Mueller Asking What Trump Knew About Hacked Emails: Sources

The president has repeatedly denied any collusion and has described the special counsel's investigation as "illegal" and a "witch hunt"

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Getty Images/Win McNamee

Special counsel Robert Mueller's team is asking witnesses pointed questions about whether Donald Trump was aware that Democratic emails had been stolen before that was publicly known, and whether he was involved in their strategic release, multiple people familiar with the probe told NBC News.

Mueller's investigators have asked witnesses whether Trump was aware of plans for WikiLeaks to publish the emails. They have also asked about the relationship between GOP operative Roger Stone and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, and why Trump took policy positions favorable to Russia.

The line of questioning suggests the special counsel, who is tasked with examining whether there was collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 election, is looking into possible coordination between WikiLeaks and Trump associates in disseminating the emails, which U.S. intelligence officials say were stolen by Russia. 

Trump has repeatedly denied any collusion and has described the special counsel's investigation as "illegal" and a "witch hunt." John Dowd, the president’s outside attorney, told NBC News, "We do not discuss our knowledge of or communications with the Special Counsel."

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