Report: Special counsel seeks interview with Trump

Special counsel Robert Mueller could seek interview with the president on Russia involvement in 2016 election.

Ben Ariel,

Donald Trump
Donald Trump
Reuters

Special counsel Robert Mueller has raised the likelihood with President Donald Trump’s legal team that his office will seek an interview with the president, two people familiar with the talks told The Washington Post on Monday.

Muller, a former FBI Director, was appointed by the Justice Department last year to oversee the federal investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election.

His appoint came after Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from any involvement in the Russia investigation due to his role as a prominent campaign adviser and surrogate.

According to Monday’s report, Mueller brought up the issue of interviewing Trump during a late December meeting with the president’s lawyers, John Dowd and Jay Sekulow. Mueller deputy James Quarles, who oversees the White House portion of the special counsel investigation, also attended.

The special counsel’s team could interview Trump very soon on some limited portion of questions — possibly within the next several weeks, according to a person close to the president who was granted anonymity to describe internal conversations.

“This is moving faster than anyone really realizes,” the person said. Trump is comfortable participating in an interview and believes it would put to rest questions about whether his campaign coordinated with Russia in the 2016 election, the person added.

The president’s attorneys, however, are reluctant to allow him to sit down for open-ended, face-to-face questioning without clear parameters, two people familiar with the discussions told The Washington Post. Since the December meeting, they have discussed whether the president could provide written answers to some portion of the questions from Mueller’s investigators, as then-President Ronald Reagan did during the Iran-contra investigation.

They have also discussed the obligation of Mueller’s team to demonstrate they could not obtain the information they are seeking without interviewing the President.

Dowd and Sekulow would not comment on the report.

In a statement, Ty Cobb, the White House lawyer overseeing the administration’s response to the Mueller investigation, said that “the White House does not comment on communications with the OSC out of respect for the OSC and its process,” referring to the special counsel’s office.

“The White House is continuing its full cooperation with the OSC in order to facilitate the earliest possible resolution,” Cobb added.

Trump has in the past argued that Mueller has hired "Hillary Clinton supporters" and people who worked for Clinton's 2016 White House bid to work on his investigation.

Indeed, reports emerged several months ago that a controversial dossier against Trump compiled ahead of the 2016 presidential election, which suggested then-candidate Trump colluded with the Russian government, was produced at the behest of the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee.

Despite his criticism of Mueller, Trump has made clear he does not intend to dismiss him.




top