Report: Trump could be interviewed within weeks in Russia probe
Citing a person close to the American president, the Washington Post says the interview could take place within the next several weeks, as part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election.
Mueller raised the issue of interviewing Trump during a meeting in late December with the president’s lawyers, John Dowd and Jay Sekulow, the Post said. The interview, which would deal with a limited portion of questions, could take place within the next several weeks, the Post said, citing a person close to the president.
Sekulow and Dowd did not immediately respond to requests for comment about the Washington Post report. White House attorney Ty Cobb declined to comment on it, saying it was policy not to comment on communications with the special counsel’s office.
Earlier on Monday, a source familiar with the issue said discussions about Trump’s possible testimony have been going on among lawyers. NBC News reported that Trump’s attorneys were in discussions about the president being interviewed in connection with Mueller’s Russia probe.
Citing three people familiar with the situation, NBC said lawyers for Trump had met with representatives of Mueller’s office in late December to discuss the logistics of any such interview.
They included the location and length of such an interview as well as legal standards and options for its format, including written responses instead of a formal sit-down, according to the network.
The spokesman for the special counsel’s office, Peter Carr, declined to comment on the report.
Mueller has been appointed by the Justice Department to investigate allegations of Russian meddling in the November 2016 election and possible collusion with Trump’s campaign.
US intelligence agencies have concluded that Russia interfered in the election to try to help Trump win. Russia has denied any meddling, and Trump has said there was no collusion.
Democratic US Senator Richard Blumenthal said in an interview with MSNBC television on Monday that he expected Mueller would try to talk to the president “face-to-face.”
Mueller’s probe so far has led to two Trump associates, former national security adviser Michael Flynn and campaign aide George Papadopoulos, pleading guilty to lying to FBI agents.
Two others, former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and his associate, Richard Gates, were indicted on money laundering charges but have pleaded not guilty.
Trump said on Saturday he was willing to speak with Mueller’s team.
“There’s been no collusion; there’s been no crime,” he told reporters at the Camp David presidential retreat in Maryland. “And, in theory, everybody tells me I‘m not under investigation.”