Reports: Trump under investigation for possible obstruction

By Ray Downs  |  Updated June 15, 2017 at 7:43 AM
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June 14 (UPI) -- Robert Mueller, the special counsel in charge of investigating allegations of collusion between the Russian government and the Donald Trump presidential campaign, has requested to interview several high-ranking officials about whether the president sought to end an FBI probe, unnamed sources said.

The Washington Post first reported that five people briefed on the matter, all of whom requested anonymity, said that director of national intelligence Daniel Coats, National Security Agency head Mike Rogers, and Rogers's former deputy, Richard Ledgett, will be interviewed by Mueller's investigators as early as this week.

The New York Times reported that none of the men were involved in the Trump campaign, indicating that interviews with them would not be about possible Russian meddling in the election but about whether Trump asked for their help to convince former FBI director James Comey to drop an investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Sources told Bloomberg that Mueller specifically wants to ask the officials about whether Trump sought their help to stop the FBI probe into Flynn.

Shortly after the Washington Post story was published, a Republican National Committee memo about how to respond to the allegations was leaked to the newspaper's White House bureau chief.

"There is no case for obstruction of justice. This point has been made by legal scholars from both sides of the aisle over and over again," the memo states.

It goes on to tell RNC members to say: "If this leaked account is true, it means the special counsel has struck out on trying to prove collusion and is shifting to obstruction in an effort to save face."

Trump tweeted the same argument early Thursday morning.

"They made up a phony collusion with the Russians story, found zero proof, so now they go for obstruction of justice on the phony story. Nice," he wrote.

During testimony before the U.S. Senate on June 8, Comey said Trump asked him to "let Flynn go," but stopped short of calling the request obstruction.

"I don't think it's for me to say whether the conversation I had with the president was an effort to obstruct," Comey said. "I took it as a very disturbing thing, very concerning, but that's a conclusion I'm sure the special counsel will work towards to try and understand what the intention was there, and whether that's an offense."

Mueller was named special counsel to investigate whether Russia meddled in the 2016 U.S. presidential election after Attorney General Jeff Sessions stepped aside from the probe and amid calls for a special investigator. Flynn was forced to resign in February after it was revealed he declined to tell Vice President Mike Pence about a meeting he had with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

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