Mueller’s queries leak adds grist to probe

  • russia’s poll meddling
- AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, WASHINGTON

May 3, 2018-

The probe into Russia’s election interference and alleged links to Donald Trump’s campaign has taken a new turn after the publication of questions Special Counsel Robert Mueller seeks to ask the US president, which cover topics including potential obstruction of the investigation.

Donald Trump lashed out on Tuesday at the “disgraceful” disclosure of the queries, originally reported by The New York Times, which lay out detailed lines of inquiry by Mueller into whether Trump may have tried to obstruct the Russia probe.

Compiled by the president’s lawyers, the questions—at least four dozen in all—also show Mueller wants to find out what Trump knew about connections between members of his presidential campaign and Russia. This includes a June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower with a Russian lawyer offering damaging information on election rival Hillary Clinton, the Times said.

“It would seem very hard to obstruct justice for a crime that never happened! Witch Hunt!” Trump shot back in a round of early-morning tweets.

Trump incorrectly claimed there were no questions on the list about collusion, which he dismissed as “a made up, phony crime.”

In fact, at least one question directly asks what Trump knew about his campaign aides, including former chairman Paul Manafort, seeking Russia’s assistance, according to the Times.

“What knowledge did you have of any outreach by your campaign, including by Paul Manafort, to Russia about potential assistance to the campaign?” reads the question.

The questions also show Mueller wants to know if Trump offered a pardon to his former national security advisor, Michael Flynn, who has already been charged with lying to investigators and is believed to be cooperating with the probe.

But there is no indication Trump is now an official suspect in the year-old investigation, or that Mueller has found evidence Trump colluded with the Russians — which the president on Tuesday again denied.

The Washington Post, however, reported late Tuesday that Mueller told the president’s lawyers in early March that he could issue a subpoena for Trump to appear before a grand jury if he refuses to be interviewed by federal investigators.

The Post said that it was following that conversation that Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow compiled a list of 49 questions that could be addressed to the president — the list published a day earlier by the Times.

“So disgraceful that the questions concerning the Russian Witch Hunt were ‘leaked’ to the media,” Trump said on Twitter.

“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 Times said Mueller’s team read the questions over the telephone to Trump’s legal team, which compiled them into a list.

The Times said it obtained the list from someone outside Trump’s legal team.

Mueller’s office did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Since at least early this year, Mueller has discussed the possibility of interviewing Trump for the investigation, according to the president’s lawyers.

But they appear to have been divided on how and how much Trump should cooperate.

Mueller also wants to know if Trump discussed with any campaign staff arranging a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Trump dictated his own glowing health report: Doctor

NEW YORK: As a presidential candidate Donald Trump quoted a letter from his former personal doctor gushing about his apparently excellent health — a note the physician now says the president “dictated” himself.

Speaking to CNN on Tuesday, New York doctor Harold Bornstein said Trump “dictated that whole letter. I didn’t write that letter. I just made it up as I went along.”

In December 2015, the Trump campaign released the glowing missive which said that “if elected, Mr Trump, I can state unequivocally, will be the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency.”

The Manhattan doctor months later said he wrote the note hastily as Trump’s car waited.

Bornstein’s new comments come as the long-haired, bespectacled physician finds himself back in the spotlight after he told NBC that a bodyguard visited his Park Avenue office last year and confiscated the president’s medical records.

“They must have been here for 25 or 30 minutes. It created a lot of chaos,” Bornstein told NBC, saying the February 3, 2017 incident made him feel “raped, frightened and sad.”

Bornstein said the original and only copy of Trump’s medical charts, including lab reports under the president’s name and various pseudonyms, were taken.

Published: 03-05-2018 08:37

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