After months of difficult, often clumsy, negotiations between Donald Trump’s lawyers and Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team, the president received a series of written questions. Last month, Trump eagerly boasted that he personally answered the questions “very easily” all by himself.
Putting aside whether that’s believable or not, what the president didn’t discuss was whether this was the start of his cooperation or the end of it. Trump answered some written questions, but it stands to reason that Mueller and his federal investigators might have some follow-up lines of inquiry and might also still want an in-person interview.
One of the president’s lawyers suggested yesterday that Trump’s willingness to cooperate with the probe has effectively run its course.
President Donald Trump’s attorney, Rudy Giuliani, said Thursday that the president and his legal team will not be providing special counsel Robert Mueller with any additional written answers.
The president is “not answering any more questions from these people,” Giuliani told The Hill.
“I think I announced about 10 days ago ‘over my dead body,’ and I’m not dead yet,” Giuliani said, referring to a remark he made to “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace this month.
The former mayor’s answer seemed categorical – if Trump is “not answering any more questions from these people,” there’s very little wiggle room – but it’s also at odds with several other recent comments on the matter. Giuliani told Axios, for example, that the president “might agree” to provide additional written answers, and he told the Daily Beast this week that talks with the special counsel’s office are “still open.”
All of which tells us a couple of notable things.
First, Rudy Giuliani isn’t exactly excelling as a prominent member of the president’s legal defense team.
And second, it appears Mueller isn’t yet satisfied that he’s learned everything he can from Trump.
If the president and his lawyers draw a line in the sand and refuse to offer any additional cooperation with the investigation, that, of course, will be a controversy unto itself.