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. They deal chiefly with the president’s high-profile firings of the F.B.I. director and his first national security adviser, his treatment of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and a 2016 Trump Tower meeting between campaign officials and Russians offering dirt on Hillary Clinton.
CNN:So disgraceful that the questions concerning the Russian Witch Hunt were “leaked” to the media. No questions on Collusion. Oh, I see...you have a made up, phony crime, Collusion, that never existed, and an investigation begun with illegally leaked classified information. Nice!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 1, 2018
But that's not true. In fact, it appears Mueller has several questions for the President aimed at getting to the heart of allegations of collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow -- and the President's knowledge of those efforts.
Carrie Cordero at CNN:It would seem very hard to obstruct justice for a crime that never happened! Witch Hunt!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 1, 2018
Setting aside for a moment the issue of whether the President can be charged with a crime, generally, one can be charged and found guilty of obstruction of justice, even if there are no other charges successfully brought against the person charged with obstruction, or, others.Michael Zeldin, a former assistant to Mueller, talked to CNN about the wording of the questions. Raw Story reports:
“We have, this morning, been calling these questions that Mueller propounded, but I don’t believe that that’s actually what these are,” he began. “I think these are notes taken by the recipients of a conversation with Mueller’s office where he outlined broad topics and these guys wrote down questions that they thought these topics may raise.”
He explained that the way the questions are written make it pretty obvious.
“Because of the way these questions are written,” Zeldin explained his methodology. “Lawyers wouldn’t write questions this way, in my estimation. Some of the grammar is not even proper. So, I don’t see this as a list of written questions that Mueller’s office gave to the president. I think these are more notes that the White House has taken and then they have expanded upon the conversation to write out these as questions.”