As Donald Trump struggles under the weight of revelations about his chaotic White House operation as detailed in a new book, Special Counsel Robert Muller is reviewing new information that shows the president attempting to obstruct justice in areas that led to the firing of FBI director James Comey.
The new information, first reported by The New York Times Thursday, shows Trump attempting to keep Attorney General Jeff Sessions from recusing himself from the Comey matters and urging others to intervene on his behalf.
In March, Trump instructed White House Counsel Donald F. McGahn II to stop Sessions from recusing himself and McGhan took the steps demanded by the President but was unsuccessful. Trump — in one of his violent eruptions in front of senior staff members — demanding to know why the attorney general was not ignoring the law and protecting him.
“Where’s my Roy Cohn?” bellowed Trump to other White House officials. Cohn, a top aide to Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy in the investigations of claimed community infiltrations of government in the 1950s, later served as a fixer and personal lawyer for Trump before he died in 1986.
That lobbying and other actions are among other previously unknown episodes of Trump interfering in the investigations. As the Times reports: “Trump believed he was losing control of the investigation.”
In a leter he drafted to send to Comey, Trump called Mueller’s investigation as special counsel of Russia’s involvement in the 2016 Presidential election “fabricated and politically motivated” — a direct intervention into a probe that is supposed to be independent.
Mueller now has handwritten notes from Trump’s then-chief of staff Reince Priebus saying Trump admitted to him that he called Comey to urge him to say publicly that he was not under investigation. Trump later said publicly that the FBI director had told him he was not part of the investigation but Comey later testified that he never said any such thing to Trump.
Mueller also has a false statement that Trump drafted on Air Force One in July in a response to the Times story about a meeting between Trump campaign officials and Russians in 2016.
In his book, “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House,” author Michael Wolfe said Trump’s lawyers believed the statement was “an explicit attempt to throw sand into the investigation’s gears.” At least one of Trump’s aides, a spokesman, left the White House, saying the president’s actions were clear obstruction of justice.
investigators feel the new information provides more evidence that shows Trump obstructed justice and was directly involved in collusion between the presidential campaign and Russia.
Mueller’s case rests on proving that Trump lied about his involvement or instructed others to life, under oath, on his behalf.
“It comes down to a question on the president’s honesty,” says an aide. “That is an open question that must be pursued.”
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