Two developments on Mueller Friday this week, first, the White House confirms to CNN that WH press secretary Sarah Sanders has submitted to an extensive interview by the Mueller team.
Special counsel Robert Mueller's team has interviewed White House press secretary Sarah Sanders, she told CNN on Friday.
"The President urged me, like he has everyone in the administration, to fully cooperate with the special counsel. I was happy to voluntarily sit down with them," Sanders said in response to a question from CNN.
The interview is one of the final known interviews by Mueller's team. It came around the same time as the special counsel interviewed former White House chief of staff John Kelly, well after a number of other senior officials, including former White House communications director Hope Hicks and former press secretary Sean Spicer, were brought in for questioning.
The White House did not immediately agree to grant the special counsel an interview with Sanders, according to one of the sources. Similarly, as CNN reported in December, White House lawyers initially objected to Mueller's request to interview Kelly, who ultimately responded to a narrow set of questions from special counsel investigators.
While the substance of the interview with Sanders is unclear, one likely area of interest was how Sanders composed statements she made on the podium defending the President regarding the Russia investigation.
As Mueller wraps up his Russia probe, one focus of investigators has been conflicting public statements by President Donald Trump and his team that could be seen as an effort to obstruct justice, according to people familiar with the investigation.
CNN reported last month that prosecutors appear to be examining Trump's public statements to determine whether anyone sought to influence other witnesses and cause other administration and former campaign officials to make false public statements.
Once again, what did Trump know and when did his Mouth of Sauron know it? And speaking of mouths, a federal judge has corralled Roger Stone in order to keep his mouth shut.
A federal judge on Friday ordered Roger Stone, his attorneys and the special counsel’s office to halt all public commentary about the case involving charges that the longtime Donald Trump associate lied to Congress and obstructed its Russia investigation.
In a four-page order, U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson sided with Mueller that Stone and his attorneys “must refrain from making statements to the media or in public settings that pose a substantial likelihood of material prejudice to this case.”
The judge also ordered Stone, his lawyers and potential witnesses from commenting to the press as they enter or exit the Washington, D.C., courthouse, where Stone is on track to go to trial later this summer or fall amid intense media scrutiny.
A gag order in Stone’s case was long expected. Jackson, an appointee of President Barack Obama, slapped similar restraints in the fall of 2017 on Paul Manafort, his longtime business partner Rick Gates and their attorneys just days after they were initially indicted in the Mueller probe.
For Stone, the gag order was more a matter of when, and not if. The longtime GOP campaign operative and frequent TV commentator who hosts his own daily webcast has been on a media blitz since his indictment last month. He called into the conspiracy theory website InfoWars to give his first interview following his arrest.
This is for more Stone's protection than America's. The guy is likely to Manafort himself right into prison if he keeps talking.
Someone I bet he will anyway. Guys like Stone can't help themselves.