Robert Mueller

White House May Offer Mueller Interview with Trump

President Trump’s lawyers “are open to having the president sit down for an interview with Robert Mueller, according to a senior White House official, as part of a wider posture of cooperation with the special counsel’s Russia probe,” the Politico reports.

“If Mueller doesn’t request an interview by Thanksgiving, Trump’s lawyers may even force the issue by volunteering Trump’s time, the official said. The White House believes such an interview could help Mueller wrap up the probe faster and dispel the cloud of suspicion over Trump.”

Mueller Interviews His Boss on Russia Investigation

The Wall Street Journal reports Robert Mueller’s office has interviewed Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein about Trump’s firing of James Comey.

“The interview, which occurred in June or July, presents the unusual situation of investigators questioning the person directly overseeing their probe. Mr. Mueller as special counsel has a good deal of independence, but he ultimately answers to Mr. Rosenstein, because Jeff Sessions recused himself from the investigation. The special counsel’s handling of the interview could be a sign that Mr. Mueller’s team doesn’t view Mr. Rosenstein as a central witness in its probe, as the deputy attorney general hasn’t withdrawn himself from overseeing it since that interview. A key witness would likely have to take such a step.”

Mueller Going For the Kill

Mike Allen reports that special counsel Robert Mueller “is burrowing in hard on the obstruction of justice angle.”

“Republicans close to the White House say every sign by Mueller — from his hiring of Mafia and money-laundering experts to his aggressive pursuit of witnesses and evidence — is that he’s going for the kill.”

“Trump allies fret that the White House is ill-prepared for the public showdown with Mueller that will eventually come, and should be making legal, political and constitutional arguments for the president’s right to fire Comey. Statements by Trump lawyers tend to rattle, rather than reassure, White House allies.”

Mueller Enlists IRS for Trump-Russia Investigation

Daily Beast: “Special counsel Bob Mueller has teamed up with the IRS. According to sources familiar with his investigation into alleged Russian election interference, his probe has enlisted the help of agents from the IRS’ Criminal Investigations unit.”

“This unit—known as CI—is one of the federal government’s most tight-knit, specialized, and secretive investigative entities. Its 2,500 agents focus exclusively on financial crime, including tax evasion and money laundering. A former colleague of Mueller’s said he always liked working with IRS’ special agents, especially when he was a U.S. Attorney.”

“And it goes without saying that the IRS has access to Trump’s tax returns—documents that the president has long resisted releasing to the public.”

Mueller Teams Up with New York Attorney General

“Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team is working with New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman on its investigation into Paul Manafort and his financial transactions,” Politico reports.

“The cooperation is the latest indication that the federal probe into President Trump’s former campaign chairman is intensifying. It also could potentially provide Mueller with additional leverage to get Manafort to cooperate in the larger investigation into Trump’s campaign, as Trump does not have pardon power over state crimes.”

Jonathan Chait: “Trump can pardon anybody facing charges from Mueller, but not from Schneiderman. It is probably significant that Mueller is letting this fact be known to Trump’s inner circle. Trump’s biggest source of leverage over Mueller just disappeared.”

Mueller Seeks First Grand Jury Testimony

Special counsel Robert Mueller “issued grand jury subpoenas in recent days seeking testimony from public relations executives who worked on an international campaign organized by Paul Manafort,” NBC News reports.

“This is the first public indication that Mueller’s investigation is beginning to compel witness testimony before the grand jury — a significant milestone in an inquiry that is examining the conduct of President Donald Trump and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, among others.”

“It is also further indication that Manafort, Trump’s onetime campaign chairman, could be in serious legal jeopardy.”

Mueller Now Wants to Talk to Reince Priebus

“In a sign that the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election will remain a continuing distraction for the White House, special counsel Robert Mueller is in talks with the West Wing about interviewing current and former senior administration officials, including the recently ousted White House chief of staff, Reince Priebus,” the New York Times reports.

“Mr. Mueller has asked the White House about specific meetings, who attended them and whether there are any notes, transcripts or documents about them… Among the matters Mr. Mueller wants to ask the officials about is President Trump’s decision in May to fire the F.B.I. director, James Comey.”

Mueller Turns Up Heat on Manafort

Special counsel Robert Mueller “is bearing down on former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort as he directs a wide-ranging probe into Russian interference in last year’s presidential election,” Bloomberg reports.

“Mueller’s team of investigators has sent subpoenas in recent weeks from a Washington grand jury to global banks for account information and records of transactions involving Manafort and some of his companies, as well as those of a long-time business partner, Rick Gates, according to people familiar with the matter.”

“As prosecutors gather many years of information about his financial affairs, Manafort could be dragged deeper into any number of legal disputes. He has a history of doing business with oligarchs and politicians in Ukraine and Russia that predates his political work for Trump, with payments routed through foreign banks and investments in U.S. real estate.”

Trump Has Sent Messages to Mueller

President Trump has publicly called the widening federal investigation into Russia’s election meddling a “witch hunt.” But through his lawyer, Trump has sent private messages of “appreciation” to special counsel Robert Mueller, USA Today reports.

Said Trump chief counsel John Dowd: “He appreciates what Bob Mueller is doing. He asked me to share that with him and that’s what I’ve done.”

He added: “The president has sent messages back and forth.”

Grand Jury Makes It More Difficult to Fire Mueller

James Hohmann: “Last night’s news that Robert Mueller has begun using a grand jury in federal court in Washington, as part of his investigation into possible coordination between the Kremlin and the Trump campaign, further boxes in the president and makes it more politically difficult to justify firing the special counsel.”

“If President Trump ever lost the support of Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC), he just might be doomed. A former state House speaker, Tillis is a reliable Republican apparatchik whose vote party leadership can count on. So it was a big deal yesterday when he introduced legislation with a Democratic colleague, Chris Coons (D-DE), to prevent Trump from firing Mueller without cause.”

Mueller’s Job Would Be Protected by Bipartisan Bill

“Two members of the Senate Judiciary Committee are moving to protect Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s job, putting forth legislation that aims to ensure the integrity of current and future independent investigations,” CBS News reports.

“Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE) plan to introduce the legislation Thursday. The bill would allow any special counsel for the Department of Justice to challenge his or her removal in court, with a review by a three-judge panel within 14 days of the challenge.”

Graham Warns Trump Against Firing Mueller

Sen. Lindsey Graham sent a sharp warning to President Trump that it “could be the beginning of the end” of his presidency if he makes moves to fire special counsel Robert Mueller, Politico reports.

Graham pledged to introduce a bill — which he promised would have Republican support and “all the Democrats” — that would mandate that any special counsel established to investigate either a president or his staff can’t be fired “unless you have judicial review of the firing.”

Mueller Expands Probe Into Trump’s Finances

“The U.S. special counsel investigating possible ties between the Donald Trump campaign and Russia in last year’s election is examining a broad range of transactions involving Trump’s businesses as well as those of his associates,” Bloomberg reports.

“The president told the New York Times on Wednesday that any digging into matters beyond Russia would be out of bounds. Trump’s businesses have involved Russians for years, making the boundaries fuzzy so Special Counsel Robert Mueller appears to be taking a wide-angle approach to his two-month-old probe.”

“FBI investigators and others are looking at Russian purchases of apartments in Trump buildings, Trump’s involvement in a controversial SoHo development with Russian associates, the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow and Trump’s sale of a Florida mansion to a Russian oligarch in 2008.”

Trump Says Mueller-Comey Friendship Is ‘Bothersome’

President Trump told Fox News it is “very bothersome” that the man investigating possible ties between his presidential campaign and Russia is good friends with fired FBI director James Comey.

Said Trump: “Well, he’s very, very good friends with Comey, which is very bothersome. But he’s also — we’re going to have to see. I mean we’re going to have to see in terms — look, there has been no obstruction. There has been no collusion. There has been leaking by Comey.”

He added: “But that’s been no collusion, no obstruction and virtually everybody agrees to that. So we’ll have to see. I can say that the people that have been hired are all Hillary Clinton supporters. Some of them worked for Hillary Clinton. I mean the whole thing is ridiculous, if you want to know the truth, from that standpoint. But Robert Mueller is an honorable man and hopefully he’ll come up with an honorable solution.”