Mueller’s Skepticism of Trump’s Truthfulness Heightens Impeachment Debate

Ms. Demings, a former Orlando police chief, then suggested that Mr. Trump was getting away with lying under oath. She added, “As a former law enforcement officer of almost 30 years, I find that a disgrace to our criminal justice system.”

Ms. Demings raised her question in the context of Mr. Trump’s claim to know nothing during the campaign about what WikiLeaks had or was planning to publish. Little is publicly known about the Trump campaign’s actions related to WikiLeaks because that portion of the Mueller report was heavily redacted. The justification for the censorship is that the information relates to a current matter, presumably the indictment of Mr. Trump’s longtime adviser Roger J. Stone Jr.

When Mr. Trump turned in his written answers to Mr. Mueller’s investigators in November, he said that he did not recall being aware during the campaign of any direct or indirect communications between Mr. Stone and anyone he understood to be a representative of WikiLeaks. The president also denied knowing whether anyone associated with his campaign, including Mr. Stone, had direct or indirect contact with WikiLeaks about the hacked emails.

But in Mr. Stone’s indictment two months later, Mr. Mueller’s office revealed a link between the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks’ parallel efforts to damage the Hillary Clinton campaign using material stolen from Russians. After WikiLeaks had published its first tranche of stolen emails, “a senior Trump campaign official was directed to contact Stone about any additional releases and what other damaging information” WikiLeaks had about the Clinton campaign, the indictment said.

The indictment also said that Mr. Stone later told the Trump campaign “about potential future releases of damaging material” by WikiLeaks. “A load every week going forward,” Mr. Stone wrote to Stephen K. Bannon, the campaign chairman, in early October 2016, according to emails previously obtained by The New York Times. WikiLeaks began releasing more emails days later.

Mr. Stone also told Mr. Trump over the phone that WikiLeaks was about to publish a huge trove of email that would damage the Clinton campaign, according to congressional testimony in February by Mr. Trump’s former lawyer Michael D. Cohen, who also pleaded guilty, including about making false statements, and cooperated with investigators. Mr. Cohen said he witnessed the phone call. Mr. Stone has said Mr. Cohen lied to Congress about it.

House Democrats have been divided about whether to open an impeachment inquiry. Looming over their debate has been recognition of a political reality: While they could impeach Mr. Trump, leaving a historical black mark on his record, it is very unlikely that the Republican-controlled Senate would remove him.

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