Page:Report On The Investigation Into Russian Interference In The 2016 Presidential Election.pdf/114

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U.S. Department of Justice

Attorney Work Product // May Contain Material Protected Under Fed. R. Crim. P. 6(e)

On April 25, 2016, Saunders booked event rooms at the Mayflower to host both the speech and a VIP reception that was to be held beforehand.[1] Saunders understood that the reception—at which invitees would have the chance to meet candidate Trump—would be a small event.[2] Saunders decided who would attend by looking at the list of CNI's invitees to the speech itself and then choosing a subset for the reception.[3] CNI's invitees to the reception included Sessions and Kislyak.[4] The week before the speech Simes had informed Kislyak that he would be invited to the speech, and that he would have the opportunity to meet Trump.[5]

When the pre-speech reception began on April 27, a receiving line was quickly organized so that attendees could meet Trump.[6] Sessions first stood next to Trump to introduce him to the members of Congress who were in attendance.[7] After those members had been introduced, Simes stood next to Trump and introduced him to the CNI invitees in attendance, including Kislyak.[8] Simes perceived the introduction to be positive and friendly, but thought it clear that Kislyak and Trump had just met for the first time.[9] Kislyak also met Kushner during the pre-speech reception. The two shook hands and chatted for a minute or two, during which Kushner recalled Kislyak saying, "we like what your candidate is saying . . . it's refreshing."[10]

Several public reports state that, in addition to speaking to Kushner at the pre-speech reception, Kislyak also met or conversed with Sessions at that time.[11] Sessions stated to investigators, however, that he did not remember any such conversation.[12] Nor did anyone else affiliated with CNI or the National Interest specifically recall a conversation or meeting between Sessions and Kislyak at the pre-speech reception.[13] It appears that, if a conversation occurred at the pre-speech reception, it was a brief one conducted in public view, similar to the exchange between Kushner and Kislyak.

  1. Saunders 2/15/18 302, at 11–12; C00006651–57 (Mayflower Group Sales Agreement).
  2. Saunders 2/15/18 302, at 12–13.
  3. Saunders 2/15/18 302, at 12.
  4. C00002575 (Attendee List); C00008536 (4/25/16 Email, Simes to Kushner (4:53:45 p.m.)).
  5. Simes 3/8/18 302, at 19–20.
  6. Simes 3/8/18 302, at 21.
  7. Simes 3/8/18 302, at 21.
  8. Simes 3/8/18 302, at 21.
  9. Simes 3/8/18 302, at 21.
  10. Kushner 4/11/18 302, at 4.
  11. See, e.g., Ken Dilanian, Did Trump, Kushner, Sessions Have an Undisclosed Meeting With Russian?, NBC News (June 1, 2016); Julia Ioffe, Why Did Jeff Sessions Really Meet With Sergey Kislyak, The Atlantic (June 13, 2017).
  12. Sessions 1/17/18 302, at 22.
  13. Simes 3/8/18 302, at 21; Saunders 2/15/18 302, at 14, 21; Boyd 1/24/18 302, at 3–4; Heilbrunn 2/1/18 302, at 6; Statement Regarding President Trump's April 27, 2016 Foreign Policy Speech at the Center for the National Interest, CNI (Mar. 8, 2017).