Let’s play “Jeopardy,” preferably “Final Jeopardy,” and in a somewhat different format than usual. In this version of “Jeopardy,” I will provide you with a few representative answers, and I do mean representative, to some very detailed questions that were provided to an individual that we have all come to know and…well, let’s leave it at know.
It will then be your job to identify, if not the actual question, then, at least the relative issue of the question for which the answer had been provided. Also, you can receive bonus points if you can identify the individual who submitted these answers. It is the same individual for each question. (Note: Due to the length of both the questions asked and the responses to them, it is not possible to provide all of the questions and answers here, but the few I have selected more than capture the nature of all of the other questions that had been asked.)
Ready? Let’s start.
Answer: “I have no recollection of learning at the time that Donald Trump, Jr., Paul Manafort or Jared Kushner was considering participating in a meeting in June 2016 concerning potentially harmful information about Hillary Clinton. Nor do I recall learning during the campaign that the June 9, 2016 meeting had taken place, that the referenced emails existed, or that Donald J. Trump, Jr. had other communications with Emin Agalarov or Robert Goldstone between June 3, 2016 and June 9, 2016.
Answer: “I do not recall being aware during the campaign of communications between Donald Trump, Jr., Paul Manafort or Jared Kushner and any member or representative of the Agalarov family, Robert Goldstone, Natalia Veselnitskaya (whose name I was not familiar with) or anyone I understood to be a Russian official.”
Answer: “I have no recollection of being told during the campaign that Vladimir Putin or the Russian government ‘supported’ my candidacy or ‘opposed’ the candidacy of Hillary Clinton. However, I was aware of some reports indicating that President Putin had mad complimentary statements about me.”
Answer: “I have no recollection of being told during the campaign that any foreign government or foreign leader had provided, wished to provide, or offered to provide tangible support to my campaign.”
Issue of the above four questions: The June 9, 2016 meeting at Trump Tower.
Answer: “I do not remember the date on which it was publicly reported that the National Democratic Committee (DNC) had been hacked, but my best recollection is that I learned of the hacking at or shortly after the time it became the subject of media reporting. I do not recall being provided any information during the campaign about the hacking of any of the named entities or individuals before it became the subject of the media reporting.”
Answer: “I do not recall being aware during the campaign of any communications between individuals named in Question II(c) and anyone I understood to be a representative of WikiLeaks or any of the other individuals or entities referred to in the question.”
Answer: “I do not recall being told during the campaign that Roger Stone or anyone associated with my campaign had discussions with any of the entities named in the question regarding the content or timing of release of hacked emails.”
Answer: “I do not recall having had any discussion during the campaign regarding a pardon or action to benefit Julian Assange.”
Answer: “I do not recall being aware during the campaign of specific efforts by foreign individuals or companies to assist my campaign through the use of social media postings or the organization of rallies.”
Issue of the above five questions: Russian Hacking/Russian Efforts Using Social Media/WikiLeaks.
Answer: “I have no recollection of the details of what, when, or from what source I first learned about the change to the platform amendment regarding arming Ukraine, but I generally recall learning of the issue as part of media reporting. I do not recall being involved in changing the language to the amendment.”
Issue of the above three questions: Contacts with Russia and Russian-related Issues During the Campaign.
Give up? All of these answers were provided by an individual who claims to have the very “best memory.” This individual has also stated on more than one occasion that he would welcome being interviewed by the special counsel (hint?). Apparently not!
Okay, you guessed it. These are the responses by the president of the United States to the unbelievably detailed questions provided by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. In the report, Mueller explains that he did inform the president’s counsel that the responses were insufficient in several respects, specifically noting the more than “30 occasions that he does not recall or remember” as well as the many responses that were simply “incomplete or imprecise.”
Mueller went on to explain, in the report, that he advised the president’s counsel that written responses are ordinarily inadequate since they do not provide an opportunity to ask “follow-up questions that would ensure complete answers and potentially refresh your client’s recollection or clarify the extent or nature of his lack of recollection.”
With the president declining an in-person interview, Mueller further explains that issuing a subpoena to bring the president before a grand jury was considered but rejected due to the lengthy legal battle that would ensue which in turn would hold up timely release of the report. AND the fact that the investigation had made significant enough progress to be able to rely on the substantial quantity of information obtained from other sources that allowed him, Mueller, to “draw relevant factual conclusions on intent and credibility.” Read the report, and you will see how true this statement is.
I’ll leave you with a question posed by Mueller to Trump that I particularly found revealing and ask YOU to answer it for him: “On July 27, 2016, you (Trump) stated at a press conference: ‘Russia, if you are listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.’ Why did you make that request of Russia, as opposed to any other country, entity or individual?”
Ponder that one for a while. Why would (not would not) Trump specifically ask Russia and not anyone else? Whatever did happen to that 400-pound guy sitting on a bed in New Jersey that Trump famously suggested may have been the one to hack the DNC?
While the coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia may not have met the legal standard for conspiracy, there should be little doubt that the two camps interacted sufficiently enough during the campaign that the word “collusion” is more than adequate to describe that interaction.