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Special Counsel Mueller Expands Investigation to Look Into Potential Obstruction of Justice

According to officials interviewed by the Washington Post, special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, appointed by the Justice Department to investigate Russia’s attempts to impact the outcome of U.S. elections, has begun widening his probe to include questioning senior intelligence officials about whether President Donald Trump attempted to obstruct justice.

Among those who agreed to be interviewed by Mueller’s team are Mike Rogers, head of the NSA; Rogers’ former deputy, Richard Ledgett; and Dan Coats, the acting director of national intelligence.

Mueller’s investigation, which until recently had focused solely on Russian election involvement, appears to have taken a turn following the contentious firing of former FBI director James Comey, an event that, within days, prompted investigators to begin looking into whether obstruction of justice charges are merited.

The news comes a week after Comey’s own high-profile testimony, in which the former FBI director expressly stated his belief that President Trump initially tried to establish a “patronage” relationship before ultimately firing him due to his Russia investigation. Shortly after Comey’s testimony, rumors that the President was also considering firing special counsel Mueller began to circulate, fueled by one of President Trump’s private attorneys.

The Washington Post mentions a couple of specific encounters that are said to be of interest to Mueller, including a March 22nd meeting shortly after Coats’ confirmation, in which President Trump “asked everyone to leave the room except for Coats and CIA Director Mike Pompeo” and subsequently asked “whether Coats could intervene with Comey to get the bureau to back off its focus on former national security adviser Michael Flynn in its Russia probe.” Also of interest are phone calls in which President Trump called Coats and Mike Rogers to “separately ask them to issue public statements denying the existence of any evidence of coordination between his campaign and the Russian government.”

Talk of potential obstruction of justice charges carry with them significant weight in Washington, D.C. Former adviser to Dick Cheney “Scooter” Libby was convicted of obstruction of justice and one of the three articles impeachment approved against former President Richard Nixon was for obstruction of justice.

The special counsel’s team is also said to be separately looking into whether Trump or his associates had unethical financial dealings with Russia.

 

 

 

 

 

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