Earlier this month, President Donald Trump submitted questions in writing to Russia investigation special counsel Robert Mueller. The details of those questions were not made public, nor were the answers Trump gave to them.
However, on Wednesday CNN reported that two of the answers which Trump gave to the special counsel have been leaked to them by a source with knowledge of their contents. In addition to providing Trump’s official word on certain key events, his apparent answers also give a strong indication of what Mueller is looking at with regards to those who are close to the president.
Two questions were allegedly revealed to the news network. Within the first, Trump was apparently asked if he had knowledge of Roger Stone, a former consultant to Trump on his campaign — and a longtime supporter — making contact with WikiLeaks in the run-up to their obtaining leaked emails, and other documents, from the Democratic Party.
The second question asked if Trump had knowledge about a meeting that took place months before Election Day 2016, between a Russian lawyer with ties to the Kremlin and Trump’s son, son-in-law, and campaign manager. That lawyer allegedly promised to deliver “dirt” on Trump’s opponent in the general election, Democratic Party nominee Hillary Clinton.
CNN Exclusive: President Trump told Robert Mueller that he wasn't told about the 2016 Trump Tower meeting and that former adviser Roger Stone did not tell him about WikiLeaks https://t.co/3kUGzAyQVf pic.twitter.com/9GbBmWIzxd— CNN (@CNN) November 28, 2018
Within both questions asked of Trump that CNN was made privy to, Trump answered in the negative, stating that he had no knowledge of Stone’s alleged involvement with WikiLeaks, nor did he know about the Trump Tower meeting. Within both answers, however, CNN also reported that Trump added the caveat that it was to the best of his recollection.
There was no indication whether Mueller has information that either runs counter to or corroborates Trump’s statements. If such evidence were to exist, it might suggest that Trump isn’t being truthful — and it could mean huge problems for the president, including the possibility of impeachment.
“It’s well-documented how frequently [Trump] says or tweets false things, and there’s no criminal exposure for that,” CNN legal analyst Carrie Cordero said. “The difference is, if he lies in his statement to federal investigators, he is potentially exposing himself to criminal liability, assuming he attested to the accuracy of the information.”
As news of these questions — and Trump’s answers — comes forward, many are left with more questions than answers. However, onlookers can be quite sure of a few things.
For instance, these questions may indicate that Mueller is looking at Trump specifically, to see whether he had knowledge of possible illegal activities happening within his campaign. It may also indicate that Mueller believes that these events — Stone supposedly speaking with WikiLeaks and the Trump Tower meeting — are worth being pored over heavily, with the results being germane to his investigation.