There is no evidence Robert Mueller needs from Donald Trump – it’s a trap Trump should avoid unless and until the Supreme Court rules otherwise.
On January 24, 2018, as Robert Mueller appeared near the end of his plowing through interviews with White House staffers past and present, and other Trump associates, it appeared that Trump himself would be next on Mueller’s list.
At an impromptu press session, Trump said he looked forward to meeting with Mueller, and might do so under oath, “subject to my lawyers.”
My *advice* was clear, Trump should not voluntarily submit to an interview with Mueller:
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.
I discussed my views on the Michael Graham podcast at Ricochet. You can listen to the full program here, and my segment is below.
The NY Times reports tonight that Trump’s lawyers are giving him similar advice, Trump’s Lawyers Want Him to Refuse an Interview in Russia Inquiry:
Lawyers for President Trump have advised him against sitting down for a wide-ranging interview with the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, according to four people briefed on the matter, raising the specter of a monthslong court battle over whether the president must answer questions under oath….
Mr. Trump’s decision about whether to speak to prosecutors, expected in the coming weeks, will shape one of the most consequential moments of the investigation. Refusing to sit for an interview opens the possibility that Mr. Mueller will subpoena the president to testify before a grand jury, setting up a court fight that would dramatically escalate the investigation and could be decided by the Supreme Court….
…. John Dowd, the longtime Washington defense lawyer hired last summer to represent Mr. Trump in the investigation, wants to rebuff an interview request, as do Mr. Dowd’s deputy, Jay Sekulow, and many West Wing advisers, according to the four people. The lawyers and aides believe the special counsel might be unwilling to subpoena the president and set off a showdown with the White House that Mr. Mueller could lose in court….
Others close to Mr. Trump have also cautioned him against a freewheeling interview. Marc E. Kasowitz, the president’s longtime personal lawyer from New York who initially dealt with the special counsel after Mr. Mueller took over the Russia investigation last May, has also consistently said that the president should not agree to the interview.
Chris Christie, the former governor of New Jersey who led the presidential transition until just after the election, bluntly said last week that Mr. Trump should reject a request to be questioned.
“I don’t think the president of the United States, unless there are credible allegations — which I don’t believe there are — should be sitting across from a special counsel,” he said on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker and an informal adviser to Mr. Trump, echoed that advice.
“The idea of putting Trump in a room with five or six hardened, very clever lawyers, all of whom are trying to trick him and trap him, would be a very, very bad idea,” Mr. Gingrich said last month on “Fox and Friends.”
Trump needs to understand that Mueller’s team wants nothing more than, at a minimum, to lay out grounds for an indictment, even if they can’t indict under longstanding DOJ policy.
The Times indicates that there is one voice arguing Trump should submit to an interview:
One of the few voices arguing for cooperating with Mr. Mueller is Ty Cobb, the White House lawyer whom Mr. Trump also brought on to deal with Mr. Mueller’s investigation. Since Mr. Cobb was hired in July, he has argued that the White House should do everything possible to cooperate with Mr. Mueller’s investigation.
There is no evidence that Trump has that Mueller can’t get through other witnesses or through written questions. Putting Trump across a table from Mueller and his team would be foolish.
Just say No. Make them go to court if that’s what they want to do, and fight it to the Supreme Court.DONATE
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