Robert Mueller’s special counsel investigation continues to fire on all cylinders with a new report indicating that the inquiry is zeroing in on Donald Trump’s attempt to cover up his team’s secret Trump Tower meeting with the Russians during the 2016 campaign.
According to The New York Times, the misleading cover story crafted by the administration aboard Air Force One is under intense scrutiny as part of Mueller’s investigation.
To make matters worse for the White House, the report noted that the cover-up is “one of about a dozen subjects that prosecutors want to discuss in a face-to-face interview of Mr. Trump.”
More from The New York Times:
Aboard Air Force One on a flight home from Europe last July, President Trump and his advisers raced to cobble together a news release about a mysterious meeting at Trump Tower the previous summer between Russians and top Trump campaign officials. Rather than acknowledge the meeting’s intended purpose — to obtain political dirt about Hillary Clinton from the Russian government — the statement instead described the meeting as being about an obscure Russian adoption policy.
The statement, released in response to questions from The New York Times about the meeting, has become a focus of the inquiry by Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election. Prosecutors working for Mr. Mueller in recent months have questioned numerous White House officials about how the release came together — and about how directly Mr. Trump oversaw the process. Mr. Mueller’s team recently notified Mr. Trump’s lawyers that the Air Force One statement is one of about a dozen subjects that prosecutors want to discuss in a face-to-face interview of Mr. Trump that is still being negotiated.
The cover-up on which Mueller is now focusing came last summer after it was revealed that key Trump advisers, including Donald Trump Jr., had met with Russians in an effort to get damning intel about Hillary Clinton.
The reason that meeting was so shocking, as the New York Times pointed out Wednesday: “It placed the president’s son and his top campaign officials in direct contact with a Russian lawyer who promised damaging information on Mrs. Clinton, and an email to the president’s son emerged saying that the information was part of Russia’s effort to help the Trump campaign. The special counsel is investigating how those revelations were handled in real time in part because the president was involved in his administration’s response.”
The report also notes that White House Communications Director Hope Hicks was by Trump’s side as he crafted the knowingly false statement. According to Mark Corallo, who formerly served as a spokesman for Trump’s legal team, Hicks reportedly said that Trump Jr.’s emails about the Trump Tower meeting “will never get out,” suggesting that they were free to lie about it to the public.
According to the Times, Corallo is cooperating with Mueller and plans to tell him about that incident and his concern at the time that she was “contemplating obstructing justice.”
As I wrote at the time, Trump’s actions put him “at the center of a cover-up.” Six months later, as we learn more information about the Trump Tower meeting and the desperate scramble to lie about it, it looks even worse than we thought.