Trump says he is answered Russia questions

Donald Trump has completed questions from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation all by himself and "answered them very easily".

The content of Mueller's questions was not immediately clear, but the administration has previously said Trump would not answer any questions relating to obstruction of justice.

He told reporters in the Oval Office Friday that he - and not his lawyers - wrote the answers and that it "didn't take very long to do them". REUTERS/Yuri Gripas President Donald Trump waves after answering questions from members of the media as he leaves the White House, Saturday Nov. 17, 2018, in Washington, en route to see fire damage in California.

In a two-paragraph legal filing on Wednesday, Mueller offered a rare glimpse into the status of the probe and noted that former Trump presidential campaign aide Rick Gates is cooperating with prosecutors in several ongoing investigations.

Trump and his lawyers had been in negotiations with Mueller's team for months over how the president would be questioned as part of the investigation.

Mueller has signaled a willingness to accept written answers on matters related to collusion with Russian Federation. "My lawyers don't write answers, I write answers", he said.

The president's remarks were fresh evidence of his return to the ominous rhythms of the Russian Federation probe after spending heady weeks enjoying adulation-soaked campaign rallies before the midterm elections. Adding to his grim outlook has been the barrage of criticism he's getting over his choice for acting attorney general and late-arriving election results that have largely been tipping toward House Democrats.

Though he insisted Friday he is "very happy" with how things are going, he tweeted Thursday that the "inner workings of the Mueller investigation are a total mess". The investigators don't care "how many lives they can ruin", he wrote. Although its investigation is a "hoax", he said, Trump also said he has heard it will probably wrap up soon and that "I'm sure it would be fine".

For months, the president has told confidants he fears Donald Trump Jr, perhaps inadvertently, broke the law by being untruthful with investigators after a June 2016 Trump Tower meeting with a Kremlin-connected lawyer, according to one Republican close to the White House.

No comments were available from the special counsel's office and the Justice Department.

A list of questions provided to Trump's legal team in the spring by the special counsel included questions about efforts during the transition to establish a backchannel line of communication to Russian Federation and a 2017 meeting in the Seychelles involving Trump ally Erik Prince, a businessman and founder of the private security company formerly known as Blackwater.

Trump fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions and named Sessions' chief of staff Matthew Whitaker as acting attorney general on November 7.

Trump went on to dismiss the investigation, which he has repeatedly called illegal and threatened to shut down, attacking it this week as a national "disgrace".

But the tight-lipped Mueller has not given any sign of whether Trump is regarded more as a witness or a target of the investigation. But anytime I even think about making changes, the FAKE NEWS MEDIA goes insane, always seeking to make us look as bad as possible!

  • Rogelio Becker