In the wake of Michael Wolff’s publication of Steve Bannon’s insistence that Donald Trump met with the attendees at the June 9, 2016 Trump Tower meeting, we got word that Bannon — who claims never to have interviewed with Robert Mueller’s team — has hired the same lawyer representing Reince Priebus and Don McGahn for an interview this week with the House Intelligence Committee.
Two sources tell us Burck is helping Bannon prepare for an interview with the House intelligence committee, which is currently scheduled for next week. Sources also said Bannon plans to “fully cooperate” with investigators.
Burck also represents White House Counsel Don McGahn and former Chief of Staff Reince Priebus for the purposes of the Russia probe, as Law360 reported last September.
It is not unheard of for one attorney to represent more than one client on the same matter. But the fact that several key players with Trump administration ties have the same lawyer could irk investigators.
Then, yesterday, news broke that Corey Lewandowski will interview with HPSCI this week. He, too, claims he has never interviewed with Mueller’s team.
Former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski says that he has yet to be contacted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller as part of the ongoing Russia investigation.
Lewandowski, who was interviewed by WABC’s Rita Cosby on Sunday, also confirmed reports that he will be interviewed on either Wednesday or Thursday by the House Intelligence Committee as part of its Russia probe.
“I have nothing to hide. I didn’t collude or cooperate or coordinate with any Russian, Russian agency, Russian government or anybody else, to try and impact this election,” Lewandowski says he plans to tell the House panel.
Daily Caller is right — it’s odd that Mueller hasn’t interviewed Lewandowski, given that he had these critically timed interactions with George Papadopoulos.
April 27: Papadopoulos to Corey Lewandowski
“to discuss Russia’s interest in hosting Mr. Trump. Have been receiving a lot of calls over the last month about Putin wanting to host him and the team when the time is right.”
April 27: Papadopoulos authored speech that he tells Timofeev is “the signal to meet”
May 4, Papadopoulos to Lewandowski (forwarding Timofeev email):
“What do you think? Is this something we want to move forward with?”
May 14, Papadopoulos to Lewandowski:
“Russian govemment ha[s] also relayed to me that they are interested in hostingMr. Trump.”
June 19: Papadopoulos to Lewandowski
“New message from Russia”: “The Russian ministry of foreign affairs messaged and said that if Mr. Trump is unable to make it to Russia, if a campaign rep (me or someone else) can make it for meetings? I am willing to make the trip off the record if it’s in the interest of Mr. Trump and the campaign to meet specific people.”
The decision to call two key Trump people whom Mueller hasn’t met happens in the wake of events that haven’t gotten sufficient attention. On January 3, Rod Rosenstein and Christopher Wray met with Paul Ryan to request that he limit the documents Nunes had requested from FBI. Ryan backed Nunes, which led Rosenstein and Wray to agree to show a bunch of highly sensitive documents to HPSCI investigators, as well as agree to interviews with the FBI and DOJ people who had either touched the Steele dossier or been witnesses to Jim Comey’s claims that Trump demanded loyalty from him.
At Wednesday’s meeting — initiated at Rosenstein’s request — Rosenstein and Wray tried to gauge where they stood with the House speaker in light of the looming potential contempt of Congress showdown and Nunes’ outstanding subpoena demands, sources said. CNN is told the discussion did not involve details of the separate Russia investigation being led by special counsel Robert Mueller.
While Ryan had already been in contact with Rosenstein for months about the dispute over documents, Rosenstein and Wray wanted to make one last effort to persuade him to support their position. The documents in dispute were mostly FBI investigative documents that are considered law enforcement sensitive and are rarely released or shared outside the bureau.
During the meeting, however, it became clear that Ryan wasn’t moved and the officials wouldn’t have his support if they proceeded to resist Nunes’ remaining highly classified requests, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the meeting.
Sources also told CNN that the Justice Department and the FBI also had learned recently that the White House wasn’t going to assert executive privilege or otherwise intervene to try to stop Nunes.
The focus on all the reporting has been on the dossier; indeed, one of CNN’s sources says Mueller’s investigation didn’t come up. It’s not clear that makes sense, given the implication that Trump might claim executive privilege over something being discussed, unless the privilege claim pertained to the two-page summary of the dossier given to him and Obama.
Moreover, the letter memorializing what Nunes forced Rosenstein and Wray to give up suggests the discussion involved all “investigative documents that relate to the Committee’s investigations into (a) Russian involvement in the 2016 Presidential election,” as well as its efforts to find evidence of politicization at DOJ.
As agreed, designated Committee investigators and staff will be provided access to all remaining investigative documents, in unredacted form, for review at DOJ on Friday, January 5, 2018. The documents to be reviewed will include all FBI Form-1023s and all remaining FBI Form FD-302s responsive to the Committee’s August 24, 2017 subpoenas. The only agreed-upon exception pertains to a single FD-302, which, due to national security interests, will be shown separately by Director Wray to myself and my senior investigators during the week of January 8, 2018.
You further confirmed that there are no other extant investigative documents that relate to the Committee’s investigations into (a) Russian involvement in the 2016 Presidential election or (b) other investigatory documents germane to the Committee’s investigations regardless of form and/or title. If, somehow, “new” or “other” responsive documents are discovered, as discussed, you will notify me immediately and allow my senior investigators to review them shortly thereafter.
It was further agreed that all documents made available to the Committee will also be available for review by the minority Ranking Member and designated staff.
If that’s right — if the document requests pertain to both the Steele dossier and the Mueller investigation, then on January 5, HPSCI would have been able to determine everyone who had been interviewed and what they had said (which is a good way to ensure that witnesses not cooperate with Mueller). And last week, Nunes, would have been able to review a 302 (the forms FBI uses to report their interviews with witnesses) that, for some reason, was even more sensitive than the FISA orders and confidential human source reports they had reviewed the previous Friday. From his language, it’s not clear whether Adam Schiff would have been included in that review.
Last Wednesday, Wray and Rosenstein gave briefings to Adam Schiff, reportedly by himself, and Richard Burr and Mark Warner together. If Schiff wasn’t included in the review of that 302, then that may explain what the briefing pertained to.
Just last month, Nunes was digging in and refusing to let Democrats call obvious witnesses. So the news that HPSCI will interview two key Trump people with whom Mueller has not yet met makes it clear — if it wasn’t already — that Nunes is trying to identify everything that Mueller might learn, so that he can then give Trump a clean bill of health and insist the entire investigation was just a political stunt drummed up from the Steele dossier (which is what Paul Manafort seems to have recommended last year).
And as all these machinations have gone on, Trump has vacillated about whether or not he’ll submit to an interview with Mueller. Perhaps Nunes has told him that the one thing that might make Mueller’s case is either a confirmation or denial from the President whether he knew or attended that June 9 meeting?