President Donald Trump’s own team appears to be responsible for the leaking of questions the special counsel has prepared for the commander-in-chief in connection with the Russian election meddling probe, several legal experts claimed Tuesday.
Trump blasted the leak to The New York Times as “disgraceful” and again described Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation as the “Russian Witch Hunt” in a Tuesday morning tweet.
However, legal analysts and a former assistant to Mueller stated they believed the leak came directly from Trump’s lawyers.
“There is no question that these leaks did not come from Mueller’s team but did come from Trump’s team,” ABC chief legal analyst Dan Abrams said on Good Morning America. “How do we know that? Because in the New York Times article, they make it very clear this came from a list of questions that Mueller’s team read to them. And so Trump’s team created this list that was then leaked by someone outside of Trump’s defense team.”
Indeed, The Times report explained the questions, which mostly revolved around whether or not Trump had obstructed justice and his reported intention to fire Mueller, were read to the president’s lawyers by special counsel investigators. Trump’s lawyers then made a list that was given to The Times by a person “outside” the president’s legal team, according to the report.
CNN legal analyst and former assistant to Mueller, Michael Zeldin, also said that the list of questions was likely created by Trump’s legal team based on notes they took in discussion with Mueller’s investigators.
“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.
He added: “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. 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.”
And Harvard constitutional law professor Laurence Tribe stated “of course” the president’s legal team was responsible for the leak.
A possible interview of Trump by Mueller’s team has been heavily speculated for months, with the president publicly stating he was opening to speaking with the special counsel. However, the president’s lawyers have questioned whether it would be a good idea for Trump to do so.
One former member of Trump’s legal squad, John Dowd, was reportedly an opponent of such an interview and left the team earlier this year believing the president was no longer taking his advice.
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