FBI Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team is reportedly looking to interview White House staffers in relation to the White House’s initially misleading response to a meeting in June last year between Donald Trump Jr. and a Russian lawyer at Trump Tower.
CNN reported Thursday that Mueller, who is investigating alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election, is interested in how the White House crafted a response to reports of the meeting, and whether information was deliberately left out.
Trump Jr, along with Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and campaign chairman Paul Manafort, met with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya in June last year. But the meeting was not revealed until the New York Times broke the story in July of this year.
Trump Jr. released a statement for the Times article saying:
It was a short introductory meeting. I asked Jared and Paul to stop by. We primarily discussed a program about the adoption of Russian children that was active and popular with American families years ago and was since ended by the Russian government, but it was not a campaign issue at the time and there was no follow up.
Trump Jr. later revealed that he had taken the meeting after Veselnitskaya teased information that would “incriminate” Hillary Clinton from the Russian government. However, no parties present at the meeting have stated that they discussed Clinton or this promised information in person.
Mueller is reportedly looking specifically at President Trump’s role in formulating that response. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in the days after the article was published that Trump had “weighed in as any father would based on the limited information that he had.” She also said that there was “no inaccuracy” in the statement.
However, the Washington Post reported that Trump had personally dictated the statement on Air Force One on the way home from the G20 summit in Germany. NBC News reported that Mueller’s team is looking to see whether or not Trump made a “knowingly false statement.”
According to CNN, Mueller’s team has now approached the White House so they can interview staffers about how that statement was crafted on Air Force One:
Mueller’s questions could go to the issue of intent and possible efforts to conceal information during an obstruction of justice investigation. The answers to Mueller’s questions also could illuminate the level of anxiety surrounding the meeting and the decision-making that followed.
CNN notes that Mueller has not asked to meet with Trump yet, while Trump Jr. was scheduled to speak with the Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday.
Adam Shaw is a Breitbart News politics reporter based in New York. Follow Adam on Twitter: @AdamShawNY