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Photo: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

President Trump has had conversations with key special counsel witnesses "about matters they discussed with investigators," the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: Per the Times, this demonstrates that Trump has "ignored his lawyers' advice to avoid doing anything publicly or privately" that would look like interference with special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation. But, legal experts tell the Times the conversations "likely did not rise to the level of witness tampering."

  • Trump reportedly told White House counsel Don McGahn to publicly deny reports saying he was told by the president to fire Mueller. Per the NYT, McGahn reminded Trump that he had in fact asked him to get rid of Mueller, but Trump said "he did not remember" their discussion in that manner.
  • In December, Trump asked former chief of staff Reince Priebus about his October meeting with Mueller's office. Per the Times, Priebus told him "the investigators were courteous and professional" but "shared no specifics and did not say what he had told investigators."
  • This isn't illegal, the NYT reports, but "is usually done through lawyers for the people involved."

One more thing: The Times reports that Rob Porter, who recently stepped down as White House Staff Secretary, told McGahn that Trump had "suggested he might 'get rid of'" him if he didn't deny Trump asked him to fire Mueller.

Go deeper

In cyber espionage, U.S. is both hunted and hunter

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

American outrage over foreign cyber espionage, like Russia's SolarWinds hack, obscures the uncomfortable reality that the U.S. secretly does just the same thing to other countries.

Why it matters: Secrecy is often necessary in cyber spying to protect sources and methods, preserve strategic edges that may stem from purloined information, and prevent diplomatic incidents.

59 mins ago - Politics & Policy
Scoop

White House plots "full-court press" for $1.9 trillion relief plan

National Economic Council Director Brian Deese speaks during a White House news briefing. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Biden White House is deploying top officials to get a wide ideological spectrum of lawmakers, governors and mayors on board with the president’s $1.9 trillion COVID relief proposal, according to people familiar with the matter.

Why it matters: The broad, choreographed effort shows just how crucially Biden views the stimulus to the nation's recovery and his own political success.

59 mins ago - World

Scoop: Sudan wants to seal Israel normalization deal at White House

Burhan. Photo: Mazen Mahdi/AFP via Getty

Three months after Sudan agreed to normalize relations with Israel, it still hasn't signed an agreement to formally do so. Israeli officials tell me one reason has now emerged: Sudan wants to sign the deal at the White House.

Driving the news: Israel sent Sudan a draft agreement for establishing diplomatic relations several weeks ago, but the Sudanese didn’t reply, the officials say. On Tuesday, Israeli Minister of Intelligence Eli Cohen raised that issue in Khartoum during the first-ever visit of an Israeli minister to Sudan.