WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump on Tuesday said it was “disgraceful” that a list of questions, which the special counsel investigating Russian election interference wants to ask him, have become public.
According to a report published in The New York Times late Monday, special counsel Robert Mueller has given a list of almost four dozen questions to lawyers for Trump as part of his investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and whether Trump obstructed justice,.
The questions range from Trump’s motivations for firing FBI Director James Comey last May to contacts Trump campaign officials had with Russians.
Trump tweeted on Tuesday that it is “so disgraceful that the questions concerning the Russian Witch Hunt were ‘leaked’ to the media. No questions on Collusion. Oh, I see…you have a made up, phony crime, Collusion, that never existed, and an investigation begun with illegally leaked classified information. Nice!”
Trump says the investigation is a “witch hunt” and insists his campaign did not collude with Russia.
Although Mueller’s team has indicated to Trump’s lawyers that he’s not considered a target, investigators remain interested in whether the president’s actions constitute obstruction of justice and want to interview him about several episodes in office. The lawyers want to resolve the investigation as quickly as possible, but there’s no agreement on how to do that.
Many of the questions obtained by the Times center on the obstruction issue, including Trump’s reaction to Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ recusal from the Russia investigation, a decision Trump has angrily criticised.
Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow declined to comment to The Associated Press on Monday night, as did White House lawyer Ty Cobb.
The questions also touch on the Russian meddling and whether the Trump campaign coordinated with the Kremlin in any way. In one question obtained by the Times, Mueller asks what Trump knew about campaign staff, including his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, reaching out to Moscow.
Mueller has brought several charges against Manafort, but none are for any crimes related to Russian election interference during the 2016 campaign. And he has denied having anything to do with such an effort.
The queries also touch on Trump’s businesses and his discussions with his personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, about a possible Moscow real estate deal. Cohen’s business dealings are part of a separate FBI investigation.