Last week, former FBI Director James Comey testified that Donald Trump had not been under investigation in the probe into connections between the Trump campaign and Russia, leading Trump and other Republicans to claim that Trump had been exonerated and to call for an end to the Russia investigation — but a new report in the Washington Post published on Wednesday afternoon appears to turn that narrative on its head.
According to the Post report, Special Counsel Robert Mueller now does have Trump under investigation for possible obstruction of justice. In fact, the FBI has been investigating Trump on the obstruction charge at least since May 9, the day that Trump fired Comey who, as the Bureau’s chief, was leading the investigation into Trump’s Russia connections and how they might have influenced the 2016 presidential election.
Read the full Washington Post report on the new investigation of Trump by Mueller and the FBI by accessing this link. The Post wrote that it based its revelations on interviews with numerous individuals familiar with the investigation, but who spoke on condition of anonymity because none were officially authorized to speak publicly about the Russia probe.
The Post also reported that according to five sources, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, National Security Agency Chief Mike Rogers, the head of the National Security Agency, and former NSA Deputy Director Richard Ledgett have all agreed to submit to interviews by Mueller’s team of investigators next week.
Trump’s personal lawyer, Marc Kasowitz, issued a statement through a spokesperson in which he did not deny that Mueller was now investigating Trump. But in the statement, Kasowitz called the report in the Washington Post an “outrageous, inexcusable and illegal” leak from inside the FBI.
Though obstruction of justice is potentially a criminal charge, the Post reported that Trump is unlikely to be indicted, at least long as he remains the occupant of the Oval Office. Instead, “the onus would be on Congress to review any findings of criminal misconduct and then decide whether to initiate impeachment proceedings,” according to legal experts cited in the report.
It was only on Monday that a close friend of Trump, Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy, visited Trump at the White House and then, just about an hour after leaving his meeting with Trump, told PBS Newshour that Trump was considering simply firing Mueller.
Mueller has not commented publicly on the investigation since he was named Special Counsel on May 17. When the Post attempted to reach him for a comment, Mueller, through individuals in his office, declined.
When Attorney General Jeff Sessions testified to the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday, he refused to answer questions about his own conversations with Trump. Sessions recommended to Trump that Comey should be fired, leading the Intelligence Committee members to grill him about the content of his communications with Trump — because whatever was said between the two could shed light on whether or not Trump was deliberately trying to obstruct the FBI investigation by firing Comey.
Sessions cited what he said was a longtime Justice Department policy against discussing such conversations — but under grilling from senators, in particular California Senator Kamala Harris, Sessions could not name or cite any such policy.
Whether Trump had been made aware that he was, in fact, now under investigation by Mueller — and had been under investigation for more than a month — at the time that he reportedly considered firing the special counsel remains unclear.
[Featured Image by Alex Wong/Getty Images]