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Report: Donald Trump, Jr. concerned about possible Mueller indictment
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With the midterms over and Jeff Sessions out of a job, Robert Mueller’s investigation is back in the spotlight after weeks of quiet. And new indictments are expected soon, CBS reported Tuesday.
According to multiple outlets, Donald Trump Jr. is in a precarious position over whether he lied to investigators about his meeting with a Russian lawyer during the campaign. Vanity Fair quoted a White House official who is “very worried” about the president’s son, while Politico reported that Trump Jr. told friends he was worried about an indictment.
Trump Jr. worried about indictment
Trump Jr. testified last year that he never told his father about promises of “dirt” on Hillary Clinton from a Russian lawyer who he met with at Trump Tower during the campaign. Trump Jr. said that the meeting was a dead-end and no opposition research on Clinton came out of it.
Now, Trump Jr. “has told friends in recent weeks that he believes he could be indicted,” Politico reported, citing one of those friends.
The quotation came buried deep in an article about Trump’s 2020 re-election prospects amid speculation over the impact of the Mueller investigation as it reportedly is reaching its conclusion. Vanity Fair’s Gabriel Sherman also reported about Trump Jr.’s uncertain fate — the perjury charge could be over statements Trump Jr. made about whether he told his father beforehand about the meeting.
“I’m very worried about Don Jr.,” a West Wing official reportedly told Vanity Fair.
Trump Jr. denies rumors
But Trump Jr.’s lawyer Alan Futerfas told Vanity Fair on Wednesday, “there is absolutely no truth to these rumors.”
The rumors of Trump Jr.’s coming indictment have delighted the president’s critics, who are pouncing on the reports as evidence that the president’s oldest son was less than forthright about what came out of that meeting. Former Trump campaign official Rick Gates, who has been charged over the course of Mueller’s probe, is reportedly co-operating with Mueller and could testify against Trump Jr., Vanity Fair reported.
However, even if Trump Jr. were indicted, it’s unlikely to deliver the sort of dramatic evidence of collusion that Democrats hope for. “They’re all going to be for the same reason — they lied,” former Trump campaign adviser Barry Bennett told Politico. “I don’t think perjury charges are necessarily earth-shattering. Those are just personal errors.”
Family, associates targeted
Mueller’s investigation is once again grabbing headlines after a period of quiet that was dominated by Brett Kavanaugh, the migrant caravan, politically violent events including a pipe-bomb scare, and the midterm elections. As Trump faces the prospect of a divided Congress, there is speculation that Mueller will finish the investigation soon and that Trump family members and allies, including Trump Jr. and Roger Stone, could be facing indictments.
The possibility of indictments against members of Trump’s family reflects an often repeated criticism of the probe from Trump and his allies: that it has expanded into a vague, sprawling “Witch Hunt” investigation into his life and family with the sole purpose of removing him from power. Sessions’ replacement, acting attorney general Matthew Whitaker, has criticized the overly broad scope of Mueller’s investigation, which has already snagged several of Trump’s associates on criminal charges unrelated to collusion.
Trump’s decision to fire Sessions last week and appoint a critic of Mueller’s investigation to temporarily replace him sparked outrage on the left. But to Trump’s likely dismay, Whitaker reportedly told Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC). that Mueller’s probe will carry on like usual.
Trump launched a Twitter broadside against Mueller on Thursday, writing that his investigators “are screaming and shouting at people, horribly threatening them to come up with the answers they want” and “ruining lives.”
Of course, it’s entirely possible that the media is hyping up a big fat nothing burger. It wouldn’t be the first time.
But if the rumors are true, then it looks like the “Witch Hunt” is going after Trump’s family after all.
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