President Donald Trump hatched a plan inside the Oval Office with senior aides to carry out an undercover, below-the-belt campaign to discredit three senior FBI officials, according to an exclusive report from Foreign Policy magazine.
Trump launched the plan after he learned that those specific employees were likely to be witnesses against him in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
We’re also learning that’s the main reason Mueller is focusing almost exclusively on obstruction of justice charges against President Trump and is nearing the end of his investigation after having interviewed dozens of people close to the president. Politico magazine issued out a report, here. Trump is last on his last and that interview is reported to be going down within the next couple weeks.
Mueller has asked senior members of Trump’s administration indicating he believes Trump’s actions might represent an effort to intimidate government officials in order to keep them from testifying against him.
Trump first learned of the potential witnesses lining up against him from his former criminal defense attorney, John Dowd. While its customary for a defense attorney to alert him to such facts, it’s uncustomary and in fact, pretty darn illegal, for Trump to take that information and then try to obstruct testimony.
Per Foreign Policy:
“Since Dowd gave him that information, Trump — as well as his aides, surrogates, and some Republican members of Congress — has engaged in an unprecedented campaign to discredit specific senior bureau officials and the FBI as an institution.
The FBI officials Trump has targeted are Andrew McCabe, the (former) deputy FBI director and who was briefly acting FBI director after Comey’s firing; Jim Rybicki, Comey’s chief of staff and senior counselor; and James Baker, formerly the FBI’s general counsel. Those same three officials were first identified as possible corroborating witnesses. Comey confirmed in congressional testimony the following day that he confided in the three men.”
Right now, all the information of Trump’s actions against the three FBI officials hasn’t been made public, we only know what Trump has said publicly about the men.
What we do know, however, is that Trump reportedly asked FBI Director Wray for him to fire Andrew McCabe, but he said he’d rather resign than do so. If it’s found out that Trump wanted his resignation to keep him from testifying, well that’s going to make things much, much worse for President Trump. As we all know now, Trump had McCabe fired.
Trump said he’s “looking forward” to his interview with Mueller and would even do it under oath, but minutes after he made that announcement one of his lawyers said he was “speaking off the cuff,” and he wouldn’t be. Talk about the fastest flip-flop in political history.
Trump is likely posturing in front of the media to save face for declining to do it under oath, so he can say that he was merely “listening to the advice of my attorneys.”