US. Department of Justice


Efforts to curtail the Special Counsel’s investigation. Two days after directing McGahn
to have the Special Counsel removed, the President made another attempt to affect the course of
the Russia investigation. On June 19, 2017, the President met one-on-one in the Oval Office with
his former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, a trusted advisor outside the government, and
dictated a message for Lewandowski to deliver to Sessions. The message said that Sessions should
publicly announce that, notwithstanding his reeusal from the Russia investigation, the investigation
was “very unfair” to the President, the President had done nothing wrong, and Sessions planned to
meet with the Special Counsel and “let [him] move forward with investigating election meddling
for future elections.” Lewandowski said he understood what the President wanted Sessions to do.

One month later, in another private meeting with Lewandowski on July 19, 2017, the
President asked about the status of his message for Sessions to limit the Special Counsel
investigation to future election interference. Lewandowski told the President that the message
would be delivered soon. Hours after that meeting, the President publicly criticized Sessions in an
interview with the New York Times, and then issued a series of tweets making it clear that
Sessions’s job was in jeopardy. Lewandowski did not want to deliver the President’s message
personally, so he asked senior White House official Rick Dearborn to deliver it to Sessions.
Dearborn was uncomfortable with the task and did not follow through.

Efforts to prevent public disclosure of evidence. In the summer of 2017, the President
learned that media outlets were asking questions about the June 9, 2016 meeting at Trump Tower
between senior campaign officials, including Donald Trump Jr., and a Russian lawyer who was
said to be offering damaging information about Hillary Clinton as “part of Russia and its
government’s support for Mr. Trump.” On several occasions, the President directed aides not to
publicly disclose the emails setting up the June 9 meeting, suggesting that the emails would not
leak and that the number of lawyers with access to them should be limited. Before the emails
became public, the President edited a press statement for Trump Jr. by deleting a line that
acknowledged that the meeting was with “an individual who [Trump Jr.] was told might have
information helpful to the campaign” and instead said only that the meeting was about adoptions
of Russian children. When the press asked questions about the President’s involvement in Trump
Jr.’s statement, the President’s personal lawyer repeatedly denied the President had played any

F urther efforts to have the Attorney General take control of the investigation. In early
summer 2017, the President called Sessions at home and again asked him to reverse his reeusal
from the Russia investigation. Sessions did not reverse his recusal. In October 2017, the President
met privately with Sessions in the Oval Office and asked him to “take [a] look” at investigating
Clinton. In December 2017, shortly after Flynn pleaded guilty pursuant to a cooperation
agreement, the President met with Sessions in the Oval Office and suggested, according to notes
taken by a senior advisor, that if Sessions unrecused and took back supervision of the Russia
investigation, he would be a “hero.” The President told Sessions, “I’m not going to do anything
or direct you to do anything. ljust want to be treated fairly.” In response, Sessions volunteered
that he had never seen anything “improper” on the campaign and told the President there was a
“whole new leadership team” in place. He did not unrecuse.

Efforts to have McGahn deny that the President had ordered him to have the Special
Counsel removed. In early 2018, the press reported that the President had directed McGahn to

Next Page_0100