- The special counsel Robert Mueller has interviewed the White House press secretary, Sarah Sanders, as part of the Russia probe, CNN first reported.
- Sanders’ interview was one of the most recent ones conducted by Mueller’s team.
- Sanders joined Trump’s team after he took office.
- It’s unclear what she was asked about, but prosecutors have signalled an interest in the myriad conflicting public statements put out by Trump and his associates.
The special counsel Robert Mueller has interviewed Sarah Sanders, the White House press secretary, as part of the Russia investigation, CNN reported Friday.
“The President urged me, like he has everyone in the administration, to fully cooperate with the special counsel,” Sanders said in a statement to CNN. “I was happy to voluntarily sit down with them.”
Sanders’ was one of the most recent interviews Mueller’s team conducted, the report said. Sanders joined the Trump administration after he took office.
It’s unclear what she was asked about, but former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti wrote that one possible line of questioning could have gone to the heart of the special counsel’s investigation into whether the president sought to obstruct justice in the Russia investigation.
“If Trump directed Sanders to lie to the public, that would show consciousness of guilt even though lying to the public in and of itself is usually not a crime,” Mariotti tweeted.
Previous media reports have said that a key focus for Mueller in the obstruction probe is the myriad conflicting public statements put out by the president and those around him about events stemming from the Russia investigation.
That includes Trump’s role in dictating a false and misleading statement his son, Donald Trump Jr., put out in the summer of 2017 when it surfaced that he and other top campaign officials had met with two Kremlin-linked Russian lobbyists at Trump Tower in June 2016.
The initial statement said the meeting was about Russian adoptions and had nothing to do with campaign business. However, Trump Jr. had to amend the statement several times as more details spilled out and it surfaced that he accepted the meeting because one of the lobbyists, Natalia Veselnitskaya, had made an offer to provide dirt on the Hillary Clinton campaign.
Trump Jr. eventually released a chain of emails between himself and the British music publicist who arranged the meeting, in which the publicist told Trump Jr. the meeting was “part of Russia and its government’s support” for Trump’s candidacy.
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