Special Counsel Robert Mueller has submitted questions to the White House that indicate a focus on whether President Donald Trump tried to obstruct a probe into Russian interference, The New York Times has reported.
Trump's legal team is bracing for the dramatic possibility that Mueller would subpoena the President, setting up a collision that could force a lengthy court fight and test the legal limits of the President's power all the way up to the Supreme Court.
"This isn't some game". That team is also looking into possible collusion between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign. Dowd, who subsequently quit Trump's legal team, confirmed to The Associated Press that Mueller's team had broached compelling Trump to testify.
The Post said that it was following the conversation that Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow compiled a list of 49 questions that could be asked of the president - the list published a day earlier by the Times.
The leak of the questions, which were reported by the New York Times, could disrupt the negotiations over a Trump interview, which have been going on since past year.
Trump on Tuesday criticised the leak of the questions.
White House spokesman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement Wednesday that Flood would be joining the White House staff to "represent the president and the administration against the Russian Federation witch hunt".
Trump lashed out against the investigation in a familiar fashion Wednesday, saying on Twitter: "There was no Collusion (it is a Hoax) and there is no Obstruction of Justice (that is a setup & trap)". "It would seem very hard to obstruct justice for a crime that never happened!"
Russian Federation has denied interfering in the 2016 USA presidential election, as U.S. intelligence agencies allege, and Trump has denied there was any collusion between his campaign and Moscow.
He also said he provided "upwards of a thousand" documents to Mueller and his team, including email correspondence with Stone, Manafort, and Rick Gates, though his attorney Dennis Vacco told the magazine the majority of the documents he provided were requested by congressional committees and not the special counsel. A spokesman for Mueller declined to comment.
Several of the questions focused on people who were fired by Trump, including James Comey, the former Federal Bureau of Investigation director. Some touch on Russian meddling in the US election and whether the Trump campaign coordinated in any way with the Kremlin. That is the implication of about a dozen of his questions, including the most surprising of all: Was Mr. Trump aware of any efforts by his campaign, and specifically by his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, to seek Russia's help in winning the 2016 election? Unlike an interview, Trump couldn't bring his lawyers into a grand jury room. His new legal team is still assessing that before making a recommendation, sources say. Manafort is now facing a litany of charges under Mueller's investigation.
It's still unclear whether Mueller's investigators will be able to ask Trump any questions - or whether these are the ones they would ask.
"What did you know about phone calls that Mr. Flynn made with the Russian ambassador, Sergey I. Kislyak, in late December 2016?" reads one question.
Flynn was sacked February 13, 2017, after White House officials said he had misled them about his Russian contacts during the transition period by saying that he had not discussed sanctions. We now know that Mueller picked up the investigation, ran with it and ultimately prosecuted and convicted Flynn.