Mueller subpoenas Trump Organization

Special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE has subpoenaed the Trump Organization for documents as part of the federal investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, The New York Times reported on Thursday.

Mueller’s subpoena concerns documents related to Russia in addition to other topics, the Times reported, citing two sources familiar with the matter.

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The scope of the subpoena, including how far it extends to topics outside Russia, was not immediately known, nor was it clear why Mueller subpoenaed the organization for the documents as opposed to simply requesting them.

Responding to questions about the subpoena on Thursday, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump would continue to cooperate with Mueller's effort.

"As we’ve maintained all along and as the president has said numerous times, there was no collusion between the campaign and Russia," she said at her press briefing. "We’re going to continue to fully cooperate out of respect for the special counsel. We’re not going to comment for any specific questions about the Trump organization. I’d refer you there."
 
A lawyer for the Trump Organization said it has been cooperating and dismissed reports about the subpoena as old news.
 
“Since July 2017, we have advised the public that the Trump Organization is fully cooperative with all investigations, including the Special Counsel, and is responding to their requests,” Alan Futerfas, a lawyer for the company, said in a statement. “This is old news and our assistance and cooperation with the various investigations remains the same today.”  

The subpoena is the most direct move by the special counsel to go after documents related to Trump’s business empire and brings the probe closer to Trump.

 

The president told the Times in a June interview that Mueller would be crossing a “red line” if the special counsel began investigating his family’s finances with other countries outside of Russia.

The subpoena also suggests the investigation continues to evolve after recent reports that Mueller’s team is interested in an adviser to the United Arab Emirates, signaling a probe that Trump had hoped would end soon could carry on for months.

Mueller is investigating any possible connections between Moscow’s involvement in the 2016 election and Trump’s campaign and organization, as well as whether there were efforts to obstruct the federal investigation.

He has gotten guilty pleas from former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn; Richard Gates, a former campaign official and business associate of Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortManfort's defense team works to raise doubt among jurors Jury to begin deliberations Thursday on Manafort Top Senate Intel Dem: Trump compiling a 'Nixonian enemies list' MORE; and former Trump campaign staffer George Papadapoulos. Mueller has also brought charges against Manafort unrelated to his time on the campaign.

Last month, Mueller charged 13 Russians and three Russian organizations for seeking to sow discord in the election through a disinformation campaign that used social media platforms and other sophisticated strategies to insert themselves in U.S. affairs.

Trump has repeatedly described the investigation as a “witch hunt,” maintaining that there was no coordination or collusion between his campaign and Russia. 

It was reported earlier this month that Mueller has been asking witnesses about President TrumpDonald John TrumpGillibrand urges opposition to Kavanaugh: Fight for abortion rights 'is now or never' Trump claims tariffs on foreign nations will rescue US steel industry: report Bannon announces pro-Trump movie, operation team ahead of midterms: report MORE's business dealings in Russia, but this is the first reported case in which Mueller has asked for directly related documents.

The special counsel and Trump’s legal counsel are reportedly in negotiations about setting up an interview with the president.

Reports in January surfaced that Trump sought to cut off the head of the investigative probe by firing Mueller. He broached the topic with his White House legal counsel, Donald McGahnDonald (Don) F. McGahnNational Archives warns it can't fulfill Kavanaugh documents request until October Sanders told colleagues Giuliani interview left her in untenable position: report House Dems request info on White House probe of loans to Kushner family's business MORE, who threatened to quit if such a course of action was pursued, ultimately discouraging Trump from what would be a highly controversial ouster.

Jonathan Easley contributed to this story.