The Mueller Report was released today, and one section reveals that “multiple members” of the Trump transition team, led by Jared Kushner, the President’s son-in-law, “communicated with foreign government officials” in an effort to undermine the Obama White House’s decision to allow the passage of a UN Security Council resolution in December 2016 that was sharply critical of Israeli settlements.
We knew that Trump’s transition tried to block the resolution by reaching out to Russia; former national security adviser Mike Flynn has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about the matter.
The news here is that “multiple members” of the transition team reached out to other foreign countries. The report suggests that in order “to support Israel,” Jared Kushner issued an all points bulletin throughout the transition team. (The report confirms what the Wall Street Journal characterized as a “blitz” in its own investigation of the incident last year.)
From the report:
According to Flynn, the Trump Transition Team regarded the vote as a significant issue and wanted to support Israel by opposing the resolution. On December 22, 2016, multiple members of the Transition Team, as well as President-Elect Trump, communicated with foreign government officials to determine their views on the resolution and to rally support to delay the vote or defeat the resolution. Kushner led the effort for the Transition Team; Flynn was responsible for the Russian government. Minutes after an early morning phone call with Kushner on December 22, Flynn called [Russian Ambassador to the US Sergey] Kislyak. According to Flynn, he informed Kislyak about the vote and the Transition Team’s opposition to the resolution, and requested that Russia vote against or delay the resolution. Later that day, President-Elect Trump spoke with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi about the vote. Ultimately, Egypt postponed the vote.
On December 23, 2016, Malaysia, New Zealand, Senegal, and Venezuela resubmitted the resolution. Throughout the day, members of the Transition Team continued to talk with foreign leaders about the resolution, with Flynn continuing to lead the outreach with the Russian government through Kislyak. When Flynn spoke with Kislyak, Kislyak informed Flynn that if the resolution came to a vote, Russia would not vote against it. The resolution later passed 14-0, with the United States abstaining.
It has been reported that Israeli officials initiated the action by the Trump team:
Despite no mention in [an earlier Mueller filing] document, the Trump team’s decision to contact Russia was made following requests by senior Israeli officials that they try to intervene.
Flynn’s guilty plea in 2017 says that he was directed by a “very senior” official, who it is reported was Kushner, to approach officials of foreign governments. But Flynn only mentioned Russia as a country he approached.
There was speculation that Kushner would get caught up in the Mueller probe. Though he has escaped indictment. The Guardian:
And while the identity of that “senior transition official” has not been revealed there have been hints, not least the Wall Street Journal’s report last month that special counsel Robert Mueller has been investigating the attempt by Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner to block the passage of the resolution 2334 – the same effort that Flynn, it now appears, lied to the FBI about.
The fact that Trump called al-Sisi was known at the time.
The other Israel reference in the report is to George Papadopoulos and the Foreign Agents Registration Act.
Finally, the Office investigated whether one of the above campaign advisors-George Papadopoulos-acted as an agent of, or at the direction and control of, the government of Israel.
While the investigation revealed significant ties between Papadopoulos and Israel (and search warrants were obtained in part on that basis), the Office ultimately determined that the evidence was not sufficient to obtain and sustain· a conviction under F ARA or Section 951.
Papadopoulos has said that he was investigated on this basis. He was working closely with energy businesses in Israel. Papadopoulos has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his connections to “certain foreign nationals” with connections to Russian officials.
Thanks to Adam Horowitz and Allison Deger.
Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.