President Donald Trump’s legal team recently rebuffed a request by special counsel Robert Mueller for an interview with the President.
CNN reported Monday that after President Trump’s legal team submitted his written answers to Mueller’s questions, the special counsel asked for a sit-down with him, but seeing no reason for a follow-up interview, Trump’s lawyers refused.
Mueller’s so-called Russia investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russians is nearing its end, and an in-person interview with the President remains an issue. Sources say that the special counsel “is not satisfied” with the refusal.
Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani said in an interview last month that Trump would have a sit-down with the special counsel “over my dead body.” Over the weekend, he also maintained that the President’s legal team should first “correct” Mueller’s report before Congress or the public see it.
The special counsel has been seeking an interview with Trump for a year now as part of his probe into possible collusion and obstruction of justice by the President.
However, the two sides have been deadlocked in negotiations for five weeks, sources familiar with the talks say. No meaningful discussions on the issue have taken place recently as the President’s legal team claims there is no need for follow-up questions after the written responses were submitted before Thanksgiving.
The questions dealt exclusively with the developments before Trump’s inauguration.
About a year ago, President Trump’s legal team negotiated with the special counsel’s prosecutors a possible presidential sit-down, but it never took place as they couldn’t agree whether to go ahead with it. The President’s new lawyers are now strictly against it.
Mueller could send President Trump a subpoena for a grand jury testimony and thus have him answer questions under oath, a move which would represent a historical legal precedent.