U.S. Department of Justice
Attorney Work Product // May Contain Material Protected Under Fed. R. Crim. P. 6(e)
Peace. Simes personally has many contacts with current and former Russian government officials, as does CNI collectively. As CNI stated when seeking a grant from the Carnegie Corporation in 2015, CNI has "unparalleled access to Russian officials and politicians among Washington think tanks," in part because CNI has arranged for U.S. delegations to visit Russia and for Russian delegations to visit the United States as part of so-called "Track II" diplomatic efforts.
On March 14, 2016, CNI board member Richard Plepler organized a luncheon for CNI and its honorary chairman, Henry Kissinger, at the Time Warner Building in New York. The idea behind the event was to generate interest in CNI's work and recruit new board members for CNI. Along with Simes, attendees at the event included Jared Kushner, son-in-law of candidate Trump. Kushner told the Office that the event came at a time when the Trump Campaign was having trouble securing support from experienced foreign policy professionals and that, as a result, he decided to seek Simes's assistance during the March 14 event.
Simes and Kushner spoke again on a March 24, 2016 telephone call, three days after Trump had publicly named the team of foreign policy advisors that had been put together on short notice. On March 31, 2016, Simes and Kushner had an in-person, one-on-one meeting in Kushner's New York office. During that meeting, Simes told Kushner that the best way to handle foreign-policy issues for the Trump Campaign would be to organize an advisory group of experts to meet with candidate Trump and develop a foreign policy approach that was consistent with Trump's voice. Simes believed that Kushner was receptive to that suggestion.
Simes also had contact with other individuals associated with the Trump Campaign regarding the Campaign's foreign policy positions. For example, on June 17, 2016, Simes sent J.D. Gordon an email with a "memo to Senator Sessions that we discussed at our recent meeting"
- Simes 3/8/18 302, at 1–2; Simes 3/27/18 302, at 19.
- Simes 3/27/18 302, at 10–15.
- C00011656 (Rethinking U.S.-Russia Relations, CNI (Apr. 18, 2015)).
- Simes 3/8/18 302, at 5; Saunders 2/15/18 302, at 29–30; Zakheim 1/25/18 302, at 3.
- Simes 3/8/18 302, at 6; CO0006784 (3/11/16 Email, Gilbride to Saunders (3:43:12 p.m.); cf. Zakheim 1/25/18 302, at 1 (Kissinger was CNI's "Honorary Chairman of the Board"); Boyd 1/24/18 302, at 2; P. Sanders 2/15/18 302, at 5.
- Simes 3/8/18 302, at 5–6; Simes 3/27/18 302, at 2.
- Simes 3/8/18 302, at 6; Kushner 4/11/18 302 at 2.
- Kushner 4/11/18 302, at 2.
- Simes 3/8/18 302, at 6–7.
- see Volume I, Section IV.A.2, supra.
- Simes 3/8/18 302, at 7–9.
- Simes 3/8/18 302, at 7–8.
- Simes 3/8/18 302, at 8; see also Boyd 1/24/18 302, at 2.