Where do investigations related to Trump stand? Here’s a quick overview
Where investigations related to U.S. President Donald Trump stand and what may lie ahead for him:
What’s it all about?
Special counsel Robert Mueller is looking into whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia and whether the president obstructed the investigation. Trump also plays a central role in a separate case in New York, where prosecutors have implicated him in a crime. They say Trump directed his personal lawyer Michael Cohen to make illegal hush-money payments to two women as a way to quash potential sex scandals during the campaign. New York prosecutors also are looking into Trump’s inaugural fund.
What do I need to know right now?
President Donald Trump lashed out at key officials involved in the Russia probe, namely former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and the current deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein.
In an interview with CBS’ “60 Minutes” that aired Sunday, McCabe described Rosenstein as having raised the prospect of invoking the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office.
WATCH: Matt Whitaker suggest Mueller probe ‘close to being completed’
Trump tweeted Monday that McCabe and Rosenstein “look like they were planning a very illegal act, and got caught.” He also wrote: “This was the illegal and treasonous ‘insurance policy’ in full action!”
Rosenstein issued a denial of McCabe’s account last year. He said any suggestion that he had ever advocated for the removal of the president “is absolutely false.”
McCabe was fired last year by the FBI. On Monday, a Justice Department said Rosenstein was expected to leave his position in mid-March. His departure had been anticipated with the confirmation of William Barr as attorney general.
So, did the Trump campaign collude with Russia?
There is no smoking gun when it comes to the question of Russia collusion. But the evidence so far shows that a broad range of Trump associates had Russia-related contacts during the 2016 presidential campaign and transition period, and several lied about the communication.
There is evidence that some people in Trump’s orbit were discussing a possible email dump from WikiLeaks before it occurred. American intelligence agencies and Mueller have said Russia was the source of hacked material released by the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks during the campaign that was damaging to Democrat Hillary Clinton’s presidential effort.
WATCH: Trump on Mueller investigation — ‘I think it’s all turning around very nicely’
Other questions to consider
What about obstruction of justice? That is another unresolved question that Mueller is pursuing. Investigators have examined key episodes such as Trump’s firing of Comey and Trump’s fury over Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ recusal.
What does Trump have to say about all of this? Trump has repeatedly slammed the Mueller investigation as a “witch hunt” and insisted there was “NO COLLUSION” with Russia. He also says his former lawyer Cohen lied to get a lighter sentence in New York.
When will it wrap up? It’s unclear. Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker said late last month that the probe is “close to being completed,” the first official sign that Mueller’s investigation may be wrapping up. But he gave no specific timetable.
© 2019 The Canadian Press