Ever since special counsel Robert Mueller first opened his inquiry into the Russia probe, President Trump has taken every measure possible in an attempt to discredit the investigation, taking to public statements and posts on Twitter to portray his sentiment against Mueller and his team. On numerous occasions, the president has called Mueller’s investigation a “witch hunt”, stating that there is no viable evidence on which to continue the investigation, and calling to put an end to the probe. Despite his outward paranoia against the inquiry, recent reports provide insight into developments that may give Trump some breathing room moving forward.
On Tuesday, reports emerged that Mueller had told Trump’s lawyers that, at this point in the investigation, the president is not being considered as a criminal target of the inquiry. However, Mueller did claim that Trump continues to be a subject of interest into the role that Russia played in the 2016 presidential elections, despite no criminal behavior expected from the special counsel.
According to a report from the Washington Post:
‘In private negotiations in early March about a possible presidential interview, Mueller described Trump as a subject of his investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. Prosecutors view someone as a subject when that person has engaged in conduct that is under investigation but there is not sufficient evidence to bring charges.
‘The special counsel also told Trump’s lawyers that he is preparing a report about the president’s actions while in office and potential obstruction of justice, according to two people with knowledge of the conversations.’
Despite the fact that there is insufficient evidence to indict Trump on specific charges, Mueller and his team made it clear that his potential involvement with the Russian regime is still a point of interest in the investigation, regardless of the charges of criminality.
EXCLUSIVE: Mueller told Trump attorneys that @realdonaldtrump is not a criminal target of his probe at this point; said he needs POTUS interview to complete his report on obstruction; lead lawyer resigned over Trump ignoring advice. Me w/ @costareports
— Carol Leonnig (@CarolLeonnig) April 4, 2018
The same Post article claims that the revelation from the Mueller team has not only granted the president some extent of relief in regards to the investigation, but has also made him more willing to provide the special counsel with the sought after interview they have been looking for.
BREAKING NEWS: The key isn’t that Trump is not (yet) a “target” but that he IS a SUBJECT of Mueller’s investigation & that Mueller will write a REPORT on what Trump did, why, and what it adds up to. That is HUGE.https://t.co/GiEtV4OwdY
— Laurence Tribe (@tribelaw) April 4, 2018
As Mueller continues to push for an interview with Trump, some of the president’s legal team continue to be wary about the potential sit-down between the special counsel and the president, considering the fact that incriminating evidence may still be revealed as a result of the interview. The fact that there are no current criminal actions expected against Trump does not necessarily mean that there will not be in the near-future, which is something that the president’s team has grown concerned about.
Mueller told Trump’s lawyers that he's preparing a report about the president’s actions while in office and potential obstruction of justice, two people with knowledge of the conversations tell WaPo. Mueller also reiterated the need to interview Trump.https://t.co/HaQONAaLsR
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) April 4, 2018
Nevertheless, members of the Trump team and individuals close to the president’s sphere have been indicted, with the first sentence coming on Tuesday from a federal judge. In doing so, Alex van der Zwaan, a Dutch lawyer who was caught involved between the Trump team and Russia, was sentenced to 30 days in prison, and required to pay $20,000 in fines due to lying to federal investigators. Despite the fact that the sentence seems menial for such a high-level case, it provides insight into the potential domino-effect that may result against other Trump team members.
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