First Published: 2017-06-15

Trump being probed for possible obstruction of justice
Report senior investigators working for special counsel are probing whether US President tried to obstruct justice into Russia's alleged meddling in US election.
Middle East Online

The shift toward investigating the US president began days after Trump fired James Comey as FBI director on May 9

WASHINGTON - The special counsel overseeing the probe into Russia's alleged meddling in the US election is looking at whether President Donald Trump tried to obstruct justice, The Washington Post reported Wednesday, citing unnamed officials.

In a pivotal shift in the investigation that has riveted Americans like no other in decades, senior intelligence officials have agreed to be interviewed by investigators working for the special counsel, Robert Mueller, the Post said.

It quoted five people briefed on the requests and said those who have agreed to be interviewed are Daniel Coats, the director of national intelligence, Admiral Mike Rogers, head of the National Security Agency, and his recently departed deputy, Richard Ledgett.

The interviews could come as early as this week, the Post said.

The newspaper's story was met with a furious reaction from Trump's personal lawyer and the Republican National Committee.

The shift toward investigating the US president began days after Trump fired James Comey as FBI director on May 9, the Post said.

The stated focus has been Russia's alleged efforts to tilt last November's presidential election Trump's way, and whether the winner's campaign was involved in any way.

Trump vehemently denies any collusion between himself or any of his associates and Russia.

Mueller, himself a widely respected former head of the FBI, has now taken up the angle of possible efforts by Trump to obstruct justice in the investigation, the Post said.

Quoting officials, the newspaper said one event of interest to Mueller is an exchange on March 22, when Coats told associates that Trump had asked him to intervene with Comey to get him to back off the focus on Trump's former national security advisor Mike Flynn as part of the FBI probe of the Russia affair.

A few days after the March 22 meeting, Trump spoke separately with Coats and Rogers and asked them to issue public statements to the effect that there was no evidence of coordination between his campaign and Russia. The Post said both men refused the president's request.

Trump's personal lawyer Marc Kasowitz issued a statement saying the FBI was behind the Post story and called the leak "outrageous, inexcusable and illegal." The lawyer did not deny the story, however.

Mueller briefed Senators Wednesday on his work.

"I'm going to acknowledge we had a meeting with the special counsel Mueller, but I'm not going to get into the contents," Mark Warner, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, told reporters later.

Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel called the accusation in the Post unfounded and said it "changes nothing."

"There's still no evidence of obstruction, and current and former leaders in the intelligence community have repeatedly said there's been no effort to impede the investigation in any way. The continued illegal leaks are the only crime here," McDaniel said in a statement.

 

Regime strikes in Syria enclave despite ceasefire call

Russia pours cold water on UN bid to condemn Iran over missiles to Yemen

Egypt presidential race starts with Sisi likely to win

Christian leaders close Church of the Holy Sepulchre in tax dispute

Blatter supports Morocco bid for 2026 World Cup

Iraq condemns 15 Turkish women to death for belonging to IS

Thousands expected for radical Israeli rabbi's funeral

Syrian Kurd leader arrested in Prague

Philippine officials meet nationals in Kuwait amid labour row

Families of IS suspects in Iraq face 'collective punishment'

Iran's ex-intelligence minister slams handling of prison death

More strikes hit E. Ghouta as UN delays truce vote

Turkey says US embassy Jerusalem opening in May 'extremely worrying'

Lebanon says both suspects in Kuwait murder of Filipina maid held

38 dead in Mogadishu car bombings

Morocco police arrests prominent newspaper publisher

Syria regime continues to pound Ghouta as world stutters

UN rights commission wants S.Sudan war crimes charges

Iran grounds airline's ATR planes after crash

Turkey summons Dutch diplomat over Armenian 'genocide' vote

Turkey navy threatens to engage Italian drillship near Cyprus

Iran police shoving headscarf protester sparks social media storm

UN Security Council to vote Friday on Syria ceasefire

Dubai says Djibouti illegally seized African port

Dutch parliament recognises 1915 Armenian massacre as genocide

Heavily bombarded Eastern Ghouta awaits UN resolution

Russia says Syria rebels rejected offer to evacuate E. Ghouta

UN diplomats press for Syria ceasefire without Russia veto

Iranian minister’s presence at UN rights meeting angers critics

Iran warns it will leave nuke deal if banks cannot do business

Qatar to plant thousands of trees to ‘beautify’ World Cup venues

Pro-Kurdish party says Turkey lying about 'no civilian deaths' in Afrin

African migrants protest Israeli detention policy

Egypt sentences 21 to death for planning attacks

Israeli handball teams in Qatar spark furious outcry from locals

UN report highlights S.Sudan journalist treatment

Palestinian dies after being shot by Israeli soldiers

Gulf states urge Syria to end Ghouta violence

Wanted Bahraini militants die at sea en route to Iran

Saudi Arabia to boost entertainment in next decade

Iran's Ahmadinejad calls for immediate free elections

Merkel calls for end to 'massacre' in Syria

Iraq urges FIFA to lift ban on hosting internationals

Carnage of Ghouta's bombs breaking families

Blockaded Gaza Strip forced to pump sewage into sea