The law enforcement investigation into possible coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign has identified a current White House official as a significant person of interest, showing that the probe is reaching into the highest levels of government, according to people familiar with the matter.The senior White House adviser under scrutiny by investigators is someone close to the president, according to these people, who would not further identify the official.
As the Russia scandal has intensified, much of the focus has been on individuals who played prominent roles on Donald Trump's campaign team. Figures such as Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, and Carter Page had Trump's ear in 2016, and while Flynn was briefly part of the president's White House operation, none of these figures currently has a job at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.It's what makes this new report from the Washington Post so stunning.
There was a point during Watergate when the investigation made the leap from Richard Nixon's political operation to Nixon's White House team. We appear to have arrived at a related point with Donald Trump's Russia scandal.The Post's article did not explore in any detail which person "close to the president" is a person of interest to federal law-enforcement officials, though speculation is likely to focus on Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner, who neglected to report contacts with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak, and White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, who had controversial communications with the FBI about the ongoing investigation.Taken at face value, the report does not appear to be referring to Flynn: the Post specifically said the person of interest is a "current" member of the president's team, who is close to Trump.If Trump hoped his overseas trip -- Air Force One has only been in the air for an hour or so -- would help change the conversation, he's going to be very disappointed.