Per his usual early morning Twitter tirade reserved for anyone who refuses to bend the knee, Trump took aim at a usual player today: special counsel Robert Mueller. Yesterday, the New York Times published a list of questions that Mueller intended to ask Trump, should he and the president mutually agree to sit down for their long-awaited interview on his campaign’s possible collusion with Russia to influence the outcome of the 2016 election and obstruction of justice charges stemming from his firing of former FBI Director James Comey.
So disgraceful that the questions concerning the Russian Witch Hunt were “leaked” to the media. 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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 1, 2018
Trump complained on Twitter that the questions were “leaked” to the media, yet there is no indication that it was Mueller’s team that did the leaking. In fact, the special counsel’s investigation has guarded its progress like a fortress, with Mueller himself silent as a lamb throughout the process. Trump’s White House, meanwhile, leaks like a broken faucet and is rife with internal turmoil and record turnover among staffers and aides.
The likelihood, then, that the “leaks” of which the president complains emanated from the investigators with no background of leaks and not his own White House, which leaks on a literal daily basis, is slim to none. That is not to say that it would be impossible for Mueller’s team to prematurely release the questions, but from a historical standpoint, the facts speak for themselves.
In fact, Mueller’s former assistant and current CNN legal analyst Michael Zeldin, said today that both the syntax and the grammar of the questions point to the fact that they were indeed written by the Trump camp.
“I think these are notes taken by the recipients of a conversation with Mueller’s office where he outlined broad topics and these guys wrote down questions that they thought these topics may raise,” Zeldin said on CNN’s “New Day.”
“Because of the way these questions are written … lawyers wouldn’t write questions this way, in my estimation. Some of the grammar is not even proper,” he added. “So, I don’t see this as a list of written questions that Mueller’s office gave to the president. I think these are more notes that the White House has taken and then they have expanded upon the conversation to write out these as questions.”
The White House, for its part, is still reeling from a leak corroborated by a staggering eight sources in NBC News only yesterday, in which Chief of Staff John Kelly called Trump an “idiot.” Kelly ultimately denied the accusation, of course,
Trump would be well served to look inward before lashing out – but, as America has come to know, that’s never been his style.