Recently appointed Special Counsel on the Russia investigation Robert Mueller has begun the process of interviewing senior intelligence officials as part of an investigation into President Donald Trump’s conduct according to a Washington Post report that cites anonymous officials.
The Post reported that according to five officials briefed on requests, those to be interviewed include: Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats, National Security Agency head Mike Rogers and Rogers’ now former deputy Richard Ledgett. They said that these three have agreed to interviews with Mueller’s team. Those interviews could happen within days.
The Post also reported that according to “people familiar with the matter”, the investigation into Trump began shortly after the President fired then-FBI Director James Comey. Those “people” also told the outlet that investigators are looking for people both inside and outside of government that can attest to the President’s comments on why he fired Comey, the Russia investigations, and others.
Comey revealed last week, in a hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee, that he had informed President Trump three times that the president was not under FBI investigation. The now former FBI Director failed to reveal that information publicly while he was still in his position. During that testimony, Comey also revealed that he had leaked a memo containing his notes from a February 14 meeting with Trump.
Mueller’s probe is looking into any possible contact between Trump and Russian operatives and for any potentially suspicious financial dealings with those individuals according to the Post.
The report adds that the officials say Mueller is interested in a March 22 conversation between Trump, Coats, and CIA Director Mike Pompeo. According to the officials that spoke with the Post, Coats told associates that the president asked about intervening with Comey in regards to the investigation into former National Security Adviser Mike Flynn. The report states “Coats later told lawmakers that he never felt pressured to intervene.” A phone request from the president to each Coats and Rogers a few days later asked for public statements denying coordination between Trump’s presidential campaign and the Russians, the officials told the Post. They added that Coats and Rogers refused to comply.
The anonymous officials said that Ledgett’s contact with Trump was uncertain, but that he wrote a memo about the call between Rogers and Trump.
This news comes just after news broke that brought Mueller’s investigative team into question. CNN reported that three members of Mueller’s Russia investigation team have donated to Democrats, including Hillary Clinton’s campaign for President. The report cites Federal Election Commission records. CNN reported, “More than half of the more than $56,000 came from just one lawyer and more than half of it was donated before the 2016 election, but two of the lawyers gave the maximum $2,700 donation to Hillary Clinton last year.”
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