by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
… [F]rom the entire list only the collusion questions stopped me in my tracks and made me wonder if there were material facts we don’t know. For example, here are the two most interesting queries:
What knowledge did you have of any outreach by your campaign, including by Paul Manafort, to Russia about potential assistance to the campaign?
To this point, the “Manafort scandal” has been about his own financial dealings, not his campaign conduct. Yet this question seems to imply the existence of an outreach effort that would transform the publicly available understanding of events. No, we don’t know if the question is accurate. Yes, it could represent nothing more than a fishing expedition (though that’s unlikely — good lawyers who possess limited ability to question a witness rarely indulge in fishing expeditions), but this question should at least open our minds to the possibility that Mueller may have information that hasn’t leaked (so far) to any major media outlet.
What did you know about communication between Roger Stone, his associates, Julian Assange or WikiLeaks?
Roger Stone’s outreach to WikiLeaks and his communications with Guccifer 2.0 (including his apparent foreknowledge of WikiLeaks document dumps) have been well-chronicled. It’s one thing if these were the actions of a private citizen, acting on his own. But Stone is a longtime Trump ally, and utilizing a “friend” instead of campaign officials as an intermediary is an old method of manufacturing distance and plausible deniability. Again, this is a question indicating that there is still much we don’t know about Trump’s actions or the actions of his friends and associates.
There are a number of other questions related to real estate, social media, hacking, and Trump’s relationship with Aras and Emin Agalarov. The questions, taken together, indicate that the collusion inquiry continues. They do not, however, demonstrate that collusion has occurred.