President Donald Trump at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China. (REUTERS/Thomas Peter)

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team has questioned Sam Clovis, co-chairman of President Donald Trump’s election campaign, to determine if Trump or top aides knew of the extent of the campaign team’s contacts with Russia, two sources familiar with the investigation said on Friday.

The focus of the questions put to Clovis by Mueller’s team has not been previously reported.

“The ultimate question Mueller is after is whether candidate Trump and then President-elect Trump knew of the discussions going on with Russia, and who approved or even directed them,” said one source. “That is still just a question.”

Clovis testified in late October before the grand jury in Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. He is also cooperating with the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is investigating the same issues.

Contacted late on Friday, the White House declined to comment.

One of the sources described Clovis as “another domino” after former campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI over his own contacts with Russians during the 2016 election campaign.

“The investigators now know what Papadopoulos was doing on the Russian front, which he initially tried to conceal, and who he told that to,” said the other source. “Now [they] want to know whether Clovis and others reported these activities and others related to Russia, and if so, to whom,” this source said.

Attorneys for Clovis did not respond to requests for comment. Lawyers for Papadopoulos had no immediate comment.

Peter Carr, a spokesman for Mueller, declined to comment.

According to court documents related to Papadopoulos’ guilty plea, he reported to Clovis in an email on a March 24, 2016, meeting he had in London with a professor later identified as Joseph Mifsud.

Mifsud in turn introduced him to a Russian woman and the Russian ambassador in London, and they discussed setting up meetings to talk about U.S.-Russia ties in a Trump presidency.

The documents showed Clovis responded to the proposed meetings by saying he would “work it through the campaign.” While he told Papadopoulos not to make a commitment then to set up those meetings, he congratulated him for “great work.”

In August 2016, after Trump won the Republican presidential nomination, Clovis encouraged Papadopoulos to “make the trip” when Papadopoulos proposed going to an off-the-record meeting with unnamed Russian officials, the court documents show.

Victoria Toensing, one of Clovis’s lawyers, said last week her client “always vigorously opposed any Russian trip for Donald Trump and/or the campaign”.

After Papadopoulos’ guilty plea, the White House and former Trump campaign officials dismissed Papadopoulos and Clovis as minor figures in the campaign.

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4 COMMENTS

  1. Trumpf and his supporters couldn’t care less about the LAW. Let’s not fool ourselves into thinking he’s just going to sit back and allow Mueller et. al. to carry this investigation to its inevitable conclusion. At some point he’s going to have one of his shills fire Mueller or in some other way hog tie him so his investigation just dies off before it ever files a report. Or, if he does file it by that juncture Sessions, Rosenstein and anyone else that might not do his bidding at the DOJ will be gone and the report will be buried for Nat’l Security reasons.

  2. In 99.9% of the case you’re correct. Yet Trump will all of the ill deeds he’s done or the last 50 years he’s had to answer for none and awarded the highest office in the land. He’s either the luckiest man alive or he made a pact with the devil. So even if they find iron clad proof of illegal activity I doubt the GOP lead congress will do anything to him. Even if they impeach him they won’t expel him so he’ll blow that off like it was nothing. Claim it a political hit job and he’ll move on. I hope I’m wrong but I just can’t watch.

  3. In front of a Grand Jury, there is no such thing as “a minor figure”. There is just sworn testimony which had better be the truth or people will go to jail for perjury. It’s always the “minor figures” who trip you up. When you go to testify, the Grand Jury has already heard their version, and yours better agree closely.

    Lies fall apart when they hear from multiple people. That’s why they always start with the “minor figures” and work their way up. By the time the top guys go to testify, the Grand Jury already knows the answer to every question asked.

    There’s an old saying: A good prosecutor never asks a question in court that he doesn’t already know the answer to. Mueller is a real pro. These Trump people are way way outgunned, and his supporters are delusional if they think he can do something to stop it.

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