WASHINGTON (CBSMiami) – Special Counsel Robert Mueller will soon interview top-level White House officials as part of his investigation into Russian interference in the U.S. election.
Meanwhile, new details have surfaced concerning members of the Trump family who met with Russians during the campaign.
Alexander Torshin is a Kremlin insider. As a deputy head of Russia’s Central Bank, he has ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin and reportedly has links to organized crime which is why his meeting with Donald Trump Jr. in May 2016, at the height of the presidential campaign, has gotten the attention of congressional investigators.
The two men were introduced during a dinner at a National Rifle Association Conference in Louisville, Kentucky. According to a CBS News source, Trump Jr. and Torshin discussed a “mutual interest in firearms.” The source did not recall if the campaign came up in conversation.
In a statement Alan Futerfas, an attorney representing the President’s son, said “they made small talk for a few minutes and went back to their separate meals.”
Ron Hosko, a former assistant director of the FBI, said meetings like this are typical of intelligence operations.
“The art of getting close to someone is ‘I give you opportunities, but I don’t make you uncomfortable, and I don’t have you push me away’,” he said.
Torshin had made overtures to the Trump campaign before.
Through an intermediary, a request for a meeting with candidate Trump made its way to top campaign officials, including Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner. Sources say Kushner recommended against the meeting.
Less than three weeks after the NRA event, both Trump Jr. and Kushner met at Trump Tower with a Russian lawyer with ties to the Kremlin. Trump Jr. had been promised, “dirt on Hillary Clinton.” That meeting is now a key focus in Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the election.
The Special Counsel’s Office has also been examing the firing of FBI Director James Comey and whether anyone, including the President, obstructed justice. It has asked the Justice Department to hand over documents pertaining to the firing as well as Attorney General Jeff Session’s decision to recuse himself from the Russia investigation.