President Trump's lawyers basically have no idea what White House Counsel Don McGahn shared with Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team during 30 hours of interviews, people close to Trump told The New York Times on Sunday.
McGahn's lawyer only gave them a sliver of what he told investigators, two people told the Times, and now Trump's advisers are worried McGahn gave a lot of information that will end up in Mueller's ultimate report. Trump's lawyers weren't aware of how little they knew until they read a report published on Saturday in the Times regarding McGahn's cooperation with Mueller's office. A person close to Trump told the Times his lawyers never asked McGahn to give a complete description of what he told Mueller's team, and others said McGahn wanted to talk to investigators because he was afraid Trump was going to set him up to take the blame for any wrongdoing.
On Sunday morning, Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani admitted he didn't know much about what McGahn had told Mueller's team, and Trump went on a Twitter tirade, claiming he "allowed" McGahn to speak to investigators because he has "nothing to hide." Catherine Garcia
Rudy Giuliani said Thursday that President Trump and his legal team will decide within a "week to 10 days" if Trump will grant an interview to Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
Giuliani, Trump's head lawyer, told Politico that Trump and his attorneys will spend the weekend mulling over Mueller's latest proposal, which would limit the questions related to obstruction of justice and allow Trump to provide some written answers, and then make a decision. Giuliani said Trump wants to meet with Mueller, but the legal team is contemplating saying no to an interview. If they do agree, Giuliani added, the team will insist Mueller limit questions to alleged collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign.
"We don't want questioning on obstruction," he said. "They would have to concede that. It depends on how much they want his testimony on the other [topic.]" Catherine Garcia
This week, Special Counsel Robert Mueller sent President Trump's legal team a letter indicating that he is willing to reduce by nearly half the number of questions his investigators would ask Trump about potential obstruction of justice, two people with knowledge of the matter told The Washington Post.
The special counsel has been negotiating with Trump's team for months over an interview as part of his probe into Russian tampering in the 2016 election and possible obstruction of the investigation. Mueller sent the letter Monday, and it's unclear what topics would be left out of the interview, the Post reports.
In New Hampshire on Wednesday, Trump's lead attorney, Rudy Giuliani, said if both sides can come to an agreement, Trump is open to being interviewed. "I'm not going to give you a lot of hope it's going to happen," he told CNN. "But we're still investigating. He's always been interested in testifying. It's us — meaning the team of lawyers, including me — that have the most reservations about that." Catherine Garcia
This week, President Trump learned that Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigators want to ask him about obstruction of justice, people close to the White House told ABC News Wednesday.
The president found out about this within the last day, ABC News reports, and that's what caused him to go on a Twitter rant Wednesday morning, calling Mueller's probe "a Rigged Witch Hunt" and telling Attorney General Jeff Sessions he "should stop it right now."
Trump's legal team has been negotiating with Mueller for weeks about a potential presidential interview, and Trump's lead attorney, Rudy Giuliani, said last week Trump would agree to an interview as long as no obstruction of justice questions are asked. Catherine Garcia
On Monday, Rudy Giuliani said President Trump's legal team has submitted a proposal to Special Counsel Robert Mueller, where Trump will agree to be interviewed by investigators as long as he is not asked any questions about obstruction of justice.
Giuliani, one of Trump's lawyers, said there is concern that Mueller's team will believe witnesses who contradict Trump, setting him up for a possible perjury charge, Bloomberg reports. Giuliani also revealed that Mueller has not yet responded to the proposal. Trump has called the investigation "a witch hunt" countless times. Catherine Garcia
Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team is asking witnesses to hand over their personal phones so they can look for conversations with anyone linked to President Trump via encrypted messaging programs, several people with knowledge of the matter told CNBC Wednesday.
The request was first made in April, and the witnesses have complied, CNBC reports. Investigators are looking at private conversations on WhatsApp, Signal, Dust, and Confide, and it's unclear what, if any, new details have been uncovered.
On Monday, prosecutors accused former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort of tampering with witnesses, contacting them through WhatsApp and Telegram. Manafort has been indicted for money laundering and illegally acting as a foreign agent. Catherine Garcia
During a dinner in Florida in March 2017, President Trump told Attorney General Jeff Sessions he needed to reverse his decision to recuse himself from the Russia investigation, The New York Times reports.
Sessions flew to Florida a few days after announcing his recusal because Trump wouldn't take his calls and he had to talk with him about his travel ban, current and former administration officials told the Times. Trump berated Sessions during their dinner, demanded his loyalty, and told him to change his mind about the recusal, but Sessions said he was sticking to his decision. Special Counsel Robert Mueller is now investigating this incident as part of his probe into whether Trump tried to obstruct justice, the Times reports, and Mueller's team has interviewed several current and former White House officials about how Sessions was treated by Trump. Sessions himself was interviewed in January.
Trump spent months focused on the recusal, confidants said, and was quick to attack Sessions. Trump's lead lawyer in the Russia investigation, Rudy Giuliani, told the Times there's nothing wrong with a person being asked to change his mind on a recusal. "'Unrecuse' doesn't say, 'Bury the investigation,'" he argued. "It says on the face of it: Take responsibility for it and handle it correctly." It is very rare for a prosecutor to go back on a recusal; legal experts say it is done on occasion when there could be a financial conflict of interest, but that conflict gets cleared up. Catherine Garcia
Robert Mueller coolly reminds everyone that the Trump-Russia investigation is still happening, with 'multiple lines of non-public inquiry'
You say "eee-ther," I say "eye-ther"; you say "Witch Hunt!" I say, "ongoing criminal investigation with multiple lines of non-public inquiry."
In a court filing Thursday, Special Counsel Robert Mueller urged a U.S. District Court in Washington to deny a request from a group of five major news organizations to gain access to sealed documents, including search warrants and court transcripts, from its investigation into Russian tampering in the 2016 presidential election and the activities of Paul Manafort, President Trump's former campaign chairman.
Mueller quietly reminded everyone that of all the leaking going on in Washington and New York, none of it is coming from his team — and his team knows things you don't:
The special counsel's investigation is not a closed matter, but an ongoing criminal investigation with multiple lines of non-public inquiry. No right of public access exists to search warrant materials in an ongoing investigation. ... Search warrant materials regularly remain sealed while investigations are ongoing. And a right of public access risks jeopardizing open investigations. That remains true even though some aspects of the investigation have resulted in charges; the overall investigation is not complete, and the search warrant materials relate to that ongoing investigation. [Court filing, Robert Mueller]
"As of this date, the government has brought criminal charges against 22 individuals and entities arising from the investigation," Mueller added, listing the charges in an appendix, in case anyone in the White House forgot that his office has already turned up considerably more than nothing. The five news organizations — The Associated Press, CNN, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Politico — will likely have to look elsewhere for their information. They could always try Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.). Peter Weber