Up to now, Robert Mueller’s investigation has been amazingly free of leaks, but the New York Times is reporting that it has a full list of questions Mueller plans on asking Donald Trump (if he gets the chance). So our question is, did this leak out, or did Mueller hand it over to the Times, and if so, why?
It could be that Mueller wanted the public to know that the investigation has not been dismissed out-of-hand, the way the House investigation was. It could also be to have the public decide if those are important questions, and whether they, also, would like to hear the answers. And, finally, maybe Trump’s own lawyers leaked the questions, hoping to give the impression that the investigation is too detailed and intrusive.
Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel investigating Russia’s election interference, has at least four dozen questions on an exhaustive array of subjects he wants to ask President Trump to learn more about his ties to Russia and determine whether he obstructed the inquiry itself, according to a list of the questions obtained by The New York Times.
The open-ended queries appear to be an attempt to penetrate the president’s thinking, to get at the motivation behind some of his most combative Twitter posts and to examine his relationships with his family and his closest advisers.
In recent weeks, it appeared that the investigation was moving to look into Trump’s business practices, instead. As an unorthodox, even iconoclastic, power, it would be hard to believe that Trump followed the rules along the way. However, the Russian connection appears to remain an important part of the investigation.
A few questions reveal that Mr. Mueller is still investigating possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia. In one of the more tantalizing inquiries, Mr. Mueller asks what Mr. Trump knew about campaign aides, including the former chairman Paul Manafort, seeking assistance from Moscow: “What knowledge did you have of any outreach by your campaign, including by Paul Manafort, to Russia about potential assistance to the campaign?”. . .
Mr. Mueller has sought for months to question the president, who has in turn expressed a desire, at times, to be interviewed, viewing it as an avenue to end the inquiry more quickly. His lawyers have been negotiating terms of an interview out of concern that their client — whose exaggerations, half-truths and outright falsehoods are well documented — could provide false statements or easily become distracted. Four people, including Mr. Flynn, have pleaded guilty to lying to investigators in the Russia inquiry.
The Times is giving the public the full list of questions.
Apparently, three-quarters of the questions relate to obstruction of justice: Questions about–
• Michael Flynn, the former national security advisor,
• James Comey, fired head of the FBI,
• often-rumored-about-to-be-fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and
• campaign coordination with Russia.
Alan Dershowitz, who first gained national notoriety as an advisor to the O.J. Simpson defense team, says Mueller’s questions are meant to trip up Trump, according to the Washington Examiner.
“They are really designed to let him ramble and talk, and I suspect that’s the strategy of the special counsel because they know that may be President Trump’s weakness,” Dershowitz told CNN.
“If they were to ask him direct, tough questions to which he can answer yes or no, that might not give them the advantage they are seeking,” he continued. . .
Dershowitz also advised Trump’s personal attorneys to respond to as many queries as possible in writing, if permitted by Mueller, in order to prevent the president from making statements that could expose him to legal risk.
While it is common knowledge that Russia has worked to disrupt and/or sow doubt about the legitimacy of elections across the western world, there has been no “smoking gun” that suggests that the Trump organization actively reached out to the Russians. And “being helped by someone” is not collusion if you didn’t actively participate.
Earlier, Breitbart reported that Trump was willing, and even anxious, to meet with Mueller.
Trump answered a question on whether he was going to talk to Mueller by stating, “I’m looking forward to it, actually.”
He added that there was “no collusion whatsoever. There’s no obstruction whatsoever, and I’m looking forward to it.”
Trump further stated he would like to talk to Mueller as soon as possible, but that there is no date set.
He caveated that his decision would be “subject to my lawyers and all of that, but I would love to do it.” Trump added that he would do an interview with Mueller under oath.