Mueller asked Trump about 2016 RNC platform change regarding Ukraine: Sources

PHOTO: Former FBI Director Robert Mueller, the special counsel probing Russian interference in the 2016 election, departs Capitol Hill following a closed door meeting in Washington, June 21, 2017.PlayAndrew Harnik/AP, FILE
WATCH Manafort's legal team has been briefing White House on Mueller's questions

The list of questions special counsel Robert Mueller submitted to President Donald Trump included a query about a controversial change to the Republican party’s convention platform in July 2016 regarding the U.S. providing arms to Ukraine, according to sources familiar with the president’s responses.

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Trump submitted his answers to special counsel Mueller last week after months of negotiating over how the questions would be handled. ABC News has previously reported that the questions, which were divided into five sections, focused mostly on whether there was collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during the presidential campaign cycle, according to sources.

The platform revision occurred as the Republican National Convention got underway in Cleveland. On July 18, party insiders took the unusual step of watering down its formal position on whether the U.S. should help protect Ukraine from Russian incursions – a move viewed as a surprising concession to the Russian government at a time of tension in Ukraine.

The platform change took place during the Republican convention organized by then-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort. Manafort had previously worked for a pro-Russian Ukrainian political party.

PHOTO: President Donald Trump walks up the steps of Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base in Md., Nov. 20, 2018. Susan Walsh/AP
President Donald Trump walks up the steps of Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base in Md., Nov. 20, 2018.

Sources tell ABC News the president told Mueller he was not aware of the platform change to the best of his recollection. That would be consistent with his answer to a question about the matter to ABC News’s George Stephanopoulos during the summer of 2016.

“I wasn't involved in that. Honestly, I was not involved,” Trump said at the time.

In addition to the platform change question, sources tell ABC News the president was also asked about the now-infamous Trump Tower meeting between Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort and a Russian attorney in hopes of obtaining dirt on Hillary Clinton. According to sources, the President’s written response said he was unaware of the June 2016 meeting before and after it happened.

A third question posed by the special counsel centered on longtime Trump ally Roger Stone and his alleged contacts with WikiLeaks. The sources tell ABC News the president again said he did not recall being told by Stone about any contacts with WikiLeaks. The questions about the Trump Tower 2016 meeting and Stone were first reported by CNN.

“I never received anything including allegedly hacked e-mails from WikiLeaks or Julian Assange or the Russians or anyone else,” Roger Stone told ABC News earlier this year. “[I] never passed them on to Donald Trump or the Trump campaign or anyone else.”

In the wake of Michael Cohen’s guilty plea to Mueller, admitting he lied to Congress about whether he had pursued a Trump Tower project in Moscow during the 2016 presidential campaign -- and about who he told about that -- ABC News learned Thursday that Trump was also asked about the project in the written questions the special counsel asked, according to sources familiar with the president’s responses. The sources would not describe the president’s answer. The Trump legal team declined to comment when reached by ABC.

One source told ABC News most of the questions were “pretty obvious” and the president’s answers were “consistent to what he’s been saying publicly”.

President Trump’s legal team declined to comment when reached by ABC News. The special counsel’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

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