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Big Russia/Trump news yesterday!  It looks like Mueller and Trump will be meeting!

Initial talks underway about Trump interview in Mueller Russia probe

Anticipating that special counsel Robert Mueller will ask to interview President Donald Trump, the president’s legal team is discussing a range of potential options for the format, including written responses to questions in lieu of a formal sit-down, according to three people familiar with the matter.

Lawyers for Trump have been discussing with FBI investigators a possible interview by the special counsel with the president as part of the inquiry into whether Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia during the 2016 election.

The discussions were described by one person with direct knowledge as preliminary and ongoing. Trump’s legal team is seeking clarification on whether the president would be interviewed directly by Mueller, as well as the legal standard for when a president can be interviewed, the location of a possible interview, the topics and the duration. 

indeed: Mueller indicates he will likely seek interview with Trump

Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III has raised the likelihood with President Trump’s legal team that his office will seek an interview with the president, triggering a discussion among his attorneys about how to avoid a sit-down encounter or set limits on such a session, according to two people familiar with the talks.

Mueller brought up the issue of interviewing Trump during a late December meeting with the president’s lawyers, John Dowd and Jay Sekulow. Mueller deputy James Quarles, who oversees the White House portion of the special counsel investigation, also attended.

The special counsel’s team could interview Trump very soon on some limited portion of questions — possibly within the next several weeks, according to a person close to the president who was granted anonymity to describe internal conversations.

If Trump lies during this interview, he will be guilty of a felony.

“If Trump lies during this interview, he will be guilty of a felony,” Andy Wright, a professor at Savannah Law School, told me.

And that could be a problem for Trump, as he already has trouble keeping his Russia-related comments in order.

For example, Trump originally said he fired former FBI Director James Comey because of a May 9, 2017, letter co-authored by Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein that advocated for Comey’s dismissal. But two days later, Trump told NBC News’s Lester Holt that he ousted Comey because of the Russia investigation.

Mueller already knows a lot. That could spell trouble for Trump.

Experts told me that if Mueller officially requests an interview with the president, it would suggest he feels he has a full grasp of the facts and wants to weigh what he already knows against what Trump says.

it looks like there will likely be a Trump interview in the future — and that would be one of the bigger developments in the Russia probe yet.

Trump is desperate to protect himself. But from what?

Why was President Trump so frantic to ensure that his attorney general would shield him against the inquiry into Russian meddling in the 2016 election?

For all the unsettling questions swirling about Trump in recent days, this may turn out to be the most important and, for the president, the most ominous. The more information that emerges about Trump’s mania to keep Jeff Sessions in control of the investigation and his fury when the attorney general chose to step aside, the more perilous the president’s legal situation appears.

 Mueller Recalls One Trump Tower Meeting Participant for Questioning

Special counsel Robert Mueller has recalled for questioning at least one participant in a June 2016 meeting between then-candidate Trump’s aides and a Kremlin-connected lawyer at Trump Tower, the Los Angeles Times reports. The identity of the person called back for further questioning has not been released, but the investigation’s renewed focus on the meeting is widely viewed as a sign Mueller is seeking to charge Trump or his aides with obstruction of justice. 

Democrats consider drastic step on Trump and Russia

Democrats can make it harder for Republicans to get away with this. Democrats need to ensure that the transcripts of testimony delivered to Congress by the co-founders of the firm that commissioned the so-called Steele Dossier are made public. Hardball procedural tactics toward this end do exist: A Democratic senator can try to make the transcripts public by reading them into the congressional record on the floor.

yesterday morning, two Democratic senators on the Judiciary Committee — Richard Blumenthal (Conn.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.) — sent a letter to GOP committee chair Charles Grassley demanding the release of the transcripts. A Democratic leadership aide tells me that if the GOP majority refuses, Democrats will escalate calls for the transcripts’ release in coming days.

This is the kind of thing that Democrats SHOULD be doing. They need to be fighting hard against the Republican obstruction.  Got a minute today (of course you do! ) call your Senators at (202) 224-3121.  If you have Republicans tell them they need to let this investigation run its course without muddying the waters.  If you have Democrats let them know that they need to FIGHT for this -— including strong arm tactics like reading the transcripts on the floor.  Let’s do this!

Bad News for Kushner and Trump

SEC Looks Into Kushner Cos. Over Use of EB-5 Program for Immigrant Investors

The Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating the real-estate company run by the family of President Donald Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner for its use of a federal investment-for-visa program known as EB-5, according to people familiar with the matter.

Why ‘executive time’ is a particularly bleak scoop about President Trump

the reason Swan’s scoop paints such a bleak picture of Trump is because it suggests he’s not particularly interested in the official duties of being president. Whatever you think about Trump’s policies or his fitness for the job, the job requires one to be fully engaged, to be processing information (preferably from sources other than cable news), and to always be, for lack of a better word, on. The idea that Trump doesn’t take his daily intelligence briefing until 11 a.m. is shocking just by itself. And whoever leaked his official schedules to Swan seems to be concerned that Trump just isn’t up to the job right now.

I was actually really heartened by the “exec time” story because it showed that there are still people on this inside who are concerned (despite what they tell the media) AND that they are still leaking.  That, in the end, is good news for our democracy.  Plus I plan to use the heck out of the phrase “execute time” in my own life ???? 

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