Mueller subpoenas Trump organization, demanding documents about Russian Federation

Pauline Gross
March 17, 2018

Special counsel Robert Mueller's decision to subpoena records from the Trump Organization was a strong message that means he's "ratcheting up the pressure", Harvard Law professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz said Friday.

Mueller has demanded documents from the organisation, including some related to Russia, The New York Times reported on Thursday, citing two people briefed on the matter.

Trump Organization lawyers brushed off stories published on Thursday that Robert Mueller's prosecutors had secured a grand jury subpoena for documents from the company.

The Times reporters try to create something out of nothing here: "The Trump Organization has said that it never had real estate holdings in Russian Federation, but witnesses recently interviewed by Mr. Mueller have been asked about a possible real estate deal in Moscow".

Is this the action that moves him to try to end the investigation?

According to the Times, the subpoena comes amid indications that Mueller may be examining whether foreign money helped fund Trump's political activities.

The request occurred in "recent weeks", according to the Times.

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Meanwhile, Dershowitz pointed out that Trump has established red lines in the case, and that he would not cooperate if the probe reached into one about his personal family finances. It will certainly be interesting to see where this leads.

Trump enthusiastically praised the draft Republican report, telling reporters Tuesday morning that the White House is "very, very happy" with the GOP conclusions.

The New York Times also noted that emails between longtime Trump business associate Felix Sater and Trump's lawyer Michael Cohen show the former bragging about his ties to Russian Federation. "I don't make money from Russia", Trump told the Times during the interview a year ago. Trump signed a nonbinding letter of intent for the project in 2015 and discussed it at least three times with Cohen.

The memo stated that congressional investigators had - among many open questions - not yet determined whether Trump campaign officials had received advanced knowledge of or access to emails that had been hacked by Russians from the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton's campaign. James Dodson, a longtime golf writer from North Carolina, said offhand in a radio interview that Eric Trump, who oversees the golf courses for the Trump Organization, told him in 2013 that the Trumps relied on Russian investors to back their golf clubs.

Mueller has had similar negotiations over records, including some that involve subpoenas, with dozens of attorneys, companies and people involved in the investigation.

Mueller was appointed in May to investigate whether Trump's campaign colluded with the Russians to influence the 2016 presidential election and any other matters that may arise from the inquiry.

A month before Trump responded to the "red line" question, the White House counsel, Don McGahn, threatened to quit after Trump asked him to have Mueller fired because the president believed he had conflict-of-interest issues that precluded him from running the special counsel investigation. Schiff on Tuesday released a 22-page report detailing threads that Democrats still believe the committee should pursue and witnesses they still want to hear from.

Other reports by GizPress

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