The US House of Representatives is probing whether President Donald Trump lied in his written testimony submitted to then US Special Counsel Robert Mueller as part of the now-completed federal investigation into Russian meddling, CNN reported.
The House’s general counsel told a federal court in Washington on Monday that legislators were examining whether Trump’s written answers to federal investigators were untruthful, CNN reported.
“Did the President lie? Was the President not truthful in his responses to the Mueller investigation?” House general counsel Douglas Letter told the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in justifying why access to grand jury documents collected by Mueller were relevant to the House, according to CNN.
While Mueller repeatedly sought to interview Trump during the course of the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 US election, the president continually refused.
Trump eventually provided written answers on some Russia-related topics.
Mueller, in the 450-page report released in April, said he thought he had the legal authority to order Trump to testify before a grand jury, but he decided not to take that course, due to the “substantial delay that such an investigative step would likely produce at a late stage in our investigation”.
In the heavily redacted report, Mueller did not conclude whether Trump had committed obstruction of justice as investigators looked into whether the president or his allies had a role in the Russian meddling. The report did not exonerate the president of the obstruction allegations either.
Attorney General William Barr subsequently concluded that Trump had not broken the law, but told a news conference that Mueller had detailed “10 episodes involving the president and discusses potential legal theories for connecting these actions to elements of an obstruction offence”.
In answering the most central question of the investigation, if Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia in the meddling, Mueller wrote he had “identified numerous links between individuals with ties to the Russian government and individuals associated with the Trump Campaign” but “the evidence was not sufficient to support criminal charges”.
The president’s legal team hailed the report as “a total victory”.
The House is currently conducting a separate impeachment investigation centring on whether Trump sought the help of a foreign government, Ukraine, for his personal political gain. The first public hearings of that investigation began last week.