Reports: Mueller Probe Zeroes In On Actions Trump Took In The White House

Former director of the FBI Robert Mueller talks to students in the security studies and political science program at Anderson University in Anderson, Ind. on Wednesday, March 8, 2017. Mueller lead the FBI from September 2001 to September 2013. (AP photo/The Herald Bulletin, Don Knight)
Don Knight/The Herald-Bulletin
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After months of speculation and vague reports that Special Counsel Robert Mueller was examining the activities of President Trump’s White House as part of his investigation into Russian election interference, the New York Times on Wednesday reported more details on which Trump decisions have apparently piqued Mueller’s interest, based on the documents his team has requested from the White House.

Less than an hour later, the Washington Post published its own more detailed account of the documents Mueller has requested, including “extensive records and email correspondence from the White House” that cover “everything from the president’s private discussions about firing his FBI director to his White House’s handling of a warning that the Trump national security adviser was under investigation.”

According to both reports, the Mueller team has organized its document requests into 13 different subject areas. Among those categories is an Oval Office meeting Trump hosted in May with Russian officials, during which he said his firing of FBI Director James Comey had relieved him of “great pressure.”

The decision to fire Comey is also among Mueller’s areas of interest, and according to the Washington Post, his requests include documents related to the initial statement made by then-Press Secretary Sean Spicer after the FBI director’s termination.

Both outlets reported that Mueller has also requested documents pertaining to former National Security Advisor Mike Flynn’s departure from the White House. Flynn, who has come under scrutiny for apparent omissions on his federal lobbying forms, was forced out of the administration in February, a decision the White House has said was prompted because he lied to Vice President Mike Pence about contacts with Russian officials.

Additionally, the Mueller probe is seeking documents related to the White House’s reaction to the revelation of the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting, where top Trump campaign aides and family members met with Russia-linked figures. In particular, the Times said, Mueller has asked the White House for its responses to inquiries from the New York Times when it was first reporting on the meeting this summer.

Sources also told the Washington Post that Mueller was looking at meetings between White House counsel Donald McGahn and then-Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, who was fired in January for her refusal to defend Trump’s travel ban targeting Muslim countries. Yates has said that before her firing, she had raised concerns with McGahn that Flynn was misleading White House officials on his contact with foreign figures.

The Washington Post also reported that Mueller has requested that the White House turn over documents related to former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort, whose home was raided by the feds this summer as part of the special counsel investigation.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tierney Sneed is a reporter for Talking Points Memo. She previously worked for U.S. News and World Report. She grew up in Florida and attended Georgetown University.
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