Former member of Trump legal team to tell Special Counsel In Russia investigation of obstruction concerns stemming from previously undisclosed phone call with POTUS on the line. Read our @NYTimes exclusive here: https://t.co/TmU3A3aHHp
— Jo Becker (@Jo_Becker) February 1, 2018
Aboard Air Force One on a flight home from Europe last July, President Trump and his advisers raced to cobble together a news release about a mysterious meeting at Trump Tower the previous summer between Russians and top Trump campaign officials. Rather than acknowledge the meeting’s intended purpose — to obtain political dirt about Hillary Clinton from the Russian government — the statement instead described the meeting as being about an obscure Russian adoption policy.
The statement, released in response to questions from The New York Times about the meeting, has become a focus of the inquiry by Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election. Prosecutors working for Mr. Mueller in recent months have questioned numerous White House officials about how the release came together — and about how directly Mr. Trump oversaw the process. Mr. Mueller’s team recently notified Mr. Trump’s lawyers that the Air Force One statement is one of about a dozen subjects that prosecutors want to discuss in a face-to-face interview of Mr. Trump that is still being negotiated…
What is already clear is that, as Mr. Trump’s aides and family members tried over 48 hours to manage one of the most consequential crises of the young administration, the situation quickly degenerated into something of a circular firing squad. They protected their own interests, shifted blame and potentially left themselves — and the president — legally vulnerable.
The latest witness to be called for an interview about the episode was Mark Corallo, who served as a spokesman for Mr. Trump’s legal team before resigning in July. Mr. Corallo received an interview request last week from the special counsel and has agreed to the interview, according to three people with knowledge of the request.
Mr. Corallo is planning to tell Mr. Mueller about a previously undisclosed conference call with Mr. Trump and Hope Hicks, the White House communications director, according to the three people. Mr. Corallo planned to tell investigators that Ms. Hicks said during the call that emails written by Donald Trump Jr. before the Trump Tower meeting — in which the younger Mr. Trump said he was eager to receive political dirt about Mrs. Clinton from the Russians — “will never get out.” That left Mr. Corallo with concerns that Ms. Hicks could be contemplating obstructing justice, the people said.
In a statement on Wednesday, a lawyer for Ms. Hicks strongly denied Mr. Corallo’s allegations…
The sourcing in here is something else. All the rats are jumping off the ship. https://t.co/RY7mXXvhnU
— Matthew Miller (@matthewamiller) February 1, 2018
Note: Corallo was a spokesman for Trump's legal team. He was not Trump's attorney.
Corallo allegedly quit after the infamous flight where Trump dictated Jr's false statement about the Trump Tower-Russia meeting fearing he was witnessing obstruction of justice. https://t.co/iZkn0C3izw
— The Hoarse Whisperer (@HoarseWisperer) January 31, 2018