Mueller subpoenas Trump Co., affiliates, associates

A new, wide-ranging subpoena from the special counsel to the Trump Organization describes at least seven partnerships — a requirement the president’s lawyers consider an “overreach.”

The request is the latest sign that Robert Mueller is intensifying his investigation into President Donald Trump’s business relationships and links to Russia. It’s also indicative of Mueller’s continued focus on the family of his first target, Trump’s longtime attorney and fixer Michael Cohen.

The subpoena, which included the names of partners and a description of their partnership agreements, appeared in a court filing unsealed late Wednesday in New York.

Cohen pleaded guilty in August to lying to Congress about his attempts to negotiate a real estate deal in Moscow on Trump’s behalf. He was also accused of arranging hush money payments to two women who alleged affairs with Trump in the months before the 2016 election to influence the campaign.

The latest court filing sheds new light on the companies that Cohen said Trump discussed the deal with — although none of the firms are with Cohen’s former company.

Prosecutors are investigating them, according to the court filing.

Trump’s attorneys have consistently maintained that their president is not under federal investigation.

In a statement Wednesday night, a spokesman for President Trump’s legal team said the co-investment agreements described in the subpoena “constitute a completely improper and pointless measure by this overzealous prosecutor.”

“He has no evidence that Mr. Trump committed a crime, and thus, taking his advice, the raid on the law offices of Michael Cohen was nothing more than an attempt to intimidate Mr. Cohen and obtain what it cannot legally obtain,” the spokesman said, asking for an expedited hearing in New York federal court to determine the merits of the request.

“This latest subpoena is nothing more than a fishing expedition,” he added.

The president’s legal team specifically targeted the New York attorney general, J. Keith Urbahn, a former spokesman for the National Security Council under President George W. Bush.

Last month, after the release of the Cohen document to the FBI, Urbahn tweeted that he was fired from his job at the NSC in February because he told the White House “Trump’s central staff turnover is the result of disdain/hostility among core administration staff.”

“I’ve seen this episode play out over and over again, with a steady stream of FBI agents, DOJ attorneys, and prosecutors gone,” he said.

The Trump-related partnerships in question include entities that bear the name of Elliot Broidy, a California hedge fund manager who last year married the daughter of a Russian oligarch.

The subpoena lists several payments from brokering firms to several individuals.

It was sent by Mueller’s team to Cohen’s law firm, which in turn provided it to law enforcement officials.

The subpoena is the latest step in an investigation Mueller is conducting into the relationship between Trump, his family and business. It’s an investigation that appears to be entering an increasingly aggressive phase after months of cooperation by Cohen.

The special counsel’s team of prosecutors, known as the team of unindicted co-conspirators, is seeking documents and information about the Trump Organization.

Mueller’s office has increased its secrecy in recent weeks, and a spokesman declined to comment.

A spokesman for the Manhattan US attorney’s office also declined to comment.


Towering rebel militaries combine for a new challenge

For James E. Mattis, Robert M. Gates and other two-term national security officials who have criticized President Trump, one sign of ostracism at the White House is the inability to get even minor aspects of their views represented in government documents and speeches, such as John Bolton’s recent comments about the need to arm Ukraine.

It is by no means certain that Mr. Trump has moved decisively away from that thinking. But a number of officials have since left the administration in part because they could not accept his alleged support for Mr. Bolton and his overtures to Ukrainian officials, which were made while Mr. Mattis and Mr. Gates still led the administration.

Mr. Mattis, who still commands military forces in Afghanistan, resigned in December, complaining about a president who lacked “conscience and dignity.” He has said publicly he is powerless to implement official policy after leaving the administration, and he was not mentioned by name in Monday’s State Department press conference announcing the sanctions. Mr. Gates, who ran the Pentagon for two terms, has accused Mr. Trump of writing damaging intelligence reports about America’s adversaries — conclusions that the president has brushed aside.

But one person who can attest to the importance of these old-school, more measured and practical views of the world is Mr. Pompeo, who had the Defense Department portfolio for two years under Mr. Trump. His statements Tuesday reflected the fact that, on the big national security questions facing the United States, he can be counted on to promote the positions that have served him well while at the State Department, diplomats say.

“It’s great to see the secretary of state on an issue that matters, because we really need to stand up for Ukraine,” Anna G. Chapman, a senior adviser at the think tank Global Security, said.

A central theme in Mr. Pompeo’s comments Monday was that Mr. Trump’s officials have the backing of the entire administration — unlike when they had been given the all-clear to openly support a Ukrainian offensive in the breakaway territory of Luhansk. In that instance, Mr. Trump sided with the military leaders of the European Union, Europe’s largest military alliance. But Mr. Trump backed the Ukrainian president, Petro Poroshenko, whose troops were on the verge of victory in June, and was forced to intervene at the last minute. The United States had been in a contest with Russia on Ukraine. Mr. Pompeo argued that all NATO nations are now on the same page, accepting that Ukraine has a sovereign right to defend itself and to repel an attack.