No collusion leak shows mueller wants to ask trump about it – 660 news electricity and magnetism

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WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump is angrily protesting a leaked list of questions that the Justice Department’s special counsel may want to ask him, while at the same time contending the list shows anew there was no crime or collusion with the Russians by his presidential campaign. But the questions suggest that investigators want to focus on collusion and obstruction of justice.

The questions, some 49 in all, were published by The New York Times, which said they were compiled by Trump’s lawyers during negotiations with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigators over a possible interview with the president himself. The Times said it got the list from someone “outside Mr. Trump’s legal team.”

A person familiar with the matter, who insisted on anonymity to discuss ongoing negotiations, told The Associated Press that the Trump lawyers extrapolated a list of expected questions based off conversations with Mueller’s team. The questions contained in a document posted online by the Times on Monday night reflected questions that defence lawyers anticipated rather than verbatim queries that Mueller’s team provided, the person said.

The leak was “so disgraceful,” Trump tweeted on Tuesday. “No questions on Collusion,” he said, “collusion that never existed.” That’s the idea that his presidential campaign collaborated with Russians who were trying to help him to the Oval Office. As for obstruction of the investigation after he took office, he scoffed, “It would be very hard to obstruct justice for a crime that never happened!”

The bulk of the questions focus on the firing of FBI Director James Comey, Trump’s relationship with Attorney General Jeff Sessions, whom he has angrily criticized for recusing himself from the Russia probe, and his former national security adviser, Michael Flynn. According to Comey, Trump encouraged Comey to drop an investigation into Flynn.

Despite Trump’s dismissal of the idea, the list does appear to indicate that Mueller is looking into possible collusion or co-ordination with Russia. Some touch on Russian meddling in the U.S. election and whether the Trump campaign co-ordinated in any way with the Kremlin. One question asks what Trump knew about members of his campaign staff, including former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, reaching out to Moscow.

Mueller has brought several charges against Manafort already, including money laundering and bank fraud. None of the charges relates to allegations of Russian election interference and possible co-ordination with Trump associates, and Manafort has denied having anything to do with any such effort.

Another question asks what discussions Trump may have had regarding “any meeting” with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Still another 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 Russia before the U.S. inauguration.

One asks: “What was the purpose of your May 12, 2017, tweet?” That references a tweet Trump posted after reports that Comey described a private dinner with the president in personal memos. Comey wrote in a memo that Trump repeatedly asked him for loyalty.

It’s still unclear whether Mueller’s investigators will be able to ask Trump any questions — or whether these are the ones they would ask. Trump has said he wants to talk to Mueller. But more recently, he and his team of lawyers, which has undergone changes in recent months, have not said when — or if.

Comey, in an interview, gave an opinion that steered clear of politics and sounded like the law enforcement official he used to be: “Just as we’ve done in many investigations, you want to develop a complete understanding of the facts and then check them with the subject and see what they say about it.”

In the meantime, Mueller’s investigation continues. On Tuesday, the special counsel’s office and Flynn, a key co-operator, agreed to put off setting his sentencing date for another 60 days, saying the delay was necessary “due to the status” of the investigation.