As expected, the president has denied any collusion with the Russians in the 2016 presidential election, The Daily Mail reported.
In his written answers to questions from Robert Mueller, President Donald Trump said he was in the dark about two matters that have grabbed the attention of the special counsel.
Trump said he was not told in advance about a now-infamous 2016 Trump Tower meeting that his son Donald Jr. convened with a group that included a Kremlin-connected lawyer.
And he claimed political trickster Roger Stone never tipped him off about the WikiLeaks organization’s plan to release thousands of hacked emails belonging to Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta.
CNN reported that the president made clear in his written answers that he was responding to the best of his recollection. The network’s sources didn’t quote his exact words.
The Trump Tower meeting included Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya in addition to then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner.
Stone is under fire despite his insistence that he didn’t have advance knowledge of the WikiLeaks email dump, and told CNN recently that he never spoke with Trump about it.
‘I never discussed any of this with Donald Trump. It’s one of the questions that Mr. Mueller wants the President to answer – one of the written questions. I’m highly confident that his answer will be that he knew nothing about it. We just never discussed it, he said.
Stone may have discussed it with fellow conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi, however.
The Mueller team has obtained a July 25, 2016 email in which Corsi told him that ‘Word is friend in embassy plans 2 more dumps. One shortly after I’m back. 2nd in Oct. Impact planned to be very damaging.’
The ‘friend’ is thought to be a reference to Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder who has been living in ecuador’s British embassy for nearly six years in order to avoid extradition.
Corsi told the Associated Press this week that the email he sent to Stone was based on his own leaps of logic not on inside information.
‘It’s all a guess. That email – ‘word is’ – is 100 percent speculation on my part, a package so that Roger’s not going to dismiss it because I’m real sure I’m right,’ he said.
Corsi also said he told Mueller’s investigators he had ‘figured it out’ himself.
Mueller is thought to be near the end of his expansive probe, launched to investigate whether Trump’s campaign colluded with Russians to affect the presidential election.
But his team is also reportedly looking at actions the president took after his inauguration, including the firing of then-FBI Director James Comey.
It was Comey’s sacking that led to Mueller’s appointment, which was seen in part as a signal that the Justice Department thought Trump had obstructed justice by freezing Comey out of looking into his campaign operation.
Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s lawyer, said last week that the president would refuse to answer any questions Mueller might ask about an obstruction claim, but would answer truthfully about his campaign.