Mueller investigators question RNC staffers about work with Trump campaign

Jared Kushner, who helped lead the joint RNC-Trump campaign digital operation, recently hired a crisis PR firm

By Charlie May

Published December 27, 2017 5:11PM (EST)

Donald Trump; The Republican National Convention in Cleveland, July 18, 2016.  (Reuters/L.E. Baskow/Aaron Josefczyk/Photo montage by Salon)
Donald Trump; The Republican National Convention in Cleveland, July 18, 2016. (Reuters/L.E. Baskow/Aaron Josefczyk/Photo montage by Salon)

Although President Donald Trump and his attorneys have pressed special counsel Robert Mueller to begin drawing his investigation to a close, the Russia probe appears to be delving even deeper. Investigators have begun questioning Republican National Committee (RNC) staffers about the party's digital operation that worked with the Trump campaign and targeted voters in key swing states. The program was led by the president's son-in-law and senior White House adviser Jared Kushner.

RNC staffers who were involved with the digital operation have been scrutinized as part of an effort to determine its relationship with "the activities of Russian trolls and bots aimed at influencing the American electorate," two sources told Yahoo News. Kushner, who was in charge of the campaign's digital operation, has recently looked to hire a crisis public relations firm to deal with press inquiries "a step frequently taken by people who believe they may be facing criminal charges," Yahoo reported.

Trump's hope for Mueller to wrap up his ongoing probe was described as "fanciful" by one source, according to Yahoo. Mueller and his team have taken a deep dive into a plethora of new leads that include "interrogating new witnesses and collecting a mountain of new evidence, including subpoenaed bank records and thousands of emails from the campaign and the Trump transition."

The president, who spends hours watching cable TV each day, is likely to grow more irate with an investigation that could pour into future months, even years. Though Trump has recently said he's not considering firing Mueller, many have painted a bleak picture of what could happen if he chooses to. A situation that's eerily similar to former President Richard Nixon's firing of special prosecutor Archibald Cox, known as the Saturday night massacre.

"It will be cataclysmic," Richard Ben-Veniste, a former Watergate prosecutor, told Yahoo. "It will create a constitutional crisis."

Republican congressmen, media pundits and Trump officials have made repeated attempts to delegitimize Mueller and law enforcement officials within the FBI as of late. Republican lawmakers have also secretly sought to launch an investigation into the FBI and Justice Department officials determined to expose their perceived corrupt handling of the infamous Trump dossier that was financed by the Clinton campaign.

Charlie May

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