In January, 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 assertions 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, and he suggested the discussion would happen in roughly “two or three weeks.”
That, of course, didn’t happen, and according to multiple accounts, Trump’s lawyers are hesitant about the president answering the special counsel’s questions. The Wall Street Journal reports today, however, that Trump’s legal team have a possible “deal” in mind.
President Donald Trump’s lawyers are seeking to negotiate a deal with special counsel Robert Mueller that uses an interview with the president as leverage to spur a conclusion to the Russia investigation, according to a person familiar with the discussions.
The president’s legal team is considering telling Mr. Mueller that Mr. Trump would agree to a sit-down interview based on multiple considerations, including that the special counsel commit to a date for concluding at least the Trump-related portion of the investigation. One idea is to suggest a deadline of 60 days from the date of the interview, the person said.
Another consideration for the legal team is reaching an agreement with Mr. Mueller on the scope of his questioning of the president…
You’ve heard the expression about making someone an offer they can’t refuse? If the WSJ’s reporting is correct, this seems like an offer Robert Mueller can easily refuse.
Indeed, if this is the kind of deal Trump’s lawyers have in mind, it seems difficult to take seriously. If the president wants to cooperate with the special counsel’s investigation, he should cooperate with the special counsel’s investigation – not apply a series of conditions about the scope of questions he’s prepared to answer.
For that matter, as Mueller’s probe appears to be intensifying, the idea that Donald Trump’s lawyers would make an effort to demand a timeline for an ongoing federal investigation – as if the president’s attorneys can somehow force the probe’s end through an arbitrary deadline – seems bizarre.
It seems hard to imagine the special counsel’s office even considering such an arrangement. Indeed, these possible terms, if true, reek of desperation.