• iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Special counsel Robert Mueller told President Trump’s attorneys last month that the president remains under investigation but is not currently a criminal target, multiple sources familiar with the discussion confirmed to ABC News.The news was first reported by The Washington Post.The president’s legal team has been in contact with the special counsel in recent months, negotiating the terms for a potential interview with Trump and the special counsel.The president's lawyers, according to sources familiar with internal discussions, have previously said the president should not sit down for a wide-ranging interview, and that any interview should have parameters. One option being discussed with the president is to have him answer questions in writing and avoid a sit-down interview completely, sources said.The president's lawyer, Jay Sekulow, declined to comment when contacted by ABC News Tuesday evening, saying, "We do not discuss real or alleged conversations between our legal team and the Office of Special Counsel."White House lawyer Ty Cobb also declined to comment, saying the president's legal team does not discuss conversations with the special counsel.A spokesperson for Mueller's team declined to comment.Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- President Donald Trump said Tuesday afternoon he wants to deploy the U.S. military to protect the border with Mexico while the new border wall is built.Tuesday evening, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders issued a statement saying the "vigorous" administration strategy includes mobilization of the National Guard.The White House statement came after Trump met with Defense Secretary James Mattis, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Neilsen, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Joint Chiefs Chairman Joseph Dunford and chief of staff John Kelly, Sanders said.It is still unclear exactly what options were presented to the president by the Pentagon. However, by U.S. law the military would be limited to a support role for U.S. border patrol agents.Earlier in the day, Trump said, "I've been speaking with Mattis, doing things militarily until we can have a wall and proper security. Already guarding our border with the military. That's a big step. We really haven't done that before, certainly not very much before.""We are going to be doing some things — I've been speaking with (Defense Secretary) Mattis — we're going to be doing things militarily", Trump said at a White House meeting with the leaders of Baltic countries."Until we can have a wall and proper security, we're going to be guarding our border with the military," Trump said. "That's a big step. We really haven't done that before, or certainly not very much before.""We are preparing for the military to secure our border between Mexico and the United States," Trump said.Mexico's Ambassador Gerónimo Gutiérrez wants Trump to clarify his comments.“We have formally requested a clarification on the President's comments from the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security," Gutiérrez said in a statement. "We share the idea of having a secure border, but we do not always agree on how to achieve that goal. Mexico, naturally, will always act in accordance with our own interests."But while President Trump could order active duty military personnel or federalized National Guard troops to assist with border security operations, they would not be allowed to carry out law enforcement duties like detaining migrants crossing the border illegally.That's because the Posse Comitatus Act prohibits the U.S. military from conducting law enforcement duties in the United States. The only way that can be allowed is by a special congressional authorization.Trump's suggestion of U.S. military troops along the border with Mexico echoes actions by President George W. Bush in 2006 and by President Barack Obama in 2010 that sent thousands of National Guard troops to assist with border operations.But the troops participating in Operation Jump Start and Operation Phalanx respectively were only allowed to serve in a support role for U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) personnel.In line with Posse Comitatus, they were not allowed to detain people crossing the border illegally from Mexico.Instead, the thousands of National Guardsmen who participated in the earlier operations were used in mostly administrative and surveillance roles.Guardsmen monitored video surveillance feeds from drones and stationary cameras along the border and manned watch towers located near the border from which they could notify border agents about illegal crossings.Their presence was intended to free up CBP personnel that could be used in greater numbers along the border.
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  • ABC/Randy Holmes(NEW YORK) -- Attorneys representing President Donald Trump, his personal lawyer Michael Cohen, and a publishing company with ties to the president are fending off legal challenges stemming from various allegations made against Trump and his associates by a trio of women.One of the women has accused the president of defamation in relation to alleged sexual misconduct. The other two are suing in connection to so-called hush agreements about their alleged consensual relations with Trump.Here’s a round-up of the latest developments in the three cases.Summer Zervos vs. Donald TrumpSummer Zervos, a former contestant on “The Apprentice,” alleges in her lawsuit - filed three days before Trump’s inauguration - that then-candidate Trump repeatedly defamed her after she came forward in October 2016 with allegations that Trump groped and kissed her without her consent in a California hotel room in 2007.Now lawyers for President Trump have officially filed a notice of appeal, challenging a ruling last month by a New York state judge that allowed Zervos’ defamation claim against the President to proceed. In a court filing on Sunday, the president’s lawyers restated many of the arguments made in their original motion to dismiss the case, among them that the president is immune to civil suits in state court and that the statements made by Trump during the campaign were “non-defamatory opinions” protected by the First Amendment.New York Supreme Court Justice Jennifer Schecter, on March 20, rejected those arguments, writing that, “No one is above the law.”Trump’s appeal is likely to be heard in September, according to a court filing on Monday. Meanwhile, Trump’s attorneys are also trying to stop any pre-trial discovery, filing a separate motion to halt the lower court proceedings while the appeals court takes up the case.The President and the Trump campaign currently face a May 21st deadline to respond to a subpoena from Zervos’ attorneys seeking documents concerning Zervos and all the other women who publicly accused Trump of sexually inappropriate behavior. Attorneys for Zervos have also indicated that they intend to pursue a deposition of the President.If the court grants the president’s motion for a stay pending the outcome of the appeal, all of that would be put on hold.In another development, women’s rights attorney Gloria Allred last week withdrew from the case. Allred had been representing Zervos since she came forward with her allegations against Trump before the election. Trump’s attorneys had alleged in court filings that Allred was using the Zervos lawsuit  “for political purposes” and to “distract the President in order to obstruct his presidency.”    Allred said in a statement that her withdrawal had “nothing to do with the merits of her case against President Trump.”  Zervos continues to be represented by New York based attorney, Mariann Meier Wang, and she said in a statement that the decision to part ways with Allred was for “purely for personal reasons.”Stephanie Clifford (aka Stormy Daniels) vs. Donald Trump and Essential Consultants, LLCStephanie Clifford - the adult film-star known as Stormy Daniels - sued Trump and a shell company formed by the president’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, last month seeking to invalidate a non-disclosure agreement she signed just eleven days before the 2016 election. Clifford – who received a payment of $130,000 in exchange for her silence about the alleged affair – alleges the contract is void because, among other things, it lacks a signature from Trump.Cohen has stated publicly that he paid the settlement out of his personal funds, and that he was not reimbursed by either the Trump Organization or the campaign. The president - through representatives - has denied the allegations of an aff
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  • ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Attorneys representing President Donald Trump, his personal lawyer Michael Cohen, and a publishing company with ties to the president are fending off legal challenges stemming from various allegations made against Trump and his associates by a trio of women.One of the women has accused the president of defamation in relation to alleged sexual misconduct. The other two are suing in connection to so-called hush agreements about their alleged consensual relations with Trump.Here’s a round-up of the latest developments in the three cases.Summer Zervos vs. Donald TrumpSummer Zervos, a former contestant on “The Apprentice,” alleges in her lawsuit - filed three days before Trump’s inauguration - that then-candidate Trump repeatedly defamed her after she came forward in October 2016 with allegations that Trump groped and kissed her without her consent in a California hotel room in 2007.Now lawyers for President Trump have officially filed a notice of appeal, challenging a ruling last month by a New York state judge that allowed Zervos’ defamation claim against the President to proceed. In a court filing on Sunday, the president’s lawyers restated many of the arguments made in their original motion to dismiss the case, among them that the president is immune to civil suits in state court and that the statements made by Trump during the campaign were “non-defamatory opinions” protected by the First Amendment.New York Supreme Court Justice Jennifer Schecter, on March 20, rejected those arguments, writing that, “No one is above the law.”Trump’s appeal is likely to be heard in September, according to a court filing on Monday. Meanwhile, Trump’s attorneys are also trying to stop any pre-trial discovery, filing a separate motion to halt the lower court proceedings while the appeals court takes up the case.The President and the Trump campaign currently face a May 21st deadline to respond to a subpoena from Zervos’ attorneys seeking documents concerning Zervos and all the other women who publicly accused Trump of sexually inappropriate behavior. Attorneys for Zervos have also indicated that they intend to pursue a deposition of the President.If the court grants the president’s motion for a stay pending the outcome of the appeal, all of that would be put on hold.In another development, women’s rights attorney Gloria Allred last week withdrew from the case. Allred had been representing Zervos since she came forward with her allegations against Trump before the election. Trump’s attorneys had alleged in court filings that Allred was using the Zervos lawsuit  “for political purposes” and to “distract the President in order to obstruct his presidency.”    Allred said in a statement that her withdrawal had “nothing to do with the merits of her case against President Trump.”  Zervos continues to be represented by New York based attorney, Mariann Meier Wang, and she said in a statement that the decision to part ways with Allred was for “purely for personal reasons.”Stephanie Clifford (aka Stormy Daniels) vs. Donald Trump and Essential Consultants, LLCStephanie Clifford - the adult film-star known as Stormy Daniels - sued Trump and a shell company formed by the president’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, last month seeking to invalidate a non-disclosure agreement she signed just eleven days before the 2016 election. Clifford – who received a payment of $130,000 in exchange for her silence about the alleged affair – alleges the contract is void because, among other things, it lacks a signature from Trump.Cohen has stated publicly that he paid the settlement out of his personal funds, and that he was not reimbursed by either the Trump Organization or the campaign. The president - through representatives - has denied the allegations of an affair with
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  • Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The White House confirmed Tuesday that President Donald Trump talked to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt on Monday night, amid growing calls for investigation into questions about the ethics of Pruitt's decisions as agency chief.White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders confirmed that President Trump spoke with Pruitt and that White House chief of staff John Kelly called Pruitt on Tuesday morning. The White House would not confirm the content of those conversations.The White House has launched a formal inquiry into Pruitt's arrangement to live in a Capitol Hill townhouse co-owned by the wife of a top lobbyist.Trump was asked about the controversy surrounding Pruitt in a White House event Tuesday but only said "I hope he's going to be great."The EPA also did not provide details on the call.More members of Congress on Tuesday called on the EPA's inspector general to look into the arrangement.Members of Congress have requested new investigations into the deal including whether ethics officials had all the information when they issued a statement that the deal did not violate the agency's gift rules because Pruitt paid market value for the room, even though he only paid $50 a night for nights that he stayed in the room.The ethics decision did not mention possible conflicts of interest, or allegations of conflicts of interest, that could arise from the administrator of the EPA living with a lobbyist tied to energy groups.ABC News reported last week that Pruitt rented a bedroom in a Capitol Hill condo for much of his first year in Washington. The condo is co-owned by Vicki Hart, the wife of lobbyist J. Steven Hart who has registered to lobby for companies with environmental or energy interests.A spokesman for Hart said that he did not lobby the EPA or Department of Energy in 2017 or 2018. But the energy company Cheniere Energy, Inc. reported paying Hart's lobbying firm $80,000 in 2017.Rep. Carlos Curbelo, R- Florida, weighed in on the controversy tweeting that Pruitt's corruption scandals are an embarrassment and that he should resign or be fired.Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, a Democrat on the Environment and Public Works Committee, asked the EPA's inspector general to look into whether Pruitt paid fair market value, the terms of the lease and whether the agreement was reviewed by agency ethics officials before it was reported.In the letter Whitehouse cites guidance from the Office of Government Ethics that says government employees should consider declining a gift that may not technically violate gift rules if "their integrity or impartiality would be questioned if they were to accept the gift."Reps. Ted Lieu, D-California, and Don Beyer, D- Virginia, also asked the inspector general to investigate in a letter on Tuesday.In that letter, the Democrats ask the inspector general's office to look into discrepancies between the agency's ethics statement and other reports.The ethics memo stated that the lease authorized the use of the condo by Pruitt and his immediate family, including his daughter McKenna Pruitt who stayed in a second bedroom during a White House internship.But Vicki Hart previously told ABC News that she was not aware of other people using the bedrooms or living quarters and did not give permission for that."The OGC decision and Hart’s statements cannot simultaneously be true. This discrepancy is further evidence of the need for the EPA Inspector General to conduct an investigation to determine if misconduct or mismanagement led to said OGC decision, and whether the Ethics Office was influenced in any improper manner," Lieu and Beyer wrote in the letter.On Monday Democrats from the House Energy and Commerce Committee also asked the EPA to provide more information about the rental agreement. Republicans on that committee also said they have asked the EPA for more information.The inspector general's office confirmed that they have received the letter
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  • ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- After two days of tweets from President Donald Trump on a "caravan" of migrants traveling through Mexico, the Mexican government has said it is dealing with the hundreds of Central Americans making the trek.The Mexican government said late Monday it had already sent back around 400 marchers to their home countries -- an organizer said Tuesday there were around 1,000 Central American participants, largely from Honduras -- "with strict adherence to the legal framework and full respect for their human rights." It was unclear, though, when those people had been repatriated, or if it was in response to recent pressure.The group organizing the march, Pueblo Sin Fronteras, told ABC News on Tuesday that the Mexican government on Monday had started meeting with all of the participants and issued them transit or humanitarian visas. Mexico said in its Monday statement that the participants had entered Mexico "without meeting the requirements of law" and would thus be "subject to an administrative immigration procedure."No one had been arrested or detained Monday or Tuesday, Alex Mensing, a project coordinator for the group, told ABC News. He said he was not sure what the 400 deportations claim referred to.With their new paperwork, the "caravan" participants may decide to peel off from the group, but it was unclear how many would do so, Mensing said.While similar migrant marches have taken place previously, the statement from Mexico's interior ministry said that unlike in past years, the Mexican government would offer refugee status to the Central Americans, when appropriate. Organizers of the march said many of the participants had already planned to claim asylum in Mexico or the United States, through legal, official channels.Trump warns of migrant caravan following Fox News report, but organizers say reality far from their portrayalPueblo Sin Fronteras, which assists migrants and refugees, said it hoped the march would draw attention to the issues of the right to seek asylum and the right to seek refuge. Mexico said it viewed the march in this light, as a "public demonstration" that takes place annually.The current "caravan" set off on March 25 from a city near Mexico's southern border with Guatemala and on Tuesday it was in the town of Matías Romero, in Mexico's Oaxaca state, southeast of Mexico City, according to Pubelo Sin Fronteras. Mensing said the group did not expect to reach the U.S. border for three more weeks. The number of participants this time was "unprecedented," Pueblo Sin Fronteras said in a statement Monday.After Fox News anchors over the weekend discussed a BuzzFeed article about the march, Trump fired off a series of tweets accusing Mexico of not doing enough to stop the march and tying it to the United States' Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which protects people who came to the U.S. as children and remained illegally.Mexico's foreign minister pushed back Sunday, tweeting, "Every day Mexico and the U.S. work together on migration throughout the region."On Tuesday morning, Trump threatened that the march "had better be stopped before it" reached the U.S. border.The Mexican government said Monday night, if members of the "caravan" reached any U.S. ports of entry, it would be up to American authorities to decide whether to let them enter the country.It was not the job of the Mexican government, it said, "to exercise immigration decisions of the United States or any other nation, so it will be the competent authorities of the United States that decide, if appropriate, to authorize or not the entry to its territory of the members of the caravan who request it through the authorized entry and exit ports."The march, versions of which have happened on and off since 2010 -- including twice last year -- will conclude at an official port of entry in California, Arizona or New Mexico, depending on train schedules, Mensing told ABC News this weekend.Also late Monday, the orga
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