On Monday, a new report from The New York Times revealed dozens of questions that Special Counsel Robert Mueller wants to ask President Donald Trump if he agrees to an interview for the Russia probe.
The Times reports that Mueller wants to ask the questions so he can learn more about Trump’s connections to Russia and to determine if he committed obstruction of justice. The questions are designed to “penetrate the president’s thinking,” so that Mueller can try to understand the motivation behind some of Trump’s actions, including the firing of former FBI Director James Comey and former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.
Some of the questions that Mueller reportedly wants to ask Trump about Flynn include:
• What did you know about phone calls that Mr. Flynn made with the Russian ambassador, Sergey I. Kislyak, in late December 2016?
• What did you know about Sally Yates’s meetings about Mr. Flynn?
• How was the decision made to fire Mr. Flynn on Feb. 13, 2017?
• After the resignations, what efforts were made to reach out to Mr. Flynn about seeking immunity or possible pardon?
Some of the questions that Mueller reportedly wants to ask Trump about Comey include:
• What was your opinion of Mr. Comey during the transition?
• What did you think about Mr. Comey’s intelligence briefing on Jan. 6, 2017, about Russian election interference?
• What did you know about the F.B.I.’s investigation into Mr. Flynn and Russia in the days leading up to Mr. Comey’s testimony on March 20, 2017?
• What did you think and do in reaction to the news that the special counsel was speaking to Mr. Rogers, Mr. Pompeo and Mr. Coats?
• What was the purpose of your calls to Mr. Comey on March 30 and April 11, 2017?
• Regarding the decision to fire Mr. Comey: When was it made? Why? Who played a role?
• What did you mean when you told Russian diplomats on May 10, 2017, that firing Mr. Comey had taken the pressure off?
• What did you think about Mr. Comey’s June 8, 2017 testimony regarding Mr. Flynn, and what did you do about it?
• What is the reason for your continued criticism of Mr. Comey and his former deputy, Andrew G. McCabe?
The Federalist’s Mollie Hemingway has suggested the January 6, 2017 meeting between Trump and Comey was a setup that was used to spark the “Russia” hysteria in the media, which snowballed into a series of events that eventually led to the appointment of Special Counsel Mueller.
Hemingway and The Daily Caller both pointed out how CNN seemed to be the driving force for the meeting, which came at the urging of former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and was used as “the hook” to report on the salacious and unverified allegations contained in the anti-Trump dossier.
Some of the questions that Mueller reportedly wants to ask Trump about his campaign’s alleged connections to Russia:
• When did you become aware of the Trump Tower meeting?
• What involvement did you have in the communication strategy, including the release of Donald Trump Jr.’s emails?
• During a 2013 trip to Russia, what communication and relationships did you have with the Agalarovs and Russian government officials?
• During the campaign, what did you know about Russian hacking, use of social media or other acts aimed at the campaign?
• What knowledge did you have of any outreach by your campaign, including by Paul Manafort, to Russia about potential assistance to the campaign?
• What did you know about communication between Roger Stone, his associates, Julian Assange or WikiLeaks?
• What did you know during the transition about an attempt to establish back-channel communication to Russia, and Jared Kushner’s efforts?
• What do you know about a 2017 meeting in Seychelles involving Erik Prince?
Some of the questions that Mueller reportedly wants to ask Trump about Attorney General Jeff Sessions include:
• What did you think and do regarding the recusal of Mr. Sessions?
• What efforts did you make to try to get him to change his mind?
• Did you discuss whether Mr. Sessions would protect you, and reference past attorneys general?
• What did you think and what did you do in reaction to the news of the appointment of the special counsel?
• Why did you hold Mr. Sessions’s resignation until May 31, 2017, and with whom did you discuss it?
• What discussions did you have regarding terminating the special counsel, and what did you do when that consideration was reported in January 2018?
As the Times notes, a significant portion of Mueller’s questions are related to Trump’s actions as president and are centered around obstruction of justice. Lawyers for Trump and a spokesman for the special counsel’s office did not respond to a request for comment from the Times.
Two weeks ago, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani joined Trump’s legal team with the goal of helping bring the investigation to an end.
“I’m going to join the legal team to try to bring this to a resolution,” Giuliani said. “I don’t know yet what’s outstanding. But I don’t think it’s going to take more than a week or two to get a resolution. I’m going to ask Mueller, ‘What do you need to wrap it up?’”