Ex-Trump aide: Mueller is still 'really focused' on Russian Federation collusion

Lucy Bush
May 3, 2018

Special Counsel Robert Mueller wants to interview Donald Trump, and his questions indicate he is probing what the United States president knew of frequent contacts between his election campaign and Russian Federation, and whether he tried to obstruct the investigation.

The combative tenor was apparent even in the official statement Wednesday from White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirming that Flood would replace Cobb, which referred to Mueller's investigation as "the Russian Federation witch hunt". Even if one accepts that a sitting president cannot be indicted, the testimony could be used to prosecute after Trump leaves office and, of course, could be packaged up for Congress to use in impeachment proceedings.

But special counsel Robert Mueller is attempting to reach an agreement with Trump's lawyers for him to be cross-examined by Mueller's team concerning the collusion allegations and whether some of Trump's actions as president amount to "obstruction of justice".

Cobb notified White House Chief of Staff John Kelly last week that he would retire at the end of this month, Sanders said, describing Cobb as "a friend of the president who has done a terrific job".

"This isn't some game", John Dowd, Trump's then lead lawyer for the Russian Federation probe, had said angrily, according to The Washington Post, which first reported the move.

In January, President Trump told reporters he was interested in talking with Mueller under oath, but behind the scenes, the president's lawyers have been carefully negotiating the terms of those possible talks, CBS reported.

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A person familiar with the matter, who insisted on anonymity to discuss ongoing negotiations, told The Associated Press that the Trump lawyers extrapolated a list of expected questions based off conversations with Mueller's team.

Those who predict that the confrontation with Mueller could be devastating - setting up a unsafe clash between the President's "truthiness" problem and the stringent requirements of the law - downplay how much of the investigation really depends on politics, not law. The episode highlights the escalating showdown between the White House and the special counsel.

Trump has criticized people who invoke their Fifth Amendment rights.

The assumption among many commentators is that a subpoena poses a huge risk to President Trump and, just as importantly, to Republicans in 2018 and 2020. Of particular interest to prosecutors is longtime Trump lawyer Michael Cohen's and Russian-born businessman Felix Sater's push to build a Trump Tower in Moscow at the height of the election.

At least two questions directly address tweets from the president.

Later, Caputo worked in the press shop of Trump's short-lived 1988 presidential campaign that was spearheaded, in part, by Stone, and the two reunited in 2015, during the nascent days of Trump's presidential run.

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The questions also reference television interviews that Trump has given. In the meeting, Giuliani said, he talked with Trump about his assessment of where the case was heading and what Trump's personal lawyers could do compared with the role Flood will play. "A rigged system!" On the sidelines, Republicans have been threatening to impeach the Trump administration's own Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, the man who has green-lighted the Russian Federation probe and had attracted the ire of Trump supporters.

As much as he complains about Mueller, the investigation has become a pillar of Trump's larger narrative on what's wrong with Washington, and the forces he is up against. "There's not many more bad precedents that you can have", he said, suggesting that the office is already about as weakened as it can get.

He says: "What are they afraid of?"

"There was no Collusion (it is a Hoax) and there is no Obstruction of Justice (that is a setup & trap)", Mr Trump wrote on Twitter yesterday morning, again calling the investigation a "Witch Hunt!"

Not absolutely. Since George Washington, US presidents have invoked executive privilege to protect confidential information involving White House business. Why so much redacting?

Republicans are also taking aim at Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein - who oversees Mueller's investigation. Why such unequal "justice?" "At that point, I think it could get really ugly".

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Rosenstein says the Justice Department wants to cooperate with members of Congress but within reason.

Other reports by Info About Network

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