US President Donald Trump given questions in Russia probe: report | News | DW | 01.05.2018
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US President Donald Trump given questions in Russia probe: report

Donald Trump's lawyers have received a list of questions in a probe into whether Russia meddled in the 2016 US elections, according to a report. The president has always denied collusion between his campaign and Moscow.

Special counsel Robert Mueller has given US President Donald Trump's lawyers a list of some four dozen questions as part of an investigation into possible collusion between Trump's campaign team and Russia, the New York Times newspaper reported on Monday.

Although Mueller's team has indicated to Trump's lawyers that the president himself is currently not a target, some of his actions could still potentially constitute obstruction of justice.

Read more:What you need to know about special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into the Trump campaign 

Comey, Manafort and Cohen

The list includes questions about Trump's firing of former FBI Director James Comey, the Times said. Comey was leading the Russia investigation when the president dismissed him in May 2017; Trump has given Comey's involvement in the investigation as the reason for his sacking.

The Times said another question was about what Trump knew about links to Moscow held by his campaign staff, including former campaign chairman Paul Manafort. Manafort is facing several charges from Mueller, including money laundering and bank and tax fraud, but none are so far related to work he did during Trump's 2016 election campaign.

USA Paul Manafort (Imago/UPI Photo/K. Dietsch)

Manafort is cooperating with the Mueller probe

According to the report, other questions were connected with Trump's businesses and discussions he may have had with his personal lawyer, Michael Cohen — who is under separate FBI investigation because of his own business dealings — about a possible Moscow real-estate deal.

The Flynn affair

The report said the list also featured queries about Michael Flynn, the former national security adviser, who has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russia and has agreed to cooperate with the investigation. The paper said one question read: "What did you [Trump] know about phone calls that Mr. Flynn made with the Russian ambassador, Sergey I. Kislyak, in late December 2016?"

Another asks whether any attempts were made to seek "immunity or possible pardon" for Flynn, the paper said. Flynn was fired on February 13, 2017, after White House officials said he had misled them.

That query appears to relate to claims made by former FBI chief Comey that Trump had encouraged him to drop the investigation into Flynn at a one-to-one meeting.

USA James Comey's book A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies and Leadership (picture-alliance/AP Photo/B. Matthews)

Comey has written a book comparing Trump with a 'mob boss'

'Witch hunt'

Mueller has so far charged 22 individuals and entities during his probe.

Trump has frequently criticized Mueller's investigation, most commonly describing it as a "witch hunt." On Tuesday, he again repeated this term and rejected the idea of any collusion between his campaign team and Russia.

Moscow has also denied meddling in the 2016 US election, which saw Trump win the presidency against Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton.

Trump narrowly lost the popular vote, but the US Electoral College system gave him the necessary majority by a comfortable margin.

tj/msh (Reuters, AP)

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