Trump submits answers to Robert Mueller questions in Russia probe

'We answered every question they asked that was legitimately pre-election and focused on Russia,' says Rudy Giuliani

Karen Freifeld
Wednesday 21 November 2018 02:53 GMT
Trump says he writes his own answers to questions from Robert Mueller

Donald Trump has submitted written answers to questions from Special Counsel Robert Mueller as part of the probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and possible collusion with the Trump campaign.

“We answered every question they asked that was legitimately pre-election and focused on Russia,” Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani said in an interview. “Nothing post-election. And we've told them we're not going to do that.”

Mr Giuliani said Trump did not plan to answer any questions from Mr Mueller on whether he tried to obstruct the investigation once he won office, such as by firing former FBI Director James Comey last year.

“It is time to bring this inquiry to a conclusion,” the lawyer said in an earlier statement on the probe, which Mr Trump has repeatedly called a “witch hunt.”

Mr Trump signed the submission on Tuesday before he left Washington to spend the Thanksgiving holiday in Florida, a person familiar with the matter said.

Mr Mueller was tasked to probe “any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation” into possible collusion between Mr Trump's campaign and Russia during the 2016 election.

US intelligence agencies have concluded that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election to try to tip it towards Mr Trump by undermining Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

Mr Trump has denied any collusion with Moscow and Russia has said it did not meddle in the election.

Among the topics Trump answered questions about on Tuesday was a June 2016 meeting between the president's son Donald Trump Jr, other members of Mr Trump's campaign team and a group of Russians, the person familiar with the matter said.

Mr Trump has denied knowing about the Trump Tower meeting with the Russians, who had promised damaging information about Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.

“There were no real big surprises in the questions. They were detailed, complex, they were multipart,” Mr Giuliani said. He would not say how many questions there were.

Mr Mueller has already brought charges against some former Trump aides, including his former campaign chairman and his former national security adviser, as well as a number of Russian individuals and entities.

Mr Giuliani said in his statement the president had provided “unprecedented cooperation” with the probe over the past year and a half, noting that more than 30 White House-related witnesses had been questioned and 1.4 million pages of material turned over before Mr Trump responded to the pre-election questions in writing.

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He added that “much of what has been asked raised serious constitutional issues and was beyond the scope of a legitimate inquiry.”

Mr Giuliani later told Reuters there was “very little hope” Trump would sit for an interview with the special counsel.

Mr Trump's lawyers have been negotiating with Mr Mueller's prosecutors since last year over whether the president would sit for an interview. Mr Trump himself has offered mixed responses.

Earlier this month, Trump fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions and appointed Matthew Whitaker as his replacement on an acting basis, renewing calls for legislation to protect Mueller's work. Mr Whitaker has previously criticised the scope of the Mueller probe.


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