The Top 6 Questions Mueller Has for President Trump
President Donald Trump’s interview with special counsel Robert S. Mueller III still hasn’t been scheduled, but Mueller gave Trump’s lawyers a list of questions he wants answered in an interview.
Mueller hopes the information be gets — if the interview ever happens — might just help him decide whether to indict Donald Trump or write a final report that could be used to begin impeachment proceedings in Congress. Keep reading to find out the six biggest questions Mueller has for Trump, and decide for yourself if the president should have to answer them. But first, we’ll talk about why the meeting hasn’t taken place yet and why Trump is upset the questions leaked to the public.
1. Why hasn’t the meeting taken place?
According to Politico, Donald Trump told reporters in June 2017 that he was “100%” willing to testify under oath. And in January 2018, he said he was “looking forward to it, actually.” But after the FBI raided Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen’s office and hotel room in April 2018, Trump changed his tune.
Next: A dangerous interview
2. Trump’s lead lawyer doesn’t want him to meet with Mueller
Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s new lead lawyer, met with Mueller in late May 2018 to get the latest read on his level of interest in a presidential interview. Giuliani revealed in an interview with The New York Times that it would be odd for Trump to talk with Mueller. “At this stage of an investigation, it’d be highly unusual to let an ordinary client testify,” said Giuliani. “This isn’t an ordinary client. This is the president of the United States.”
Next: The questions
3. Mueller’s questions aim to get to the bottom of Trump’s decision to fire James Comey and Michael Flynn
Among other things, Mueller’s questions for the president seem be an attempt to penetrate Trump’s thought process and understand the motivation behind his combative tweets, according to Politico. Mueller’s questions focus on Trump’s decision to fire the F.B.I. Director James Comey and his first national security adviser, Michael Flynn; how Trump treated Attorney General Jeff Sessions; and the 2016 Trump Tower meeting between campaign officials and Russians.
Next: Trump reacts
4. Here’s what Trump thinks of the American public knowing Mueller’s questions
Trump took to Twitter on May 1, 2018, saying it was “disgraceful” that the special counsel’s questions have been released to the public. In addition, Trump erroneously said there were no questions on the list about collusion, and he added that collusion was a “phony” crime.
Next: The first question
5. What did you know about phone calls that Mr. Flynn made with the Russian ambassador, Sergey I. Kislyak, in late December 2016?
According to The New York Times, Mueller’s question focuses on whether Trump tried to obstruct justice to protect Michael Flynn, his first national security adviser, from prosecution. During Flynn’s phone calls with Kislyak, he urged Kislyak not to overreact to sanctions the Obama administration announced.
Trump’s aides — and Flynn — deny sanctions were discussed on that phone call. But Mueller wants to know if Flynn was acting on Trump’s behalf. Because Flynn has pleaded guilty to lying and is cooperating with investigators, the answer is pretty clear now.
Next: The second question
6. What was your reaction to news reports on Jan. 12, 2017, and Feb. 8 to Feb. 9, 2017?
According to the New York Times, Washington Post columnist David Ignatius broke the story about Flynn’s phone calls with Kislyak. He was curious if the conversations had violated a law that forbids private citizens from attempting to undermine American policies. In February 2017, the Washington Post revealed what really went on during Flynn’s conversations with Kislyak. Mueller now wants to know if Trump was afraid Flynn had broken the law and was covering for him.
Next: The third question
7. What did you know about Sally Yates’s meetings about Mr. Flynn?
Sally Yates, who served as attorney general during the first weeks after Trump took office, told the White House twice that Flynn was lying, according to The New York Times. She also pointed out that his lies made him vulnerable to Russian blackmail. To date, however, the White House has not made a statement regarding how much Trump knew about her warnings.
Next: The fourth question
8. How was the decision made to fire Mr. Flynn on Feb. 13, 2017?
Just 18 days after Sally Yates warned the White House about Flynn, he was asked to resign, according to the New York Times. The White House made a statement, saying that Trump had lost confidence in Flynn because he had lied. That said, the White House failed to fully explain why, after everyone had known about Flynn’s lie, officials waited so long to act.
Next: The fifth question
9. After the resignations, what efforts were made to reach out to Mr. Flynn about seeking immunity or possible pardon?
When Flynn began thinking he should cooperate with the F.B.I., Trump’s lawyers came up with the idea of pardoning him — and Mueller wants to know why, according to The New York Times.
Next: The sixth question
10. What knowledge did you have of any outreach by your campaign, including by Paul Manafort, to Russia about potential assistance to the campaign?
Yes, Mueller wants to ask Trump this zinger, according to The New York Times. There have been media rumors about attempts from Russian sources to reach out to Trump’s campaign, most notably his former campaign manager Paul Manafort, and his son, Donald Trump Jr. The two met Kremlin-connected lawyers at Trump Tower in June 2016 — a meeting during which the Russians promised to provide damaging information regarding Trump’s opponent, Hillary Clinton.
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