The Russia Investigation Is At Trump’s Doorstep

The Russia Investigation Is At Trump’s Doorstep

Here’s what you may have missed this week:

  1. Special Counsel Mueller is seeking to interview Trump about his decision to fire Flynn and FBI Director Comey, indicating that potential obstruction of justice is a key part of the investigation.

Washington Post: “Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III is seeking to question President Trump in the coming weeks about his decisions to oust national security adviser Michael Flynn and FBI Director James B. Comey, according to two people familiar with his plans.”

  1. Special Counsel Mueller has interviewed Attorney General Jeff Sessions, DNI Dan Coats, and CIA Director Mike Pompeo, along with former acting Attorney General Sally Yates – confirming again that the investigation has reached the highest levels of the Trump administration and providing evidence that it is zeroing in on Trump’s potential obstruction of justice.  

New York Times: “Attorney General Jeff Sessions was questioned for several hours last week as part of the special counsel investigation, the Justice Department confirmed Tuesday, making him the first member of President Trump’s cabinet to be interviewed in the inquiry.”

NBC News: “By the end of 2017, special counsel Robert Mueller’s team had spoken with Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats; Mike Rogers, the director of the National Security Agency; former FBI Director James Comey; and numerous members of Trump’s campaign and White House inner circle. Flynn pleaded guilty last month to lying to the FBI during his Jan. 24 interview and is cooperating with the Russia investigation. NBC News also has learned that former acting Attorney General Sally Yates, who informed the White House about Flynn’s interview two days after it took place, has cooperated with the special counsel. CIA Director Mike Pompeo, who was allegedly asked by Trump to lean on Comey to drop his investigation, has also been interviewed, according to people familiar with the inquiry.”

  1. In an Oval Office meeting, Trump reportedly asked acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe who he voted for in the 2016 election. Similarly, Trump previously asked former FBI Director Comey for his loyalty in a White House meeting.

Washington Post: “Shortly after President Trump fired his FBI director in May, he summoned to the Oval Office the bureau’s acting director for a get-to-know-you meeting. The two men exchanged pleasantries, but before long, Trump, according to several current and former U.S. officials, asked Andrew McCabe a pointed question: Whom did he vote for in the 2016 election?”

  1. Trump’s insatiable desire to interfere with the FBI continued well past Comey’s firing, as he and Attorney General Sessions pressured the current FBI Director to fire Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.

Axios: “Attorney General Jeff Sessions — at the public urging of President Donald Trump — has been pressuring FBI Director Christopher Wray to fire Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, but Wray threatened to resign if McCabe was removed, according to three sources with direct knowledge.”

  1. Russian bots are working with to boost House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes’s effort to provide cover for Trump by promoting a mysterious “memo” that has appears to have no other purpose than to tarnish the reputation of the FBI and the Special Counsel’s investigation.

Washington Post: “Top Democrats on Tuesday called on Facebook and Twitter to investigate what lawmakers said are Russian efforts to promote the release of a classified Republican memo criticizing the FBI probe of Russia’s meddling in the 2016 campaign. Hashtags such as ‘#ReleaseTheMemo’ have been trending on Twitter in recent days, and accounts affiliated with Russian influence efforts have been supporting this campaign, according to the Alliance for Securing Democracy, a U.S.-based group that examines efforts by Russia and other nations to interfere in democratic institutions.”

  1. During the government shutdown, the top hashtag used among Russian bots on Twitter was “#SchumerShutdown” – clearly Russians are not done interfering in our political system to help Trump.

Newsweek: “As government closure reaches day three, it emerged that President Donald Trump's supporters on Twitter got a boost from the Russians in blaming Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer for the federal shutdown. […] As of 10 p.m. Sunday evening, #SchumerShutdown was the top trending hashtag promoted by Russian propaganda bots on Twitter, according to a bipartisan national security group.”