We’ve entered the interesting Red Line Crossing phase of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling during the 2016 election. Mueller has issued a subpoena demanding the Trump Organization cough up documents including some “related to Russia,” The New York Times reported Thursday afternoon.
It’s the first known time Mueller demanded docs directly related to President Trump’s businesses, NYT noted, adding that the breadth of the subpoena is unclear. Also murky: why Mueller issued a subpoena rather than just ask for the docs from the umbrella organization that oversees Trump’s business ventures.
The subpoena was delivered “in recent weeks,” NYT reported. It orders the Trump Organization to hand over all documents related to Russia and other topics Mueller is probing, the newspaper said, citing unnamed sources.
In a recorded interview NYT did with Trump last July, he was asked whether he would consider it a “red line” if Mueller was looking at his finances and/or his family finances “unrelated to Russia.”
“I would say yeah, I would say yes,” Trump responded.
Report of the subpoena comes in a red-hot news cycle that has Trump attorneys trying to broker a deal for their client to testify before the investigation, and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein continuing to insist no grounds exist for sacking Mueller.
NYT report also comes same day Treasury Department finally saw fit to slap new sanctions on 24 Russian entities and individuals for interfering in the 2016 election. Maybe not coincidentally, those sanctioned included all parties who had been named in Mueller indictment last month, saying they participated in a campaign to use online trolls to mess with the 2016 election.
“The administration is confronting and countering malign Russian cyber activity, including their attempted interference in U.S. elections, destructive cyberattacks, and intrusions targeting critical infrastructure,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said – un-ironically.