Donald Trump lashes out at 'disgraceful' leak of Mueller's Russian Federation probe questions

Erika Holt
May 2, 2018

The NYT's Michael Schmidt points out that these are all open-ended questions, created to get a potential witness or suspect to open up and talk at length, and Trump is well-known for doing just that. The president also derides Mueller's investigation as having "begun with illegally leaked classified information", adding: "Nice!" He said there are "No questions on Collusion", though the list prepared by the Times includes several seeking information about contacts with Russians and knowledge of its cyber operation during the election. Some touch on Russian meddling and whether the Trump campaign coordinated in any way with the Kremlin.

The special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, recently provided President Trump's lawyers a list of questions he wants answered in an interview.

Mueller's queries are far-ranging and designed both to determine Trump's ties to Russian Federation as well as whether he obstructed the inquiry itself, the Times reported.

President Donald Trump responded to publication by The New York Times of question Special Counsel Robert Mueller would ask the president. Comey was leading the Russian Federation investigation when the president dismissed him in May 2017; Trump has given Comey's involvement in the investigation as the reason for his sacking.

Other questions ask about Trump's reaction to Session's recusal from the Russian election interference investigation, and his decision to fire National Security Advisor Mike Flynn in February 2017.

The Times said it obtained the list from someone outside Trump's legal team.

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But why would Trump's lawyers want to leak it, if it makes the probe look more serious than it has been characterized by the White House? The connective tissue in all of those story lines is cash - whether it's Trump's own, money moving through Michael Cohen or the financial dealings of Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner.

Trump blasted the leak on Tuesday morning, calling it "disgraceful" that the questions made it out to the media.

"But no question it came from Trump's side", he said. The inquiries provided some of the deepest insight yet into the direction of Mueller's investigation and showed how the special counsel is heavily focused on the question of whether Trump obstructed justice, as well as whether top aides such as former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort colluded with Russian officials during the campaign.

Fox News senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano said the questions are a "treasure trove into Bob Mueller's thinking". The paper said one question read: "What did you [Trump] know about phone calls that Mr. Flynn made with the Russian ambassador, Sergey I. Kislyak, in late December 2016?"

Mr Flynn was sacked on February 13, 2017, after White House officials said he had misled them about his Russian contacts during the transition period by saying he had not discussed sanctions.

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