President Donald Trump's lawyers were never seriously worried their client would be accused of a Russia conspiracy, three sources familiar with the matter told NBC News.
Martin and Jane Raskin, married former prosecutors with decades of experience battling the Justice Department, believed the real threat was obstruction of justice — by the time they arrived on the team in April, special counsel Robert Meuller's office was rarely asking probing questions about Russia, the sources said.
The prosecutors wanted to know what Trump was thinking when he fired FBI Director James Comey and what he intended by denouncing the Russia probe on Twitter, according to the sources. They made several formal requests for a sit-down interview with Trump, with an implicit threat of subpoena.
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But that subpoena never materialized, and when the lawyers got the news on Sunday that the attorney general decided there wasn't an obstruction case against Trump, they high-fived one another, seeing it as a total victory.