Following the leak of roughly 50 questions that special counsel Robert Mueller allegedly wants to ask President Trump as part of the ongoing investigation into Russian interference during the 2016 US presidential elections, a former assistant to Mueller, Michael Zeldin, made a pivotal claim on Tuesday that he believed it was evident that President Trump was the source of that leak.

“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,” the CNN legal analyst said. “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’s remarks carry serious weight due to his close working relationship with Mueller. In the early 1990s, Zeldin served as the special counsel to Mueller.

On Monday, The New York Times published a report that contained the list of questions that Mueller plans to ask the president. The line of inquiry ranges in topics from Trump’s business dealings to his relationship with Russia.

The list asks about Trump’s communications with former staffers who have been indicted (notably former national security advisor Michael Flynn), Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and the firing of former FBI director James Comey.

The questions have given us an intimate insight into exactly what Mueller is prioritizing.

President Trump responded to the release of the list with a Twitter rant in which he claimed that it was “disgraceful” and that the investigation is a “witch hunt.”

“So disgraceful that the questions concerning the Russian Witch Hunt were “leaked” to the media. No questions on Collusion. Oh, I see…you have a made up, phony crime, Collusion, that never existed, and an investigation begun with illegally leaked classified information. Nice!”

“It would seem very hard to obstruct justice for a crime that never happened! Witch Hunt,” he later added.

While the president initially insisted on meeting with the special counsel and speaking about his side, his legal team opposed the idea.

“This list reinforces the notion that the president should not go in for an interview with Mueller,” said Sol Wisenberg, a top defense lawyer who was a deputy independent counsel in the Whitewater investigation. “Mueller knows all kinds of things — we don’t know exactly what he knows — and these are both broad and detailed questions, making real landmines.”

 

H/T: The Hill, NY Times