Why Florida is mentioned in Mueller's redacted report

Report on investigation into Russian interference in 2016 election released

Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida
Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Florida being home to President Donald Trump’s beloved trips to Mar-a-Lago isn’t the only reason why the Sunshine State is mentioned in Robert Mueller’s famed report.

Attorney General William Barr released a redacted version of the special counsel’s report Thursday morning.

[RELATED: Read the redacted Russia investigation report | READ: Attorney General Barr's full comments on release of Mueller report]

The 448-page report outlines Mueller’s probe into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. elections. The document is separated into two volumes: the investigation into obstruction of justice and if there was collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Within the report, Florida is mentioned 30 times, including in footnotes. 

The Mar-a-Largo resort has been painted as a popular meeting spot for Trump. It was a location where he had many conversations regarding his campaign and later, his administration. 

The first time Florida is mentioned, though, is regarding a series of pro-Trump rallies across the state in August 2016. The Facebook event, titled “Florida Goes Trump,” mentions two of those rallies held in Central Florida. Both were scheduled to be held on Aug. 20. One was in Daytona Beach at the International Speedway Square and the second near the Amway Center on Church Street in Orlando. These rallies were mentioned because the Trump Campaign did not organize them, but recognized a Miami rally on candidate Trump’s Facebook account (page 31 of the Mueller report).

Apparently, a mentioned Guccifer 2.0 persona in the report transferred about 2.5 gigabytes of Florida-related data stolen from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) to a U.S. blogger covering Florida politics (page 43). The report also outlines Florida was perceived to be a competitive state during the 2016 elections.

Florida’s involvement is also mentioned in a line where the FBI claims spear phishing e-mails were sent to over 120 e-mail accounts used by Florida county officials responsible for administering the 2016 U.S. election. The report states the incident happened in November 2016. Spear phishing is carried out using an e-mail targeted at a specific person or department with an organization that seems to be from a trusted source. Cybercriminals often use this method to steal confidential information.

These spear phishing emails had a Word document coded with malicious Trojan software that let the Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff of the Russian Army (known as GRU throughout the report) access the infected computer. Since the FBI was responsible for this investigation, the special counsel took their word. The FBI says this spearphising technique gave the GRU access to the network of at least one Florida county government. The counsel says they didn’t independently look into this reported incident nor undertake any investigative steps.

[MORE: Report reveals Trump's profane reaction to Mueller appointmentMueller report unable to conclude 'no criminal conduct occurred' on obstruction]

Under “Other Potential Campaign Interest in Russian Hacked Material,” Trump campaign adviser Michael Caputo learned through a Florida-based Russian business partner that another Florida-based Russian, Henry Oknyansky (Greenberg) claimed to have information pertaining to campaign opponent Hillary Clinton. 

Caputo told Roger Stone, connecting Oknyansky with him. The report says the two had “contradictory recollections about their meeting.”

To read the full redacted report, click here.

About the Authors:

Gaby is a multimedia producer from Miami. She graduated from the University of Florida and joined the News 6 team in 2018.