When an investigation starts questioning the principle players, you know they’re getting close to the main event. Anyone who’s read a good detective story knows that.
So it sounds like the Mueller investigation into the 2016 Trump campaign is focusing in on the people who are going to end up answering a lot of serious questions.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions was questioned for several hours last week as part of the special counsel investigation, the Justice Department confirmed Tuesday, making him the first member of President Trump’s cabinet to be interviewed in the inquiry.
The special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, is increasingly focused on Mr. Trump’s conduct in office and on whether he obstructed the investigation itself.
Mr. Mueller has also told the president’s lawyers that he will most likely want to interview Mr. Trump, and one person familiar with the discussions has said that the special counsel appeared most interested in asking questions about the firing of the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, and about the former national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn. Those topics show Mr. Mueller has an interest in whether the president tried to obstruct justice.
Mr. Mueller’s investigators have asked current and former Trump administration officials about what Mr. Trump cited as reasons for Mr. Comey’s firing, and why Mr. Trump was so concerned about having someone loyal to him oversee the Russia investigation, people familiar with the interviews said.
For Mr. Sessions, the interview was the latest in a balancing act that has lasted nearly a year. He has sought to get back in Mr. Trump’s good graces by pursuing investigations into issues like leaks to the news media and relaying Mr. Trump’s displeasure about senior F.B.I. leadership to the bureau’s current director, Christopher A. Wray.
But Mr. Sessions has also tried to present a veneer of independence in congressional testimony and now has met with investigators in Mr. Mueller’s inquiry, which has for months cast a shadow over the Trump White House.
Then we have this scoop from Axios:
Attorney General Jeff Sessions — at the public urging of President Donald Trump — has been pressuring FBI Director Christopher Wray to fire Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, but Wray threatened to resign if McCabe was removed, according to three sources with direct knowledge.
Throw in a little bit of witness intimidation…
Shortly after President Trump fired his FBI director in May, he summoned to the Oval Office the bureau’s acting director for a get-to-know-you meeting.
The two men exchanged pleasantries, but before long, Trump, according to several current and former U.S. officials, asked Andrew McCabe a pointed question: Whom did he vote for in the 2016 election?
McCabe said he didn’t vote, according to the officials, who, like others interviewed for this article, spoke on the condition of anonymity to talk candidly about a sensitive matter.
Trump, the officials said, also vented his anger at McCabe over the several hundred thousand dollars in donations that his wife, a Democrat, received for her failed 2015 Virginia state Senate bid from a political action committee controlled by a close friend of Hillary Clinton.
McCabe, 49, who had been FBI deputy director for a little more than a year when James B. Comey was fired, is at the center of much of the political jockeying surrounding the investigation into potential coordination between Trump associates and the Kremlin. He has for months been the subject of Trump’s ire, prompting angry tweets suggesting that the Russia probe is politically motivated by Democrats sore about losing the election.
And we end up here.
Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III is seeking to question President Trump in the coming weeks about his decisions to oust national security adviser Michael Flynn and FBI Director James B. Comey, according to two people familiar with his plans.
Trump has said all along that he thinks the Mueller investigation will be over soon. Hey, it could be, but not in the way he thinks.