AMER­I­CANS AWAIT MUELLER’S NEXT STEP

WHITE HOUSE BRACES FOR TRUMP CAM­PAIGN PROBE TO FIRE UP AGAIN

Hindustan Times (Ranchi) - - Front Page - As­so­ci­ated Press let­ters@hin­dus­tan­times.com ■

WASHINGTON: The White House is brac­ing for the probe of Don­ald Trump’s pres­i­den­tial cam­paign to fire up again.

Trump’s ad­vis­ers are pri­vately ex­press­ing wor­ries that spe­cial coun­sel Robert Mueller, who’s been out of the news for the past month, has been stealth­ily com­pil­ing in­for­ma­tion and could soon is­sue new in­dict­ments or a damn­ing fi­nal re­port.

Trump al­tered the chain of com­mand above Mueller on Wed­nes­day, putting his work un­der the su­per­vi­sion of a Repub­li­can loy­al­ist who has been scep­ti­cal of the spe­cial coun­sel’s au­thor­ity and has mused ways to cur­tail his power.

But Trump and his aides are con­cerned about Mueller’s next move with the work that is com­plete, ac­cord­ing to a White House of­fi­cial and a Repub­li­can with close ties to the ad­min­is­tra­tion.

They in­sisted on anonymity to com­ment on con­ver­sa­tions they were not au­tho­rised to de­scribe.

Mueller lay low for the past month as vot­ers were mulling their choices for this week’s elec­tions.

But a flurry of ac­tiv­ity dur­ing his quiet pe­riod, in­clud­ing weeks of grand jury tes­ti­mony about Trump con­fi­dant Roger Stone, hinted at pub­lic de­vel­op­ments ahead as in­ves­ti­ga­tors move closer to ad­dress­ing key ques­tions un­der­pin­ning the spe­cial coun­sel in­quiry: Did Trump il­le­gally ob­struct the in­ves­ti­ga­tion? And did his cam­paign have ad­vance knowl­edge of il­le­gally hacked Demo­cratic emails?

Trump has told con­fi­dants he re­mains deeply an­noyed by the 18-month-old Mueller probe, believ­ing it is not just a “witch hunt” but an ex­pen­sive and lengthy neg­a­tive dis­trac­tion. The lat­est in­di­ca­tion of the fury came Wed­nes­day when he forced out his at­tor­ney gen­eral, Jeff Ses­sions, whose re­cusal opened the door to Mueller’s ap­point­ment.

To this point, Trump has heeded ad­vice not to di­rectly in­ter­fere, though a new chapter in the re­la­tion­ship with the probe may have be­gun with the ap­point­ment of Matthew Whi­taker as new act­ing at­tor­ney gen­eral.

AFP

■ Peo­ple at­tend a protest the day af­ter US At­tor­ney Gen­eral Jeff Ses­sions re­signed in Times Square, New York.

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