President Trump’s attorney’s are preparing for what some believe to be the inevitable interview of Trump by Robert Mueller, as part of the ongoing Russia probe.
The “when” has not been established, but the “how” is the topic of discussion between Trump’s legal team and the FBI Trump loathes.
According to NBC News:
The discussions were described by one person with direct knowledge as preliminary and ongoing. Trump’s legal team is seeking clarification on whether the president would be interviewed directly by Mueller, as well as the legal standard for when a president can be interviewed, the location of a possible interview, the topics and the duration. But the president’s team is also seeking potential compromises that could avoid an interview altogether, two of those interviewed told NBC News.
OH… I’m sure they would like to avoid an interview. Given Trump’s inability to express himself above a fourth grade level, and the absolute promise that at some point, he’d likely say something to incriminate himself, I’m sure they’re begging for some alternate form of interview.
Trump’s legal team sat down in December with representatives from special counsel’s office to discuss the topic of the president testifying, but nobody from either side is willing to say what was discussed.
In addition to the possibility of suggesting the president submit written responses in place of an interview, a second person familiar with the president’s legal strategy said another possibility being contemplated was an affidavit signed by the president affirming he was innocent of any wrongdoing and denying any collusion. It was not clear what such an affidavit might state regarding the president’s firing of former FBI Director James Comey in May 2017 at a time when Comey was leading the Russia probe.
Somehow, a note saying, “I did not collude with Russia. FAKE NEWS! Signed Donald J. Trump” doesn’t seem like the most convincing testimony.
So how likely is Robert Mueller to simply accept a written affidavit or written answers?
I wouldn’t count on it.
“Prosecutors want to see and hear folks in person,” said Chuck Rosenberg, former U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia and chief of staff to FBI Director Comey. “They want to probe and follow up. Body language and tone are important,” said Rosenberg, now an NBC News analyst. “And they want answers directly from witnesses, not from their lawyers. The odds of prosecutors agreeing to written responses are somewhere between infinitesimally small and zero.”
That makes sense.
There’s no good reason to not allow Trump to sit and speak in person. If he answers well, he likely clears himself of any suspicion in the ongoing probe.
If he answers like Trump, however…