Stephen Miller has suddenly landed himself right smack in the middle of Robert Mueller’s crosshairs — and that ain’t good for him.
The White House aide was recently questioned by the special counsel’s team probing Russia’s involvement in the 2016 presidential elections, and a court document ties him to an adviser who already admitted lying about his Russian connections.
That could make the Jewish ultraconservative a key link in the still-evolving probe — and a top target for Mueller’s team, which may hope to get Miller to spill the beans on even higher-ups.
Miller serves as senior adviser to the president and is considered to be Steve Bannon’s last far-right holdout in the Trump Oval Office. Now, the 32-year-old adviser can add another title: the most senior Trump aide to be interviewed by special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation team.
Information revealed in the past week makes Miller the only known link, so far, between President Trump’s decision to fire FBI Director James Comey and the ongoing campaign ties with Russian officials.
Miller’s questioning reportedly focused on the role he played in advising Trump to dismiss Comey, a move that was also advocated by Jared Kushner. Miller even wrote the first draft of the letter firing Comey; the letter was later discarded in favor of a document written by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein that focused on Comey’s conduct of the Hillary Clinton email investigation.
But while Miller’s support for dumping Comey had been known for months, the revelations offered by former campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos make it more explosive and potentially illegal. According to court documents in which Papadopoulos admitted to lying to the FBI, Miller was the top campaign aide, receiving regular updates about conversations with Russian officials, including his attempt to arrange a meeting between Trump and the Russian president, Vladimir Putin.
According to The New York Times, Papadopolous emailed Miller about an “open invitation” Trump has from Putin to visit Moscow. On the day it became known that the Democratic National Committee email had been hacked by the Russians, Papadopoulos wrote to Miller: “some interesting messages coming in from Moscow about a trip when the time is right.”
The question facing Mueller and his team is whether Miller, who was aware of the campaign’s Russian ties through Papadopoulos updates, advised Trump to dismiss Comey, since he feared that the FBI director was about to reveal the Russian connection. If that is the case, Miller could provide the proof Mueller is looking for that the Trump administration did seek to obstruct justice by firing Comey.
Nathan Guttman, staff writer, was the Forward’s Washington bureau chief. He joined the staff in 2006 after serving for five years as Washington correspondent for the Israeli dailies Haaretz and The Jerusalem Post. In Israel, he was the features editor for Ha’aretz and chief editor of Channel 1 TV evening news. He was born in Canada and grew up in Israel. He is a graduate of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
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