US Justice Department’s Special Counsel Robert Mueller has interviewed two former advisers to President Donald Trump as investigators tighten the noose around the incumbent over his campaign’s alleged collusion with Russians in the 2016 presidential election.
Mark Corallo, former spokesman for President Trump’s legal team, and Trump’s former chief strategist, Steve Bannon, were interviewed as part of the extensive investigation into potential collusion between Russia and Trump’s team.
The Daily Beast reported Friday that Corallo, who stepped down from his position in July, reportedly spoke with Mueller’s team of investigators for more than two hours on Thursday.
He was reportedly planning on telling Mueller that White House communications director Hope Hicks might have been planning to obstruct justice.
The New York Times reported last month that Corallo planned to testify that Hicks told President Trump in a phone call that news of a 2016 meeting between Trump campaign staffers and a Russian lawyer in Trump Tower “will never get out.” The comment regarding the Trump Tower meeting sparked concerns that Hicks might be considering obstructing justice.
Trump Tower meeting
Author Michael Wolff wrote in his book “Fire and Fury” that Corallo quit over his concerns about a misleading statement that Trump helped to write about the meeting with a Russian lawyer held in Trump Tower that included Donald Trump Jr.
“Mark Corallo was instructed not to speak to the press, indeed not to even answer the phone,” Wolff wrote. “Later that week, Corallo, seeing no good outcome … quit.”
The meeting between the Russian lawyer and Trump Jr. is said to be the focal point of Mueller’s probe.
The Trump Tower meeting was where and when the collusion deal was reportedly closed.
In “Fire and Fury,” Wolff quoted Bannon as describing the Trump Tower meeting between the president’s son and a group of Russians during the 2016 election campaign as “treasonous” and “unpatriotic”.
Bannon, who left his job last August, was interviewed as well by Mueller behind closed doors on Thursday for at least the second time this week, according to media reports.
He met with Mueller for about 20 hours, according to the NBC report, which cited two sources familiar with the proceedings.
The Washington Post reported last month that Mueller is seeking to interview Trump about his decision to sack former national security adviser Michael Flynn and former FBI Director James Comey. Trump’s lawyers have advised him not to interview.
Both men have been linked to the alleged Russian collusion. Trump has repeatedly denied colluding with Russians in the election.