The redacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report released on Thursday revealed a lot about President Trump, but it also shined a spotlight on those he surrounded himself with during the campaign and in the White House.
Some of Trump’s staff pushed back on his worst impulses, refusing to carry out the President’s efforts to curb the Russia investigation. Yet others proved themselves to be quite willing lackeys, following Trump’s orders with little hesitation.
We’ve rounded up some of Trump’s most loyal abettors, as laid out in Mueller’s report:
White House staff who spoke to Mueller’s team described Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s former campaign manager, as a “devotee” of the President, which is an apt description if you look at the report.
Angered over Sessions’ recusal from the Russia probe and the appointment of a special counsel, Trump asked Lewandowski to pass messages to Sessions several times.
First, Trump asked Lewandowski to direct Sessions to deliver a speech defending Trump from the Russia probe and noting that Sessions would discuss the probe with Mueller. Lewandowski set up a meeting with Sessions to deliver Trump’s message, but the attorney general had to cancel at the last minute.
Lewandowski then asked Rick Dearborn, a former Sessions aide who worked at the White House at the time, to deliver the message to Sessions. Dearborn agreed to do so without asking about the content of the message, per the report. Trump later followed up with Lewandowski, prompting Lewandowski to ask Dearborn again about delivering the message. Upon actually reading the message, Dearborn told Lewandowski he would handle it, but did not actually deliver the message to Sessions.
During the campaign, Trump asked one of his top advisers, Michael Flynn, to track down the 30,000 emails that Hillary Clinton deleted from her server. Trump asked the right man, as Flynn then went to great lengths to uncover the emails his boss was obsessed with unearthing.
Flynn in turn contacted the late Republican operative Peter Smith and Senate staffer Barbara Leeden, asking for help digging up the emails, and they both made attempts to find them, according to the report.
Despite Flynn’s best efforts to fulfill his boss’ wishes, the emails were not uncovered.
Though White House counsel Don McGahn did rebuff several of Trump’s attempts to meddle in the Russia probe, he followed Trump’s orders sometimes as well.
When then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions decided to recuse himself from the Russia investigation, McGahn made several attempts to persuade Sessions to change his mind, at Trump’s behest.
McGahn spoke to Sessions directly, telling the attorney general that Trump was unhappy with the recusal decision, but that did not move Sessions to reverse his plans. McGahn then spoke to several others who worked for or were close to Sessions in an attempt to stop the recusal.
When Trump was faced with the news that the New York Times was working on a story about the infamous June 2016 Trump Tower meeting, he told Hicks to remove a line in Donald Trump Jr.’s draft statement that said he was told that the Russian lawyer had “information helpful to the campaign.” Though Hicks originally pushed for full disclosure about the meeting, she relented and edited the statement.
- -Hiring More Journalists
- -Providing free memberships to those who cannot afford them
- -Supporting independent, non-corporate journalism