Trump team fires back at Mueller probe

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Trump probe Rudy Giuliani

President Trump and his legal team fired back early Friday at suggestions the latest twists in Robert Mueller’s probe mean the bell is tolling for his administration, downplaying the implications of ex-confidant Michael Cohen’s guilty plea and testimony about a Moscow real estate project – as the special counsel makes clear he’s focusing closely on the president.

Trump was identified as “Individual 1” in court documents filed in connection with Cohen’s guilty plea, for lying to Congress about a since-abandoned Russia development project. Such projects also were the subject of a written question Mueller put to Trump, though the president’s legal team insists there was no “contradiction” with Trump’s answers on the matter.

This, combined with other developments this week, signaled Mueller’s intensifying focus on the president’s actions and statements.

But Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani described the coverage of Cohen’s plea as “hysterical,” stressing that Mueller’s probe has largely bagged guilty pleas for false statements without uncovering evidence of collusion with Russia during the 2016 campaign.

Trump, too, tweeted a barbed rejoinder as he prepared to attend the G20 summit in Argentina:

The extent of Trump’s legal exposure remains unclear.

Cohen’s has proved to be an eager witness for Mueller, reportedly spending hours in interviews with his team. His longstanding close relationship with Trump has fueled speculation that he, far more than other investigation targets, could hold damaging information on the commander-in-chief.

Cohen delivered blunt remarks in court Thursday, as he admitted making false statements to the Senate Intelligence Committee in 2017 about a plan to build a Trump Tower in Moscow.

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