On the eve of Thanksgiving, Donald Trump’s criminal defense lawyer Jay Sekulow released a bombshell statement about Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe as he departed the White House to vacation in Florida.
Sekulow told the Associated Press that President Trump had finally submitted written answers to Mueller’s team of prosecutors investigating the Russian election interference in 2016.
Donald Trump’s response to these questions is a significant milestone because it comes as multiple members of his inner circle of political advisors and family members have publicly said they expect to be indicted by Mueller, just days after a sealed indictment of Wikileaks founder and hacked email distributor Julian Assange leaked. But the President’s lawyer says that they won’t inform the public anything about what he told Mueller, the AP reports:
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“The president today answered written questions submitted by the special counsel’s office,” attorney Jay Sekulow said in a statement. “The questions presented dealt with issues regarding the Russia-related topics of the inquiry. The president responded in writing.”
Sekulow said in a follow-up message that the legal team would not release copies of the questions and answers or discuss correspondence with the special counsel’s office.
Sekulow’s statement confirms Politico‘s report yesterday that the Trump team had set a deadline of Thanksgiving to provide written statements about his and the campaign’s relationship with Russia.
The written answers are part of Trump’s compromise with Mueller’s team for him to avoid the issuance of a subpoena compelling him to testify under oath to the Washington DC grand jury overseeing indictments in the Russia probe.
Donald Trump could be charged with a felony crime under the false statements act for any materially false answers to this first round of questions by Mueller.
Special Counsel Mueller did not ask for Trump to answer questions about obstruction of justice, but a former top attorney at the FBI who worked closely with James Comey just hinted loudly how obviously Nixon-esque the President’s illegal interference with the Justice Department’s operations has become.
Tonight’s news that President Trump is the apparent target of a criminal investigation and committing to answering questions about suspected campaign crimes arrives 749 days after we first reported that the FBI announced it’s looking into the Trump campaign’s Russia ties during the 2016 election.
Here’s the AP’s initial announcement:
BREAKING: Lawyer: President Trump has turned over answers to written questions in the special counsel's Russia investigation.
— The Associated Press (@AP) November 20, 2018