The New York Times reported on February 14, 2017, that phone records and communications intercepts showed that Trump associates—including members of the Trump campaign—had "repeated contacts" with senior Russian intelligence officials during the 2016 campaign. Paul Manafort was the only Trump associate who was specifically identified as participating in these communications. In addition, some senior Trump associates, including Kushner, Trump Jr., Sessions, Flynn and Manafort, had direct contacts with Russian officials during 2016. In congressional testimony the following June, Comey stated the Times report was "in the main" not true. The Times reported that during the intervening months, its sources continued to believe the reporting was "solid." In July 2020, the Senate Judiciary Committee released notes taken contemporaneously with the Times report by FBI Counterintelligence Division chief Peter Strzok indicating his skepticiam about the Times' reporting, writing, “We have not seen evidence of any officials associated with the Trump team in contact with [intelligence officers]" and "“We are unaware of ANY Trump advisors engaging in conversations with Russian intelligence officials.” The Times stood by its account, subsequently reporting that the released notes did not provide a fully accurate representation of Strzok's knowledge. Michael Flynn was forced to resign as National Security Advisor on February 13, 2017, after it was revealed that on December 29, 2016, the day that Obama announced sanctions against Russia, Flynn had discussed the sanctions with Russian ambassador Kislyak. Flynn had earlier acknowledged speaking to Kislyak but denied discussing the sanctions. Also in December 2016, Flynn and presidential advisor Jared Kushner met with Kislyak hoping to set up a direct, secure line of communication with Russian officials about which American intelligence agencies would be unaware. Jared Kushner also met with Sergei Gorkov, the head of the Russian state-owned bank Vnesheconombank (VEB), which has been subject to U.S. economic sanctions since July 2014. Flynn and Kushner failed to report these meetings on their security clearance forms.
On 10 September, UN Envoy to Yemen announced that all parties had agreed to peace talks. A statement from Hadi's office following a meeting on the issue of new talks affirmed the president's "complete support for the sincere efforts exerted by the special envoy". It urged Ahmed to "exert efforts to achieve the public and honest commitment on the part of the Houthis and Saleh" to implement 14 April council resolution unconditionally. On 13 September, the exiled Yemeni government announced that it would no longer participate in the peace talks.More Info
The investigation was officially concluded on March 22, 2019, with the Mueller Report submitted to Attorney General William Barr. Barr had been critical of the investigation before he became Attorney General. A redacted version of the report was released to the public on April 18, 2019. The report concluded that the Internet Research Agency's social media campaign supported Trump's presidential candidacy while attacking Clinton's, and Russian intelligence hacked and released damaging material from the Clinton campaign and various Democratic Party organizations. The investigation "identified numerous links between the Russian government and the Trump campaign", and determined that the Trump campaign "expected it would benefit electorally" from Russian hacking efforts. However, ultimately "the investigation did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities". The evidence was not necessarily complete due to encrypted, deleted, or unsaved communications as well as false, incomplete, or declined testimony. Mueller later said that the investigation's conclusion on Russian interference "deserves the attention of every American".More Info
The Special Counsel law requires a special counsel to confidentially provide the current attorney general with a report of findings. The attorney general, in this case William Barr, is then required to provide a summary of the findings to Congress, although he has considerable discretion in how much detail he provides. The full release of the Mueller findings to Congress and the public is not assured. Should Congress be dissatisfied with the summary it is provided, it could subpoena Mueller's full report, and, if necessary, sue in federal court. Congress could also call Mueller to testify.More Info
As the Mueller investigation progressed, Trump repeatedly expressed anger over Attorney General Sessions' decision to recuse. In July 2017, Trump said that Sessions should have informed him about Sessions' impending recusal before Trump even nominated him, then Trump would have nominated someone else for Attorney General. In May 2018, Trump said that he wished that he had nominated someone other than Sessions for Attorney General. In August 2018, Trump declared that Sessions' job was safe at least until the November 2018 United States midterm elections. Sessions resigned as Attorney General on November 7, 2018, the day after the midterm elections, writing that he had resigned at Trump's request.More Info
On 6 August, the UN special envoy to Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, announced the suspension in Kuwait, where the talks were being held. He said that the negotiations were not a failure and that they would resume in a month at an undisclosed location. Mr. Ahmed is the second United Nations envoy to try to broker peace talks between the Houthis and other factions in Yemen since March 2015. His predecessor quit after similar peace talk efforts failed. After the breakdown of the talks, one of the Houthi negotiators, Nasser Bagazgooz, blamed the United Nations envoy for seeking what he said amounted to a military solution on behalf of the Saudi-led coalition. Previous negotiations floated the idea of forming a unity government—composed of Houthi and former Hadi government leaders. But the exiled Hadi leaders have consistently rejected any deal that would diminish their power over Yemen, and the Houthis have said that they will reject any deal that does not give them a seat at the table.More Info
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