Leaked Russia questions: Mueller seeks Trump's 'state of mind'

Wednesday, 02 May, 2018

A list of questions, which Special Counsel Robert Mueller wants to ask US President Donald Trump as part of an ongoing probe into alleged election meddling, recently got leaked to the media, offering an insight into the inner workings of the investigation.

The New York Times late Monday published the almost four dozen questions to Trump's lawyers.

ABC has previously reported on a list of categories that Mueller wants to ask Trump about that include: the firing of former Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey, the firing of former national security adviser Michael Flynn, the June 2016 meeting with a Russian attorney in Trump Tower, and the president's business dealings. AP's Eric Tucker gives context to this latest development in the story about the Russian Federation investigation.

The questions are the clearest signal yet that Mueller has enough circumstantial evidence to suspect the president of obstruction, and also has reason to believe Trump might have known of the Russian Federation links.

But the questions do appear to indicate that Mueller is looking into possible collusion.

While none of the questions are accusatory, they could carry the risk of Trump being trapped in a lie if any of several former campaign staff already indicted by Mueller have provided evidence to the contrary.

Mueller's team has previously told the Trump administration the president is not considered a target, but investigators have been hoping to speak with the president. None of the charges relate to allegations of Russian election interference and possible coordination with Trump associates, and Manafort has denied having anything to do with such an effort.

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Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow declined to comment to The Associated Press on Monday night, as did White House lawyer Ty Cobb.

"When did you become aware of the Trump Tower meeting?" one question asks. Another question asks what the president may have known about a possible attempt by his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, to set up a back channel with Russian Federation before Trump's inauguration.

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

There were also queries related to Trump's business activities, his contacts with his lawyer Michael Cohen and his adviser Roger Stone Jr., and to the activities of his son-in-law Jared Kushner.

"What did you know about phone calls that Mr. Flynn made with the Russian ambassador, Sergey I. Kislyak, in late December 2016?" reads one question.

Flynn was sacked just 24 days into the Trump administration for lying about his contacts with the Russian ambassador.

"What efforts were made to reach out to Mr Flynn about seeking immunity or possible pardon?" goes another.