Monday night the New York Times broke the story that the Mueller team had given Trump’s criminal defense team advance questions that they intend to ask of President Trump. “Mysteriously” the Times obtained and printed 49 of them. There is a lot of meat on those bones. Let’s explore.
Some months ago the Mueller team told the Trump defense team questions they intended to ask the President. The defense team was not given the questions; rather they had the opportunity to take notes. The notes outlining 49 of those questions (there may well be more) were leaked to the press. The New York Times, while still protecting their source (as reputable journalists do) did specify that the source was not a member of either legal team.
Now I ask you to connect these dots. 48 of the questions were as obvious as a 3-0 fastball. John Dowd recently left Trump’s team. Prior to his departure he was the lead “negotiator” with Mueller’s team. Two weeks ago today Rudy Giuliani joined Team Trump in the role of chief negotiator with the promise of wrapping it up in a week or two. (I’m taking a slight chance because this article is being written on Tuesday but I’m willing to bet the investigation will still be going at midnight tonight.) It is extremely logical that Giuliani leaked the questions to the press via a third party; in fact that is another wager I’d contempt making. Reinforcing my theory is the fact that on Tuesday Trump tweeted about how terrible the leak was. Sounds like a perfect setup to motivate the Fox News watching Bubbas out there and continue trying to discredit Mueller’s investigation.
Almost all of the released questions are designed to get Trump to start talking and are almost impossible to answer with a simple “Yes” or “No”. If Trump talks he will undoubtable convict himself (if he hasn’t already on several charges). Also each question is designed to segue into follow-up questions. Again, the more Trump talks the deeper he digs the hole he is in.
If Mueller really wants to press things he can compel Trump to testify. It is a matter of circumstances, (i.e. Grand jury or deposition. If deposition under what conditions and limitations.) Trump can continue to run the clock, but if Mueller really wants his testimony Trump cannot evade Mueller forever. In some cases Trump could plead the Fifth. Normally that is political suicide. In the case of Trump with his base: Who knows?
Dealing with the “49th question” for a moment: This is the one that reveals not publically known information alleging that Paul Manafort reached out to the Russians as part of the conspiracy. All previous public reporting had the flow of initiation going in the other direction.
I am operating on the premise that my readers have not willfully suspended belief in reality and therefore have, based solely on publically reported information, concluded that Trump is guilty of attempting to obstruct justice in the cover-up. His campaign and transition teams are guilty of conspiring with the Russians. It is furthermore very likely (though at this writing, not conclusively proven by publically available information) that Trump himself conspired with the Russians.
Keep in mind that intent equals obstruction and circumstances along with knowledge equals conspiracy.
Most questions aim to prove intent to obstruct justice. Several are aimed at proving conspiracy.
There are two important facts to keep in mind. Mueller’s team knows what they want to ask Trump while Trump’s team only knows what Mueller’s team told them. Also, since the leak came from the Trump not the Mueller side, we know of 49 questions (assuming accuracy other than grammar from Team Trump) they may well be aware of more. Remember “Question 49” is certainly incriminating assuming it is not a fishing expedition and it doesn’t look like Mueller fishes or needs to.
All this said it leads to one simple answer: Trump is guilty and Mueller didn’t even get into campaign finance law violations.
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