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Report: Special counsel gathers evidence on obstruction of justice

Last Updated Jun 15, 2017 1:24 PM EDT

WASHINGTON -- The special counsel overseeing the investigation into Russian election meddling and any ties between Russia and the Trump campaign is reviewing and collecting evidence on whether the president or anyone else in his administration was or is trying to end the investigation into his former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, CBS News' Paula Reid confirmed, citing a source close to the investigation.

The sign that the special counsel is collecting this evidence is the fact that the DNI and NSA chiefs are being interviewed by his office. Obstruction, the source also said, is not a course of action contained in the past. It could be continuing now, and the collection of evidence is ongoing. Both agencies will be expected to provide any documents related to interactions with the WH on the issue of the Russia investigation.   

The Washington Post first reported this story. Special Counsel Robert Mueller is looking into Mr. Trump's words and conduct in the events of recent weeks, marking a stark shift in the investigation that initially was supposed to focus on Russian influence and any connections to the Trump campaign, but not necessarily Mr. Trump himself, the report said. 

Mr. Trump did receive assurances that he wasn't personally under investigation, as fired FBI Director James Comey reiterated in testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee last week. But Comey's comments were referring to conversations he had with the president before he was fired, and before Mr. Trump made remarks including that he was thinking of the "made-up" story about ties to Russia when he fired Comey.

Things changed shortly after Comey's firing, according to Post's sources. The Post spoke with five people briefed on the inquiries, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the probe publicly. 

"The FBI leak of information regarding the President is outrageous, inexcusable and illegal," Marc Corallo, a spokesman for Trump lawyer Marc Kasowitz told CBS News Wednesday night. 

The story broke hours after Mueller met with top members of the Senate Intelligence Committee. That committee is also reviewing Russian election meddling and any ties to the Trump campaign. 

CBS News has learned that Daniel Coats, the Director of National Intelligence, has agreed to be interviewed by the Special Counsel's office about conversations he may have had with the president about the Russia investigation. 

A spokesperson for NSA Director Admiral Mike Rogers said the "NSA will fully cooperate with the special counsel. We are not in a position to comment further."

This is a developing story.

CBS News' Andy Triay contributed to this report. 

  • Kathryn Watson

    Kathryn Watson is a politics reporter for CBS News Digital.