Mueller Report: Vice President Pence knew nothing of Russia collusion

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Mueller report reaction
Mueller report

WASHINGTON (WTHR) — The Mueller Report is now out and Indiana native Vice President Mike Pence is mentioned five times.

Eyewitness News went through the 448-page document and found that four of those references deal with the issue of Russia collusion and what the Vice President knew and when.

The first reference was from October 11, 2016 and had to do with the campaign's connection to WikiLeaks:

Vice Presidential Candidate Mike Pence was asked whether the Trump Campaign was “in cahoots” with WikiLeaks in releasing damaging Clinton-related information and responded, “Nothing could be further from the truth.”

The next series of references had to do with General Michael Flynn, who briefly served as President Trump's national security advisor.

You might remember that Vice President Pence maintained that Flynn had lied to him about conversations Flynn had with Russia about sanctions before the Trump administration took office. The Mueller Report seems to confirm that Flynn had misled the Vice President and others about those conversations. (Sergey Ivanovich Kislyak is a Russian senior diplomat and politician.)

In subsequent media interviews in mid-January, Pence, Priebus, and Spicer denied that Flynn and Kislyak had discussed sanctions, basing those denials on their conversations with Flynn.

The public statements of incoming Administration officials denying that Flynn and Kislyak had discussed sanctions alarmed senior DOJ officials, who were aware that the statements were not true. Those officials were concerned that Flynn had lied to his colleagues—who in turn had unwittingly misled the American public—creating a compromise situation for Flynn because the Department of Justice assessed that the Russian government could prove Flynn lied.

After those interviews, Acting Attorney General Sally Yates contacted White House Counsel about issues as the Department of Justice was aware Flynn was lying about his conversations with Russia:

On January 26, 2017, Acting Attorney General Sally Yates contacted White House Counsel Donald McGahn and informed him that she needed to discuss a sensitive matter with him in person. Later that day, Yates and Mary McCord, a senior national security official at the Department of Justice, met at the White House with McGahn and White House Counsel’s Office attorney James Burnham. Yates said the public statements made by the Vice President denying that Flynn and Kislyak discussed sanctions were not true and put Flynn in a potentially compromised position because the Russians would know he lied.

The final reference to Vice President Pence and the Russia collusion investigation came once the Vice President was made aware that he had been lied to:

On February 9, 2017, the Washington Post reported that Flynn discussed sanctions with Kislyak the month before the President took office. After the publication of that story, Vice President Pence learned of the Department of Justice’s notification to the White House about the content of Flynn’s calls. He an other advisors then sought access to and reviewed the underlying information about Flynn’s contacts with Kislyak. FBI Depauty Director Andrew McCabe, who provided the White House officials access to the information and was present when they reviewed it, recalled the officials asking him whether Flynn’s conduct violated the Logan Act. McCabe responded that he did not know, but the FBI was investigating the matter because it was a possibility.

(The Logan Act criminalizes negotiation by an unauthorized person with foreign governments having a dispute with the United States.)

The Vice President tweeted about the release of the report Thursday saying, "No Collusion — No Obstruction."

In a statement, Vice President Pence said, "We must never allow our justice system to be exploited in pursuit of a political agenda."

Attorney General William Barr said a version of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report with fewer redactions will be made available to a small group of lawmakers.

In a letter to Congress on Thursday, Barr said the second version of the report would be given to the "Gang of Eight," the top-ranking House and Senate lawmakers from both parties who can view sensitive classified information. The chairs and ranking members of the House and Senate judiciary committees will also receive it.

Barr said all redactions would be removed from that version of the report except those relating to grand jury information.

The attorney general said, "I do not believe that I have discretion to disclose grand-jury information to Congress. Nevertheless, this accommodation will allow you to review the bulk of the redacted material for yourselves."

Democrats want the full report released.

The 448-page report does include an account of how the President attempted to seize control of the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election and force out Mueller from leading the inquiry. But that didn't stop President Trump from taking a public victory lap Thursday, declaring at a White House event that he was having "a good day."

"It was called no collusion, no obstruction. There never was, by the way, and there never will be," President Trump said at a gathering of wounded veterans. "This should never happen to another president again, this hoax."