The obstruction of justice case against Donald Trump continued to build on Wednesday as special counsel Robert Mueller has reportedly learned that the president tried to discuss the investigation with two key witnesses.
According to The New York Times, Trump was prying witnesses for information about what they discussed with those carrying out the special counsel investigation.
More from the damning report:
The special counsel in the Russia investigation has learned of two conversations in recent months in which President Trump asked key witnesses about matters they discussed with investigators, according to three people familiar with the encounters.
In one episode, the president told an aide that the White House counsel, Donald F. McGahn II, should issue a statement denying a New York Times article in January. The article said Mr. McGahn told investigators that the president once asked him to fire the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III. Mr. McGahn never released a statement and later had to remind the president that he had indeed asked Mr. McGahn to see that Mr. Mueller was dismissed, the people said.
In the other episode, Mr. Trump asked his former chief of staff, Reince Priebus, how his interview had gone with the special counsel’s investigators and whether they had been “nice,” according to two people familiar with the discussion.
The episodes demonstrate that even as the special counsel investigation appears to be intensifying, the president has ignored his lawyers’ advice to avoid doing anything publicly or privately that could create the appearance of interfering with it.
As Philip Rucker of the Washington Post noted on Twitter shortly after the Times published its story, just one of the conversations cited in Wednesday’s bombshell is enough to be considered obstruction of justice.
Trump tried to get McGahn to issue a false statement denying that he had asked him to fire Mueller, @nytmike & @maggieNYT report. Another example of possible obstruction of justice https://t.co/wkdxRsqvbd
— Philip Rucker (@PhilipRucker) March 8, 2018
Robert Mueller’s obstruction case against Trump is strong
The New York Times report is just the latest revelation confirming that Mueller is going directly after Trump for obstruction of justice. It’s also not an isolated incident. It’s part of a large pattern of behavior by the president, who has repeatedly tried to interfere with an ongoing investigation.
Over the course of his presidency, Trump has repeatedly tried to meddle in the investigation into his ties to Russia – whether it was firing former FBI director James Comey, ordering his top White House lawyer to oust Robert Mueller, pressuring his Attorney General Jeff Sessions to replace the new FBI director, among other things.
Even before Wednesday’s news, Robert Mueller appeared to have more than enough evidence to go after Trump for obstructing justice. The fact that the president has also been probing key witnesses for information about what they discussed with investigators is just icing on the cake.