Lawyers from special counsel Robert Mueller approached the Senate intelligence committee this summer with a request: They wanted the transcript of an interview Senate staff had conducted with former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort. Unfortunately, Mueller’s legal team was blocked.
Lawyers for Manafort maintained that they had not authorized Mueller’s legal team to access the interview transcript, although Mueller’s attorneys say they had were given permission. This is one of the reasons the investigation into Russian election meddling and possible collusion with Trump associates is becoming more intense and challenging.
There are a total of three committees on Capitol Hill vying for information and witnesses, and there is almost no communication between them. But they are all intensifying their investigations. The next several months may be the most telling of the entire inquiry.
Those in charge of the Hill investigations believe that they can avoid conflicts with Mueller’s team, but they have different agendas. Mueller’s team is seeking to prosecute potential crimes, while the Capitol Hill committees are looking for collusion.
Mueller’s team has already used aggressive tactics, like obtaining evidence in a raid of Manafort’s home; a search warrant did not cover that raid. During that raid, Mueller’s investigators took documents considered to be covered by attorney-client privilege; sources told CNN.
Lawyers from the WilmerHale law firm, representing Manafort, warned Mueller’s team that their search warrant didn’t allow access to attorney information. The documents in question have now been returned, the sources say. The early morning raid raised questions about whether investigators have seen materials they weren’t entitled to obtain.
“You can’t unsee something,” one source said.
The special counsel’s team has mostly kept Congress out of the loop in the new developments of their investigation. And lawmakers from the Hill have moved forward with private witness interviews, including Donald Trump Jr., who will head to the Senate intelligence committee this month, sources indicate.
The multiple inquiries are complicating the investigations. After Manafort privately interviewed with the Senate intelligence committee in late July to discuss the 2016 meeting between Trump Jr. and Russian operatives. Mueller’s attorneys have not been able to get a copy of the interview transcript. Mueller’s lawyers and in disagreement with Manafort’s lawyers about whether or not permission was given for the special counsel to get the transcript of the testimony. Spokespersons from both parties refuse to comment on the conflict.
What do you think about the conflict between all of the committees and counsels investigating these issues with Russian operatives and Trump associates?