Special counsel Robert Mueller issued subpoenas to the Trump Organization in recent weeks, asking the company to surrender a trove of documents relating to Russia and other topics at issue in the ongoing investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Though the breadth of the subpoenas isn’t yet clear, the development is another signal that Mueller will scrutinize President Donald Trump’s private business dealings. Trump has previously suggested he would fire the special counsel if the investigation implicated his sprawling business empire.
The New York Times reports the subpoenas were delivered several weeks ago, and may be connected to a broader probe of foreign financing of political activities during the election. The Trump Organization is the holding company for the president’s varied business interests.
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It’s unclear what the subpoenas could indicate. Though they might suggest the company is not cooperating with the investigation, one white collar lawyer explained subpoenas are often used to memorialize agreements between both parties as to the scope of an investigation, or to overcome confidentiality provisions in contracts.
One source familiar with the probe told Fox News that the company has been producing documents for Mueller and congressional investigators for weeks.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders declined to answer questions about the subpoenas during Thursday’s briefing.
The president has repeatedly denied having commercial ventures in Russia or with Russian entities, though the Times notes Trump signed a non-binding letter of intent to proceed with a construction project in Moscow in 2015.
The development could hinder the special counsel’s pursuit of an interview with Trump. The Wall Street Journal reported Mar. 9 that the president’s lawyers would make him available to Mueller if he agrees to end the Trump-related portions of his investigation by a certain date. A 60-day deadline has been suggested in this connection.
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