White House lawyer Cobb predicts quick
end to Mueller probe
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[August 19, 2017]
By Karen Freifeld
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - White House special
counsel Ty Cobb predicts the cloud of an investigation into Russian
meddling in the U.S. election will soon be lifted from President Donald
Trump and says he would be "embarrassed" if it still hangs over the
president in 2018.
Cobb told Reuters this week that he talks to Trump on an almost daily
basis and has been in contact with the team of Robert Mueller, the
special counsel leading the investigation into Russian meddling in the
Mueller is investigating possible collusion between Trump's campaign
team and Russia, as well as possible money laundering by at least one
But Cobb, who resigned from law firm Hogan Lovells to take the White
House job on July 31, said in interviews on Tuesday and Wednesday he
believed Mueller's probe was "narrow" and that by the end of the year
Trump should no longer be threatened by it.
"I’d be embarrassed if this is still haunting the White House by
Thanksgiving and worse if it's still haunting him by year end," Cobb
told Reuters, adding: "I think the relevant areas of inquiry by the
special counsel are narrow."
He declined to provide specifics backing his projected timeline, which
suggests a speedier end to Mueller's probe than several outside experts
believe is likely.
"The White House would be lucky if sometime in the spring of 2018 this
started to wrap up, but even that I think is pretty optimistic," said
Andy Wright, former associate counsel in former President Barack Obama's
White House. "It's a very complicated investigation."
Wright said Mueller's team would have to track down many leads in the
United States and overseas, and gather evidence from email accounts,
intelligence reports and other sources.
Russia's government has denied interfering in the election and the
president has denied collusion took place.
[to top of second column]
Special Counsel Robert Mueller departs after briefing the U.S.
House Intelligence Committee on his investigation of potential
collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign on Capitol Hill in
Washington, U.S., June 20, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
Peter Carr, a spokesman for Mueller, declined to comment on any
timeline for the probe, the scope of the investigation or any
interactions with the White House.
Like all senior White House staff, Cobb, 66, reports to retired
general John Kelly, Trump's chief of staff.
As a White House lawyer, he is in a different position than the
president's outside lawyers John Dowd and Jay Sekulow. Cobb would
not be able to assert attorney-client privilege to protect his
conversations with Trump from a grand jury subpoena.
Trump has said he believes any investigations of his and his
family's finances would be beyond the scope of Mueller's probe.
Cobb said he believed Mueller's 16-lawyer team was "appropriately
focused" and understood "the urgency to the country and to the
presidency" of finishing the probe quickly.
"We have one objective, which is to bring this to a conclusion as
quickly as possible," Cobb said.
(Reporting by Karen Freifeld; Editing by Anthony Lin and Kieran
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