Apr 18, 2019

Mueller report: Trump, Flynn sought Clinton emails

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After requesting Russia release Hillary Clinton's deleted emails in July 2016, then-candidate Donald Trump repeatedly asked Michael Flynn to hunt down the emails, according to the Mueller report released Thursday.

Why it matters: Trump has always claimed he was joking when he requested the emails from Russia, but opponents will likely see this as confirmation Trump was not joking. Flynn took the requests seriously enough to contact individuals already looking for the emails.

Background: We already knew that Russia took Trump's alleged joke as a request.

  • When Trump said "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," Russia immediately made its first attempt to hack Clinton's office.

Details: Among those Flynn contacted were Peter Smith and Barbara Ledeen.

  • Peter Smith is perhaps the best known Republican affiliate who searched for Clinton emails. While it was known that Smith was reporting to Trump adviser Sam Clovis, and it was known he had used Flynn's name in fundraising materials for his effort, it was not confirmed that Flynn actually endorsed the investigation.
  • According to the report, there is no evidence Flynn directed the investigation.
  • The report claims Ledeen, then a staffer on the Senate Intelligence Committee, sent Flynn updates on her work throughout the summer of 2016. Ledeen's investigation, too, had been previously reported, but without confirmation of its connection to Flynn.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 718,685 — Total deaths: 33,881 — Total recoveries: 149,076.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in cases. Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 139,675 — Total deaths: 2,436 — Total recoveries: 2,661.
  3. Federal government latest: President Trump says his administration will extend its "15 Days to Slow the Spread" guidelines until April 30.
  4. Public health updates: Fauci says 100,000 to 200,000 Americans could die from virus.
  5. State updates: Louisiana governor says state is on track to exceed ventilator capacity by end of this week — Cuomo says Trump's mandatory quarantine comments "panicked" some people into fleeing New York
  6. World updates: Italy on Sunday reports 756 new deaths, bringing its total 10,779. Spain reports almost 840 dead, another new daily record that bring its total to over 6,500.
  7. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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Trump says peak coronavirus deaths in 2 weeks, extends shutdown

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President Trump is extending his administration's "15 days to slow the spread" shutdown guidelines for an additional month in the face of mounting coronavirus infections and deaths and pressure from public health officials and governors.

Driving the news: With the original 15-day period that was announced March 16 about to end, officials around the country had been bracing for a premature call to return to normalcy from a president who's been venting lately that the prescription for containing the virus could be worse than the impacts of the virus itself.

Trump touts press briefing "ratings" as U.S. coronavirus case surge

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President Trump sent about a half-dozen tweets on Sunday touting the high television ratings that his coronavirus press briefings have received, selectively citing a New York Times article that compared them to "The Bachelor" and "Monday Night Football."

Why it matters: The president has been holding daily press briefings in the weeks since the coronavirus pandemic was declared, but news outlets have struggled with how to cover them live — as Trump has repeatedly been found to spread misinformation and contradict public health officials.