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Opinion | Seeing Through the Fog in the Mueller Russia Probe

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What is signal and what is noise in the news and developments coming out of the Russia investigation led by Robert Mueller, the special counsel? President Trump said Wednesday he would “love to” testify under oath in the investigation. As Mr. Mueller lines up the president for an interview, the issue of obstruction of justice will take center stage.

Donald Trump and officials of the 2016 Trump campaign have established a clear pattern of lying to the media. More important for the law on obstruction, they have also either approached or crossed right over the line of lying to federal authorities.

Giving false statements to the media is not a crime. But lying to federal authorities can land people in jail.

We know that to the media, since at least July 2016, Mr. Trump and campaign officials lied, repeatedly and often, about not having had contacts with Russian officials. As late as August 2017, President Trump held that line, telling The Wall Street Journal: “There’s nobody on the campaign that saw anybody from Russia. We had nothing to do with Russia.”

In this footage from his confirmation hearing, Attorney General Jeff Sessions says he “did not have communications with the Russians.” A Justice Department official more recently said Mr. Sessions had two conversations with Ambassador Sergey I. Kislyak.CreditCredit…Al Drago/The New York Times

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