2016 Election

25 Questions for Robert Mueller


- April 24th, 2019
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Much like the Steele dossier, the FISA application on Carter Page, and most of the news media’s coverage of the Trump-Russia collusion hoax, the Mueller Report reads more like political propaganda aimed at harming Donald Trump than a sober collection of facts and evidence.

The 448-page document is filled with innuendo that has nothing to do with collusion (the infamous “Access Hollywood” tape is mentioned a few times for no apparent reason); it cites irrelevant articles planted by Trump foes as evidence, including this egregious National Review hit piece on Carter Page from April 2016; and it intentionally omits material facts, including key details about the Russian lobbyists involved in the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting.

The culmination of a probe that cost taxpayers at least $30 million and consumed the attention of our political leadership for nearly two years raises plenty of questions about how Robert Mueller approached his heretofore unchecked investigation. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) wants Mueller to testify before his committee next month; this is an excellent idea. Republicans should welcome the opportunity to reverse roles with the special counsel.

Here are 25 questions that GOP lawmakers can ask Robert Mueller, if he complies:

1) In the second paragraph of your report, you state that “the Russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential election in sweeping and systematic fashion. Evidence of Russian government operations began to surface in mid-2016.” The report traced this interference back to 2014. Who was the president of the United States when Russia’s attack on our election was unfolding?

2) Since Donald Trump was not president when Russia attacked our electoral process and since you specifically were tasked with conducting “a full and thorough investigation of the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election,” did you investigate why the Obama Administration, including CIA Director John Brennan and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, let this happen?

3) Did you look into any connections between the Hillary Clinton campaign and Russian interests since you also specifically were tasked with investigating “any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation” and it’s widely known that the Clinton campaign was digging up political dirt on Donald Trump from Russian sources before the election?

4) President Trump interviewed you on May 16, 2017 for the job of FBI director. The next day, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed you as special counsel. Had you already discussed with Rosenstein the possibility of serving as the special counsel before you interviewed for the FBI director’s job?

5) The report claimed the FBI opened up the counterintelligence probe into the Trump campaign on July 31, 2016 based on an “encounter” between George Papadopoulos, a low-level campaign advisor, and a representative of a foreign government about alleged dirt on Hillary Clinton. But the probe included three other campaign associates, all of whom were cited in the Steele dossier; the public has been assured that the dossier had nothing to do with the investigation. Can you confirm under oath that the dossier was not part of the FBI’s body of evidence to justify launching Crossfire Hurricane?

6) James Comey and several other Justice Department officials used the Steele dossier as its primary source of evidence to obtain a FISA warrant to wiretap Carter Page. They signed the application under penalty of perjury. Would you have signed off on that application?

7) Are you aware of any other FISA warrants on anyone who was associated with the campaign?

8) The report acknowledges that Joseph Mifsud, the so-called professor at the center of the Papadopoulos probe, made false statements to the FBI in early 2017. Did your investigators locate Mifsud to interview him and why has he not been charged him with a crime?

9) Christopher Steele, the author of the dossier, is barely mentioned in your report, although he is a central figure in the Russian collusion probe. According to an April 20, 2019 article in the New York Times, your team “debriefed Mr. Steele himself in London for two days in September 2017.” Why did you debrief as opposed to interview Steele as a witness or subject in this investigation?

10) In Volume II, page 103, in reference to the participants in the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting, you refer to “the firm that produced the Steele reporting.” Why did you intentionally omit citing the name Fusion GPS or its owner, Glenn Simpson, throughout the 448-page report?

11) Did you know that at the same time Fusion GPS was working to collect opposition research on Donald Trump for the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee it also was representing Prevezon, a Russian-based company sanctioned by the U.S. government?

12) Why did you omit the fact that Glenn Simpson was working with Natalia Veselnitskya, the so-called Russian lawyer, on the Prevezon project and that Simpson met with her before the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting that she attended with Trump campaign associates including Donald Trump, Jr.?

13) Why did you also omit the fact the Glenn Simpson was working with Rinat Akhmetshin—another attendee of the Trump Tower meeting—on the Prevezon project and that Simpson met with both Veselnitskya and Akhmetshin the day after the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting?

14) Your office scrubbed the iPhone devices used by Peter Strzok and Lisa Page after they were dismissed from the team. Is that obstruction of justice since both are subjects of ongoing congressional investigations?

15) The report confirmed that on March 9, 2017, Corney briefed congressional leaders about the “FBI’s investigation of Russian interference.” He then testified before the House Intelligence Committee on March 20, 2017, where he publicly revealed for the first time that the FBI had been investigating the Trump campaign (and admitted he withheld that information from Congress for eight months in violation of protocol.) Was this the first time Comey acknowledged to anyone—including Donald Trump—that the campaign had been under investigation since July 2016?

16) At what point did Comey inform Trump that the campaign was under investigation since there is no indication in Comey’s own memos that he disclosed that information to the president at any time prior to March 2017?

17) On page 47 of Volume II, the report states “evidence does establish that the President connected the Flynn investigation to the FBI’s broader Russia investigation and that he believed . . . that terminating Flynn would end ‘the whole Russia thing.’” This appears to conflate two different matters: First, when Trump allegedly made the comment about “letting the Flynn thing go” in February 2017, did he know that his campaign was under investigation for “collusion”?

18) When President Trump allegedly referred to the “whole Russia thing,” do you know if he was referring to the ongoing interference investigations at the FBI and on Capitol Hill or to the collusion investigation?

19) It appears as though Trump’s comment about letting the Flynn matter “go” was in reference to the bogus Logan Act violation being pursued by former acting Attorney General Sally Yates. If Trump did not know in February 2017 that Flynn had been under investigation since July 2016 for “colluding” with the Russians to influence the election, how can his alleged comment to let the Flynn matter “go” be considered an attempt to obstruct the Russia investigation?

20) Aside from Comey’s own memos, do you have additional evidence to support the allegation that the president asked Comey to drop any inquiries related to Michael Flynn?

21) Since you established that former Attorney General Jeff Sessions did not discuss the election during his brief encounters with Russian officials in 2016, do you think it’s appropriate that he nonetheless recused himself?

22) The report cites numerous news articles, including a few that contain classified information sourced by anonymous government officials. As you know, it is a felony to disclose classified information, such as intercepted phone calls with foreign ambassadors under surveillance and the existence of a FISA warrant. Did you identify any of the government officials who were illegally leaking classified information to the news media?

23) Is it illegal for the president of the United States to fire the FBI director, with or without cause?

24) Is it illegal for the president of the United State to consider firing, or to fire, a special counsel?

25) Is it illegal for the president or his advisors to give misleading information to the media?

And here’s a bonus question for closing: At what point in your investigation did you realize that there was no collusion, or, as your report clarifies, “coordination” between the Trump campaign and the Russian government?

There undoubtedly are plenty of other legitimate questions that Mueller and his team need to answer for as soon as possible. While Trump-hating partisans wield the Mueller report as impeachment grist, Republicans should act immediately to expose the flaws, distortions, and purposeful omissions in this questionable document.

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Photo Credit: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

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