The New York Times has obtained a list of over 40 questions that Special Counsel Robert Mueller wants to ask Donald Trump, to determine whether or not the President of the United States committed obstruction of justice.
The questions are related to former national security advisor Michael Flynn, conversations Trump had with former FBI director James Comey, the recusal of Attorney General Jeff Sessions from the Russia investigation, and Trump’s awareness of potential coordination between his campaign and Russian officials.
Some of the questions, which you can read here along with explanations courtesy of the Times, include:
- How was the decision made to fire Michael Flynn on Feb. 13, 2017?
- After the resignations, what efforts were made to reach out to Flynn about seeking immunity or possible pardon?
- What was the purpose of Trump’s February 14, 2017, dinner with James Comey—Comey said this was when Trump told him “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go.”—and what was said?
- What did Trump think and do about James Comey’s May 3, 2017 testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee?
- What was the purpose of this tweet?
- Or this one?
- What did Trump think about Jeff Sessions’ recusal from the Russia investigation?
- What does Trump know about a 2017 meeting in Seychelles between Erik Prince and a Russian businessman who was close to Vladimir Putin?
Trump’s lawyer Jay Sekulow and Mueller’s office both declined to comment for the Times story.
According to the Times, Mueller also planned to ask Trump about reports that Trump directed White House counsel Don McGahn to fire Mueller:
“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.
The Times reports that the list of questions were given to the Trump team by the special counsel’s office in March:
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.
There’s still no guarantee Mueller will ever get to actually ask Trump these questions.
The newest member of Trump’s seemingly endless roster of lawyers, former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, reportedly met with Mueller’s office recently to negotiate an interview with Trump. Giuliani told the Times then that they were trying to decide if the special counsel’s office was “truly objective,” particularly with regard to Trump and Comey.
“Obviously, if they’ve already made up their minds, we’d be stupid to do that,” Giuliani said of a potential interview.