As the suspense mounts regarding whether the leader of the free world will submit to questioning by Special Counsel Robert Mueller on the so-called “Russia investigation” and the existence of any “COLLUSION,” I thought it might be helpful to provide our president with some suggested answers to just a few of the 49 questions compiled by Trump's attorney, Jay Sekulow. As reported in the New York Times a few weeks back, these 49 questions were crafted by Sekulow from discussions with the Mueller team.
The questions can be broken down into a few categories. These categories include questions related to the actions of and interaction with former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, questions regarding conversations with former F.B.I. Director James Comey, questions pertaining to interaction with and decisions made by Attorney General Jefferson Sessions, and last, but certainly not least, questions dealing with any coordination by Trump or any members of his campaign (notice I did not use the word “COLLUSION”) with Rusha – I mean Russia).
So, here goes:
Question: What did you know about phone calls that Michael Flynn made with the Russian ambassador, Sergey Kislyak, in December 2016?
This question is crucial to determining what Trump knew and when he knew it regarding calls by Flynn to the Russian ambassador during which Flynn discussed easing the sanctions already imposed by President Obama on Russia for its meddling on our election.
Suggested Answer: “Whatever Mike Flynn already told you, I am sure he has a better recollection of his phone calls than I, a 72-year-old, would have.”
Since Flynn already pleaded guilty to lying about those discussions and is cooperating with the special counsel, it is likely that this question is highly rhetorical in nature and avoiding perjury would be well worth considering.
Question: What did you know about (former Deputy Attorney General) Sally Yates' meetings about Mr. Flynn?
This question deals with the warnings given by then Acting Attorney General Sally Yates to members of the White House about Flynn and his lying about his interaction with Kislyak.
Suggested Answer: “Nothing. Ask my staff about that. You can find them under the bus I just threw them under.”
If Trump can convince any of the investigators that he doesn't run his administration like he ran his family-owned business and demands to be kept in the loop on all activity, then he has a chance of eluding justice.
Question: What was your purpose for your February 14, 2017 meeting with James Comey and what was said?
This question is based on James Comey's testimony before Congress that the president told him “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go.” It is a key element of the investigation into obstruction of justice by the sitting president.
Suggested Answer: “This was all a misunderstanding. When I said ‘I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go,’ I wasn't talking about the Russia investigation. I was referring to a proposed wrestling match being set up by my staff, and both Comey and Flynn were expected to be invited to participate. You can check with my staff. They are still under that bus.”
Sorry, I know this is grasping at straws, but this is so clearly an attempt to obstruct the investigation and, therefore, obstruction of justice, it is extremely difficult to come up with a reasonable explanation.
Question: What did you think and do regarding the recusal of Mr. Sessions?
This question deals with Trump's reaction to Sessions recusing himself from the Russia investigation as well as Trump's view of law enforcement, in general, and the Justice Department, in particular, as it relates to their responsibility to him as president.
Suggested Answer: “Hey, I selected Sessions as Attorney General and I truly believe he is the most qualified individual to lead this investigation.”
I'm not saying this is credible but when you have nothing else that is credible, you don't have much choice. Trump could also add that he considers the Justice Department as his own personal legal team, but that, though true, would not be in his best interests in answering this question.
Question: What did you mean in your interview with Lester Holt about Mr. Comey and Russia?
This question deals with the interview the president had with NBC's Lester Holt during which Trump admitted that, in his own words, “I was going to fire Comey knowing there was no good time to do it. And in fact, when I decided to just do it, I said to myself – I said, you know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story. It's an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should've won.”
In other words, contrary to earlier offered reasons for the firing, “the Russia thing” was at the heart of it and is one more element of the obstruction of justice case against Trump.
Suggested Answer: This can go in a variety of directions. One suggested angle is to simply claim any discussion Trump had with himself is protected by executive privilege and can't be used against him.
Another approach may be to claim, as Trump so often does, that “I have a great mind and all I was referring to was that I was thinking about firing Comey at the exact time I was also thinking about Russia even if unrelated. What wasn't mentioned was that at that very same time I was also thinking about golf, Trump hotels, Stormy Daniels -- no, wait, I wasn't thinking of her.”
Maybe go with the first suggestion.