Special counsel Robert Mueller has told Trump’s legal team that his office will be seeking an interview with the president. This is what triggered the discussion among his attorneys about how to avoid a sit-down encounter or set limits on such a session, which we told you about yesterday.
Mueller raised the issue of interviewing Trump in late December, during a meeting with Trump’s lawyers. They plan to meet again soon to discuss both the possible terms and substance of the interview, as well as Mueller’s timeline for the investigation, according to the Washington Post.
On Monday, Trump’s lawyers publicly hinted that they would prefer to submit a written declaration, or perhaps answer a questionnaire. But veteran prosecutors said it is unlikely Mueller would agree to have any witness—even the president—submit a declaration or provide written answers to questions to avoid a sit-down interview.
The special counsel’s team could interview Trump within the next several weeks on some limited portion of questions. According to a person close to the president, “This is moving faster than anyone really realizes.”
Some experts said a presidential interview could signal that Mueller’s investigation into Trump’s actions is nearing its end. Solomon Wisenberg, a deputy independent counsel who questioned President Bill Clinton in 1998, said,
It would certainly seem they would be close to wrapping up as it relates to the core matter they are investigating. You would want to know as much as possible before you go to the president.
Asked by reporters on Saturday if he had agreed to be interviewed by Mueller, Trump gave this jaw-dropping reply:
Just so you understand, there’s been no collusion, there’s been no crime, and in theory everybody tells me I’m not under investigation. Maybe Hillary [Clinton] is, I don’t know, but I’m not. But we have been very open. We could have done it two ways. We could have been very closed, and it would have taken years. But you know, sort of like when you’ve done nothing wrong, let’s be open and get it over with. Because, honestly, it’s very, very bad for our country. And this is a country that I don’t want looking foolish. And it’s not going to look foolish as long as I’m here.
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