‘Avoid Manafort Like The Plague’, ‘I Briefed Hannity’, And Other Highlights From Mueller’s ‘Secret’ Memos

On Saturday, BuzzFeed News published hundreds of pages worth of documents the outlet obtained via five FOIA lawsuits seeking access to the source material behind the 448-page Mueller report.

According to the Justice Department, that source material likely spans billions of pages. It could take years to release in its entirety.

The records obtained by BuzzFeed include subpoenas, search warrants, emails, memos, letters, talking points, legal opinions, and interview transcripts.

The first tranche, posted on Saturday, contains a number of interesting bits, including the following account of an interview with Paul Manafort’s protégé Rick Gates:

That interview was conducted in April of 2018 and suggests Manafort was attempting to promote the theory that Ukraine hacked the DNC (rather than Russia), as far back as 2016.

The theory persists to this day and is newly-relevant in light of the impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump and the Ukraine scandal which spawned it.

The account of another interview suggests that in July of 2016, Trump told Gates that more leaks were coming:

Perhaps the most amusing bit flagged by BuzzFeed (whose reporters are clearly still trying to parse the flood of documents for possible bombshells) comes from page 238.

In an e-mail dated November 5 (so, just days before the election), Steve Bannon tells Jared Kushner “We need to avoid this guy like the plague”.

“This guy” was a reference to Manafort, who had e-mailed Kushner to say he was “feeling really good about our prospects on Tuesday”.

“Paul is nice guy but can’t let word get out he is advising us”, Bannon says. “They are going to try and say the Russians worked with wiki leaks to give this victory to us”.

“I briefed Hannity”, Manafort tells Kushner.

On page 111, an interview with Bannon conducted on Valentine’s Day 2018 contains an account of Steve’s first meeting with Trump, which apparently occurred in August of 2010.

When Bannon heard Trump was thinking of running for president (in the 2012 election), he responded “for what country?”

If you’re so inclined, you can sort through it all for yourself (the documents are below).

And if what was released this weekend isn’t enough for you, don’t worry. There are literally billions more where these came from. “Another installment will be released every month for at least the next eight years”, BuzzFeed says.



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