As the world salivates over the juicy details that author Michael Wolff has compiled in his book about the Trump White House, The New York Times proves its own journalistic chops with a blockbuster revelation that could play a big part in Robert Mueller’s investigation of the Trump-Russia connection and, more importantly, of the accusations of obstruction of justice being made against the President.
In an article today, the Times details Trumps efforts to prevent Attorney General Jeff Sessions from recusing himself from the investigation but overlooked by many readers is a detail that could prove particularly damaging to the President as he attempts to fight off accusations of obstruction in his firing of former FBI Director James Comey.
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White House officials have long maintained that Trump’s initial draft of the letter firing Comey, the one he put together with his unctuous aide Stephen Miller before more reasoned White House staffers prevented them from sending it, contained no references to Russia or the FBI’s investigation of collusion. The New York Times, however, quotes two people who actually read that first draft as saying that the very first sentence of the letter stated that “the Russia investigation had been ‘fabricated and politically motivated.’”
Given that Trump himself admitted in his own words in an interview with NBC’s Lester Holt that the Russia investigation was his primary motivation in firing Comey, subsequent denials have rung particularly hollow. The latest disclosure of the true contents of the letter he never sent show the real reason that his aides and lawyers convinced him to funnel Comey’s dismissal through Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who eventually sent his own letter firing the FBI DIrector.
The news that the original draft of the letter written by Trump and Miller was read by at least two people willing to characterize its contents as the opposite of what the White House officials are claiming raises the question as to what has been already revealed to Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller and what documents he may already have in his possession. If the letter was circulating amongst White House staff, there’s bound to be a copy somewhere, and if Mueller doesn’t have it yet, there may be a legal showdown if he decides that he wants to subpoena any documents that the White House will surely claim as privileged materials.