Donald Trump’s lawyers are still looking for a way they can get Donny out of being interviewed with a note from his doctor (hey, it worked before), but it appears that an actual interview with special counsel Robert Mueller is coming soon to a White House near you.
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.
The implication is that this might be just round one of a multi-interview process. Still, if Mueller has reached the stage where he wants face time with Trump, it suggests there’s good cause—like evidence of wrong-doing that leads right to Trump’s oversized tie. The indictment of Manafort and Gates, and the guilty pleas from Flynn and Papadopoulos, have already demonstrated that the investigation is moving along briskly. Still, considering that all the evidence suggests Mueller’s team is methodically following up on everything from money laundering to conspiracy to obstruction, getting to Trump at this point seems very early.
“This is moving faster than anyone really realizes,” the person said, who 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 question of whether Trump’s team was attempting to coordinate with Russia has already been answered—at least twice. They most certainly did during the Trump Tower meeting, and through Papadopoulos. But there are potentially even bigger contacts to be revealed, considering the ongoing awareness that Trump’s team had of the information eventually released through WikiLeaks and the still-unrevealed activities of Flynn prior to the election. The obstruction case also would appear to be a sure bet, never surer than when Trump personally dictated a memo he knew to be false in order to cover up for the actions of his campaign. And did it on Air Force One, just to drive an extra nail in that coffin.
But there’s still plenty of other crime to go around … and plenty of reason for Trump to be Very Afraid. Which has led to a … unique request from Trump’s lawyers.
In addition to seeking a possible get with a written excuse, Trump’s team is also looking at a genuinely strange way to deflect an interview.
… the president’s attorneys are reluctant to allow him to sit down for open-ended, face-to-face questioning without clear parameters, according to two people familiar with the discussions. 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.
So Trump’s lawyers are telling the special counsel’s team that they won’t let Trump answer a question unless the special counsel can prove there’s no other way to get an answer to a question.
That’s not how this works. That’s not even close to how this works.
Any time the special counsel asks a question, it’s a fair bet he already knows the answer. He may ask to get new information, yes, but the biggest information he’s after is: Will you tell the truth about this thing? Attempting to restrict Mueller to only questions about things they can’t know unless Trump provides the answer is identical to saying they can only ask questions where Trump could give any answer without concern that he might be checked.
Where did Trump’s team learn the law?