FAT FINGERS

All the times Donald Trump shouldn’t have tweeted that: Mueller edition

Tweets and shouts.
Tweets and shouts.
Image: AP Photo/Evan Vucci
We may earn a commission from links on this page.

Donald Trump’s tweets are a hallmark of his presidency. He considers his Twitter feed to be a key way of connecting with his supporters—even though the majority of Americans, many of his supporters, his party, and no doubt his lawyers have long thought that he should stop.

But at least one person may appreciate Trump’s tweets: special counsel Robert Mueller.

The New York Times on Monday (April 30) announced that it had obtained a copy of the list of questions Mueller gave to Trump’s lawyers in relation to his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. The list reveals that Mueller is not just scrutinizing Trump’s knowledge of Russian election meddling, but also looking at his behavior toward people such as his former national security advisor Michael Flynn, former FBI director James Comey, and current US attorney general Jeff Sessions. Perhaps most notably, the questions also suggest that Mueller has been paying close attention to Trump’s Twitter feed.

Trump has already tweeted about many incidents relevant to Mueller’s inquiries, which might make it that much more difficult for Trump (and his lawyers) to skirt the questions. Here are a few of the insights the president has publicly provided:

What was your reaction to news reports on Jan. 12, 2017, and Feb. 8-9, 2017?

The president’s Twitter account holds some clues about how he felt after seeing reports on Flynn’s encounter with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

Feb. 8-9, 2017:

What was your opinion of Mr. Comey during the transition?

Trump didn’t share his opinion of Comey on Twitter during his transition to the presidency, though during the US presidential campaign, he seemed to approve of Comey’s handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server:

What did you do in reaction to the March 20 testimony? Describe your contacts with intelligence officials.

On March 20, 2017, Comey testified about the Russia meddling in front of the House Intelligence Committee. Several of Trump’s tweets show his reaction to Comey’s testimony:

What did you think and do about Mr. Comey’s May 3, 2017, testimony?

On May 3, Comey testified before the Senate about his investigation into Clinton. Here’s a clue as to Trump’s sentiments:

What was the purpose of your May 12, 2017 tweet?

This is one of two questions that openly discusses the president’s Tweets. Trump published seven tweets on May 12—three criticizing the press, one about China, and three related to the investigation into Russian campaign interference. In those tweets, as he has done through the year, he rejects allegations of collusion, calling the investigation “a witch hunt.”

Then he takes aim at Comey—who had spoken about having private encounters with the president.

The former FBI director’s reply is memorable: “Lordy, I hope there are tapes,” he said during the Senate hearing June 8, 2017.

What did you think about Mr. Comey’s June 8, 2017, testimony regarding Mr. Flynn, and what did you do about it?

Trump kept attacking Comey after the former FBI director testified before Congress on the conditions of his firing and his encounters with Trump.

What was the purpose of the September and October 2017 statements, including tweets, regarding an investigation of Mr. Comey?

Once again, Mueller is being direct about the relevance of Trump’s tweets. Here they are:

What is the reason for your continued criticism of Mr. Comey and his former deputy, Andrew G. McCabe?

The list of tweets attacking McCabe and Comey is very long. One, however, stands out as particularly severe:

What did you think and do regarding the recusal of Mr. Sessions?

What was the purpose of your July 2017 criticism of Mr. Sessions?

Considering his position as a member of Trump’s government incompatible with the FBI investigation into Russian meddling, attorney general Sessions recused himself from involvement with the inquiry. Here are some of Trump’s thoughts on the matter:

What did you think and what did you do in reaction to the news of the appointment of the special counsel?

Trump did not seem thrilled to learn that Mueller would be leading an investigation:

During a 2013 trip to Russia, what communication and relationships did you have with the Agalarovs and Russian government officials?

Russian pop star Emin Agalarov is believed to have helped arrange the infamous June 2016 meeting between Donald Trump, Jr., and the lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, who promised to provide incriminating information about Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Although Trump’s tweets don’t offer an answer to this question per se, he does know Agalarov. In 2013, he tweeted about a Agalarov video featuring Trump himself, right after a trip to Russia:

Other tweets provide more details of his visit to Russia:

During the campaign, what did you know about Russian hacking, use of social media or other acts aimed at the campaign?

At the very least, Trump knew that there were questions about the possibility of Russian meddling—and he joked about it:

Based on the thrust of these questions, Trump may come to wish that he’d listened to all the people who asked him to stop tweeting. But for now, he shows no signs of slowing down.