Donald Trump’s lawyers issue their latest rejection of the attempt by Special Counsel Robert Mueller to interview Trump in the Russia investigation.
In the latest attempt to buy time while trying to undermine the enquiry, Trump’s lead attorney Rudy Giuliani said the team is sending a letter to Mueller, trying to limit the scope of any encounter.
“We have a real reluctance about allowing any questions about obstruction,” Giuliani said on Monday. He said the attorneys hope to send the letter “sometime on Tuesday or Wednesday”.
Trump added to the likelihood of obstruction of justice charges last weekend when he effectively admitted that he lied about a June 2016 meeting between his top advisors, including son Donald Trump Jr., and three Kremlin-linked envoys.
Mueller’s team reportedly sent their request for interview last month to the Trump team. Giuliani said he expects the attorneys’ response to “continue the negotiations” rather than formally decline the Special Counsel’s request: “The President still hasn’t made a decision, and we’re not going to make a final decision just yet.”
Fearing the possibility of Trump’s perjury, his lawyers have tried to limit any interview to two questions on a narrowly-defined set of questions. Mueller has ruled out any restrictions on topis, although he offered last week to reduce the number of questions, provided there could be a follow-up on any issues remaining after Trump’s testimony.
The two sides have been in discussions since March, when Mueller raised the possibility of issuing a subpoena to Trump.
Last week Trump made his latest attempt to block the investigation, implicitly calling on Attorney General Jeff Sessions to fire Mueller by saying he “should stop this Rigged Witch Hunt right now”.
The tweet only furthered the possibility of obstruction of justice: Sessions has recused himself from oversight of the investigation because of contacts in 2016, when he was a senior advisor on the Trump campaign, with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
Trump is also suspected of obstruction because of his attempts to limit the investigation of former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and his dismissal of FBI Director James Comey in May 2017 in a failed attempt to stop the Russia inquiry.