SEVERE WX : Winter Weather Advisory View Alerts

Trump: Mueller questions leak is disgraceful

President Donald Trump slammed the disclosure of special counsel Robert Mueller's questions for him, calling the leak "disgraceful."

Posted: May 2, 2018 8:18 AM
Updated: May 2, 2018 8:20 AM

Special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation began a year ago -- tasked with looking into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and the possibility of officials in Donald Trump's campaign colluding with the Russians.

With the leak Monday night of nearly 50 questions Mueller would like to ask the President as part of the investigation, it's now clear that not only has the scope of Mueller's investigation widened significantly but also that Trump, at least in Mueller's mind, has a lot to explain about his own role in all of it. The language of the leaked questions, by the way, was written by Trump's legal team, but off a list of detailed topics Mueller's team said they would like to ask about.

The leak of Mueller's questions -- which should not be treated as the totality of what he wants to ask -- also lands at a moment in which the White House remains deeply divided about whether or not Trump should sit down for a face-to-face interview with Mueller before the investigation wraps up. Trump himself has at times voiced a willingness to voluntarily sit for an interview -- I explain why I think that is here -- but his legal team has been more skeptical. The leading voice in opposition to Trump granting an interview with Mueller -- John Dowd -- left Trump's legal team in March. CNN's most recent reporting is that he is leaning away from doing an interview since federal agents raided his attorney Michael Cohen's home, office and hotel room.

The sweep of questions that Mueller is seeking to ask Trump may change the President's mind about sitting for an interview with the special counsel.

Here's how New York Times reporter Michael Schmidt, who broke the story, described the nature of the questions:

"They deal chiefly with the president's high-profile firings of the F.B.I. director and his first national security adviser, his treatment of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and a 2016 Trump Tower meeting between campaign officials and Russians offering dirt on Hillary Clinton."

Trump, via Twitter, immediately seized on the fact that the focus of Mueller's investigation didn't appear to be on his campaign colluding with the Russians.

"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!"

He followed that tweet up with this one -- a variation on a theme: "It would seem very hard to obstruct justice for a crime that never happened! Witch Hunt!."

I'm no lawyer -- sorry Mom! -- but those tweets seem like Trump missing the forest for the trees. Trump seems to think that if he and his campaign are cleared of colluding with the Russians -- and we don't know whether or not that will happen -- then he is off the hook entirely. That is, um, not so.

Take Mueller's apparent focus on the firings of former FBI director James Comey and former national security adviser Michael Flynn and whether those amount an attempt to obstruct the investigation.

Remember that Trump's explanation on why he fired Comey has repeatedly shifted. He has said it was because of how Comey handled himself in the 2016 election. But he has also said that it had to do with "this Russia thing" in an interview with NBC's Lester Holt. And, Trump reportedly expressed relief to a group of Russian officials in the wake of firing Comey. "I just fired the head of the FBI. He was crazy, a real nut job," Trump told the Russians. "I faced great pressure because of Russia. That's taken off."

Trump could very easily be cleared of collusion -- the actual criminal activity would likely be conspiracy or obstruction -- with the Russians and found culpable of attempting to obstruct justice. Trump would have no way of knowing what Mueller knew -- or didn't know -- over the past year of the investigation. Meaning that Trump -- or someone in his inner circle -- could well have been working to throw roadblocks in front of the Mueller investigation because they simply didn't know what he would find and wanted to end and/or discredit the investigation before it got anywhere near where it is today.

Then there are these lines in the Schmidt story about other questions Mueller wants to ask Trump:

"They also touch on the president's businesses; any discussions with his longtime personal lawyer, Michael D. Cohen, about a Moscow real estate deal; whether the president knew of any attempt by Mr. Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, to set up a back channel to Russia during the transition; any contacts he had with Roger J. Stone Jr., a longtime adviser who claimed to have inside information about Democratic email hackings; and what happened during Mr. Trump's 2013 trip to Moscow for the Miss Universe pageant."

That's a whole lot of ground. And it shows that Mueller is following the money. The connective tissue in all of those story lines is cash -- whether it's Trump's own, money moving through Michael Cohen or the financial dealings of Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner.

It's not clear to me whether Trump's tweets this morning are motivated by a genuine belief that the leaked questions are somehow good for him because collusion is not the main focus or whether he simply doesn't understand that there are lots and lots of questions that Mueller wants to ask about that suggest major challenges ahead for the president and his team.

Regardless of why Trump thinks what he thinks, the main takeaway from the leaking of these questions is that the Mueller investigation is wide and broad -- and that Trump, in Mueller's mind, can shed lots of light on much of it. That is a very big deal.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 611039

Reported Deaths: 9716
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion844351336
Lake45508685
Allen32891552
Hamilton29546315
St. Joseph27449381
Elkhart24440345
Vanderburgh19513250
Tippecanoe18043140
Johnson15140295
Porter14865169
Hendricks14440248
Madison11009222
Vigo10769181
Clark10731144
Monroe9424113
Delaware9152134
LaPorte9103164
Howard8268144
Kosciusko808983
Warrick676599
Hancock6741104
Bartholomew6523100
Floyd6469110
Wayne6157162
Grant6011116
Dubois556980
Boone554668
Morgan545795
Henry509764
Marshall505384
Cass485264
Dearborn483245
Noble474059
Jackson426747
Shelby419581
Lawrence392980
Clinton374243
Gibson372559
Harrison350945
DeKalb348264
Montgomery346554
Knox335839
Miami323044
Steuben314545
Whitley309726
Wabash304551
Adams302136
Ripley300046
Putnam297850
Huntington293159
Jasper290534
White274143
Daviess271274
Jefferson264738
Decatur248983
Fayette247848
Greene241162
Posey240328
Wells236451
LaGrange229662
Scott225739
Clay223532
Randolph214948
Jennings199336
Sullivan192933
Spencer192422
Washington187523
Fountain184627
Starke175643
Jay168223
Owen166837
Fulton164230
Orange160835
Carroll159115
Rush155818
Perry155229
Vermillion149334
Franklin149033
Tipton133033
Parke13088
Pike118226
Blackford111422
Pulaski97337
Newton91721
Brown88235
Benton86910
Crawford8069
Martin74413
Warren6857
Switzerland6665
Union6287
Ohio4957
Unassigned0376

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 864322

Reported Deaths: 10711
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin101705707
Cuyahoga860661145
Hamilton64392448
Montgomery43309418
Summit35063761
Lucas31500625
Butler31128232
Stark25933435
Warren19746141
Lorain19165223
Mahoning17383338
Lake16178154
Clermont16057111
Delaware1445479
Licking13274137
Fairfield1287781
Trumbull12861316
Greene12114139
Medina11666168
Clark10995265
Wood10407158
Allen9945126
Portage9382109
Miami921073
Richland9186118
Marion7467113
Tuscarawas7410182
Columbiana7356124
Pickaway728450
Wayne7080171
Muskingum705241
Erie6188129
Hancock554390
Ross5532100
Scioto541664
Geauga513555
Darke471092
Lawrence457958
Ashtabula454673
Union454628
Sandusky438562
Mercer434489
Seneca431566
Huron430041
Auglaize423064
Shelby421922
Jefferson420569
Belmont417740
Washington391840
Athens38129
Putnam376275
Madison356529
Knox354422
Ashland347438
Fulton339343
Defiance332286
Crawford323874
Preble321437
Brown313921
Logan309132
Ottawa294943
Clinton290743
Williams279467
Highland276718
Jackson265345
Guernsey256326
Champaign252628
Fayette237330
Morrow23334
Perry232018
Holmes225674
Henry220149
Hardin214033
Coshocton205722
Van Wert202645
Gallia198826
Wyandot196151
Pike177417
Adams176915
Hocking172624
Carroll156216
Paulding144721
Noble120740
Meigs109024
Monroe101032
Harrison89421
Morgan83430
Vinton70813
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Partly Cloudy
28° wxIcon
Hi: 31° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 17°
Angola
Partly Cloudy
25° wxIcon
Hi: 30° Lo: 20°
Feels Like: 19°
Huntington
Partly Cloudy
28° wxIcon
Hi: 31° Lo: 26°
Feels Like: 20°
Fort Wayne
Mostly Cloudy
28° wxIcon
Hi: 32° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 17°
Lima
Cloudy
29° wxIcon
Hi: 32° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 22°
Dry start to Monday, snow/freezing rain moves in late
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events