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Mueller asked Trump about DNC hack, Trump Tower meeting, collusion

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robert mueller
The
special counsel Robert Mueller is focused on the DNC hack and the
June 2016 Trump Tower Russia meeting.

Ann Heisenfelt/Getty Images

  • The special counsel Robert Mueller focused on two key areas
    in his questions to President Donald Trump about potential
    Russian collusion.
  • Mueller asked Trump about the Russian government’s hack of
    the Democratic National Committee and whether he knew anything
    about it at the time.
  • Mueller also asked the president whether he knew at the time
    about a June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower between top campaign
    officials and two Russian lobbyists offering dirt on
    then-Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
  • The questions indicate Mueller is homing in on the pivotal
    time period between June and August 2016.

The special counsel Robert Mueller focused on two specific areas
in his questions to President Donald Trump about potential
collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, according to
Trump’s lead defense lawyer.

Rudy Giuliani told Axios on Wednesday
that Mueller asked about the Russian government’s hack of the
Democratic National Committee and then-Democratic nominee Hillary
Clinton’s campaign during the summer of 2016. He also reportedly
asked the president whether he knew at the time about a June 2016
meeting at Trump Tower between his son, Donald Trump Jr., and two
Russian lobbyists offering kompromat on the Clinton campaign.

Giuliani did not elaborate when asked about what specific
questions the special counsel asked Trump, and he did not
immediately respond to a request for comment from INSIDER. But
his revelations indicate Mueller is homing in, specifically, on
the period between June and August 2016, which was arguably the
most pivotal time in the 2016 campaign season.

Mueller has long been focused
on the Russian-backed
campaign
 to hack into the DNC and distribute
stolen emails via the Russia-linked hacker Guccifer 2.0 and the
radical pro-transparency group WikiLeaks
.

Trump has had no known contacts with WikiLeaks or Russians
connected to the hack. But as a candidate, he expressed support
for the group. He also famously made a public appeal directly to
Russia during a July 27, 2016 press conference, saying he hoped
they would be “able to find” the 33,000 emails Clinton deleted
from her private server.


Donald Trump and Donald Trump Jr.
Trump and Trump Jr. have
both faced questions about their involvement in the June 2016
Trump Tower meeting.

Mark Wilson/Getty
Images


Meanwhile, Trump Jr. and the longtime GOP strategist Roger Stone,
who was an informal adviser to the Trump campaign, were in direct
contact with WikiLeaks during the election.

Both Trump Jr. and Stone have reportedly worried in recent days
that they will soon be indicted by Mueller.

Trump Jr. arguably faces the most legal exposure from his
involvement in the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting, which he
attended with then campaign manager Paul Manafort and senior
adviser Jared Kushner. Manafort pleaded guilty to conspiracy and
obstruction earlier this year and is cooperating with Mueller.

When news of the meeting first surfaced last year, Trump Jr. said
it was focused on the issue of “Russian adoptions” — which is
related to the 2012 Magnitsky Act — and did not involve campaign
business.

Later, it emerged that Trump Jr. took the meeting after he was
offered dirt on Clinton, and that the meeting was pitched to him
as “part of Russia and its government’s support” for Trump’s
candidacy.

“I love it,” Trump Jr. replied when he first got the offer from
the British music publicist Rob Goldstone.


TrumpGetty/Somodevilla

Trump and his lawyers have said the president had no knowledge of
the meeting at the time.

But at least three Trump associates, including Giuliani, have hinted that he may know
more than he’s letting on about the meeting.

And in May, the Senate Judiciary Committee released testimony
from Trump Jr. and Goldstone that raised additional questions
about whether, and how much, Trump knew about the meeting in
advance.

In particular, observers have pointed to a series of phone calls
Trump Jr. made and received on June 6, after he got the offer.

Before taking the meeting, Trump Jr. told Goldstone he wanted to
make sure it was legitimate and “just speak to Emin [Agalarov]
first,” referring to the Russian pop star with whom Goldstone
worked and pitched the meeting on behalf of.

After talking to Goldstone, Trump Jr. got a phone call from
Russia that lasted a minute or two. Then, he was in contact with
a blocked number for three or four minutes. Immediately after
ending that call, Trump Jr. called Agalarov back and the two
spoke for a few minutes.

It’s unclear who Trump Jr. spoke to in between his calls to
Agalarov. But former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski
said Trump’s private residence at Trump Tower has a blocked
number.

In addition to questions about whether he knew about the meeting
itself, Trump is also under scrutiny for his role in “dictating”
an initially misleading statement Trump Jr. put out when news of
the meeting first emerged last July. Prosecutors have said that
if Trump knew the true purpose of the meeting and acted to
conceal it, it could add to Mueller’s growing obstruction case
against him.

Trump’s lawyers sent back their answers to Mueller’s first round
of questions on Tuesday.

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