Mere minutes after we published a post speculating that President Trump’s latest denunciation of the Mueller probe could be part of a ploy to push him to spurn Mueller’s request for an interview, a CNN analyst named Michael Zeldin – who once worked as Mueller’s assistant – put forth a strikingly similar theory.
Zeldin pointed to the rash of typos in the document that was reportedly leaked to the New York Times as evidence that, instead of coming from the Mueller campaign like the Times insinuated, the leak might’ve come from inside Trump’s legal team. Zeldin said the questions were likely culled from notes being taken by the Trump team during the course of a discussion with Mueller and his team.
The reason? By leaking the questions, Trump’s team is trying to gently convince the president that he shouldn’t agree to an interview with Mueller – something he’s reportedly been feeling more apprehensive about
“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 on CNN’s “New Day.”
“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,” he continued. “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.”
Zeldin worked as special counsel to Mueller in the 1990s when Mueller was the assistant attorney general of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.
— Amy Fiscus (@amyfiscus) May 1, 2018
Trump immediately seized on the questions as the latest evidence that Mueller is no longer actively pursuing collusion-related charges, which Trump said vindicates his claim that Trump is in the middle of a witch hunt. Trump slammed the leak as “disgraceful” and added that collusion “is a made up, phony crime.”
So what do you think? Did Mueller’s camp leak the questions to pressure Trump to hurry up and agree to an interview? Or did Trump’s team leak them to pressure their client to definitively turn the meeting down?