The president and his allies are desperate to avoid the scrutiny of the Russia investigation as led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. The special counsel has gone after a whole host of current and former Trump associates at this point, having brought charges against four of them. Mueller’s next target is the president, who he wants to sit for an interview. The president and his allies, however, have proven extremely averse to letting that happen, at least according to the parameters that Mueller wants.
CNN highlights a strategy being employed by the Trump team to try and limit the special counsel’s access to the president in a new report. According to sources speaking to the outlet, the Trump legal team wants in-person questions from the special counsel for the president limited to the issue of pre-election Russian collusion.
That would exclude questions covering the issue of obstruction of justice, which the president has been accused of in part because of his abrupt firing of FBI Director James Comey last year, who had been leading the Russia investigation. The president is also alleged to have sought to have Comey close down a certain arm of the Russia investigation before his eventual firing.
The plans being drawn up by the Trump legal team would confine answers from the president about those issues to paper, with him submitting written answers on those subjects alone. It’s an idea that, CNN explains, the president’s team has been hanging onto for some time, but in none of that time has the special counsel expressed an apparent inclination for going along with their plans. He still wants the president to be interviewed in person.
Meanwhile, the president’s public rage at the very existence of the investigation is continuing to grow; he intensified public criticisms of it after authorities raided the home, office, and hotel room of his lawyer Michael Cohen recently. According to CNN, the Trump legal team had been prepared to present their proposal for the president to only answer questions covering the period before his presidency on the same day those raids were carried out. The team decided against bringing their proposal to the table concurrent to the developments.
In the face of these developments, negotiations over a potential presidential sit down with the special counsel’s team are “inching forward,” as one source put it to CNN. “Inching” certainly seems like a fitting term since CNN explains the Trump team to have been expressing opposition to the idea of Trump ever testifying about potential obstruction of justice since last year.
All of the Trump team’s efforts have so far resulted in nothing good for the president on the issue of a potential interview with the special counsel’s team. CNN indicates that the battle over the interview could make it to the court system; Mueller has previously been reported to be open to the idea of issuing a subpoena to compel the president to testify. Whether or not the issue will get to that point remains to be seen.
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