In the aftermath of the NYT publishing Mueller's "leaked" questions to Donald Trump, there have been more questions that answers, key among which perhaps whether Trump himself leaked the questions (and why). Below we present one of the better recaps laying out both the key questions, as well as potential answers, from Horizon Investments' Greg Valliere who highlights seven major implications from the leaked questions.
The Mueller Questions: Seven Major Implications
DONALD TRUMP may have had a good weekend, and his job approval rating has inched higher in latest polls, but he still has Robert Mueller to deal with, as the sweeping scope of his probe becomes clear.
WHO LEAKED MUELLER'S QUESTIONS to the New York Times yesterday? Perhaps Trump's own team, which is trying to convince the public that the special prosecutor is out of control. Perhaps Mueller's team, wants to send an unmistakable signal that they have information extracted from former Trump aides who are now cooperating with the probe.
Seven quick points as this saga enters a new phase:
- The President asserts that "everyone agrees" there was no collusion with Russia, but Mueller does not appear to agree. His questions indicate Mueller thinks there may have been collusion – maybe not by Trump, but by people close to the President.
- The issue that poses the greatest threat to Trump is obstruction of justice, that's a major theme of the questions. Trump's intent is key, especially regarding Jeff Sessions and the firing of James Comey.
- The questions make it clear that Mueller has been getting valuable information from Michael Flynn, who copped a plea and apparently is singing like a canary.
- Trump would be crazy to sit down with Mueller and answer these questions. They're a mine field, with enormous potential for perjury.
- The ultimate question is whether Mueller could indict Trump. The special prosecutor has indicated that he believes he does not have that authority. He might indict people around Trump and then simply send all of his findings on Trump to Congress.
- So – could the House vote to impeach? Maybe, if the GOP loses control in the fall elections. Could the Senate convict? Unlikely. We still don't see 67 votes in the Senate to convict; the Democrats would be lucky to have 50 or 51 Senators after the election.
- But this is about to become an even bigger story in this town, with one key question in the short-run: will Trump fire Mueller or issue blanket pardons? After reading these sweeping questions, we think that option is still very much on the table as it sinks in at the White House how much damage Mueller can inflict.