Donald Trump's Legal Team Has a Laughable Plan to Avoid an Interview with Robert Mueller
President Donald Trump’s lawyers are mapping their strategy for an expected interview request by special counsel Robert Mueller.
The president’s outside legal team are discussing a range of potential options and compromises in hopes of avoiding a face-to-face interview, reported NBC News.
Three sources told the network that Trump’s lawyers are seeking clarification on legal standards covering when and where the president can be interviewed, and for how long.
One source said the discussions began shortly after former campaign manager Paul Manafort was indicted in late October for money laundering.
Trump’s lawyers met with the special counsel’s office in late December, but they either declined to respond or declined comment about the meeting and what topics they discussed.
A second source told NBC New that the president’s lawyers are considering whether Trump could avoid the interview by signing an affidavit affirming his innocence and denying any collusion with Russia during his election campaign.
It’s not clear what specific wrongdoing the president would deny, and whether it would cover his firing of FBI director James Comey in May as he oversaw the Russia investigation.
The president told NBC News’ Lester Holt two days after the firing that Comey’s handling of the Russia probe factored into his decision to remove him as FBI director, and Mueller is believed to be investigating the possibility that Trump obstructed justice.
Justice Department veterans said Mueller would almost certainly want to interview the president directly in the probe, which has so far resulted in two indictments and two guilty pleas.
“Prosecutors want to see and hear folks in person,” said Chuck Rosenberg, former U.S. attorney and former Comey chief of staff. “They want answers directly from witnesses, not from their lawyers. The odds of prosecutors agreeing to written responses are somewhere between infinitesimally small and zero.”