WASHINGTON - SEPTEMBER 13: Robert Mueller, director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, arrives for a hearing on Capitol Hill on September 13, 2011 in...
Brendan Hoffman

Despite Trump’s boasts, his Mueller interview is looking less likely

Updated

Three weeks ago today, Donald Trump surprised White House reporters by making unscheduled comments about a provocative subject: Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Russia scandal. More specifically, the president made a variety of comments about how much he’s looking forward to speaking to Mueller and his team under oath.

“I’m looking forward to it, actually,” Trump said, adding that he’d “love to” talk to the special counsel investigators. The president went on to say he’s “absolutely” prepared to answer questions under oath.

The comments were interesting for all sorts of reasons, but Trump added an additional element that stood out for me: a timeline:

REPORTER: Do you have a date set [for the Mueller interview], Mr. President?

TRUMP: I don’t know, no. I guess you’re talking about two or three weeks, but I would love to do it.

It’s now been exactly three weeks. Not only has the president’s conversation with Team Mueller not happened, but as the New York Times recently reported, Trump’s lawyers are pushing against the idea, the president’s recent rhetoric notwithstanding.

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.

His lawyers are concerned that the president, who has a history of making false statements and contradicting himself, could be charged with lying to investigators.

This, in and of itself, describes an amazing set of circumstances. Trump’s lawyers are cognizant of the fact that the president lies with such incredible frequency that allowing him to have a conversation with federal investigators would likely put him in legal jeopardy.

If Trump World refuses to sit down for a chat, and Mueller subpoenas him, it may lead to a protracted legal fight, though for Trump’s defense attorneys, this appears to be preferable to having the president reflexively lie and contradict himself during an under-oath interview with the special counsel’s office.