A new report from the New York Times details at least four dozen questions on a wide variety of subjects that special counsel Robert Mueller has delivered to Donald Trump’s lawyers that he wants the president to answer. The lines of inquiries are intended to ascertain meanings, motivations, and whether or not Trump obstructed justice — a topic which is not so much in question as it is unclear how the president and his team might account for it in a courtroom.
The list itself is exhaustive, and available here to read in its entirety. A sampling of the questions:
- How was the decision made to fire Mr. Flynn on Feb. 13, 2017?
Although it is widely known that Trump’s former national security adviser lied to the FBI and to his superiors in the campaign and eventually the administration, little is known about why the president waited so long to act after “finding out,” or if he in fact knew before it was public knowledge.
- What was the purpose of your Jan. 27, 2017, dinner with Mr. Comey, and what was said?
This was the meeting after which Comey made notes that included the president having raised the issue of the Steele Dossier and the fact that he wanted “loyalty” from the then-Director of the FBI. The answer to this question alone could determine the entire direction of any eventual prosecution — an answer in the affirmative about a loyalty test would indicate obstruction, and an answer in the negative would contravene FBI-recorded evidence that has historically been accepted by federal courts as admissible despite being informal note-taking.
- What was the purpose of the tweet you sent on May 12, 2017?
This one could point to witness tampering:
James Comey better hope that there are no “tapes” of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 12, 2017
Although the White House ultimately admitted there were no secret recordings of any conversations that took place in the Oval Office, the fact that it was said is otherwise apropos of nothing, and could only serve as an attempt to intimidate the former FBI Director.
What discussions did you have regarding terminating the special counsel, and what did you do when that consideration was reported in January 2018?
Oddly, the investigation turns inward at times by necessity, since Trump has so commonly publicly discussed the circumstances that led to the appointment of the special counsel, the necessity of the investigation, his perception of it, and the potential dissolution of it, which it has been reported that Trump has sought on multiple occasions.
This list of questions should terrify the president’s legal team. The specificity of the inquiries will require Trump to have a mastery of the topics that will be next to impossible for him to achieve before Mueller actually gets a chance to ask him the questions he has listed.
Put differently, it is nearly unthinkable that Donald Trump won’t (a) commit obstruction of justice while talking to Mueller, (b) perjure himself repeatedly, and (c) prematurely call off the interview.
Featured image via New Century Times Gallery