The Times said Mueller's team read the questions over the telephone to Trump's legal team, which compiled them into a list.
All of that doesn't mean the president won't attempt to fire Mueller; the question becomes, will he try? "These questions show how wide-ranging the investigation is, and how much it is wandering beyond collusion". But if people close to the president are trying to send him a message that he should avoid talking to Mueller, that might precipitate this kind of leak.
Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow declined to comment to The Associated Press on Monday night, as did White House lawyer Ty Cobb. This is just the opposite: "highly detailed, substantive, and focused directly on the president's involvement".
Most of the questions reported by the Times ask what Trump knew of certain events, like the June 2016 meeting with the Russian lawyer, or what was he thinking when he did or said something, like firing former Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey.
"Bureaucracies are complicated animals and this one has metastasized beyond the Mueller investigation", Benjamin Wittes, a Brookings Institution senior fellow, told Politico. The prosecutors have documents and a slew of other witness interviews that might give them a picture of Trump's communications.
Mueller has brought several charges against Manafort already, including money laundering and bank fraud. Trump had called it "disgraceful" that the questions had been leaked to the media. Still another asks what the president may have known about a possible attempt by his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, to set up a backchannel with Russian Federation before the U.S. inauguration.
More of these questions seek details about events, such as particular meetings or communications, and not simply the president's state of mind. One asks: "What was the goal of your May 12, 2017, tweet?" "Witch Hunt!" Trump shot back in a round of early-morning tweets.
He'd ask why President Trump instructed his White House counsel to urge his attorney general not to recuse himself and raged at Jeff Sessions' s failure to protect President Trump from the probe. He attended that June 2016 Trump Tower meeting, set up by Donald Trump Jr, after the candidate's son was told by an associate that Russia had information "that would incriminate" Hillary Clinton which was part of the Russian' government's support for Mr Trump. While both Kelly and Trump have denied the report, attributed by NBC to four unnamed officials, similar reports past year that then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had called Trump a "moron" were followed several months later by Tillerson's removal from office. The questions are largely directed at determining whether Trump exercised his powers with corrupt intent. There's always the possibility, however, that Mr Mueller could issue a subpoena compelling the president to talk. But more recently, he and his team of lawyers, which has undergone changes in recent months, have not said when - or if. Trump has repeatedly denied any collusion. AP's Eric Tucker gives context to this latest development in the story about the Russian Federation investigation.
In the meantime, Mueller's investigation continues.