Special Counsel Robert Mueller is reportedly on his last round of subpoenas and interrogatories and, this week, according to two major news networks, President Donald Trump will be submitting answers to a Mueller-authored questionnaire probing into his knowledge of “alleged Russian meddling” during the 2016 election.
ABC News reports that the White House has quietly complied with a request on the part of Mueller’s team to answer a series of written questions. They added that the questionnaire arrived sometime earlier this month, and the president has been “huddled” with his legal team, including former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, to formulate answers.
“The questions, as ABC News has previously reported, center on alleged Russian meddling during the 2016 election cycle, which Mueller is tasked with investigating. The nearly year and a half long probe by the special counsel stems from allegations of Russia coordinating with members of the Trump presidential campaign,” ABC News reports.
One thing Trump will not be answering questions about: firing FBI Director James Comey. When rumors began swirling that Mueller’s team was seeking answers from the president, The New York Times reported that investigators were interested in hearing from Trump about why and how he fired Comey as part of a probe into whether the president had obstructed justice with his personnel-related decisions.
NBC reports that Mueller’s questions don’t include anything on James Comey. So while it’s not clear if Trump’s lawyers struck a deal with Mueller to avoid an in-person interview, or if the interrogatories are the first step in a full investigation of the president, it looks as though Trump’s lawyers negotiated the questionnaire to some extent, detailing the parameters under which the president would respond to questions — and which questions he’d respond to.
As others have already pointed out, Mueller also wanted Trump to be among the last witnesses he interviewed, which means his probe may be coming to an end.
Before the midterm elections, Mueller himself suggested Congress could see the results of his investigation in November, and the day Jeff Sessions stepped down from his post as Attorney General, anonymous sources also reported that Mueller’s team was busy compiling their final report. Although some Members of Congress have expressed concern that Trump could try to pressure interim Attorney General Matt Whitaker to interfere in the Justice Department probe, even Trump allies like Sen. Lindsey Graham say they’ll protect Mueller until the investigation is completed.
So bad news for Trump’s legal team, which might be pulling a few all-nighters this week, but good news for the Trump Administration, which may soon be out from under the year-long Mueller investigation for good — just in time to fall prey to subpoenas, requests, and investigations from House Democrats.
Earlier this week, Axios compiled a list of at least 85 separate investigations that House Democrats plan to undertake as soon as they assume control of the House in January, from Trump’s tax returns and foreign financial entanglements, to his alleged “hush” payments to Stormy Daniels, to, of course, his firing of FBI Director James Comey.