According to a new report released Saturday, special counsel Robert Mueller will be expanding the Russia probe by interviewing current and former senior Trump administration officials as part of his ongoing investigation.
One of these key officials Mueller is interested in questioning is Reince Priebus, who recently resigned as White House Chief of Staff, three sources close to the discussions reportedly told the New York Times. The sources claim Mueller is asking for records on details of specific meetings with administration and campaign officials, as well as related documents of such transcripts. Priebus would be knowledgable of most of the meetings in the White House, considering his former role.
One of these transcribed meetings Mueller is interested in obtaining is the meeting held regarding President Trump’s decision to fire former FBI Director James Comey, according to the report.
Mueller has keen interest in Trump’s senior advisers who have connections to Russian officials, particularly during the campaign. It’s clear that his probe is becoming more extensive, especially after he assembled a grand jury as part of the investigation. The jury will have the power to subpoena records and ask for witness testimonies on the case.
Despite the sensitivity of an interview between Mueller and Priebus, Ty Cobb, a special counsel to the president, said the White House would “continue to fully cooperate” with Mueller’s investigation and the Russia probe.
Earlier this week, Mueller’s team began issuing subpoenas for former campaign manger Paul Manafort’s bank records. Subpoenas from a Washington grand jury have been sent to global banks for account information and records of transactions involving Manafort and some of his companies, as well as those of a long-time business partner, Rick Gates, according to unnamed sources who spoke with Bloomberg reporters.
Other business associates, including Manafort’s son-in-law and a Ukrainian oligarch, have been contacted by Mueller’s team in an attempt to pressure Manafort into cooperating with prosecutors, according to the Bloomberg report.
“Federal prosecutors in Manhattan were investigating Manafort earlier this year, examining allegations that he laundered money from eastern Europe into New York properties, according to two people familiar with the earlier inquiry,” Bloomberg reported. “The Southern District of New York handed off their work to the special counsel’s team once Mueller was appointed, the people said.”
It was also reported that the special counsel has taken over a review of Manafort’s late filings to comply with the Foreign Agents Registration Act, known as FARA, according to the report.
News outlets reported on Wednesday that FBI agents conducted a dawn raid on Manafort’s Alexandria home late last month, the day after Manafort voluntarily appeared before the Senate Intelligence Committee.
A spokesperson for Manafort confirmed the raid had taken place, adding that he continues to work with law enforcement and officials on the matter.
“Mr. Manafort has consistently cooperated with law enforcement and other serious inquiries and did so on this occasion as well,” the spokesperson said in a statement Wednesday.
“If the FBI wanted the documents, they could just ask [Manafort] and he would have turned them over,” said one adviser close to the White House.
The search warrant was wide-ranging, and its issuance leads onlookers to suspect special counsel Mueller didn’t believe that a grand jury subpoena was enough to entice Manafort to hand over all the documents the FBI desired. Thus, the former FBI head decided to take the documents by force.
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