It looks like the list of questions obtained by the New York Times last night detailing the course of the Mueller investigation and avenues that the special counsel intends to pursue was actually leaked to the press by someone on Trump’s own team.
That’s the conclusion of two experts on Tuesday, after reviewing both the content and the wording of the inquiries, and at least one of those experts believes that it may be a case of witness tampering or even obstruction of justice to have leaked the list.
Appearing on CNN’s New Day, Michael Zeldin, a former assistant to Robert Mueller, at one point nearly corrected the hosts and his fellow guest Jeffrey Toobin on the phrasing the entire group had been using:
“We have been, this morning, calling these ‘questions that Mueller has propounded.’ I don’t believe that that’s actually what these are. I think these are notes taken by the recipients of a conversation with Mueller’s office where he outlined broad topics and these guys wrote down questions that they thought these topics may raise.”
Asked by the host why he didn’t believe that this was an actual list of questions, Zeldin went on:
“Because of the way these questions are written… lawyers wouldn’t write questions this way, in my estimation. Some of the grammar is not even proper. So, I don’t see this as a list of written questions that Mueller’s office gave to the president. I think these are more notes that the White House has taken and then they have expanded upon the conversation to write out these as questions.”
This morning’s conversation follows a similar one last night between Anderson Cooper and Richard Nixon’s Watergate Attorney, John Dean, except that Dean expanded on the possible consequences for Trump if it is discovered that someone in his camp leaked the questions:
“It could be an act of obstruction to even have released these questions. To try and disrupt the flow of information, tipping off a witness in advance to what a question was going to be … It appears to me more that these are questions somebody wrote down after listening to someone else than necessarily the questions that were designed by the prosecutors.”
Watch the exchange with Mueller’s former aide here:
Featured image via New Century Times Gallery