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Where the investigations related to President Trump stand

 

A look at where investigations related to President Donald Trump stand and what may lie ahead for him:

WHAT’S THIS ALL ABOUT?

Special counsel Robert Mueller is looking into whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia and whether the president obstructed the investigation. Trump also plays a central role in a separate case in New York, where prosecutors have implicated him in a crime. They say Trump directed his personal lawyer Michael Cohen to make illegal hush-money payments to two women as a way to quash potential sex scandals during the campaign. New York prosecutors also are looking into Trump’s inaugural fund.

WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW RIGHT NOW?

Cohen on Wednesday cast Trump as a racist and a con man who used his inner circle to cover up politically damaging allegations about sex, and lied throughout the 2016 election campaign about his business interests in Russia.

Cohen, who previously pleaded guilty to lying to Congress, told lawmakers that Trump had advance knowledge and embraced the news that emails damaging to Hillary Clinton would be released during the campaign. But he also said he had no “direct evidence” that Trump or his aides colluded with Russia to get him elected, the primary question of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

Cohen became the first Trump insider to pull back the curtain on a version of the inner workings of Trump’s political and business operations. He likened the president to a “mobster” who demanded blind loyalty from underlings and expected them to lie on his behalf to conceal information and protect him — even if it meant breaking the law.

“I am not protecting Mr. Trump anymore,” Cohen declared.SO … DID THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN COLLUDE WITH RUSSIA?

There is no smoking gun when it comes to the question of Russia collusion. But the evidence so far shows that a broad range of Trump associates had Russia-related contacts during the 2016 presidential campaign and transition period, and several lied about the communications.

There is evidence that some people in Trump’s orbit were discussing a possible email dump from WikiLeaks before it occurred. American intelligence agencies and Mueller have said Russia was the source of hacked material released by the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks during the campaign that was damaging to Democrat Hillary Clinton’s presidential effort

OTHER QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:

—WHAT ABOUT OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE? That is another unresolved question that Mueller is pursuing. Investigators have examined key episodes such as Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey and Trump’s fury over Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ recusal.

—WHAT DOES TRUMP HAVE TO SAY ABOUT ALL THIS? Trump has repeatedly slammed the Mueller investigation as a “witch hunt” and insisted there was “NO COLLUSION” with Russia. He also says Cohen lied to get a lighter sentence in New York.

—WHEN WILL IT ALL WRAP UP? It’s unclear. Then-acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker said late last month that the probe is “close to being completed,” the first official sign that Mueller’s investigation may be wrapping up. But he gave no specific timetable.

AP

28/2/2019

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