Explained: The Times' investigation into Donald Trump's war around him

President Donald Trump speaks at a signing ceremony at the White House in Washington. (Doug Mills / The New York Times)

Written by Eileen Sullivan

President Donald Trump has called the Russian investigation a hoax, witch hunt and false information. But since his tenure, Trump has tried to end the investigation over the possible coordination of his campaign with Russia in the 2016 presidential election, questioning whether these efforts were attempts to obstruct justice.

A study by The New York Times revealed that Trump was continually striving to undermine the many investigations that have affected his presidency. This includes seeking to derail federal law enforcement through targeted political appointments and a public campaign to discredit the investigation of Russia, led by the lawyer special Robert Mueller.

Here are some findings from The Times newspaper about the pressure from the Trump administration to protect the president from these investigations.

– Trump wanted to entrust a loyalist apparently in charge of a federal investigation in New York, a case related to the secret payments of his former personal lawyer.

After submitting his first Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, to a prolonged humiliation over Sessions' decision to recuse himself from the investigation of Russia and then dismiss him, Trump asked his acting Attorney General, Matthew Whitaker, if any of the presumed ally of the president could take control of the federal inquiry in New York involving him.

Whitaker, a loyalist who told people that his job was to protect the president, said no. The person Trump wanted, Geoffrey Berman, the US attorney in the southern district of New York, had already recused himself because of another conflict of interest.

Whitaker told his associates that his job was partly to "jump on a grenade" for the president, a comment that had not been reported yet. But there is no evidence that Whitaker has taken further steps to extract the vast investigation from career prosecutors at the Department of Justice. Whitaker told some associates that New York prosecutors needed "adult supervision".

– Trump's public attacks on Russia's investigation have shifted from a public relations strategy to a legal strategy.

The president's attack on investigators on Twitter and in public interviews has surpassed the usual criticism of him as a mosaic of efforts to undermine all aspects of the investigation. This includes attacking investigators, asking questions about the legitimacy of law enforcement investigative tools, and discrediting witnesses – most of whom were close allies, he said once.

The president praised the efforts of congressional Republican loyalists who opened an investigation and asked for details of the Justice Department's confidential inquiry procedures. A loyal member, second-term Florida Republican Matt Gaetz, led this campaign in July 2017, while he was killing an hour at an airport between two flights.

Trump's lawyers have appreciated the legislators' campaign to undermine American confidence in the FBI, the federal government's main law enforcement agency. And they particularly appreciated the fact that Trump was a persistent and public participant because, according to the lawyers, it is unlikely that he was part of a secret conspiracy.

Trump's public war against the investigations surrounding him has been prolonged enough to make it no longer shocking. Now, a review of the New York Times reveals the extent of an even more sustained and more secretive attack against the federal law enforcement apparatus. (Doug Mills / The New York Times)

– White House lawyers drafted a confidential memo citing misleading public statements following the dismissal of Michael Flynn, Trump's first national security advisor.

White House lawyers were concerned about the diversity of public accounts about the reasons for Flynn's sudden departure. Flynn resigned on February 13, 2017 after learning that he was in contact with Russia's ambassador to the United States at the end of 2016 and had discussed the Obama administration's recent sanctions. Flynn said he had resigned because he had "inadvertently" misled vice president Mike Pence and other senior White House officials about his discussions with the company. Ambassador of Russia.

The next day, the President and his advisers met at the Oval Office to discuss how to explain Flynn's departure. One of the councilmen mentioned in passing that the Speaker of the House at the time, the representative Paul Ryan, R-Wis., Told reporters that the president had asked Flynn to resign. Trump preferred this version to the explanations given by Flynn in his letter of resignation and asked his press officer at the time, Sean Spicer, to "tell" him when he informed the media.

– Trump believed to put an end to the investigation on Russia by turning Flynn.

At a luncheon with one of his longtime allies, Chris Christie, the former Republican governor of New Jersey, Trump said the dismissal from Flynn would end the investigation. on Russia.

"This thing in Russia is over now because I fired Flynn," said Trump, according to a new Christie book.

Christie did not agree with this assessment. "This Russian affair is far from over," said Christie to Trump. He replied: "What do you mean? Flynn met the Russians.It was the problem.I fired Flynn.It is over."

Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law and senior advisor, was also at lunch with Christie and watched the dismissal as his father-in-law. "It's true, Flynn's shooting puts an end to the situation all over Russia," said Kushner, according to Christie's book.

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