Trump responded to the latest bombshell in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation by highlighting the very things he has most to fear: Mueller’s focus on collusion and Trump’s potential obstruction of the investigation.
On Monday night, The New York Times published a list of questions that Mueller wants to ask Trump.
Trump reacted Tuesday morning as he often does, with some ill-advised tweets.
“So disgraceful that the questions concerning the Russian Witch Hunt were ‘leaked’ to the media,” he wrote. “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!”
Mueller’s questions, however, include over a dozen queries about the campaign’s coordination with the Russians, including the infamous Trump Tower meeting that Trump and his White House tried to cover up.
Mueller also has questions about Trump’s own contacts with Russians and his 2013 trip to Moscow. Examples of these questions include:
- When did you become aware of the Trump Tower meeting?
- What involvement did you have in the communication strategy, including the release of Donald Trump Jr.’s emails?
- During a 2013 trip to Russia, what communication and relationships did you have with the Agalarovs and Russian government officials?
The leaked questions also deal heavily with disgraced former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI. For example:
- What did you know about phone calls that Mr. Flynn made with the Russian ambassador, Sergey I. Kislyak, in late December 2016?
- What was your reaction to news reports on Jan. 12, 2017, and Feb. 8-9, 2017?
- After the resignations, what efforts were made to reach out to Mr. Flynn about seeking immunity or possible pardon?
Trump also tweeted a nonsensical non-denial about obstruction of justice Tuesday morning: “It would seem very hard to obstruct justice for a crime that never happened! Witch Hunt!”
Several of Mueller’s questions focus on this exact issue of apparent obstruction, including:
- What was the purpose of your calls to Mr. Comey on March 30 and April 11, 2017?
- What did you think and do about Mr. Comey’s May 3, 2017, testimony?
- What did you mean when you told Russian diplomats on May 10, 2017, that firing Mr. Comey had taken the pressure off?
Trump’s reflexive need to lash out on Twitter might make him feel better in the moment. But he has managed to make himself look even guiltier, while promoting the story to a worldwide audience, and highlighting the very detailed web of questions that lay out the case for collusion.
The fact that he couldn’t even get through one tweet without lying — clearly, there are many questions about collusion — further proves that fears he will lie under oath if Mueller does question him are well-founded.