- President Donald Trump responded to publication by The New York Times of question Special Counsel Robert Mueller would ask the president.
- In a bizarre outburst, Trump claimed Mueller did not plan to ask him about possible collusion with Russia, the main focus of the investigation.
- Thirteen of the questions, as reported by The Times, actually do ask about possible collusion.
President Donald Trump has responded to publication by The New York Times of questions Special Counsel Robert Mueller would ask the president in an interview by slamming the press and Mueller’s investigation.
Early on Tuesday morning, Trump tweeted: “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!”
The post appears to be a reference to how the investigation into his campaign cited an opposition research dossier funded by Democrats.
While the questions Mueller reportedly wants to ask Trump don’t outright ask whether he or his campaign colluded with Russia during the 2016 presidential election, they do ask about specific meetings between Trump campaign figures and Russian nationals.
At least 13 of the questions listed by The Times ask about possible collusion between Trump’s team and Russia.
Among the key inquiries, Mueller wants to know whether the Trump campaign sought help from Russia during the 2016 election.
According to The Times, one question is, “What knowledge did you have of any outreach by your campaign, including by Paul Manafort to Russia about potential assistance to the campaign.”
That question is at the crux of the Russia probe at large, because it hits at the primary concern of the US intelligence community.
The agencies said in a 2017 report that Russia had engaged in a targeted effort to influence US voters through propaganda and other means, to swing the presidential election in Trump’s favour.
But collusion with a foreign government to sway the US presidential election isn’t the only crime Trump is under investigation for by Mueller, who is also looking into whether the president obstructed justice by firing the head of the FBI during the probe for collusion.
For that charge, Trump also had an answer on Twitter: “It would seem very hard to obstruct justice for a crime that never happened! Witch Hunt!”
Bryan Logan contributed reporting.
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