Trump’s impromptu comments demonstrate beyond a reasonable doubt why Trump SHOULD NOT sit down with Mueller, under oath or otherwise.
Robert Mueller and his team already have worked their way through interviews with over 20 White House aides, according to Fox News:
More than 20 White House personnel have voluntarily given interviews to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team investigating Russia’s actions during the 2016 election, Fox News has learned.
A personal attorney for President Donald Trump also said the White House turned over more than 20,000 pages of records to investigators, calling the level of cooperation and transparency “unprecedented.”
According to a summary of records and witness interviews reviewed by Fox News, 17 campaign employees — plus 11 others affiliated with the campaign – also have spoken with Mueller’s team or congressional committees.
So who is left to interview? Trump.
The news tonight is that Trump, responding to media questions as he was leaving for Davos, said he was looking forward to sitting down with Mueller to answer questions, perhaps even under oath.
The Washington Post reports on the comments:
President Trump said Wednesday he is “looking forward” to testifying under oath to special counsel Robert S. Mueller III as part of the probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election while also mounting a preemptive defense of potential obstruction accusations.
“I would love to do it, and I would like to do it as soon as possible,” Trump told reporters at the White House. “I would do it under oath, absolutely.”
The president suggested he could be investigated for obstruction of justice as part of the Russia investigation because he was “fighting back” and reiterated there was “no collusion” between his campaign and Moscow.
“Oh, well, ‘Did he fight back?’” Trump said, “You fight back, ‘Oh, it’s obstruction.’”
It’s clear from the audio that Trump’s comments were impromptu and reactive:
The NY Times reports that Trump’s legal counsel already is walking back the comments:
Ty Cobb, the White House lawyer leading the response to the investigation, said Mr. Trump was speaking hurriedly and intended only to say that he was willing to meet. “He’s ready to meet with them, but he’ll be guided by the advice of his personal counsel,” Mr. Cobb said. He said the arrangements were being worked out between Mr. Mueller’s team and the president’s personal lawyers.
Mr. Cobb said the president was not trying to volunteer to testify before a grand jury, which is how prosecutors speak to witnesses under oath, but was merely speaking off the cuff. Interviews with agents and prosecutors are not conducted under oath, but lying to the F.B.I. is a felony.
Trump’s impromptu comments demonstrate, beyond a reasonable doubt, why Trump SHOULD NOT sit down with Mueller to answer questions, under oath or otherwise.
Trump is a salesman by nature. He’s given to bombast and hyperbole. He shoots from the hip.
Those characteristics, while they proved valuable against the comatose and drab Hillary, could be a disaster in an interview with Mueller. Mueller’s team is very experienced in these perjury and obstruction traps. They will not ask any questions they don’t already know the answer to, and the questions they ask will not be posed to obtain information. They have all the information. They will be probing not for information, but for mistakes.
Don’t do it. I don’t know what power Mueller would have to compel testimony, but nothing should be done voluntarily.
UPDATE: I discussed my views on the Michael Graham podcast at Ricochet. You can listen to the full program here, and my segment is below.DONATE
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