When the Mueller investigation charged Donald Trump’s former national security advisor, Michael Flynn, two weeks ago, it became clear that the Trump – Russia investigation had reached the heart of the White House. Court documents revealed that Flynn is cooperating fully with Mueller and that he claims to have been under orders from a senior member of Trump’s team when he made contact with Russian officials. As previously reported by the Inquisitr, it was assumed that either Jared Kushner or Donald Trump Jr. is next in Mueller’s sights.
Over the past six weeks, it has become clear that the Mueller investigation is treating the Russia probe as they would an investigation into an organized crime family. A low ranking Trump advisor, George Papadopoulos, was first to be indicted. Trump’s former campaign chief, Paul Manafort, and his business associate Rick Gates followed. Papadopoulos had cut a plea deal with Mueller in exchange for his cooperation. Michael Flynn appears to have cut an identical deal, and as someone close to Donald Trump, Flynn is in a position that could seriously hurt the president.
As the heat rises on President Trump’s inner circle, The Guardian claims that efforts are underway to discredit Mueller and his investigation team. Trump and his Republican supporters made much of the fact that a member of the Mueller investigation team had exchanged anti-Trump text messages with a colleague. The Guardian story claims that Trump supporters are now “inventing” the story, claiming that the Mueller investigation obtained emails from the president’s transition team unlawfully.
As reported by Buzzfeed, the Mueller investigation obtained thousands of emails from GSA, the organization that provided administrative support to the Trump transition team. GSA Deputy Counsel Lenny Loewentritt told Buzzfeed that anyone using GSA has to sign an agreement that makes clear that information will not be held back from law enforcement officials, and that there can be “no expectation of privacy.”
The Mueller investigation also pushed back at the allegations that they had unlawfully obtained the Trump transition emails. A spokesman for Mueller made clear that due process had been followed.
“When we have obtained emails in the course of our ongoing criminal investigation, we have secured either the account owner’s consent or appropriate criminal process.”
The implication is clear, and it leaves a huge question hanging. If Donald Trump, his campaign team, and his transition team, did nothing wrong, why do they seem determined to undermine the Mueller investigation?
It is against this background that CNN reports that Donald Trump’s lawyers will meet with the Mueller investigation team this week. They report that this is likely to be the most significant meeting to date. Mueller has apparently finished interviewing Trump’s White House team, and all requested documents have been handed over to the investigation.
Trump’s lawyers claim that they are meeting with Mueller to gain a sense of what Mueller’s next moves will be. They are, however, hoping that the Russia probe is nearing its conclusion. Earlier this week Mueller’s team interviewed White House Counsel Don McGahn. The lawyer is said to have had conversations with the president and other Trump officials about Flynn’s potential exposure in the Russia probe.
McGahn will, therefore, be a central figure in showing whether President Trump is guilty of obstruction of justice over his firing of James Comey, the former FBI director. Comey alleges that Trump fired him because he failed to back off investigating Michael Flynn’s Russian contacts.
What seems clear is that most Americans are not buying Donald Trump’s protestations of innocence. According to the Huffington Post, a new poll has found that almost two-thirds of Americans believe that Trump has tried to “impede or obstruct” the investigations.
The Mueller investigation may not be over, but the conclusion of interviews with Trump’s White House team indicates that it has at least entered a new phase.