Prosecutors Pressure Trump Aides to Testify in Documents Case
A top aide to President Donald Trump told federal prosecutors last week that the president is not under investigation, but that his team was preparing to cooperate with prosecutors to avoid damaging stories while trying to comply with a subpoena, according to people familiar with the conversations.
And a top Republican congressional aide said the president’s legal team asked the White House counsel’s office for advice about whether Trump could shield him from testimony by turning him over to the grand jury.
That aide, congressional sources familiar with the conversations, said the lawyers were concerned that Trump, who has shown no apparent concern about being investigated, may cooperate in the case to avoid damaging stories and the grand jury could issue a subpoena to obtain his testimony.
Prosecutors also are reviewing the attorney work product of Trump’s team to determine whether his lawyers had any information protected by attorney-client privilege or other privileges, and are preparing to subpoena those documents, the sources said.
The grand jury is in the middle of its investigation, but prosecutors are reviewing Trump’s team’s legal and ethical guidelines after the subpoenas were issued, the sources said.
The president’s team has denied wrongdoing, and in a Sunday tweet he said the lawyers represented him “in good faith” and in the past had been given “subpoenas.”
The people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak on the record, said Trump’s counsel were working with White House lawyers to prepare a letter to the grand jury that could protect the president by not disclosing his legal advice.
Trump is set to appear before the grand jury on Aug. 8.
The sources said the special counsel investigation is examining whether Trump, and those around him, obstructed justice by trying to influence the election, and are looking into whether there was any collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow.
The special counsel is also eyeing whether Trump, or the people around him, obstructed justice after he fired FBI Director James Comey and demanded that the sacked FBI chief appear before the grand jury.
The sources said the president has told his lawyers that the legal advice he gave to his aides was legally adequate and did not constitute an obstruction of justice offense.