Mueller Probe Requests White House Documents - Opposing Views

Mueller Probe Requests White House Documents

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The investigation being led by special counsel Robert Mueller into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election has reportedly requested documents and phone records from the White House.

Mueller's team wants to see documents related to Donald Trump Jr.'s initial statement on his June 2016 meeting with a Russian lawyer at Trump Tower, according to Politico.

Reports say that President Donald Trump approved Trump Jr.'s statement before it was released. The 2016 meeting was set up by Trump Jr. after he was promised "dirt" on Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

Mueller's team also wants to see information surrounding a press briefing by Sean Spicer on May 3, when the then-White House press secretary said President Trump had full confidence in FBI Director James Comey. Spicer and Mueller's office both refused to comment on the request.

On May 9, Trump announced he was firing Comey.

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The latest requests indicate that Mueller is now looking into events that took place when Trump was in the White House, including allegations of obstruction of justice, according to Politico.

Mueller's office is expected to schedule interviews with White House officials in the coming weeks. Investigators have also asked White House officials if any documents related to Paul Manafort are in the White House, one source said.

Speculation continues that Trump could decide to fire Mueller, prompting veterans from previous special investigations to urge Congress to act to protect the evidence gathered thus far.

"Before that worst-case scenario occurs, this is the best time for the congressional committees to make sure that all of Mueller's documents, transcripts and other material goes to them if he is fired," former Sen. Bob Graham, who formerly chaired the Senate Intelligence Committee, told USA Today.

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In August, Trump issued a statement saying he does not plan to fire Mueller.

"The vise is starting to get closer and closer to Trump," Nick Akerman, an assistant prosecutor during the Watergate investigation, told USA Today. "I think there is danger that he lashes out and fires Mueller."

Mueller's evidence could be secured if the leaders of any of the committees involved in Congress's investigations into alleged Russian interference issued a subpoena for all of Mueller's documents.

"The more [congressional committees] express the will now, the more the executive branch is on notice not to destroy the documents," Savannah Law School associate professor Andrew Wright told USA Today.

Two bipartisan bills that would make it harder to fire Mueller or any other special counsel have already been introduced in the Senate. Both would impose stricter judicial oversight on such a decision.

Sources: Politico, USA Today / Featured Image: Max Goldberg/Flickr via Wikimedia Commons / Embedded Images: Gage Skidmore/Flickr via Wikimedia Commons, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff/Flickr via Wikimedia Commons

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