Just when mainstream media was beginning to lose hope anything would come of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe, some of the questions Mueller reportedly would like to ask President Trump in a one-on-one interview were leaked to the press.
The president was outraged. “So disgraceful that the questions concerning the Russia Witch Hunt were ‘leaked’ to the media,’” President Trump tweeted.
“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!”
He followed with another tweet: “It would seem very hard to obstruct justice for a crime that never happened! Witch hunt!”
Greg Sargent at the Washington Post wrote that some of the questions do deal with collusion and that one can obstruct justice even if a crime never occurred. He also pointed out that one of Trump’s former attorneys, John Dowd, quit after seeing the questions because he recognized them as designed to entrap the president and advised Trump not to sit for the interview, but Trump refused to promise to do so.
The questions, Sargent contended, show “the collusion issue is far from settled. Despite Trump’s tweet and despite the exoneration in the sham House GOP Intel Committee report, Mueller’s questions suggest that that the possibility of a Russia-Trump campaign conspiracy is very much alive.”
Sargent’s proof is that one of the questions dealt with when Trump became aware of the Trump Tower meeting between his son, a Russian lawyer and others.
He also suggests, as do others in the mainstream media, that Mueller may be moving on a variety of fronts that had not previously been made public.
Sargent says the new information is that Mueller is interested in Trump’s conversations with then-FBI Director James Comey because Comey “extensively briefed multiple FBI officials about his conversations with Trump just after they happened,” and he wants to compare Trump’s memory now of those conversations with what Comey told the other agents was said. It does not state what this third-hand information would add to the allegations.
A story on National Public Radio stated Mueller “may have developed evidence not yet public about contacts between Donald Trump’s campaign and the Russian government as it attacked the 2016 election, based on questions published Monday by the New York Times.”
This has to do with Paul Manafort, who for a brief time in 2016 was Trump’s campaign manager. Manafort has been charged with crimes relating to business dealings he had in Ukraine in 2014, at which time he barely knew Trump and was not involved with Trump’s then-unannounced campaign in any way. He has pleaded not guilty.
The question asks what awareness Trump had of “any outreach by your campaign, including by Paul Manafort, to Russia about potential assistance to the campaign.”
It then tells us prosecutors have “connected” Manafort “to at least one person they say has ties to Russia’s intelligence services, but Manafort has not been charged with conspiring with the Russian attack. The reference to ‘outreach’ suggests the Justice Department may have more evidence is has not yet revealed.”
Fox News noted this was the latest “in a string of apparently deliberate disclosures relating to the ongoing probe into Russian involvement in the U.S. presidential election.”
Others noted the questions did not seem to touch on George Papadopoulos, who pleaded guilty to a minor crime early in the investigation and reportedly had been a fruitful source for Mueller since then.