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Trump asked senior aides to describe interviews with Mueller

Trump asked senior aides to describe interviews with Mueller

Twice recently, President Trump has asked key witnesses in the Russian Federation investigation about their conversations with special counsel Robert Mueller, three sources tell the New York Times. He later told the president that the story was accurate and the president had asked him to ensure that Mueller was removed from his post, according to the Times.

In one instance, Trump told former White House staff secretary Rob Porter that counsel Donald McGahn should deny a Times article in January saying the president had asked McGhan to fire Mueller past year.

Priebus, according to the Times, told Trump that they had conducted themselves professionally.

McGahn, however, never released a statement to rebut the January 25 article, according to the Times.

In one instance, the president raised the idea of McGahn issuing a denial to a Times report that said he'd once asked him to fire Mueller.

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Both Priebus and McGahn declined to comment to the Times through their attorney, William Burck. While the conversations with the two - White House counsel Don McGahn and former chief of staff Reince Priebus - likely did not amount to witness tampering, experts told the Times, they are potentially problematic.

In addition to investigating Russia's involvement in the 2016 presidential election, Mueller is also looking to see whether Trump attempted to obstruct the investigation after he fired FBI Director James Comey last May.

Legal experts told The Times the incidents could lead Mueller to focus on possible interference and serve as evidence of obstruction.

Trump has repeatedly called the investigation a "witch hunt" and has insisted that it was the Democrats, rather than his campaign, that coordinated with the Russians during the election. Legal experts tell the Times the conversations probably don't meet the definition of witness tampering, but the paper notes that Trump appears to be ignoring advice from his lawyers that he should avoid appearing to interfere with Mueller's investigation into Russia's tampering with the 2016 USA presidential election.

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