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Where the investigations related to President Trump stand

U.S. President Donald Trump.   | Photo Credit: AFP

What’s this all about?

Special counsel Robert Mueller is looking into whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia and whether the president obstructed the investigation. Mr. Trump also plays a central role in a separate case in New York, where prosecutors have implicated him in a crime. They say Mr. Trump directed his personal lawyer Michael Cohen to make illegal hush-money payments to two women as a way to quash potential sex scandals during the campaign. New York prosecutors also are looking into Mr. Trump’s inaugural fund.

Congressional investigations also are swirling around the president. Democrats have launched a sweeping probe of Mr. Trump, an aggressive investigation that threatens to shadow the President through the 2020 election season.

What do I need to know right now?

The House voted unanimously on March 14 for a resolution calling for any final Mueller report to be made public, a symbolic action designed to pressure Attorney General William Barr into releasing as much information as possible when the probe is concluded.

The Democratic-backed resolution, which passed 420-0, comes as Mr. Mueller is nearing an end to his investigation. Lawmakers in both parties have maintained there will have to be some sort of public resolution when the report is done and privately hope that a report shows conclusions that are favourable to their own side.

It’s unclear exactly what documentation will be produced at the end of the probe, and how much of that the Justice Department will allow people to see. Mr. Mueller is required to submit a report to Mr. Barr, and then Mr. Barr can decide how much of that is released publicly.

Also Thursday — Mr. Mueller’s spokesman announced that Andrew Weissmann, one of the most prominent prosecutors on the case, would be concluding his work with the team “in the near future.”

And a Nov. 5 trial date was set for Mr. Trump confidant Roger Stone on charges he lied to Congress, engaged in witness tampering and obstructed a congressional investigation.

So ... Did the Trump campaign collude with Russia?

There is no smoking gun when it comes to the question of Russia collusion. But the evidence so far shows that a broad range of Trump associates had Russia-related contacts during the 2016 presidential campaign and transition period, and several lied about the communications.

There is evidence that some people in Mr. Trump’s orbit were discussing a possible email dump from WikiLeaks before it occurred. American intelligence agencies and Mr. Mueller have said Russia was the source of hacked material released by the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks during the campaign that was damaging to Democrat Hillary Clinton’s presidential effort.

Other questions to consider:

What about obstruction of justice? That is another unresolved question that Mueller is pursuing. Investigators have examined key episodes such as Mr. Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey and Mr. Trump’s fury over Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ recusal.

What does Mr. Trump have to say about all this? Mr. Trump has repeatedly slammed the Mueller investigation as a “witch hunt” and insisted there was “NO COLLUSION” with Russia. He also says Mr. Cohen lied to get a lighter sentence in New York.

When will it all wrap up? It’s unclear. Then-acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker said in January that the probe is “close to being completed,” the first official sign that Mr. Mueller’s investigation may be wrapping up. But he gave no specific timetable.


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Printable version | Jan 25, 2022 8:18:02 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/where-the-investigations-related-to-president-trump-stand/article26429259.ece

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