Donald Trump confirmed as focus of Mueller inquiry over possible obstruction of justice
Developments on Day 245 of the Trump Administration:
Special Counsel Looking at Possible Obstruction of Justice by Trump Sr.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller steps up his investigation of whether Donald Trump obstructed justice by dictating a false statement by his son Donald Jr. over a June 2016 meeting with three Kremlin-linked envoys.
Among Mueller’s requests for thousands of White House documents are the pursuit of information about a discussion on Air Force One in early July, as Trump Sr. returned from the G20 summit in Germany.
The New York Times had just revealed that Trump Jr.; Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner; and campaign manager Paul Manafort saw Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya in Trump Tower in June 2016. Trying to blunt the story, Trump Jr. issued a statement — after his father had returned to Washington — that the meeting was about “adoptions”.
That line quickly unravelled as the Times brought out more details, including that Trump Jr. had eagerly embraced the offer, via Russian billionaire and Trump associate Agas Agalarov, of Russia’s provision of material damaging to Hillary Clinton.
The Times later reported, from multiple sources aboard Air Force One, that Trump Sr. dictated the initial, misleading statement.
Mueller is also seeking material around Trump’s dismissal of FBI Director James Comey on May 9 in a failed attempt to check the Trump-Russia inquiry. In the latest request, he is asking the White House for documents and emails connected to a May 3 briefing where Press Secretary Sean Spicer said Trump had confidence in Comey.
Sources “familiar with” Mueller’s request said he is seeking to determine what White House officials – particularly Spicer – knew about Trump’s plans to fire Comey.
The revelations about Mueller’s requests complement confirmation of a focus on Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort over possible financial links to the Russians. Reports have said that Manafort was under investigation by the FBI since 2006 over his business affairs, with surveillance begun in 2014 and — after a break in 2016 — continuing later that year and into early 2017.