We Couldn’t Quite Figure Out What To Make Of The Leak Of A List Of Questions That Robert Mueller Supposedly Wants To Ask Trump
Those questions were obtained exclusively by the New York Times. But the Times was very circumspect about where they got them, and who wrote them. Were they an actual rare deep look into the workings and strategies of the Mueller team? Here’s the list of questions, as published by the Times.
We think you could’ve reached a few reasonable conclusions with a little amateur sleuthing. Who had the set of questions? 1. Mueller’s team. 2. The White House. Mueller’s team does not leak. So it would be fair to surmise the leak came from the White House, but that still doesn’t address the provenance of the document.
Then suddenly, the Washington Post came up with a puzzle piece of its own, that made the story a lot more complete: the questions weren’t written by Mueller’s team, they were merely based on conversations with Mueller and written by Trump’s lawyer Jay Sekulow, who was trying to anticipate what Mueller would likely ask. Remember the White House has been negotiating with the Special Counsel for at least 5 months about whether and under what conditions the President might sit down with investigators.
So that makes perfect sense, and explains everything. Except…
If that’s true, and the questions were actually penned by a White House lawyer, and could only have been leaked from the White House, why then did Trump Tweet this?:
Meaning either Trump is ignorant about this, or he’s lying. Both plausible. Yeah, still makes sense.
And a bit more Mueller news spilling out: the Special Counsel several months ago apparently threatened to subpoena the President if he refuses to talk with Federal investigators. The way the Washington Post writes up this story suggests the suggestion came at a particularly heated moment, when Trump’s lawyers were stonewalling the Special Counsel saying the President had “no obligation to talk”.
Still, can Mueller subpoena Trump if he refuses to talk? According to a unanimous Supreme Court ruling from 1974 related to but never used on President Nixon (because he resigned first), yes.
But what if Mueller subpoenas Trump, and Trump simply doesn’t comply? The Washington Post’s Philip Bump walks us through that and several other scenarios. To which we’d add a couple of thoughts:
- Would Trump ignoring a subpoena from the Special Counsel really get Congress to spring into action? The same Congress where some Representatives are busy right now drafting articles of impeachment for Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein?
- Trump’s “hero” Andrew Jackson is famous for ignoring a Supreme Court ruling, famously (but probably apocraphally) proclaiming “John Marshall has made his decision, now let him enforce it”. Of course, this was over policy, specifically use of Native American lands, not compelling the President to testify. Still, did Steve Bannon teach Trump enough about Jackson to put the idea into his head?
Also, Mueller’s team asked that sentencing for Trump’s former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn be pushed back another 2 months. It’d already previously been delayed.
Trump’s Doctor Says He Didn’t Write Trump’s Original “Doctor’s Note”
While there were lots of thoughtful comments on Twitter like this one:
We could’ve told you that. In fact, we did. (We published the following on August 27, 2016. Full disclosure since this obviously predates The Chaos Report: it’s from a Facebook post of an earlier iteration that we copied over):
Here’s Exactly What Happened