Politico has reported that US President Donald Trump’s lawyers are considering allowing Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller to interview the president as part of the department’s investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election.
A senior White House official told Politico that some of Trump’s legal team think that such an interview could help wrap up Mueller’s investigation, which has been a thorn in the president’s side.
The prospective interview would take place in December or later, the official added. He said that the White House is not nervous about the possibility of an interview with Mueller, who was head of the FBI from 2001-2013 and a former top-level federal prosecutor.
Of course, if Trump is actually guilty of any of the charges surrounding his campaign (such as illegal collusion with Russian actors, or obstruction of justice by firing FBI Director James Comey in May), such an interview could prove disastrous.
But the White House is hardly concerned. “Whatever happens with regard to whether or not, or how, the special counsel might want to interview the president, there’s no reason to expect that would be combative,” the official said.
After the Politico article went up, Trump’s personal lawyer John Dowd called the story “totally false.”
Ty Cobb, a Trump administration lawyer who is the central go-between for Trump and Mueller, told the Daily Caller that “there have been no internal or external discussions about [Mueller interviewing Trump], whatsoever. It’s somebody’s fantasy… Nobody in the White House would be this stupid.”
But both men sang different tunes elsewhere. Over the weekend, Dowd told the Associated Press (AP) that “the president respects what Bob Mueller is doing and has fully cooperated and asked everyone around him to fully cooperate with Bob.” This has resulted in a “very productive, professional relationship.”
Cobb, also speaking to AP, said that it was essential for “the country to get this [investigation] behind us. The White House is working diligently in full cooperation with the special counsel to complete the responses to all pending requests, and the president’s frustration does not extend to the special counsel personally in any way.”
Before the Comey firing, Trump told the press that he was “100 percent” willing to testify under oath about allegations of Russian ties to him or his campaign. Trump’s most recent predecessors, Barack Obama and George W. Bush, were not questioned under oath in ongoing federal investigations — but Bill Clinton, who was president from 1992-2001, was questioned.