John Dowd says Russia inquiry counsel threatened to issue summons if president failed to face questioning
Robert Mueller warned he might issue a subpoena for the president if he declined to talk to investigators in the Russia probe, a former lawyer for the president has said.
John Dowd said Mueller mentioned the possibility of a subpoena in a meeting with Trump’s lawyers in March. The warning was first reported by the Washington Post, which cited four people familiar with the encounter.
“This isn’t some game. You are screwing with the work of the president of the United States,” Dowd said he told the investigators, who are probing possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Dowd left the president’s legal team about two weeks after the meeting.
The Post said Mueller had raised the possibility of a subpoena after Trump’s lawyers said the president had no obligation to talk with federal investigators involved in the probe.
After the March meeting, Mueller’s team agreed to provide the president’s lawyers with more specific information about the nature of their questioning, the Post reported.
With that information Trump’s lawyer Jay Sekulow compiled a list of 49 questions the president’s legal team believed he would be asked, according to the Post.
That list, first reported by the New York Times on Monday, includes questions on Trump’s ties to Russia and others to determine whether the president may have unlawfully tried to obstruct the investigation.
Trump on Tuesday criticised the leak of the questions.
“So disgraceful that the questions concerning the Russian Witch Hunt were ‘leaked’ to the media. No questions on Collusion,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “It would seem very hard to obstruct justice for a crime that never happened!”
US intelligence agencies allege Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election. Trump has denied there was any collusion between his campaign and Moscow.