Attorneys for the House of Representatives on Monday suggested that President Donald Trump lied to federal authorities regarding his knowledge of Trump presidential campaign officials’ contacts with WikiLeaks.
In a letter filed in U.S. District Court in Washington D.C., House General Counsel Douglas Letter asked the court to unseal portions of redacted grand jury materials from former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the presidential election.
Letter argued that the information being sought was of “critical importance” to shedding light on Trump’s motivations during the events described in the Mueller Report Volume I (Volume II focused on the obstruction issue).
“DOJ ignores the critical importance of gaining a full understanding of the events described in Volume I of the Mueller Report—events that the President may have been motivated to cover up when he engaged in the misconduct described in Volume II. Those events may also be relevant to the House’s investigation of the President’s solicitation of Ukrainian interference in the 2020 election,” Letter wrote.
House attorneys also suggest that unsealing the redactions in the Mueller Report Volume II may show that the president lied to federal investigators while under oath.
“In addition, DOJ underplays the Rule 6(e) redactions and underlying grand jury material that the Committee highlighted in Volume II, which the Committee has grounds to believe may show that the President provided false statements in his written answers to the Special Counsel’s office,” House attorneys wrote.
Specifically, the House is seeking to unseal testimony relating to twice-convicted former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who was tasked with periodically updating Trump about WikiLeaks.
“To the contrary, among other Volume II redactions the Committee identified, the Committee highlighted redacted text that is cited in reference to Manafort having ‘recalled that Trump’ seemingly asked to be kept ‘updated’ about WikiLeaks’s plans […] and Manafort’s deputy having indicated that Trump had some knowledge of those plans,” the filing said.
According to Letter, the redacted text may contain explosive revelations about the testimony Trump previously provided to authorities.
“The text redacted under Rule 6(e) and any underlying evidence to which it may point are critical to the Committee’s investigation. Not only could those materials demonstrate the President’s motives for obstructing the Special Counsel’s investigation, they also could reveal that Trump was aware of his campaign’s contacts with WikiLeaks,” Letter wrote. “Those materials therefore have direct bearing on whether the President was untruthful, and further obstructed the Special Counsel’s investigation, when in providing written responses to the Special Counsel’s questions he denied being aware of any communications between his campaign and WikiLeaks.”
[image via Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images]