Published: Thu, June 15, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Reports say Mueller probe now examining possible obstruction

The special counsel appointed to investigate Russian influence in the 2016 USA presidential campaign is now examining whether Donald Trump tried to obstruct justice, according to a report.

White House spokesman Mark Corallo said: "The FBI leak of information regarding the President is outrageous, inexcusable and illegal".

A major test on that front will be whether the FBI is willing to release memos from former FBI Director James Comey of his conversations with Trump, now that they have been provided to Mueller. Later the New York Times and Wall St Journal reported the story, citing their own sources.

Mike Rogers and Rogers' former deputy Richard Ledgett agreed to be interviewed as part of Mueller's investigation, according to five people "briefed on the requests" who were "not authorized to discuss the matter publicly", the paper reports.

The comments come amid increasing frustration at the White House and among Trump supporters that the investigation will overshadow the president's agenda for months to come - a prospect that has Democrats salivating.

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The Washington Post previously reported that Trump also asked Rogers and Coats to push back against the FBI's investigation.

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Mueller met Wednesday with the leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee in an effort to ensure their investigations don't conflict. Richard Burr and Mark Warner, the Republican and Democratic leadership of the Senate intelligence committee Wednesday.

Former FBI Director James Comey is sworn in during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Capitol Hill, Thursday, June 8, 2017, in Washington. An aide familiar with the meeting said it was held to discuss the investigations, including ways that the parallel inquiries don't interfere with or overlap one another.

During his own dramatic testimony before the same Senate committee last week, Comey said he felt he was sacked, in large part, because he refused to drop a Federal Bureau of Investigation probe into possible nefarious ties between Russian officials and Trump's campaign adviser and first national security adviser, retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn.

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Mueller was hired by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein on May 17, just eight days after Trump fired Comey.

The obstruction of justice investigation into Trump began days after Comey was sacked on May 9, according to people familiar with the matter, the Washington Post said.

Grassley announced the investigation in a letter to California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the panel's top Democrat.

"I'm going to acknowledge we had a meeting with the special counsel Mueller, but I'm not going to get into the contests", Mr Warner said. When asked about a letter he wrote recommending firing Comey, Rosenstein said that Mueller could be looking into the decision-making process for the firing - and he was therefore "not at liberty to talk about that now". "I hope you can let this go". "It is my view that fully investigating the facts, circumstances, and rationale for Mr. Comey's removal will provide us the opportunity to do that on a cooperative, bipartisan basis", according to the letter.

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