The White House lawyer brought in to deal with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election said he believed the focus of the probe was “narrow” and the aspects related to President Donald Trump should be completed before the end of the year.
The lawyer, Ty Cobb, who joined the White House staff on July 31, made the comments in interviews with Reuters on Tuesday and Wednesday. He declined to provide specifics backing his outlook, which contradicts media reports that the scope of Mueller’s probe is expanding and the views of several outside experts that the investigation is likely to continue well into 2018.
“I’d like to see the president out from under this by Thanksgiving, but certainly by year end,” Cobb said, adding that he would be “embarrassed” otherwise. “I think the relevant areas of inquiry by the special counsel are narrow.”
Mueller is investigating possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, among other matters. Moscow has denied interfering in the election and the president has denied collusion took place.
Cobb, who resigned from law firm Hogan Lovells to take the White House job, said he meets with or talks to Trump almost daily and interacts with Mueller’s team. Cobb said he could not discuss those communications.
As a White House lawyer, Cobb is in a different position than the president’s outside counsel John Dowd and Jay Sekulow. Cobb would not be able to assert attorney-client privilege to protect his conversations with Trump from a grand jury subpoena.
Peter Carr, a spokesman for Mueller, declined to comment on any timeline for the probe or which matters would fall under the special counsel’s aegis.
Trump has said he believes investigations of his and his family’s finances would be beyond the scope of Mueller’s probe. Mueller is reportedly already looking at Trump’s business dealings going back a decade.
Cobb said he believed Mueller’s 16-lawyer team was “appropriately focused” and understood “the urgency to the country and to the presidency” of finishing the probe as quickly as possible.
Several legal experts said Cobb’s timeline was unrealistic, noting similar probes have dragged on for years.
“I cannot imagine a universe in which the prosecutor’s office is giving the president a clean bill of health before Thanksgiving of this year,” said Andrew Wright, an associate White House counsel under President Barack Obama. “It’s a very complicated investigation.”
(Reporting by Karen Freifeld; Editing by Anthony Lin and Leslie Adler)
At least eight prison officials knew Epstein wasn’t supposed to be left alone — but they did it anyway: report
On Wednesday, the Washington Post reported that at least eight staffers at the Bureau of Prisons were aware that arrested hedge fund manager Jeffrey Epstein could be a risk to himself if left unsupervised — raising further questions about why exactly guards left him to his own devices on the night that he allegedly hanged himself.
Investigators reportedly believe that at least some of these officials were aware that he had been left alone. It is unclear why nobody intervened, and the Justice Department is continuing with its investigation. Attorney General William Barr recently ordered the removal of the acting director of the Bureau of Prisons.
Russian disqualified from Tango competition for punching his partner
A Russian participant in the World Tango Championships in Buenos Aires has been disqualified for violence towards his partner, the organizers said Wednesday.
The incident happened after the duo, a husband and wife, took part in the semi-final of the competition on Tuesday in the Argentine capital.
Organizers condemned the assault plus "assisted the victim and made the decision to disqualify the dancer," said a source with the Championships who declined to be named.
Officials did not name the couple in order "to preserve the identity of the victim who declined to file a complaint."
‘His mommy should have told him she loved him a little bit more’: CNN analyst eviscerates Trump over ‘chosen one’ comments’
On Wednesday's edition of CNN's "The Situation Room," analyst Gloria Borger laid into President Donald Trump for his bizarre press conference anointing himself "the chosen one."
"'I am the chosen one,' and that comes after the president re-tweeted a conspiracy theorist radio host who said that he is like the second coming," said host Brianna Keilar. "So what do you make of all of this?"
"I think maybe his mommy should have told him she loved him a little bit more," said Borger. "I don't know. It is hard — it is hard to know what to make of this. Some people will say, as Trump says, 'Oh, I was only joking when I said all of that stuff.' But the truth of the matter is that he does this all of the time, and talks about how wonderful he is, and if you recall during his speech at the convention when he talked about the problems the country was facing he was saying 'I alone can fix it.'"