President Donald Trump’s business dealing in Russia are being investigated by special counsel Robert Mueller under the suspicion that some of those contacts might have influenced Trump’s decision to launch presidential campaign in 2015.
According to CNN, Mueller’s team has reportedly asked witnesses recently about the timing of Trump’s decision to enter the presidential race, and whether the Russians may have compromising information on the president.
Mueller is leading one of the investigations into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential elections, as well as ties between Trump’s campaign associates and Moscow.
CNN reported that investigators have focused questioning in some instances on Trump’s trip to Moscow for a Miss Universe pageant in 2013.
Witnesses of the trip were asked about any meetings Trump had with Russian government officials as well as business leaders. Also, Mueller’s team has been investigating the failed efforts to brand a Trump Tower in Moscow.
Mueller’s timing at investigating Trump’s business dealings in Russia before the launch of his White House bid comes as the special counsel’s office and Trump’s team work out the details of a potential interview between the two sides, The Hill wrote.
Trump on several occasions said that he is willing to testify “under oath” with Mueller, but the president’s lawyers are postponing the interview all the time.
In order for Trump not to give any information that might lead to his indictment, his lawyers are limiting the verbal interview and are pushing for the president to be responding to Mueller’s questions in writing.
Trump regularly calls Mueller’s investigation a “witch hunt” and denies any collusion between his campaign and Russia.
Trump’s national security adviser Michael Flynn and former Trump campaign associates George Papadopoulos as well as Richard Gates have already pleaded guilty to Mueller’s charges.
As part of the special counsel investigation charges were filed against 13 Russian nationals and three Russian organizations for interfering in 2016 presidential election.