Posted by: maboulette | May 22, 2017

Law Enforcement Part of Investigation Has Begun

Trump meeting

The law enforcement investigation into possible coordination between Russia and Trump campaign enters the White House and has identified a current White House official as a significant person of interest.  This shows that the FBI investigation is reaching into the highest levels of government; according to people aware of this matter.


The senior White House adviser under analysis by investigators is someone close to the president, according to these people who would not further identify the official.


This disclosure comes as the investigation also appears to be entering a more clearly active phase, with investigators shifting from work that has remained largely hidden from the public to conducting interviews and using a grand jury to issue subpoenas. The force of the probe is expected to accelerate in the coming weeks, these people said.


The sources highlighted that investigators remain keenly interested in people who previously had influence in the Trump campaign and administration but are no longer part of it, including former national security adviser Michael Flynn and former campaign chairman Paul Manafort.


Flynn resigned in February after disclosures that he had lied to administration officials about his contacts with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Current administration officials who have acknowledged contacts with Russian officials include:

  • Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner;
  • Attorney General Jeff Sessions;
  • Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

People familiar with the investigation said the intensifying effort does not mean criminal charges are near, or that any such charges will result. Earlier last week, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed former FBI Director Robert S. Mueller to function as special counsel and lead the investigation into Russian interfering with election.


An AP source says that Flynn will invoke his Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination today Monday 5/22 as he notifies the Senate Intelligence committee that he will not comply with a subpoena seeking documents.


Flynn’s decision comes less than two weeks after the committee issued a subpoena for Flynn’s documents as part of the panel’s investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election.


Legal experts have said Flynn was unlikely to turn over the personal documents without immunity because he would be waiving some of his constitutional protections by doing so. Flynn has previously sought immunity from “unfair prosecution” to cooperate with the committee.


It is unclear exactly how Mueller’s leadership will affect the direction of the probe, and he is already bringing in new people to work on the team. Those familiar with the case said its implication had increased before Mueller’s appointment.


While the case began quietly last July as an effort to determine whether any Trump associates coordinated with Russian operatives to meddle in the presidential election campaign; the investigative work now being done by the FBI also includes determining whether any financial crimes were committed by people close to the president. The people familiar with the matter said the probe has sharpened into something more apprehensive for the White House, the FBI and the Justice Department — particularly because of the public steps investigators know they now need to take, the people said.


When subpoenas are issued or interviews are requested, it is probable the people being asked to talk or offer documents will reveal publicly what they were asked about.


The FBI’s investigation seeks to define whether and to what extent Trump associates were in contact with Kremlin operatives, what business dealings they might have had in Russia, and whether they in any way enabled the hacking and publishing of Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta’s emails during the presidential campaign. Several congressional committees are also investigating, though their probes could not create criminal charges.


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