It looks like President Trump is ready to sit down for an interview with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s all-star team of prosecutors, but like everything Trump agrees to, it’s going to come with conditions.
It would certainly be nice if, when the average person got themselves into legal hot water, they were able to tell the agency investigating them that they would only answer the questions they feel like answering, but apparently, that’s a privilege reserved only for the President of the United States.
That’s precisely the message that Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s lawyer, sent to the Special Counsel today, according to Shannon Pettypiece, the White House correspondent for Bloomberg News. In a tweet on Monday afternoon, Pettypiece said that Trump’s legal team submitted a “proposal” last week for the conditions he wanted in order to allow an interview with Mueller’s team.
NEW: Trump’s legal team submitted interview proposal to Mueller last week. Will agree to answer questions on collusion but not obstruction, Giuliani says.
— Shannon Pettypiece (@spettypi) July 23, 2018
In case you missed that last part, it means that Trump is comfortable answering questions about “collusion,” a distinction without much meaning in a legal sense, but not about potential charges of obstruction of justice, which Trump is already known to be guilty of.
We wonder why he might not want to answer questions about that.
The obstruction charges from the prosecution would almost certainly stem from Trump’s admitted reason for firing former FBI Director James Comey — that he didn’t want the FBI investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election to continue. Trump admitted as much about the firing in a televised interview with NBC’s Lester Holt on May 11, 2017:
[W]hen I decided to just do it, I said to myself, I said ‘you know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story, it’s an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should have won’.”
Regardless of whether Trump answers any questions about obstruction, the fact that he admitted it on live television is a recorded fact, so if he’s banking on that charge going away by simply not addressing it in an interview with the Special Counsel, Trump is likely to be very disappointed.
“Collusion,” on the other hand, is nearly impossible to prove. It is possible that Mueller will redirect into something resembling a conspiracy charge if he presents evidence that Trump was personally involved in the now-confirmed intervention by the Kremlin on his behalf in 2016, but it is likelier that Mueller will focus on the obstruction in order to simply move forward with the case and get the President under oath.
Featured image via screen capture