On the day after his first summit with Vladimir Putin, President Trump urged the media to “end its anti-Trump crusade”. Based on the progress made in Helsinki, US Special Counsel Robert Mueller is now in the final days of his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 US election.
Trump’s response was more or less self-serving: at one point he even went so far as to stress that “We need strength and we need toughness and we need loyalty”.
For the past 18 months, Mueller’s team has been focusing on two questions: whether President Trump colluded with Russia or obstructed justice. The investigation has entered a critical phase, now that Trump himself has been implicated in the investigation – though this is an extraordinarily unlikely scenario given how far the FBI has infiltrated his campaign, and how far Trump has co-operated with the investigation.
By late May, Mueller had amassed a large number of relevant documents, called a “document trove”, from the first 800 or so interviews conducted with current and former officials in the Trump administration and the campaign. The president’s flip-flop on cooperating with the investigation – he initially called it a “witch hunt” and ordered the dismissal of its head, James Comey – put the Mueller investigation on a trajectory that could well prevent the president from getting out of it in 2019.
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This story originally appeared on MuckReads, a project of the Center for Public Integrity.
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