“What knowledge did you have of any outreach by your campaign, including by Paul Manafort, to Russia about potential assistance to the campaign?”
That's one of four dozen questions special counsel Robert Mueller wants to throw at President Donald Trump, according to a New York Times report published Monday evening.
The leaked questions were compiled by Trump’s legal team following discussions with Mueller's investigators. They cover a wide range of topics, suggesting nothing is off limits.
The questions roughly break down into four categories: those about former national security adviser Michael Flynn; questions about former FBI Director James Comey; questions about current Attorney General Jeff Sessions; and, crucially, the reported campaign coordination with Russia.
Trump called the leak “disgraceful” in an early morning tweet Tuesday and claimed there was no reference to collusion among the 48 questions — though that is clearly inaccurate.
Some speculated that Trump’s tweet was all part of an elaborate plan by Trump’s legal team to discredit the Mueller investigation:
The specific mention of Manafort and Russian collusion is interesting because it is “strong evidence that there are still collusion threads that are not yet public,” according to Benjamin Wittes, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution think tank in Washington.
Several questions focus on the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting between Trump’s son Don Jr., Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, and a Kremlin-linked Russian lawyer who offered political dirt on Hillary Clinton.
Mueller is also trying to establish Trump’s involvement in drafting a misleading statement about the meeting and the subsequent release of Don Jr.’s emails.
There's also a question related to Trump’s real estate dealings in Russia, lining up with a February report that Mueller was probing Trump’s business in Moscow in 2013 and 2014, before he announced his run for president.
Here are the 10 most pointed questions Mueller wants Trump to answer:
- Have you discussed firing the special counsel Robert Mueller, and what did you do when such a move was reported in January 2018?
- What did you think about James Comey’s intelligence briefing on Jan. 6, 2017, in particular in relation to the pee tape dossier?
- When was the decision taken to fire Comey, why was the decision taken, and who was involved in making the decision?
- How was the decision made to fire Michael Flynn on Feb. 13, 2017?
- After Flynn resigned, what efforts were made to reach out to him about seeking immunity or possible pardon?
- What involvement did you have in the communication strategy relating to the Trump Tower meeting — including the release of Don Jr.’s emails?
- What discussions did you have during the campaign regarding any meeting with Vladimir Putin and did you discuss it with others?
- During the campaign, what did you know about Russian hacking, use of social media or other acts aimed at the campaign?
- What did you know about communication between Roger Stone, his associates, Julian Assange or WikiLeaks?
- What did you know during the transition about an attempt to establish back-channel communication to Russia, and Jared Kushner’s efforts?
Cover image: Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Robert Mueller speaks during a farewell ceremony in his honor at the Department of Justice on August 1, 2013. (SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)