Donald Trump asked key witnesses if Russian Federation investigators were 'nice'

10 March, 2018, 03:05 | Author: Orlando Hughes
  • 'Man of mystery' cooperates with Mueller in Russia probe

Twice recently, President Trump has asked key witnesses in the Russian Federation investigation about their conversations with special counsel Robert Mueller, three sources tell the New York Times.

Mr Trump quizzed former chief of staff Reince Priebus about his interview with investigators, and asked White House counsel Don McGahn to deny damaging reports about the investigation, according to the New York Times. The other alleged conversation involved Reince Priebus; the sources say Trump asked his former chief of staff in December how his interview with Mueller's investigators went and whether they were "nice".

White House chief of staff John Kelly has warned President Donald Trump to be careful about talking to witnesses in the Russian Federation investigation, a White House official told CNN on Thursday. McGahn did not issue any such statement, and according to The Times, McGahn had to remind Trump that he had, in fact, asked him to order Mueller's dismissal. Multiple former Trump associates have already pleaded guilty in Mueller's probe.

McGahn didn't release a statement denying the story. "It doesn't appear to have been successful, in any event". The president's legal team expect those questions "to focus largely on his decision to fire former national security adviser Mike Flynn and former Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey", the report continued.

"If he said anything along the lines of, 'There's potential criminal liability if you shut down this investigation, ' that would be extraordinarily powerful evidence against Trump".

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Questions in an interview between Mueller and Trump are likely to focus on Comey's firing last May since it was that decision which lead to the formation of special counsel and then Mueller's appointment.

At first, Trump's personal defense lawyers suggested providing written answers to a pre-determined set of questions, or submitting a signed affidavit saying Trump did nothing wrong.

According to the report, Trump's lawyers are weighing several conditions for a sit-down interview, including that Mueller commits "to a date for concluding at least the Trump-related portion of the investigation" - possibly within 60 days of the session.

Both Priebus and McGahn declined to comment to the Times through their attorney, William Burck.

Mueller's investigation arose in part from the findings of USA intelligence agencies that Russian Federation had meddled in the 2016 election and that its goals eventually included aiding Trump who won a surprise victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton.

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