White House aides -- including the president's daughter Ivanka Trump -- offered alibis to author Michael Wolff in a possible obstruction of justice case.
Wolff's new book, Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, includes some passages that could offer potentially "damning" evidence against the president in an obstruction case -- and shows how aides are already backing away, reported Axios.
The website quoted some excerpts from Wolff's book, whose publication Trump is trying to block, about the president's July 8 flight home from the G20 summit.
According to Wolff, the president personally dictated a statement aboard Air Force One on Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with a Russian attorney in response to a forthcoming report by the New York Times.
That story fell apart under scrutiny, and Trump Jr. eventually released emails showing he went into the meeting expecting damaging information about Hillary Clinton as part of Russian government efforts to elect his father.
Special counsel Robert Mueller is reportedly investigating whether those efforts to craft a misleading statement could be considered obstruction of justice -- and sources tried to paint themselves out of the picture as Wolff reported the incident.
"Ivanka, according to the later recollection of her team, would shortly leave the meeting, take a pill, and go to sleep," Wolff reported. "Jared (Kushner), in the telling of his team, might have been there, but he was 'not taking a pencil to anything.'"
"Nearby, in a small conference room watching the movie 'Fargo,'" Wolff reported, "were Dina Powell, Gary Cohn, Stephen Miller, and H. R. McMaster, all of whom would later insist that they were, however physically close to the unfolding crisis, removed from it."
Mark Corallo, the former spokesman for Trump's legal team, resigned July 20, and he reportedly told Wolff "that he believed the meeting on Air Force One represented a likely obstruction of justice."
Steve Bannon, former White House chief strategist and a major source for Wolff's book, said Trump Jr's meeting with Russian officials -- as well as brother-in-law Jared Kushner and then-campaign manager Paul Manafort -- showed horrendous judgment and potential criminal activity.
"The three senior guys in the campaign ... thought it was a good idea to meet with a foreign government inside Trump Tower in the conference room on the twenty-fifth floor — with no lawyers," Bannon told Wolff. "They didn't have any lawyers. Even if you thought that this was not treasonous, or unpatriotic, or bad sh*t, and I happen to think it's all of that, you should have called the FBI immediately."