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Seth Abramson @SethAbramson
, 11 tweets, 3 min read Read on Twitter
(THREAD) BREAKING: We now know two topics Mueller plans to ask Trump about: the Flynn firing and the Comey firing. And Trump is demanding that he be able to answer some questions in writing—an obvious attempt to get most or all of the questions in advance.…
2/ The Washington Post also reports that Mueller wants to ask Trump about some related events, such as his attempts to pressure Sessions into resigning—a resignation which would have allowed Trump to appoint a new AG, and possibly given him a quick path to firing Mueller himself.
3/ Trump allies will seize on this story as evidence that Mueller has nothing on Trump that's directly related to Russia—a talking point you should entirely ignore, as Mueller asking Trump about Flynn (who is a cooperating witness for Mueller) is a doorway to asking about Russia.
4/ So yes, Mueller can ask about Flynn in a way that gets to the Obstruction question (i.e., Comey's firing) but he can also ask Trump about Flynn in a way that gets to what orders Trump gave Flynn (or others) as to negotiating sanctions with Russia during or after the campaign.
5/ More importantly, it's clear Mueller is much further along in his (*far easier*) Obstruction investigation than in the Conspiracy investigation—which explains why the topics he has for Trump at the moment (quite apart from what topics he might have later) focus on Obstruction.
6/ We know Mueller has a ways to go on his Conspiracy probe (whether it be Money Laundering-, campaign finance-, or Computer Crimes-related) because he's still seeking bank records from Europe. So it's *far* too early for him to have what he needs to ask Trump about those issues.
7/ Mueller knows there's *one thing* that protects him from being fired: having already referred an indictment for Obstruction to the DOJ (and likely, then, from DOJ to Congress). Why? Because Trump firing him *then* would be: (a) consciousness of guilt, and (b) more Obstruction.
8/ So Mueller needs to move fast on Obstruction before he's fired—and it's the easier case to make (and an impeachable offense) anyway. Nothing about The Washington Post story means Mueller isn't *also* working the Russia conspiracy angle and *won't* want to ask Trump about that.
9/ Granted, referring an Obstruction indictment to DOJ permanently ends all communication between Mueller and Trump—but it's little matter to Mueller: Trump is more likely to struggle to tell the truth on the Obstruction issue. On Russia, he'll just claim ignorance of everything.
10/ And of course if Mueller's fired he can't ask Trump about *anything*—so he has to take what he can get now, particularly if it keeps Trump from firing him. But the separate Russia angle to the Mueller investigation remains 100% alive and well after this Washington Post story.
CONCLUSION/ Be wary of the news over the next day: many people who don't follow the Russia story closely (and many anchors on cable news, even) will try to imply that this Washington Post story means Mueller is *only* pursuing Obstruction.

That's false—and we *know* it's false.
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