Mueller team asking about Trump's business dealings in Russia: report

Mueller team asking about Trump's business dealings in Russia: report

Special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE’s team has asked witnesses about President TrumpDonald John TrumpCoast Guard chief: 'Unacceptable' that service members must rely on food pantries, donations amid shutdown Dem lawmaker apologizes after saying it's never been legal in US to force people to work for free Grassley to hold drug pricing hearing MORE’s business dealings in Russia leading up to his decision to launch a presidential campaign in 2015, CNN reported late Tuesday.

Mueller’s team has reportedly asked witnesses recently about the timing of Trump’s decision to enter the presidential race, and whether the Russians may have compromising information on the president. 

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Mueller is investigating Moscow's meddling in the 2016 presidential election, including ties between Trump campaign associates and Russia.

Investigators have focused questioning in some instances on Trump’s trip to Moscow for a Miss Universe pageant in 2013, CNN reported. Witnesses were reportedly asked about meetings Trump had with Russian business leaders or government officials during that visit.

Another focus has been on failed efforts to brand a Trump Tower in Moscow, CNN reported. Negotiations for such a deal started in 2015, but were cut off in early 2016.

The report about Mueller's team asking witnesses about Trump's business dealings in Russia before the launch of his White House bid comes as the special counsel's office and Trump's team work out the details of a potential interview between the two sides.

Trump has publicly declared he'd be willing to testify "under oath" with Mueller, but the president's lawyers are reportedly hesitant to agree to such an arrangement.

Instead, Trump's attorneys are weighing options for an interview that will protect the president from potentially perjuring himself. Possibilities include a limited verbal interview or responding to Mueller's questions in writing.

Trump has repeatedly declared the federal Russia probe a “witch hunt” and has denied any collusion between his campaign and Russia.

Trump's national security adviser Michael Flynn and former Trump campaign associates George PapadopoulosGeorge Demetrios PapadopoulosHow the Clinton machine flooded the FBI with Trump-Russia dirt … until agents bit Barr: It would be a crime for president to pardon someone in exchange for their silence Press: What dirt does Putin have on Trump? MORE and Richard Gates have pleaded guilty as part of Mueller's investigation.

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortPavlich: Mueller’s indictment of the media Dem senator: 'Putin had something on' Trump which may account for 'plainly false' statements Debate builds over making Mueller report public MORE is facing numerous charges related to financial crimes relating to his work as a political agent in Ukraine.

Mueller also filed charges earlier this month against 13 Russian nationals and three Russian organizations for alleged interference in the 2016 race.

Updated: 9:05 p.m.