29 Things Trump Couldn't Recall While Answering Mueller's Questions - Rolling Stone
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29 Things Trump Couldn’t Recall While Answering Mueller’s Questions

The special counsel’s office called the president’s answers “inadequate”

President Donald Trump speaks during a rally in Grand Rapids, MichTrump, Grand Rapids, USA - 28 Mar 2019

Paul Sancya/AP/REX/Shutterstock

President Trump was never interviewed by the Special Counsel’s Office. His legal team, fearing their client might trip and fall into a “perjury trap,” negotiated for the president to provide written answers to a set of questions. We learned today, as the first portions of the Mueller report became publicly available, that investigators were not impressed. “We viewed the written answers to be inadequate,” they wrote in the report.

Investigators went on to explain they considered subpoenaing the president, but weighing “the costs of potentially lengthy constitutional litigation” against “the anticipated benefits for our investigation and report,” they ultimately decided to go ahead and finish the report, believing the “substantial quantity” of evidence they’d collected “allowed us to draw relevant factual conclusions on intent and credibility.” In other words: they thought the evidence spoke for itself.

And it had to: The president, who has claimed to have “one of the greatest memories of all time” had some difficulty remembering any details surrounding any of the incidents the special counsel was investigating. From Aras Agalarov to WikiLeaks, here are 29 things Trump could not recall while answering Robert Mueller’s questions.

1. Hearing about the Trump Tower meeting
“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 negative information about Hillary Clinton.”

2. Being in Trump Tower on the day of the June 9th Trump Tower meeting
“I have no independent recollection of what portion of these four days in June of 2016 I spent in Trump Tower. This was one of many busy months during a fast-paced campaign, as the primary season was ending and we were preparing for the general election campaign.”

3. Meeting with Paul Manafort hours before the Trump Tower meeting
“My desk calendar indicates I was scheduled to meet with Paul Manafort on the morning of June 9, but I do not recall if that meeting took place. It was more than two years ago, at a time when I had many calls and interactions daily.”

4. Speaking with any member of the Agalarov family
“I have no independent recollection of any communications I had with the Agalarov family or anyone or understood to be a representative of the Agalarov family after June 3, 2016 and before the end of the campaign. While preparing to respond to these questions, I have become aware of written communications with the Agalarovs during the campaign that were sent, received, and largely authored by my staff and which I understand have already been produced to you. In general, the documents include congratulatory letters on my campaign victories, emails about a painting Emin and Aras Agalarov arranged to have delivered to Trump Tower as a birthday present, and emails regarding delivery of a book written by Aras Agalarov…”

5. Being aware of anyone else’s communications with the Agalarov family
“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 Yeselnitskaya (whose name I was not familiar with), or anyone I understood to be a Russian official.”

6. Being told that Russian President Vladimir Putin preferred him to Hillary Clinton
“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 made complimentary statements about me.”

7. Being told that any other foreign government preferred him to Hillary Clinton
“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.”

8. When, exactly, he learned that the DNC had been hacked, first publicly reported on June 14 (his birthday)
“I do not remember the date on which it was publicly reported that the 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 media reporting.”

9. Being told that anyone from Wikileaks might have information that could potentially hurt the Clinton campaign and help his campaign
“I recall that in the months leading up to the election there was considerable media reporting about the possible hacking and release of campaign-related information and there was a lot of talk about this matter. At the time, I was generally aware of these media reports and may have discussed these issues with my campaign staff or others, but at this point in time – more than two years later – I have no recollection of any particular conversation, when it occurred, or who the participants were.”

10. Being aware of any communications between Roger Stone, Donald Trump Jr., Paul Manafort, Rick Gates and WikiLeaks, Guccifer 2.0, DCLeaks during the campaign
“I do not recall being aware during the campaign of any communications between the 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.”

11. Discussing plans to declare 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”
“I do not recall having any discussion about the substance of the statement in advance of the press conference.”

12. Being told that Russia was attempting to hack Hillary Clinton or the Clinton campaign
“I do not recall being told during the campaign of any efforts by Russia to infiltrate or hack the computer systems or email accounts of Hillary Clinton or her campaign prior to them becoming the subject of media reporting and I have no recollection of any particular conversation in that regard.”

13. & 14. Being told WikiLeaks possessed John Podesta’s emails in advance of WikiLeaks’ October 7 release of them, nor being aware that anyone else, including Roger Stone (who tweeted weeks earlier, “Trust me, it will soon [be] Podesta’s time in the barrel”), might have been in touch with WikiLeaks
“I have no recollection of being told that WikiLeaks possessed or might possess emails related to John Podesta before the release of Mr. Podesta’s emails was reported by the media. Likewise, I have no recollection of being told that Roger Stone, anyone acting as an intermediary for Roger Stone, or anyone associated with my campaign had communicated with WikiLeaks on October 7, 2016.”

15. Hearing that anyone, including Roger Stone, had discussed the possible timing for the release of hacked emails with WikiLeaks, Guccifer 2.0 or DCLeaks
“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.”

16. The content of any conversations he had with Roger Stone between June 1, 2016 and November 8, 2016, including any about WikiLeaks.
“I have no recollection of the specifics of any conversations I had with Mr. Stone between June 1, 2016 and November 8, 2016. I do not recall discussing WikiLeaks with him, nor do I recall being aware of Mr. Stone having discussed WikiLeaks with individuals associated with my campaign, although I was aware that WikiLeaks was the subject of media reporting and campaign-related discussion at the time.”

17. Any discussions he may have had about the possibility of pardoning Julian Assange
“I do not recall having had any discussion during the campaign regarding a pardon or action to benefit Julian Assange.”

18. Being aware of any efforts by foreign individuals or companies, in Russia or elsewhere, to assist his campaign through social media
“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.”

19. Most of the conversations he had with Michael Cohen about Trump Tower Moscow project
“As I recall, they were brief, and they were not memorable.”

20. Any talk of a potential trip to Russia related to the project
“I was not enthused about the proposal, and I do not recall any discussion of travel to Russia in connection with it.”

21. Discussing the project with anyone else in the Trump Organization
“I do not remember discussing it with anyone else at the Trump Organization, although it is possible.”

22. Being aware of any communications between Michael Cohen or Felix Sater and any Russian government officials about Trump Tower Moscow
“I do not recall being aware at the time of any communications between Mr. Cohen or Felix Sater and any Russian government official regarding the Letter of Intent. In the course of preparing to respond to your questions, I have become aware that Mr. Cohen sent an email regarding the Letter of Intent to “Mr. Peskov” at a general, public email account, which should show there was no meaningful relationship with people in power in Russia.”

23. Talking with any campaign staffers about what information about the Trump Tower Moscow project could be released to the media
“I may have spoken with campaign staff or Trump Organization employees regarding responses to requests for information, but I have no current recollection of any particular conversation, with whom I may have spoken, when, or the substance of any conversation.”

24. What he knew about Paul Manafort’s ties to Ukraine before Manafort resigned
“I knew that Mr. Manafort had done international consulting work and, at some time before Mr. Manafort left the campaign, I learned that he was somehow involved with individuals concerning Ukraine, but I do not remember the specifics of what I knew at the time.”

25. & 26. Being aware that Manafort shared internal campaign data with anyone in Ukraine or Russia, or hearing from Manafort about any policy positions Ukraine or Russia would want the U.S. to take
“l had no knowledge of Mr. Manafort offering briefings on the progress of my campaign to an individual named Oleg Deripaska, nor do I remember being aware of Mr. Manafort or anyone else associated with my campaign sending or directing others to send internal Trump Campaign information to anyone I knew to be in Ukraine or Russia at the time or to anyone I understood to be a Ukrainian or Russian government employee or official. I do not remember Mr. Manafort communicating to me any particular positions Ukraine or Russia would want the United States to support….”

27. Being told that Russian officials wanted to meet with him or senior members of his campaign
“I do not recall being told during the campaign of efforts by Russian officials to meet with me or with senior members of my campaign.”

28. If he had any role in changing the Republican Party platform during the 2016 Republican National Convention in regard to providing arms to Ukraine
“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. “

29. Whether he was asked to attend the World Chess Championship gala on November 10, 2016
“I do not remember having been asked to attend the World Chess Championship gala, and I did not attend the event…”

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