losangelesnewstoday.com June 20, 2018

Mueller's team says Trump not now a criminal target

05 April 2018, 12:41 | Katrina Lee

Special counsel Robert Mueller has told President Donald Trump's lawyers that the President is not now being considered a criminal target of the Russian Federation probe, The Washington Post reported Tuesday, citing three people familiar with the discussions.

In the past year, Ty Cobb, the lead White House lawyer on the Trump-Russia case, has become famous for two things (aside from his glorious mustache): urging Trump to cooperate with Special Counsel Robert Mueller and repeatedly giving the president unrealistic end-dates for the probe.

Additionally, legal experts argue that even if Trump doesn't change his status from subject to target over the course of interviews, that whatever he says under oath may still leave him open to impeachment proceedings. It is said that Trump's legal team clashed over whether the president should agree to such an interview, and that John Dowd, who was adamant that Trump should not agree, quit the team over this issue. Mueller reportedly added, however, that Trump remains a subject of his investigation.

USA intelligence agencies say Russian President Vladimir Putin himself was behind a hacking and disinformation effort to disrupt the election and boost Trump's chances of winning.

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Prosecutors have told the legal team they want to question Trump about the firings of former FBI Director James Comey and former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

Dowd was right. The risk that an interview would enable Mueller to accuse or charge Trump with making false statements is enormous.

If Mueller accepts the finding of the OLC that a sitting president cannot constitutionally be indicted, then Trump couldn't ever be a "target" of an investigation. Mueller's office has said "Person A" has maintained ongoing ties to the Russian military intelligence service and had communicated with Gates and van der Zwaan during the 2016 presidential election.

It's also possible that Mueller sees Trump as a subject rather than target because he has concluded he literally can not indict Trump. Sekulow's constitutional law background could help him wage a fight to block questioning by Mueller or limit its scope, but he has no experience guiding a client through a complex criminal investigation. All of the attorneys working on the case are paid by Trump and not the ACLJ, said spokesman Gene Kapp. But a partly redacted memo included in court filings late Monday night revealed that Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein authorized Mueller to pursue allegations that Manafort colluded with Russian Federation in 2016. If the Washington Post notes that Mueller went to dinner with his wife on Friday and ordered his steak medium rare, the attorneys spend a sleepless weekend crafting a 40-page memorandum discussing what the special counsel's doneness preferences might reveal about the amount of time remaining until he declares his work complete. Eventually, O'Brien's lawyers forced Trump to sit for a deposition in 2007.

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