Robert Mueller confirms report does not exonerate president Trump

Trump being investigated over whether he lied to Mueller as impeachment pressure mounts

Probe appears to be part of broader impeachment inquiry

Andrew Buncombe
Seattle
@AndrewBuncombe
Monday 18 November 2019 12:35
comments

Donald Trump is being investigated by Democrats over whether he lied to special counsel Robert Mueller, a court has been told.

Having vowed he was prepared to testify under oath and in person with Mr Mueller during his two-year investigation into Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 election and whether there was collusion with the Trump campaign, the president and his lawyers eventually agreed to answer a series of written questions.

When Mr Mueller testified in a seven-hour appearance on Capitol Hill in July, it was put to him by a Democratic congresswoman that the president’s answers “showed that he wasn’t always being truthful”. Mr Mueller, a former director of the FBI responded: “I would say generally.”

Now, it has emerged Democrats are examining the president’s written answers, apparently as part of their broader impeachment probe.

CNN said that at a hearing in Washington DC on Monday morning, the House general counsel Douglas Letter told the US court of appeals for the District of Columbia circuit, that Congress was now seeking access to grand jury material Mr Mueller collected in his investigation.

“Did the president lie? Was the president not truthful in his responses to the Mueller investigation,” Mr Letter told the court. “I believe the special counsel said the president had been untruthful in some of his answers.”

When Mr Mueller released his 448-page report this spring, concluding he found no actionable evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, but making clear he could not clear the president on the question of possible obstruction of justice, he included an addendum that detailed the president’s answers to a series of written questions.

The questions put to the president focused on key areas of interest to the special counsel’s office, including a June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower with a senior member of his campaign team, Russia’s cyber attacks and the president’s Trump Tower Moscow project.

Mueller says he 'generally' agrees with sentiment that Trump officials lies inhibited his investigation

USA Today pointed out that the president’s responses included a version of the phrase “I do not recall” at least 30 times.

One question from Mr Mueller read: “Are you aware of any communications during the campaign, directly or indirectly, between Roger Stone, Donald Trump, Jr, Paul Manafort, or Rick Gates and (a) WikiLeaks, (b) Julian Assange, (c) other representatives of WikiLeaks, (d) Guccifer 2.0, (e) representatives of Guccifer 2.0, or (f) representatives of WikiLeaks?”

Mr Trump response, read: “I do not recall being aware during the campaign of any communications between the individuals named in Question ll (c) and anyone I understood to be a representative of WikiLeaks or any of the other individuals or entities referred to in the question.”

Another question from Mr Mueller and his team, asked: “During the campaign, were you told about efforts by Russian officials to meet with you or senior members of your campaign? If yes, describe who you had conversations with on this topic, when, and what you were told?”

The president responded: “I do not recall being told during the campaign of efforts by Russian officials to meet with me or with senior members of my campaign.”

The development comes as Democrats proceed with an impeachment investigation into the president, and prepare for a second week of public testimony concerning allegations Mr Trump sought to improperly pressure Ukraine to launch an investigation into Joe Biden in exchange for the release of US military aid and a state visit to Washington DC.

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