Questions Mueller Wants Answers To!

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lennygoran
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Questions Mueller Wants Answers To!

Post by lennygoran » Mon Apr 30, 2018 8:13 pm

I'd like these questions answered too! Regards, Len

Mueller Has Dozens of Inquiries for Trump in Broad Quest on Russia Ties and Obstruction

By MICHAEL S. SCHMIDT APRIL 30, 2018


WASHINGTON — Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel investigating Russia’s election interference, has at least four dozen questions on an exhaustive array of subjects he wants to ask President Trump to learn more about his ties to Russia and determine whether he obstructed the inquiry itself, according to a list of the questions obtained by The New York Times.



The open-ended queries appear to be an attempt to penetrate the president’s thinking, to get at the motivation behind some of his most combative Twitter posts and to examine his relationships with his family and his closest advisers. They deal chiefly with the president’s high-profile firings of the F.B.I. director and his first national security adviser, his treatment of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and a 2016 Trump Tower meeting between campaign officials and Russians offering dirt on Hillary Clinton.

But they also touch on the president’s businesses; any discussions with his longtime personal lawyer, Michael D. Cohen, about a Moscow real estate deal; whether the president knew of any attempt by Mr. Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, to set up a back channel to Russia during the transition; any contacts he had with Roger J. Stone Jr., a longtime adviser who claimed to have inside information about Democratic email hackings; and what happened during Mr. Trump’s 2013 trip to Moscow for the Miss Universe pageant.

The questions provide the most detailed look yet inside Mr. Mueller’s investigation, which has been shrouded in secrecy since he was appointed nearly a year ago. The majority relate to possible obstruction of justice, demonstrating how an investigation into Russia’s election meddling grew to include an examination of the president’s conduct in office. Among them are queries on any discussions Mr. Trump had about his attempts to fire Mr. Mueller himself and what the president knew about possible pardon offers to Mr. Flynn.

“What efforts were made to reach out to Mr. Flynn about seeking immunity or possible pardon?” Mr. Mueller planned to ask, according to questions read by the special counsel investigators to the president’s lawyers, who compiled them into a list. That document was provided to The Times by a person outside Mr. Trump’s legal team.
Continue reading the main story

A few questions reveal that Mr. Mueller is still investigating possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia. In one of the more tantalizing inquiries, Mr. Mueller asks what Mr. Trump knew about campaign aides, including the former chairman Paul Manafort, seeking assistance from Moscow: “What knowledge did you have of any outreach by your campaign, including by Paul Manafort, to Russia about potential assistance to the campaign?” No such outreach has been revealed publicly.

Jay Sekulow, a lawyer for Mr. Trump, declined to comment. A spokesman for the special counsel’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

The questions serve as a reminder of the chaotic first 15 months of the Trump presidency and the transition and campaign before that. Mr. Mueller wanted to inquire about public threats the president made, conflicting statements from Mr. Trump and White House aides, the president’s private admissions to Russian officials, a secret meetings at an island resort, WikiLeaks, salacious accusations and dramatic congressional testimony.

The special counsel also sought information from the president about his relationship with Russia. Mr. Mueller would like to ask Mr. Trump whether he had any discussions during the campaign about any meetings with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia and whether he spoke to others about either American sanctions against Russia or meeting with Mr. Putin.

Through his questions, Mr. Mueller also tries to tease out Mr. Trump’s views on law enforcement officials and whether he sees them as independent investigators or people who should loyally protect him.

For example, when the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, was fired, the White House said he broke with Justice Department policy and spoke publicly about the investigation into Mrs. Clinton’s email server. Mr. Mueller’s questions put that statement to the test. He wants to ask why, time and again, Mr. Trump expressed no concerns with whether Mr. Comey had abided by policy. Rather, in statements in private and on national television, Mr. Trump suggested that Mr. Comey was fired because of the Russia investigation.

Many of the questions surround Mr. Trump’s relationship with Mr. Sessions, including the attorney general’s decision to recuse himself from the Russia investigation and whether Mr. Trump told Mr. Sessions he needed him in place for protection.


Mr. Mueller appears to be investigating how Mr. Trump took steps last year to fire Mr. Mueller himself. The president relented after the White House counsel, Donald F. McGahn II, threatened to resign, an episode that the special counsel wants to ask about.

“What consideration and discussions did you have regarding terminating the special counsel in June of 2017?” Mr. Mueller planned to ask, according to the list of questions. “What did you think and do in reaction to Jan. 25, 2018, story about the termination of the special counsel and Don McGahn backing you off the termination?” he planned to ask, referring to the Times article that broke the news of the confrontation.

Mr. Mueller has sought for months to question the president, who has in turn expressed a desire, at times, to be interviewed, viewing it as an avenue to end the inquiry more quickly. His lawyers have been negotiating terms of an interview out of concern that their client — whose exaggerations, half-truths and outright falsehoods are well documented — could provide false statements or easily become distracted. Four people, including Mr. Flynn, have pleaded guilty to lying to investigators in the Russia inquiry.

The list of questions grew out of those negotiations. In January, Mr. Trump’s lawyers gave Mr. Mueller several pages of written explanations about the president’s role in the matters the special counsel is investigating. Concerned about putting the president in legal jeopardy, his lead lawyer, John Dowd, was trying to convince Mr. Mueller he did not need to interview Mr. Trump, according to people briefed on the matter.

Mr. Mueller was apparently unsatisfied. He told Mr. Dowd in early March that he needed to question the president directly to determine whether he had criminal intent when he fired Mr. Comey, the people said.

But Mr. Dowd held firm, and investigators for Mr. Mueller agreed days later to share during a meeting with Mr. Dowd the questions they wanted to ask Mr. Trump.

When Mr. Mueller’s team relayed the questions, their tone and detailed nature cemented Mr. Dowd’s view that the president should not sit for an interview. Despite Mr. Dowd’s misgivings, Mr. Trump remained firm in his insistence that he meet with Mr. Mueller. About a week and a half after receiving the questions, Mr. Dowd resigned, concluding that his client was ignoring his advice.

Mr. Trump’s new lawyer in the investigation and his longtime confidant, Rudolph W. Giuliani, met with Mr. Mueller last week and said he was trying to determine whether the special counsel and his staff were going to be “truly objective.”

Mr. Mueller’s endgame remains a mystery, even if he determines the president broke the law. A longstanding Justice Department legal finding says presidents cannot be charged with a crime while they are in office. The special counsel told Mr. Dowd in March that though the president’s conduct is under scrutiny, he is not a target of the investigation, meaning Mr. Mueller does not expect to charge him.

The prospect of pardons is also among Mr. Mueller’s inquiries, and whether Mr. Trump offered them to a pair of former top aides to influence their decisions about whether to cooperate with the special counsel investigation.

Mr. Dowd broached the idea with lawyers for both of the advisers, Mr. Flynn and Mr. Manafort, according to people with knowledge of the discussions. Mr. Manafort has pleaded not guilty on charges of money laundering and other financial crimes related to his work for the pro-Russia former president of Ukraine.

Mr. Flynn, a retired Army lieutenant general who was ousted from the White House in February 2017 amid revelations about contacts with the Russian ambassador to the United States, ultimately pleaded guilty last December to lying to federal authorities and agreed to cooperate with the special counsel.

“After General Flynn resigned, what calls or efforts were made by people associated with you to reach out to General Flynn or to discuss Flynn seeking immunity or possible pardon?” Mr. Mueller planned to ask.



https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/30/us/p ... e=Homepage

lennygoran
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Re: Questions Mueller Wants Answers To!

Post by lennygoran » Mon Apr 30, 2018 8:20 pm

I didn't edit this article too well but here are the questions! Trump may be a subject-not a witness-bring on obstruction of justice! Regards, Len


What Mueller Wants to Ask Trump About Obstruction, and What It Means

The questions show the special counsel’s focus on obstruction of justice and touch on some surprising other areas.


By Matt Apuzzo and Michael S. Schmidt
April 30, 2018

The special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, recently provided President Trump’s lawyers a list of questions he wants answered in an interview. The New York Times obtained the list; here are the questions, along with the context and significance of each. The questions fall into categories based on four broad subjects. They are not quoted verbatim, and some were condensed.
Questions related to Michael T. Flynn, the former national security adviser

• What did you know about phone calls that Mr. Flynn made with the Russian ambassador, Sergey I. Kislyak, in late December 2016?

These questions revolve around whether Mr. Trump tried to obstruct justice to protect Mr. Flynn from prosecution. His phone calls with Mr. Kislyak are at the heart of that inquiry.

During the calls, Mr. Flynn urged Russia not to overreact to sanctions just announced by the Obama administration. But Mr. Trump’s aides publicly denied that sanctions were discussed and, when questioned by the F.B.I., Mr. Flynn denied it, as well. Mr. Mueller wants to know whether Mr. Flynn was operating on Mr. Trump’s behalf. Prosecutors may already know the answer: Mr. Flynn has pleaded guilty to lying and is cooperating with investigators.
• What was your reaction to news reports on Jan. 12, 2017, and Feb. 8-9, 2017?

In January, the Washington Post columnist David Ignatius revealed Mr. Flynn’s phone calls with Mr. Kislyak. Mr. Ignatius questioned whether those conversations had violated a law prohibiting private citizens from attempting to undermine American policies. In February, The Washington Post revealed the true nature of Mr. Flynn’s conversations with Mr. Kislyak.

Mr. Mueller wants to know, among other things, whether Mr. Trump feared that his national security adviser had broken the law and then tried to shield him from consequences.
• What did you know about Sally Yates’s meetings about Mr. Flynn?

Ms. Yates, the acting attorney general for the first weeks of the Trump administration, twice warned the White House that Mr. Flynn was lying, and those lies made him vulnerable to Russian blackmail. No one from the White House has ever said how much Mr. Trump knew about those warnings.
• How was the decision made to fire Mr. Flynn on Feb. 13, 2017?

Eighteen days after Ms. Yates’s warning, Mr. Flynn was asked to resign. The White House said that Mr. Trump lost confidence in Mr. Flynn because he had lied. But the White House has never fully explained why, after learning about the lie, officials waited so long to act.
• After the resignations, what efforts were made to reach out to Mr. Flynn about seeking immunity or possible pardon?

The Times recently revealed that, when Mr. Flynn began considering cooperating with the F.B.I., Mr. Trump’s lawyers floated the idea of a pardon. Mr. Mueller wants to know why.

• What was your opinion of Mr. Comey during the transition?

The questions about Mr. Comey relate to whether Mr. Trump fired Mr. Comey last year to shield Mr. Flynn, or anyone else, from prosecution. Mr. Trump has denied that, saying he fired Mr. Comey because of his mishandling of the F.B.I.’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server.

This question is important because, if Mr. Trump truly was upset about the Clinton investigation, he would have shown an early distaste for Mr. Comey.
• What did you think about Mr. Comey’s intelligence briefing on Jan. 6, 2017, about Russian election interference?

The briefing revealed that American intelligence agencies had concluded that Russian operatives meddled in the election to hurt Mrs. Clinton and to boost Mr. Trump. Mr. Trump has repeatedly cast doubt on these conclusions and said he believes the Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin, who denies any interference.
• What was your reaction to Mr. Comey’s briefing that day about other intelligence matters?

This question addresses documents written by a retired British spy, Christopher Steele, who said that Russia had gathered compromising information on Mr. Trump. The documents, which became known as the Steele Dossier, also claim that the Trump campaign had ties to the Russian government. Mr. Comey privately briefed Mr. Trump about these documents.
• What was the purpose of your Jan. 27, 2017, dinner with Mr. Comey, and what was said?

A few weeks after his briefing, Mr. Comey was called to the White House for a private dinner. Mr. Comey’s notes say that Mr. Trump raised concerns about the Steele Dossier and said he needed loyalty from his F.B.I. director. This question touches on Mr. Trump’s true motivation for firing Mr. Comey: Was he dismissed because he was not loyal and would not shut down an F.B.I. investigation?
• What was the purpose of your Feb. 14, 2017, meeting with Mr. Comey, and what was said?

That was a key moment. Mr. Comey testified that the president told him, “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go.” Mr. Trump has denied this.
• 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?

Mr. Comey’s testimony publicly confirmed that the F.B.I. was investigating members of the Trump campaign for possible coordination with Russia. Mr. Mueller wants to know what role that revelation played in Mr. Comey’s firing.
• What did you do in reaction to the March 20 testimony? Describe your contacts with intelligence officials.

In the aftermath, The Post reported, Mr. Trump asked the United States’ top intelligence official, Daniel Coats, to pressure Mr. Comey to back off his investigation. Mr. Mueller wants to ask Mr. Trump about his contacts with Mr. Coats as well as the C.I.A.’s director at the time, Mike Pompeo, and the National Security Agency’s director, Michael S. Rogers. The conversations could reflect Mr. Trump’s growing frustration with Mr. Comey — not about the Clinton case, but about his refusal to shut down the Russia inquiry.
• 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?

It is not clear whether Mr. Mueller knows something specific about Mr. Trump’s reaction to these interviews, but the question shows that Mr. Mueller is keenly interested in how Mr. Trump responded to each step of his investigation.
• What was the purpose of your calls to Mr. Comey on March 30 and April 11, 2017?

Mr. Comey said that Mr. Trump called twice to ask him to say publicly that he was not under F.B.I. investigation. In the second call, Mr. Comey said, the president added: “I have been very loyal to you, very loyal. We had that thing, you know.”
• What was the purpose of your April 11, 2017, statement to Maria Bartiromo?

While the White House ultimately said Mr. Comey was fired for breaking with Justice Department policy and discussing the Clinton investigation, Mr. Trump expressed no such qualms in an interview with Ms. Bartiromo of Fox Business Network. “Director Comey was very, very good to Hillary Clinton, that I can tell you,” he said. “If he weren’t, she would be, right now, going to trial.”
• What did you think and do about Mr. Comey’s May 3, 2017, testimony?

In this Senate appearance, Mr. Comey described his handling of the Clinton investigation in detail. Mr. Comey was fired soon after. Mr. Mueller’s question suggests he wants to know why Mr. Trump soured.
• Regarding the decision to fire Mr. Comey: When was it made? Why? Who played a role?

Over the past several months, Mr. Mueller has asked White House officials for the back story, and whether the public justification was accurate. He will be able to compare Mr. Trump’s answers to what he has learned elsewhere.
• What did you mean when you told Russian diplomats on May 10, 2017, that firing Mr. Comey had taken the pressure off?

The day after Mr. Comey’s firing, Mr. Trump met with Russian officials in the Oval Office. There, The Times revealed, Mr. Trump suggested he had fired Mr. Comey because of the pressure from the Russia investigation.

“I just fired the head of the F.B.I. He was crazy, a real nut job,” Mr. Trump said. “I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off.”
• What did you mean in your interview with Lester Holt about Mr. Comey and Russia?

Shortly after firing Mr. Comey, Mr. Trump undercut his own argument when he told NBC News that he had been thinking about the Russia investigation when he fired Mr. Comey.

“I was going to fire Comey knowing there was no good time to do it. And in fact, when I decided to just do it, I said to myself — I said, you know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story. It's an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should've won.”

• What was the purpose of your May 12, 2017, tweet?

After The Times revealed the president’s private dinner with Mr. Comey, Mr. Trump responded on Twitter.

Mr. Comey appeared unworried. “Lordy, I hope there are tapes,” Mr. Comey said. The White House ultimately said that, no, there were no tapes.
• What did you think about Mr. Comey’s June 8, 2017, testimony regarding Mr. Flynn, and what did you do about it?

After he was fired, Mr. Comey testified about his conversations with Mr. Trump and described him as preoccupied with the F.B.I.’s investigation into Russia. After the testimony, Mr. Trump called him a liar.
• What was the purpose of the September and October 2017 statements, including tweets, regarding an investigation of Mr. Comey?

Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, said that Mr. Comey had testified falsely to Congress and suggested that the Justice Department might investigate. Mr. Trump followed up with tweets suggesting that he should be investigated for rigging an inquiry into Mrs. Clinton. Such comments reinforced criticism that Mr. Trump views the Justice Department as a sword to use against his political rivals.
• What is the reason for your continued criticism of Mr. Comey and his former deputy, Andrew G. McCabe?

Mr. Comey and Mr. McCabe are among Mr. Trump’s favorite targets. Mr. McCabe is a lifelong Republican, but Mr. Trump has criticized him as a Clinton loyalist because Mr. McCabe’s wife, a Democrat, ran unsuccessfully for office in Virginia and received donations from a Clinton ally. This question suggests that Mr. Mueller wants to know whether Mr. Trump’s criticism is an effort to damage the F.B.I. while it investigates the president’s associates.
Questions related to Attorney General Jeff Sessions
Image
Attorney General Jeff Sessions in April in Washington.CreditLawrence Jackson for The New York Times
• What did you think and do regarding the recusal of Mr. Sessions?

Mr. Trump has criticized Mr. Sessions’s recusal from the Russia investigation. The Times reported that Mr. Trump humiliated him in an Oval Office meeting and accused him of being disloyal. Mr. Sessions ultimately submitted his resignation, though Mr. Trump did not accept it. Along with the next two questions, this inquiry looks at whether Mr. Trump views law enforcement officials as protectors.
• What efforts did you make to try to get him to change his mind?

The Times has reported that Mr. Trump told his White House counsel, Donald F. McGahn II, to stop Mr. Sessions from recusing himself. Mr. McGahn was unsuccessful, and Mr. Trump erupted, saying he needed an attorney general who would protect him.
• Did you discuss whether Mr. Sessions would protect you, and reference past attorneys general?

Mr. Trump has spoken affectionately about past attorneys general who he said were loyal to their presidents. He cited Robert F. Kennedy and Eric H. Holder Jr. as examples. “Holder protected the president,” he said in a Times interview in December. “And I have great respect for that.”
• What did you think and what did you do in reaction to the news of the appointment of the special counsel?

In a twist, Mr. Mueller’s very appointment has become part of his investigation. Mr. Trump has repeatedly denounced the inquiry as a “witch hunt.” Mr. Trump blames the appointment on Mr. Sessions’s recusal.
• Why did you hold Mr. Sessions’s resignation until May 31, 2017, and with whom did you discuss it?

Mr. Trump rejected Mr. Sessions’s resignation after aides argued that it would only create more problems. The details of those discussions remain unclear, but Mr. Trump’s advisers have already given Mr. Mueller their accounts of the conversations.
• What discussions did you have with Reince Priebus in July 2017 about obtaining the Sessions resignation? With whom did you discuss it?

Mr. Priebus, who was Mr. Trump’s chief of staff, has said he raced out of the White House after Mr. Sessions and implored him not to resign. Mr. Mueller has interviewed Mr. Priebus and would be able to compare his answers with those of Mr. Trump.
• What discussions did you have regarding terminating the special counsel, and what did you do when that consideration was reported in January 2018?

Again, Mr. Mueller’s investigation intersects with its own existence. The Times reported that, in June 2017, Mr. Trump ordered Mr. McGahn to fire Mr. Mueller. Mr. McGahn refused. Though Mr. Trump’s own advisers informed Mr. Mueller about that effort, Mr. Trump denied it: “Fake news,” he said. “A typical New York Times fake story.”
• What was the purpose of your July 2017 criticism of Mr. Sessions?

Mr. Trump unleashed a series of attacks on Mr. Sessions in July.
Campaign Coordination With Russia
Image
Donald Trump Jr. arranged a meeting with a Russian lawyer at Trump Tower in June 2016.CreditLeah Millis/Reuters
• When did you become aware of the Trump Tower meeting?

This and other questions relate to a June 9, 2016, meeting at Trump Tower with a Russian lawyer who offered political dirt about Mrs. Clinton. Mr. Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., arranged the meeting. He said he did not tell his father about it when it happened.
• What involvement did you have in the communication strategy, including the release of Donald Trump Jr.’s emails?

When The Times found out about the meeting, Mr. Trump helped draft a misleading statement in his son’s name, omitting the true purpose of the meeting. After The Times obtained the younger Mr. Trump’s emails, he published them on Twitter.
• During a 2013 trip to Russia, what communication and relationships did you have with the Agalarovs and Russian government officials?

The Trump Tower meeting was arranged through the Russian singer Emin Agalarov, his billionaire father, Aras Agalarov, and a music promoter. Mr. Mueller is scrutinizing the nature of connections between the Agalarovs, Mr. Trump and Russian officials.
• What communication did you have with Michael D. Cohen, Felix Sater and others, including foreign nationals, about Russian real estate developments during the campaign?

Mr. Mueller is referring to a failed effort to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. Mr. Sater, a business associate, proposed the idea to Mr. Cohen, the longtime personal lawyer to Mr. Trump. Emails show that Mr. Sater believed that the project would showcase Mr. Trump’s deal-making acumen and propel him into the presidency.
• What discussions did you have during the campaign regarding any meeting with Mr. Putin? Did you discuss it with others?

Journalists and lawmakers have uncovered several examples of Russian officials trying, through intermediaries, to arrange a meeting between Mr. Trump and Mr. Putin. Senior campaign officials rejected some overtures, but Mr. Trump’s involvement has been a mystery.
• What discussions did you have during the campaign regarding Russian sanctions?

Even as the Obama administration stepped up sanctions on Russia, Mr. Trump struck a laudatory tone toward Mr. Putin.
• What involvement did you have concerning platform changes regarding arming Ukraine?

A portion of the Republican platform was changed in a way more favorable to Russia.
• During the campaign, what did you know about Russian hacking, use of social media or other acts aimed at the campaign?

This is a key question. Mr. Trump praised the release of hacked Democratic emails and called on Russia to find others. Mr. Mueller’s investigation has unearthed evidence that at least one member of Mr. Trump’s campaign — George Papadopoulos — was told that Russia had obtained compromising emails about Mrs. Clinton. But Mr. Trump has repeatedly said there was “no collusion” with the Russian government.
• What knowledge did you have of any outreach by your campaign, including by Paul Manafort, to Russia about potential assistance to the campaign?

This is one of the most intriguing questions on the list. It is not clear whether Mr. Mueller knows something new, but there is no publicly available information linking Mr. Manafort, the former campaign chairman, to such outreach. So his inclusion here is significant. Mr. Manafort’s longtime colleague, Rick Gates, is cooperating with Mr. Mueller.
• What did you know about communication between Roger Stone, his associates, Julian Assange or WikiLeaks?

Mr. Stone, a longtime adviser, claimed to have inside information from WikiLeaks, which published hacked Democratic emails. He appeared to predict future releases, and was in touch with a Twitter account used by Russian intelligence. This question, along with the next two, show that Mr. Mueller is still investigating possible campaign cooperation with Russia.
• What did you know during the transition about an attempt to establish back-channel communication to Russia, and Jared Kushner’s efforts?

Mr. Kushner, Mr. Trump’s son-in-law, has testified that the Russian ambassador proposed getting Mr. Flynn in contact with Russian officials to discuss Syria. In response, Mr. Kushner said, he proposed using secure phones inside the Russian Embassy — a highly unusual suggestion that was not accepted.
• What do you know about a 2017 meeting in Seychelles involving Erik Prince?

The meeting was convened by Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan of the United Arab Emirates. It brought Mr. Prince, an informal adviser to Mr. Trump’s team, together with a Russian investor close to Mr. Putin.
• What do you know about a Ukrainian peace proposal provided to Mr. Cohen in 2017?

Mr. Cohen, the lawyer, hand-delivered to the White House a peace proposal for Ukraine and Russia. This unusual bit of backdoor diplomacy is of interest because it involved a Ukrainian lawmaker who said he was being encouraged by Mr. Putin’s aides. Mr. Cohen has said he did not discuss the proposal with Mr. Trump.



https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/30/us/p ... ussia.html

jserraglio
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Re: Questions Mueller Wants Answers To!

Post by jserraglio » Wed May 02, 2018 4:28 am

The 49 questions were compiled in March and leaked in April by members of the Trump team, not Mueller's.

The questions began life as 16 broad inquiry topics floated in March by Mueller to Trump's lawyers. At that time, Mueller also told Trump's team that he might issue a subpoena to get Trump's testimony.


WAPO — In a tense meeting in early March with special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, President Trump’s lawyers insisted he had no obligation to talk with federal investigators probing Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential campaign.
But Mueller responded that he had another option if Trump declined: He could issue a subpoena for the president to appear before a grand jury, according to four people familiar with the encounter.
Mueller’s warning — the first time he is known to have mentioned a possible subpoena to Trump’s legal team — spurred a sharp retort from John Dowd, then the president’s lead lawyer.
“This isn’t some game,” Dowd said, according to two people with knowledge of his comments. “You are screwing with the work of the president of the United States.”
The flare-up set in motion weeks of turmoil among Trump’s attorneys as they debated how to deal with the special counsel’s request for an interview, a dispute that ultimately led to Dowd’s resignation.
In the wake of the testy March 5 meeting, Mueller’s team agreed to provide the president’s lawyers with more specific information about the subjects that prosecutors wished to discuss with the president. With those details in hand, Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow compiled a list of 49 questions that the team believed the president would be asked, according to three of the four people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk publicly. The New York Times first reported the existence of the list.
The questions focus on events during the Trump campaign, transition and presidency that have long been known to be under scrutiny, including the president’s reasons for firing then-FBI Director James B. Comey and the pressure he put on Attorney General Jeff Sessions to resign.
Now Trump’s newly reconfigured legal team is pondering how to address the special counsel’s queries, all while assessing the potential evidence of obstruction that Mueller might present and contending with a client who has grown increasingly opposed to sitting down with the special counsel. Without a resolution on the interview, the standoff could turn into a historic confrontation before the Supreme Court over a presidential subpoena.
Sekulow and Dowd declined to comment. Joshua Stueve, a spokesman for the special counsel, declined to comment.
The president has repeatedly decried the investigation as a “witch hunt.”
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“Oh, I see . . . you have a made up, phony crime, Collusion, that never existed, and an investigation begun with illegally leaked classified information. Nice!” Trump tweeted Tuesday.
Trump’s remade legal team is now led by former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, who told The Washington Post on Tuesday that he views Mueller as the utmost professional, but is still reviewing documents and considering conditions he might set before deciding whether to recommend that Trump agree to an interview.
“Hopefully we’re getting near the end. We all on both sides have some important decisions to make,” Giuliani said. “I still have a totally open mind on what the right strategy is, which we’ll develop in the next few weeks.”
In the meantime, Trump’s lawyers are also considering whether to provide Mueller with written explanations of the episodes he is examining. After investigators laid out 16 specific subjects they wanted to review with the president and added a few topics within each one, Sekulow broke the queries down into 49 separate questions, according to people familiar with the process.
Paul Rosenzweig, who worked as a senior counsel on independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr’s investigation during the Clinton administration, predicted that the president would face a long interview if the special counsel hewed to the list Sekulow compiled.
“This isn’t a list of 49 questions. It’s 49 topics,” Rosenzweig said. “Each of these topics results in dozens of questions. To be honest, that list is a two-day interview. You don’t get through it in an hour or two.”
For his part, Trump fumed when he saw the breadth of the questions that emerged out of the talks with Mueller’s team, according to two White House officials.
The president and several advisers now plan to point to the list as evidence that Mueller has strayed beyond his mandate and is overreaching, they said.
“He wants to hammer that,” according to a person who spoke to Trump on Monday.
“Mueller is in Kenny Starr territory now,” said another Trump adviser, referring to how the controversial independent counsel investigation of Bill and Hillary Clinton’s real estate deals in Arkansas ended up examining the president’s lies about his sexual relationship with a White House intern.
Trump advisers are particularly frustrated by the Mueller team’s focus on whether Trump was obstructing justice by trying to push last summer for Sessions to resign. If the attorney general had stepped down, Trump could have chosen a replacement who was not recused from running the Russia investigation.
Dowd has repeatedly argued that the president has ultimate authority under the Constitution to fire or demote any of his appointees and that his firing decisions cannot be used as evidence of obstruction.
The revelation of the scope of the questions before the president’s team could further complicate recently renewed talks between the special counsel and Trump’s attorneys about a possible interview.
Last week, Giuliani met with Mueller to reopen negotiations over a presidential interview.
Giuliani conveyed the ongoing resistance of Trump and his advisers to a sit-down but did not rule out the possibility. Still, Trump remains strongly opposed to granting Mueller an interview — resistance fueled largely by the raids last month on the office and residences of his personal attorney Michael Cohen.
Trump’s anger over the Cohen raids spilled into nearly every conversation in the days that followed and continues to be a sore point for the president. One confidant said Trump seems to “talk about it 20 times a day.” Other associates said they often stay silent, in person or on the phone, as he vents about the Cohen matter, knowing there is little they can say.
Alan Dershowitz, a well-known lawyer and Trump advocate, said Tuesday that it would be dangerous and unwise for the president to agree to an interview.
“The strategy is to throw him softballs so that he will go on and on with his answers,” he said. “Instead of sharp questions designed to elicit yes or no, they make him feel very comfortable and let him ramble.”
In that setting, Dershowitz said, prosecutors could catch Trump in a misstatement.
Should Mueller seek to compel Trump’s testimony using a subpoena, a legal battle could ensue that could delay the investigation and force the issue into the courts, potentially to the Supreme Court.
Trump’s team could argue that Mueller was seeking information about the president’s private conversations that are protected by executive privilege or that a grand jury interview would place an unnecessary burden on the president’s ability to run the country.
Judges have generally held that the president is not above the law and can be subjected to normal legal processes — but the issue of a presidential subpoena for testimony has not been tested in court. Starr subpoenaed President Bill Clinton for grand jury testimony in 1998 but withdrew it after Clinton agreed to testify voluntarily. He was interviewed at the White House, appearing before the grand jury via video.
Rosenzweig, a senior fellow at the R Street Institute, a nonpartisan think tank, said judges generally like to accommodate a president because he has to be free to “manage the affairs of the world and deal with nuclear war without having to worry about whether he has to show up for an interview the next day.”
But, he added, courts are loath to say the president can’t be investigated.
“The opposite argument is that no man is above the law, and if it’s a lawful investigation, then he must respond,” Rosenzweig said.
Some legal experts believe that two Justice Department opinions prohibit federal prosecutors, including Mueller, from charging a sitting president with a crime. Instead, they said, the Constitution relies on Congress’s power to impeach as the route to hold a president accountable for potentially criminal behavior.
Trump’s lawyers could then argue that he cannot be forced to testify under subpoena, unless his testimony is necessary to indict someone else.
Josh Dawsey and Rosalind S. Helderman contributed to this report.
Carol Leonnig is an investigative reporter at The Washington Post, where she has worked since 2000. She won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for her work on security failures and misconduct inside the Secret Service.
Robert Costa is a national political reporter for The Washington Post. He covers the White House, Congress, and campaigns. He joined The Post in January 2014. He is also the moderator of PBS's "Washington Week" and a political analyst for NBC News and MSNBC.
Democracy Dies in Darkness
© 1996-2018 The Washington Post

lennygoran
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Re: Questions Mueller Wants Answers To!

Post by lennygoran » Wed May 02, 2018 6:02 am

So maybe Mr. Bluster will have to take the 5th! Regards, Len [Go Mueller, Go Rosenstein, Go]

jserraglio
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Re: Questions Mueller Wants Answers To!

Post by jserraglio » Wed May 02, 2018 8:28 am

lennygoran wrote:
Wed May 02, 2018 6:02 am
So maybe Mr. Bluster will have to take the 5th! Regards, Len [Go Mueller, Go Rosenstein, Go]
Prof. Alan Dershowitz, whom some (not I) see as a Trump advocate, shrewdly pointed out the other day that taking the 5th would be perilous for Donald unless he is certain the House would not impeach. If he asserted his 5th Amendment rights, Mueller could simply immunize him from prosecution, compel him to answer every question truthfully and then refer evidence of crimes and perjured testimony to Congress for action. Immunized testimony would not be shielded in any subsequent impeachment, Dershowitz noted.

lennygoran
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Re: Questions Mueller Wants Answers To!

Post by lennygoran » Wed May 02, 2018 10:43 am

jserraglio wrote:
Wed May 02, 2018 8:28 am
Prof. Alan Dershowitz, whom some (not I) see as a Trump advocate, shrewdly pointed out the other day that taking the 5th would be perilous for Donald unless he is certain the House would not impeach. If he asserted his 5th Amendment rights, Mueller could simply immunize him from prosecution, compel him to answer every question truthfully and then refer evidence of crimes and perjured testimony to Congress for action. Immunized testimony would not be shielded in any subsequent impeachment, Dershowitz noted.
Many experts disagree with Dershowitz on legal matters-Dershowitz seems plenty pro Trump to me-if the Dems get the House back they better impeach-I'm counting on it! Regards, Len :lol:

jserraglio
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Re: Questions Mueller Wants Answers To!

Post by jserraglio » Wed May 02, 2018 11:04 am

Immunization seems a pretty straightforward prosecutorial tactic to me. Nothing controversial about it.

In contrast, Dershowitz's unitary executive theory is highly controversial. But I don't think AD is a Trumpian. He sees the world from the POV of a civil libertarian and a defense atty in an adversarial system. Has he ever met a prosecutor he liked?

To paraphrase Mark Wahlberg, "Prosecutors are like mushrooms—keep 'em in the dark and feed 'em shite".

Trump should hire him.

lennygoran
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Re: Questions Mueller Wants Answers To!

Post by lennygoran » Wed May 02, 2018 7:29 pm

jserraglio wrote:
Wed May 02, 2018 11:04 am
Trump should hire him.
He went with Bill Clinton's impeachment lawyer and of course has Rudy-maybe that's enough for him? Regards, Len [bring on the subpoena!] :D

lennygoran
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Re: Questions Mueller Wants Answers To!

Post by lennygoran » Thu May 03, 2018 7:09 am

lennygoran wrote:
Wed May 02, 2018 7:29 pm
of course has Rudy
Rudy great job yesterday with Hannity! Regards, Len :lol: :lol: :lol:

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