key developments during the transition and could help clarify communications of great interest to our investigation, including those of Michael Flynn with the Russian Ambassador and other foreign officials, and Mr. Flynn’s communications with the Trump transition team during this period. Mr. Spicer can also provide insight into post-inauguration events and communications of significant interest that bear directly on the investigation’s parameters.
Kellyanne Conway: Ms. Conway may be able to shed light on the activities of Peter Smith, who was engaged in an operation to find, authenticate and release Hillary Clinton’s “missing” emails. Ms. Conway would also be well-placed to discuss relevant events and communications of interest during the campaign, transition and Trump administration, including Michael Flynn’s late December contacts with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak and the Administration’s reaction to public disclosure of those communications.
Tera Dahl: Ms. Dahl served as Diplomatic Outreach Coordinator for the Trump campaign. The Committee has reason to believe that Ms. Dahl would have insight into Trump campaign-related
Daniel Scavino Jr.: Mr. Scavino served as the Social Media Director for the Trump Campaign. Mr. Scavino was a key campaign official who developed the campaign’s online content and Facebook marketing plan. Mr. Scavino could help the Committee better understand the campaign’s social media operations. Mr. Scavino can also shed light on a Russian social media platform and its offer to establish a presence for the Trump campaign.
Joseph “Keith” Kellogg Jr.: One of candidate Trump’s initial five campaign foreign policy advisors, along with Walid Phares, Carter Page, George Papadopoulos, and Joseph E. Schmitz, Mr. Kellogg has yet to interview with or produce documents to the Committee. Mr. Kellogg served throughout the campaign and transition, and currently serves as Chief of Staff on the White House’s National Security Council. It is important that the Committee interview all members of the Trump campaign’s foreign policy advisory team to develop a comprehensive understanding of all communications and events of interest.
Joseph E. Schmitz: One of candidate Trump’s initial five campaign foreign policy advisors, along with Walid Phares, Carter Page, George Papadopoulos, and Keith Kellogg, Mr. Schmitz also has yet to interview with or produce documents to the Committee. It is important that the Committee interview all members of the Trump campaign’s foreign policy advisory team to develop a comprehensive understanding of all communications and events of interest. Mr. Schmitz is a recurring figure in witness testimony and documents produced to the Committee.
Sam Nunberg: Mr. Nunberg, a former Trump campaign aide who left in August 2015, may have important insight into the early workings of the campaign and any early communication with Russia, as well as information on individuals of interest to the Committee, including Roger Stone. Public reporting indicates that Mr. Nunberg may have knowledge of contact between Mr. Stone and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange during the 2016 election, conversations which would be of great interest and relevance to the Committee’s investigation.
George Nader: Mr. Nader, an adviser to Emirati crown prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al- Nahyan with ties to the Trump campaign and Administration, likely can provide information to the Committee about reported attempts by Trump associates to set up a secret backchannel with Russia during the presidential transition period. Mr. Nader reportedly was present in the Seychelles in January 2017 when Erik Prince attended a secret meeting with Kirill Dmitriev, the head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund, and during a December 2016 meeting with Emirati officials and Trump transition personnel which may have been a precursor to the Seychelles meeting.
Marshall Billingslea: Mr. Billingslea was a member of the Trump Administration transition landing team at the National Security Council, and expressed concerns about the extent of Michael Flynn’s contacts with specific Russian officials.
Dimitri Simes: Mr. Simes serves as President and CEO of the Center for the National Interest, which hosted President Trump’s April 27, 2016 foreign policy speech at the Mayflower Hotel. The Committee is investigating matters related to the speech and communications that may have occurred at the event, and the Committee has reason to believe that Mr. Simes played a central role in drafting portions of the speech related to Russia. The Committee should also obtain relevant personal correspondence between Mr. Simes and Trump campaign officials and any individuals with direct or assumed links to the Russian government.
Cleta Mitchell: Ms. Mitchell, a partner at the law firm Foley & Lardner LLP, conducted work for the National Rifle Association (NRA) and may be able to clarify for the Committee any Russian-related approaches to and interaction with the organization and persons of interest to the Committee during the 2016 election.
Paul Erickson: According to public reports, Mr. Erickson emailed Trump campaign officials during the election claiming that Russia was “seeking a dialogue with the U.S.” and would use the NRA annual convention in 2016 to make “first contact.” Mr. Erickson may be able to provide insight into reported Russian-directed efforts throughout and possibly prior to 2016 to approach U.S. organizations and persons. He may also have insight into the actions of Alexander Torshin, a deputy governor of the Central Bank of Russia, and Maria Butina, reportedly a former assistant to Mr. Torshin, at the NRA convention.
Maria Butina: Public reports indicate Ms. Butina, previously an assistant to Alexander Torshin, sought to facilitate meetings with Trump campaign officials and between President Putin and candidate Trump during the election. Ms. Butina, who appears to have been active with the NRA in recent years within the U.S. reportedly has founded a Russian counterpart gun advocacy organization. She may be able to clarify for the Committee the origin and purpose of alleged Russian-directed efforts to approach U.S. organizations and persons connected to the Trump campaign throughout and prior to 2016. The Minority believes that it is important to request as a matter of record Ms. Butina’s cooperation even if she is not a U.S. citizen; however, she may be living in the United States.
Johnny Yenason: Mr. Yenason has been identified as a key individual connected to the NRA and the Russian organization “The Right to Bear Arms,” started by Maria Butina. Mr. Yenason reportedly knows Alexander Torshin and Ms. Butina and may be the person who connected these individuals with senior officials from the Trump campaign.
Mr. Millian remains unwilling to appear before the Committee on terms consistent with witness interviews to date and Committee rules.
Natalia Veselnitskaya: Ms. Veselnitskaya, the Russian attorney who met with Donald Trump Jr. and other campaign officials on June 9, 2016, ostensibly to provide the campaign “dirt” on its opponent, Hillary Clinton, has expressed willingness publicly to speak to congressional investigators and reportedly has responded in writing to questions from the Senate Judiciary Committee. However, she has never been invited to appear before the House Intelligence Committee. The Committee therefore should engage Ms. Veselnitskaya to determine her willingness to provide testimony about key events of interest.
Roman Beniaminov: The Committee has reason to believe that Mr. Beniaminov had prior knowledge of the purpose of the June 9, 2016 Trump Tower meeting with Donald Trump Jr. and that the Russian lawyer in attendance would be bringing “dirt” on Hillary Clinton. Press reports indicate that Mr. Beniaminov shared a business address in New Jersey with Emin Agalarov, who was involved in planning the June 9 meeting.
Bijan Kian: Mr. Kian is an Iranian-American who was a partner at the Flynn Intel Group and reportedly was involved in the firm’s lobbying efforts as well as work on behalf of Inovo BV, a Netherlands-based firm owned by Turkish-American businessman Ekim Alptekin. Flynn Intel Group reportedly filed paperwork under the Foreign Agents Registration Act acknowledging that work done for Inovo BV “could be construed to have principally benefitted the Republic of Turkey.” Inovo BV reportedly paid Flynn Intel Group $530,000 to investigate Fethullah Gulen, a U.S.-resident cleric who is wanted by the Turkish government. The Minority seeks to question Mr. Kian about this and other activities of relevance to the Committee’s investigation.
Simona Mangiante: Ms. Mangiante recently married George Papadopoulos. In response to a Trump campaign adviser who described Mr. Papadopoulos’s role in the campaign as that of a “coffee boy,” Ms. Mangiante publicly disputed this characterization and defended his cooperation with the Special Counsel. She stated that Mr. Papadopoulos had communicated with high level campaign officials, including Stephen Bannon and Michael Flynn, and that Mr. Papadopoulos helped to organize a meeting between candidate Trump and Egyptian President el- Sisi through a connection he had at the Egyptian embassy – a claim that is consistent with other information provided to the Committee. Ms. Mangiante may have further information about Mr. Papadopoulos’s campaign role, which would be of interest to the Committee.
John Szobocsan: Mr. Szobocsan, Managing Director at Corporate Venture Alliances, LLC, has been identified as a substantive partner in Peter Smith’s effort to find, authenticate and disseminate Hillary Clinton’s “missing” emails, a focus area for the Committee’s investigation.
Alan Weisselberg: Mr. Weisselberg serves as and
Mark Corallo: According to Michael Wolff’s recent book, “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House,” Mr. Corallo privately confided that he believed the meeting on Air Force One in which President Trump reportedly personally drafted the statement concerning his son’s June 9, 2016 meeting with Russian intermediaries likely amounted to obstruction of justice. The Minority seeks to determine the facts that form the basis for Mr. Corallo’s knowledge about the Air Force One incident and what led him reportedly to believe that the actions were obstructive.
Deutsche Bank: The Minority believes that it is imperative to request documents from Deutsche Bank (see Appendix C), via subpoena if necessary, and interview key members of the bank with insight into money transfers and other activity linked to Russia, including whether there is any Russian involvement in Deutsche Bank’s loans and other transactions that could be of relevance to the Committee’s investigation. The Committee should seek testimony from senior officials in Deutsche Bank’s Risk Division, including but not limited to the Group Risk Office and Credit Risk Management teams, who can speak to any due diligence conducted after the 2016 U.S. election, as well as from individuals in Deutsche Bank’s personal wealth management division, including Rosemary Vrablic, Managing Director and senior private banker of Deutsche Bank’s private wealth management business. The Minority seeks to determine the extent of the bank’s involvement with Donald Trump and whether there is any Russian connection to loans made by the bank to the Trump Organization.
Trump Campaign Digital Operation: The Committee ought to interview all relevant persons involved or associated with the Trump campaign’s digital operation to determine whether the campaign coordinated in any way with Russia in its digital program. The Committee will not be able to fully evaluate the campaign’s digital operation without speaking to a broader cross- section of individuals who can provide greater insight into the digital operation’s day-to-day activities or its relationship with Cambridge Analytica. The Committee also must interview individuals from other companies who conducted technology-related work on behalf of the Trump campaign or on behalf of other entities being funded through independent expenditures to gain a full picture of whether there was any coordination between Russia’s extensive social media efforts on Trump’s behalf and the campaign itself.
Cambridge Analytica: Cambridge Analytica produced initial documents in response to the Committee’s production request and the Committee interviewed CEO Alexander Nix by video- teleconference. This impractical arrangement was decided unilaterally by the Majority, despite Mr. Nix acknowledging during the interview that he travels regularly to the United States and would have been open to an in-person interview. In light of Mr. Nix’s testimony, information that has come to light about the company’s role in supporting the Trump campaign’s digital operation, and his company’s effort to acquire Wikileaks’ database of hacked emails related to Hillary Clinton, it is imperative to interview a broader range of individuals employed by or linked to Cambridge Analytica. This includes key investor Rebekah Mercer; Chief Data Officer Alex Tayler; and Julian Wheatland, Chairman of Cambridge Analytica’s parent company SCL Group. The Committee would also benefit by hearing from individuals responsible for campaign embed teams, and those at Cambridge Analytica headquarters to whom they reported, as well as leadership in the Political Affairs, Digital, and Product offices.
Darren Blanton: Mr. Blanton, founder and managing director of Colt Ventures, served as a transition advisor and reportedly met frequently with Stephen Bannon during the campaign. Mr. Blanton may be able to provide insight into reporting related to technology and social media- focused contracts with the Trump campaign that are of interest to congressional investigators.
Jon Iadonisi: Mr. Iadonisi and VizSense Inc. are reported to have conducted social-media work for the Trump campaign, and Mr. Iadonisi’s White Canvas Group reportedly undertook Turkey- related work related to Mr. Flynn, both areas of focus for the Committee’s investigation.
Aaron Nevins: Mr. Nevins is a Florida political operative and blogger who reportedly messaged Guccifer 2.0 requesting hacked emails. Guccifer 2.0 reportedly replied by sending Mr. Nevins stolen Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee emails.
National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS): The Department of Homeland Security reported on September 22, 2016 that it had notified 21 states affected by the Russian hack of elections systems during the 2016 election. The Committee should engage the NASS and interview relevant individuals from their Executive Board and/or Elections Committee to understand how each state was affected by the 2016 attack, and to better understand how they are preparing for elections in 2018 and beyond.
CrowdStrike: The Committee needs to speak with two CrowdStrike employees who provided direct support to the DNC and interfaced with the FBI. These additional witnesses may be able to provide first-hand, technical insight into CrowdStrike’s forensic examination of the DNC’s servers and activity by Russian hackers.
Deutsche Bank: Given public statements from the Trump Organization about the centrality of Russian investment in their holdings, Deutsche Bank’s history of laundering Russian money, and allegations that Russia may exert financial influence over the President, the Committee must request documents and hear testimony from Deutsche Bank, via subpoena if necessary, to evaluate allegations about money transfers and other activity linked to Russia and whether there is any Russian involvement in Deutsche Bank’s loans and other transactions with the Trump Organization; Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, along with any Manafort-linked entities; and other persons of interest to the Committee. In addition to required testimony, as outlined in Appendix B above, the Committee should specifically request documents from Deutsche Bank’s Risk Division, including but not limited to the Group Risk Office and Credit Risk Management teams and with regard to any due diligence undertaken vis-à-vis Trump transactions after the election, as well as from individuals in Deutsche Bank’s personal wealth management division, including Rosemary Vrablic, who may have knowledge of transactions and other activity of interest to the Committee.
General Services Administration (GSA): In a December 16, 2017 letter to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, a law and crisis management firm writing on behalf of Trump for America, Inc, (TFA) (the entity formed for the purpose of President Trump’s transition) asserted that the GSA “unlawfully produced TFA’s private materials, including privileged communications, to the Special Counsel’s Office,” which, in turn, reportedly has used these records extensively in interviews, “including portions that are susceptible to claims of privilege.”
The Special Counsel’s Office disputed the accusation, noting: “When we have obtained emails in the course of our ongoing criminal investigation, we have secured either the account owner’s consent or appropriate criminal process.” GSA also responded to press inquiries to clarify that GSA informed transition team members that, by using devices provided by GSA, materials “would not be held back in any law enforcement” requests. The TFA allegation against the Special Council and GSA raises deep concern that TFA may have in fact withheld from the Committee, potentially on unspecified privilege claims not recognized by Congress, responsive material that is relevant to the Committee’s investigation. The Minority therefore believes it is essential that the Committee request directly from GSA all transition-related holdings that were already shared with the Special Counsel’s Office to ensure that the Committee has access to the full scope of relevant material and can determine independently whether TFA improperly withheld material from the Committee pertinent to our investigation.
Snapchat and Imgur: Based on public reporting that the Russian disinformation campaign reached several social media platforms beyond Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube, we recommend sending document request letters to Snapchat and Imgur asking them to study the scope and scale of the Russian campaign on their platforms. The Minority sent a document request on March 7, 2018 to Reddit and Tumblr, which the Majority declined to join. We would further suggest that these companies coordinate with Twitter and Facebook in particular to share common markers and indicators of Russian activity. We would also recommend requesting a briefing from each of
Facebook, Twitter, and Google: The Committee convened an open hearing with executives from Facebook, Twitter, and Google on November 1, 2017 to inform the American public of the companies’ initial findings about Russia’s weaponization of social media prior to and during the 2016 U.S. elections.
As these companies have acknowledged, they and other technology companies need to conduct more extensive forensic investigation of their platforms to map out the entire network of covert personas and accounts that Russia deployed; how Russia amplified fake pages and accounts, including through paid advertising; and how Russian disinformation spread within and across platforms. The Committee, in parallel, must investigate how Russian disinformation spread beyond social media to infiltrate press reporting and public debate; whether and how the presidential campaigns used or were harmed by this covert influence operation; and propose policy and legislative changes that can help guard against future foreign government weaponization of technology platforms.
The Committee should therefore send all three companies follow-up letters requesting:
(1) that these and other technology companies affected by the Russian influence campaign pool resources and conduct a joint investigation into the full scope and depth of the Russian influence campaign; and (2) that each company publish online an easily accessible and searchable public repository available to the entire online community of all content linked to malign Russian actors and identified as such.
Kushner Companies and Observer Media: As noted in Appendix B, the Committee should seek, in advance of a second interview, Jared Kushner’s voluntary cooperation to produce, or compel via subpoena if necessary, additional material responsive to the Committee’s parameters, which the Committee has reason to believe remains in Mr. Kushner’s personal possession or in the possession of Kushner Companies, Observer Media, and any other relevant
entities under Mr. Kushner’s ownership or direction.
This request follows the Committee’s September 29, 2017 request of Mr. Kushner’s attorney, to which he never responded, for clarification regarding all of the specific email addresses Mr. Kushner used during the course of the campaign as well as the presidential transition, including personal or business email accounts (such as Kushner Companies and the Observer publication); the search methodology, including the specific search terms, used to identify documents responsive to the Committee’s investigation; all messaging applications that Mr. Kushner used during the campaign as well as the presidential transition, including but not limited to SMS, iMessage, Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger, Signal, Slack, Instagram, and Snapchat; the scope of the search conducted on these messaging platforms, including the date range and search criteria; and whether Mr. Kushner or his attorneys have identified responsive exchanges on these messaging platforms, including with individuals linked directly or indirectly with President Trump’s presidential campaign and transition, including individuals involved in assisting the campaign’s digital and online activity, as well as with any foreign nationals linked directly or indirectly to foreign governments, to include the Russian Federation.
Estate of Peter Smith: The Committee must send a production letter to the estate of Peter Smith. The Committee has thus far only interviewed a small number of individuals tied to Mr. Smith’s effort to solicit assistance from actors on the dark web, including possibly Russian individuals, to acquire “missing” emails linked to Clinton, and has reason to believe that Mr. Smith was, in fact, in contact with the Trump campaign.
KLS Research LLC: The Committee should also send a letter to the LLC formed by Peter Smith to facilitate his operation to find and disseminate Hillary Clinton’s “missing” emails.
Colt Ventures: As explained in Appendix B, the Committee should seek documents from Darren Blanton and his company Colt Ventures, which the Trump campaign reportedly contracted for “data management services” and is an investor in VizSense, a social-media company reported to have conducted work on behalf of the campaign and Michael Flynn.
VizSense Inc. and White Canvas Group: As explained in Appendix B, the Committee should also seek documents from VizSense Inc. and White Canvas Group, both of which are tied to Michael Flynn associate Jon Iadonisi. VizSense is reported to have conducted social-media work for the Trump campaign and Mr. Flynn’s firm, while White Canvas Group reportedly undertook Turkey-related work for Mr. Flynn.
Russian-American Chamber of Commerce in the USA: In advance of interviewing Sergei Millian (see Appendix B), the Committee should also request documents from the organization he founded, the Russian-American Chamber of Commerce in the USA.
DMP International LLC: The Committee should request documents from DMP International LLC, which Paul Manafort listed in his Foreign Agents Registration Act disclosures. In his disclosures, DMP International LLC describes $17.1 million in receipts from Ukraine’s pro- Russian Party of Regions, for a net total of $13.2 million from the Ukrainian political party. This information is important for the Committee to review in light of several indictments of Paul Manafort secured by the Special Counsel.
Cendyn: Cendyn is a cloud computing company that hosted the Trump Organization and may be able to shed light on allegations that the Trump Organization and Russia-based Alfa Bank shared a data link that transmitted large volumes of data during the election. The Minority asks that the Committee send Cendyn a document production letter, to include a request for underlying data that can help the Committee evaluate these allegations.
Bridges LLC: Bridges LLC is a limited liability company reportedly begun by Paul Erickson and Maria Butina (see Appendix B) in South Dakota. Given Mr. Erickson and Ms. Butina’s attempt to facilitate a meeting between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin through their
Right to Bear Arms: Right to Bear Arms is a Moscow-based entity begun by Maria Butina and Alexander Torshin (see above). We suggest requesting records related to meetings between this group and Trump Campaign associates, and records related to any funding provided to the National Rifle Association during the campaign.
Center for Political and Foreign Affairs: Founded by Fabien Baussert, the Paris-based organization helped coordinate Donald Trump Jr.’s October 2016 visit to Paris, during the final stretch of the presidential election. Baussert and his spouse, Randa Kassis, the president and founder of the group “Movement of the Pluralistic Society” with acknowledged ties to Russian officials, hosted Mr. Trump’s Paris trip, which is of investigative interest to the Committee, including with whom he met while on his trip and at whose financial expense. The Committee should request relevant documents from the Center for Political and Foreign Affairs, Kassis’ Movement of the Pluralistic Society, and from Baussert and Kassis to help clarify the purpose of and details surrounding Mr. Trump’s visit at the height of the campaign.
Ritz Carlton: The Committee should send Ritz Carlton a request for records relating to Donald Trump’s 2013 visit to Moscow, which can help clarify outstanding questions about the Miss Universe pageant and Donald Trump’s stay in Moscow.
Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts: The Committee should request from Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts relevant records regarding the Four Seasons Resort Seychelles, which can help clarify outstanding questions about meetings held at the hotel in January 2017 involving Erik Prince and Kirill Dmitriev, the CEO of the Russian Direct Investment Fund, the Russian government’s sovereign wealth fund.
ACU Strategic Partners: The Committee should request document production from ACU Strategic Partners, including correspondence between Alex Copson and Michael Flynn (see Appendix B).
Donald Trump Jr.: In his December 6, 2017 voluntary interview, Donald Trump Jr. asserted attorney-client privilege to avoid testifying about the substance of communications with his father in 2017. These conversations pertain to important matters under investigation. It is the Minority’s view that this assertion of privilege, invoked based on Trump and Trump Jr. having attorneys present for at least one phone call, is meritless and merely an effort to shield non-privileged direct communications between father and son on matters unrelated to seeking, obtaining, or providing legal assistance from counsel. The Committee should approve a subpoena to compel Trump Jr. to disclose the substance of communications with his father.
Michael Cohen: In light of information the Committee has become aware of since the Committee’s October 24, 2017 interview of Mr. Cohen, including new testimony and documents produced to the Committee, the Committee must conduct a follow-on interview with Mr. Cohen. In particular, the Committee should compel Mr. Cohen’s production of all documents and communications related to the 2015-2016 Trump Tower Moscow Letter of Intent signed by then- candidate Trump, as well as travel, phone, and transaction records and other documents to verify his denials of claims that he met with Russian officials during the campaign.
Jared Kushner: The Committee interviewed Mr. Kushner on July 25, 2017. The Committee has learned a great deal about the Trump campaign’s activities with respect to Russia since Mr. Kushner’s initial interview. The Committee should bring Mr. Kushner back, via subpoena if necessary, for a follow-up interview to discuss several matters requiring additional inquiry, including activities relating to Michael Flynn, George Papadopoulos, Cambridge Analytica, his June 9, 2019 Trump Tower meeting, contact with foreigners of interest, and his professional business dealings and loans which may have connections to Russia.
Corey Lewandowski: Mr. Lewandowski, Trump’s first campaign manager, refused during his March 8, 2018 interview—his second appearance before the Committee—to answer questions regarding his communication with President Trump regarding former FBI Director Comey, Special Counsel Mueller, and Attorney General Sessions, as well as his communications with certain administration officials pertaining to the June 9, 2016 meeting at Trump Tower. A subpoena is necessary to compel Mr. Lewandowski’s cooperation.
Stephen Bannon: One of the Russia investigation’s few, bipartisan subpoenas was issued to Mr. Bannon, whom the White House had barred from answering relevant questions based on an expansive claim of executive privilege that extends into the transition period and continues after Mr. Bannon left the White House. The White House has since permitted Mr. Bannon to answer only two dozen scripted, yes-or-no questions, while prohibiting him from answering a wide range of other questions related to the transition, his tenure at the White House, and even his communications since leaving the administration. The Committee should therefore initiate a contempt process to compel the White House to permit Mr. Bannon to testify to Congress fully and without constraints.
Hope Hicks: Unlike with Stephen Bannon, the Majority refused to issue a subpoena to compel Ms. Hicks’ testimony after the White House barred her, without formally invoking executive
Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III: In his November 30, 2017 interview, Attorney General Sessions refused to answer questions from the Committee that pertained to his conversations with President Trump about Russia’s interference and the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Special Counsel’s Russia investigations, including whether President Trump ever instructed AG
Sessions to take any action to frustrate or obstruct the Russia investigation under the Department of Justice’s purview. It is in the Committee and Congress’ strong interest to compel AG Sessions’s testimony on this matter to clarify whether and to what extent President Trump or his associates have sought to place undue pressure on the DOJ or FBI for political ends.
Erik Prince: In light of recent press reports that call into question Mr. Prince’s November 30, 2017 testimony, Mr. Prince should be compelled to reappear before the Committee. Moreover, Mr. Prince produced to the Committee immediately prior to his November 30, 2017 testimony less than 25 pages of documentation of little to no relevance to the Committee’s investigation. He did not produce any records related to his interaction with the Trump Organization or \campaign, including with any persons who may be linked to the Russian government or companies. He also did not produce any material related to his travel to the Seychelles, including information that can shed light on the purpose of his visit, his meetings and discussions while there, and any follow-up since the visit. The Committee should issue a subpoena with specific instructions to Mr. Prince and to his company, Frontier Services Group, to compel production of responsive material to the Committee, which the Minority has reason to believe is in Mr. Prince and/or his company’s possession.
Randolph “Randy” Credico: Mr. Credico, who Roger Stone identified publicly as his intermediary with Julian Assange and WikiLeaks, informed the Committee on November 20, 2017, via his attorney, that he declined to participate in a voluntary, transcribed interview. On December 12, 2017, pursuant to a late November 2017 Committee subpoena, Mr. Credico’s attorney informed the Committee that Mr. Credico would assert his 5th Amendment rights and decline to answer any questions. The Committee should explore with Special Counsel whether he has any prosecutorial equities that would preclude providing immunity andrequiring Mr. Credico to answer our questions.
Lee Stranahan: Employed by Russian outlet Sputnik, Mr. Stranahan never responded to the Committee’s May 9, 2017 interview and production letter, which the Committee sent electronically. The Committee should issue Mr. Stranahan a subpoena for production and appearance.
Twitter: Per Majority and Minority consultation with the House’s Office of General Counsel in mid-September 2017, and the Minority’s renewed request on October 16, 2017, the Committee should issue a subpoena to Twitter to produce Direct Messages from and between the Twitter
WhatsApp: The Committee should likewise issue a subpoena to WhatsApp for messages exchanged between key witnesses of interest.
Apple: The Committee should seek records reflecting downloaded encrypted messaging apps for certain key individuals.
White House: After firing FBI Director James Comey on May 9, 2017, President Trump tweeted on May 12, 2017: “James Comey better hope that there are no "tapes" of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!” On June 9, 2017, the Committee sent White Counsel Donald McGahn a letter requesting that, “the White House inform the Committee if there exist now, or at any time have existed, any recordings, memoranda, or other documents within the possession of the White House which memorialized conversations between President Donald J. Trump and former FBI Director James Comey.” On June 23, 2017, the Committee received a response letter from the Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs referring the Committee to “President Trump's June 22, 2017, statement regarding this matter” as its official response. The letter quotes in full the President's statement that was made in the form of successive tweets on Twitter, in which the President stated that he has “no idea whether there are ‘tapes’ or recordings” of his conversations with James Comey and that the President “did not make” and does “not have any such recordings.”
On June 29, 2017 the Committee sent the White House a second bipartisan letter urging the White House to appropriately and fully comply with the Committee's June 9 request and clarifying that, should the White House not respond fully, “the Committee will consider using compulsory process to ensure
between President Donald J. Trump and former FBI Director James Comey”; and (2) whether any memoranda or other documents “exist now” in the White House’s possession memorializing the same.
The Minority has a good faith reason to believe that the White House does in fact possess such documentation memorializing President Trump’s conversations with Director Comey.
Phone and Other Communication Records: The Trump Organization and Donald Trump Jr. have produced records that redact phone metadata related to communications with specific phone numbers. Based on the timing of these calls, the Committee must determine whether some of these calls may be between Trump Jr. and Donald J. Trump, including calls concerning the Trump Tower meeting. The Committee should therefore request, via compulsory process if necessary, that the Trump Organization disclose to the Committee the phone numbers that have been redacted and produce, if applicable, any other call records between Trump Jr. and Donald J. Trump during key periods during the election and transition, and since the inauguration.