Earlier this month, the president finally submitted his answers to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s questions about the allegations of collusion with Russian agents during the 2016 election and the president’s alleged efforts to obstruct justice.
The public received a little taste of what those answers are — and a hint as to who wrote them — this morning when CNN reported that inside sources had revealed that Trump told Mueller that he had no prior knowledge of his son Don Jr.’s secret meeting with Kremlin-linked lawyer Nataliya Veselnitskaya in an effort to get “dirt” on the Clintons.
Trump also told the former FBI director that Republican operative Roger Stone never told him about Wikileaks or the plan to disseminate Russian-stolen Clinton campaign emails to the public through the transparency organization.
What the rest of the answers are, and who wrote them, are the subject of great public debate. Trump claims that he’s answered them all himself, which would be the best case scenario for the rest of us because it’s hard to imagine him resisting the urge to do what feels natural and aggressively perjure himself with his irrepressible need to lie (poorly) about everything under the sun.
“My lawyers don’t write answers, I write answers!” declared the president earlier this month. “You have to always be careful when you answer questions with people that probably have bad intentions. But no, the questions were very routinely answered by me,” groused an ornery Trump to reporters in an Oval Office.
In the leaked answers, Trump was careful to hedge his bets. CNN spoke to several lawyers who focused in on the president’s decision to say that has “no recollection” of the alleged events in his answers, which opens the door for him to claim further down the road that he wasn’t perjuring himself should evidence come out proving that his answers are lies. Instead, he can simply say he misremembered what happened.
That said, the fact that Trump is already planting the seeds to backtrack on his answers shows that on some level he fears Mueller has concrete evidence that contradicts his responses to Mueller — which could land him in jail.
With the media already buzzing about the revelations that former campaign manager Paul Manafort was caught lying to Mueller and reporting back to Trump about what Mueller appeared to already know, the perjury trap may already have been sprung. Only time will tell, but the one thing we know for sure is that justice cannot come for President Trump soon enough.
Original reporting by Dana Bash, Kara Scannell and Evan Perez at CNN.