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Photo: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

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.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
30 mins ago - Economy & Business

Janet Yellen said all the right things to reassure the markets

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Treasury Secretary nominee and former Fed chair Janet Yellen's confirmation hearing before the Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday showed markets just what they can expect from the administration of President-elect Joe Biden: more of what they got under President Trump — at least for now.

What it means: Investors and big companies reaped the benefits of ultralow U.S. interest rates and low taxes for most of Trump's term as well as significant increases in government spending, even before the coronavirus pandemic.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Biden to sign 15 executive actions on Day One

President-elect Joe Biden. Photo: SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden is expected to sign 15 executive actions upon taking office Wednesday, immediately reversing key Trump administration policies.

Why it matters: The 15 actions — aimed at issues like climate change and immigration — mark more drastic immediate steps compared with the two day-one actions from Biden's four predecessors combined, according to incoming White House press secretary Jen Psaki.

Mike Allen, author of AM
1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

The Swamp wins

President Trump on Jan. 28, 2017, with two aides he later pardoned — national security adviser Michael Flynn and strategist Steve Bannon. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

It was 12:50 a.m. on Inauguration Day when President Trump announced 143 pardons and commutations — including a pardon for Steve Bannon. 17 minutes later, the White House released an executive order that said it all about his failure to "drain the Swamp," as he'd promised in the '16 campaign.

Driving the news: Trump revoked an executive order, signed eight days after he took office, that limits his appointees' lobbying for five years after leaving the administration.

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