Top federal intelligence officials are being interviewed by the office of special counsel Robert Mueller. A spokesman for President Trump’s private attorney says FBI leaks to the Washington Post about the investigation are “outrageous, inexcusable and illegal.”
Robert Mueller, the special counsel overseeing the investigation into Russia’s role in the 2016 election, is interviewing senior intelligence officials as part of a widening probe that now includes an examination of whether President Trump attempted to obstruct justice, the Washington Post reports. The move marks a major turning point in the nearly year-old FBI investigation, which has focused on Russian meddling during the presidential campaign and on whether there was any coordination between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin. Investigators have also been looking for any evidence of possible financial crimes among Trump associates.
Trump had received assurances from then-FBI Director James Comey starting in January that he was not personally under investigation. Officials say that changed shortly after Comey’s firing. Daniel Coats, director of national intelligence, Mike Rogers, head of the National Security Agency, and Rogers’s recently departed deputy, Richard Ledgett, agreed to be interviewed by Mueller’s investigators. It is unclear how many others have been questioned by the FBI. “The FBI leak of information regarding the president is outrageous, inexcusable and illegal,” said Mark Corallo, a spokesman for Trump’s private attorney, Marc Kasowitz. The obstruction-of-justice investigation of the president began after Comey was fired on May 9. Mueller’s office has taken up that work, and the preliminary interviews scheduled with intelligence officials indicate that his team is actively pursuing potential witnesses inside and outside the government. The interviews suggest that Mueller sees the question of attempted obstruction of justice as more than just a “he said, he said” dispute between the president and the fired FBI director.