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May 7, 2018 | by  | in News Splash |
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Trump’s America

The New York Times has obtained and published a list of questions related to a 5 March meeting with Donald Trump’s legal counsel. These questions arose from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s attempts to negotiate a meeting with Trump, relating to specific subjects prosecutors are seeking to discuss with the President.
Revealing this line of inquiry is the first indication of the exact charges the office of the special counsel could pursue in their probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
A number of questions echo concerns from Congress regarding the President’s desires to prematurely
end the investigation. They address previous attempts to bring the inquiry to an end, including Trump’s
decision to fire former FBI Director James Comey. Subsequent questions then attempt to discern the level of knowledge Trump had in key correspondence with Russia when he made this decision. This includes his closest advisors meeting with a Russian lawyer embroiled in anti-sanction activism so as to obtain “dirt” on presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Another question: “What knowledge did you have of any outreach by your campaign, including by Paul Manafort, to Russia about potential assistance
to the campaign?” reveals previously undisclosed communications with Russia.

Obstruction of justice appears to be the central charge the President could face. While the inquiry ultimately aims to determine if a crime was committed, it is another crime altogether to attempt to obstruct such an investigation. Prior to the leak, Trump announced that he would “love to” meet with Robert Mueller. A week and a half after hearing the proposed questions the counsel would ask of the President, John Dowd resigned as Trump’s lead legal counsel.
Trump has taken to Twitter to address the leak, stating “So disgraceful that the questions concerning the Russian Witch Hunt were ‘leaked’ to the media”. It was revealed soon after that another member of Trump’s legal counsel, Jay Sekulow, had compiled the list himself. This means that the questions were provided to The New York Times by a person, or persons, from within the White House.
While the inside leak appears to have been an attempt to deter the President from speaking to the special counsel, Mueller has raised the possibility of issuing a presidential subpoena to compel Trump to appear
in front of a grand jury, regardless of his wishes.
Trump went on to tweet “No questions on Collusion. Oh, I see… you have a made up, phony crime, Collusion, that never existed…”. 13 of the 49 questions obtained by the Times directly relate to possible collusion with Russia.

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