Russian 'meddling' in US poll: Trump still not ‘criminal target’; Dutch attorney gets jail
US Special Counsel Robert Mueller informed the attorneys of President Donald Trump in March that he was still probing the latter in connection with Russia's alleged interference in the 2016 presidential election but did not consider Trump as a criminal target "at this point", a report published in Washington Post said.
Mueller called Trump as a subject of investigation during private negotiations for a possible presidential interview early last month, the Post said, citing three unnamed people who had the knowledge about the discussions. The president's attorney Jay Sekulow and former attorney John Dowd reportedly avoided an immediate response for comment.
The newspaper report said that Mueller spoke about the necessity to interview the president to understand whether he really harboured a serious intent to obstruct the Russia probe. The takes on Mueller's words are different though. While the president and his close ones have interpreted Mueller's statement as an assurance of his protection against law, others think Mueller was purposely enticing Trump to come out for an interview that could potentially land him in a bigger trouble.
Trump has consistently denied any links between his presidential campaign and Russia and even called Mueller's investigation a witch hunt.
Dutch attorney faces law
However, although Trump still managed a benefit of doubt, Dutch attorney Alex van der Zwaan who evaded truth while speaking to federal agents probing Trump's former campaign head Paul Manafort was sent to a month in jail and also asked to pay a fine of $20,000. He became the first man to get a punishment in connection to Mueller's Russia probe.
Thirty-three-year-old Zwaan's attorney had sought that he pay a fine and leave the country but US district judge Amy Berman Jackson said serving a prison term was important to set a precedent for others who were charged with lying in serious matter like meddling another country's national election.