Speed Reads

it's mueller time

Trump's lawyers are reportedly mulling a Mueller interview with rules to limit Trump's perjury risk

Special Counsel Robert Mueller is plowing ahead in his investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 campaign and any collaboration between Russia and President Trump's campaign. But while Mueller has indicted 13 Russians and three Kremlin-linked entities, extracted guilty pleas from a handful of Trump campaign officials — most recently former deputy campaign chairman and transition adviser Rick Gates — and interviewed numerous people close to Trump, he has not interviewed Trump himself. Trump's legal team is divided over the wisdom of allowing such an interview.

But now, Trump's lawyers are considering offering that the president testify before Muller if "the questions he faces are limited in scope and don't test his recollections in ways they say could unfairly trap him into perjuring himself," The Wall Street Journal reports, citing "a person familiar with his legal team's thinking." It is unclear if Mueller would accept these conditions, or any limits to the interview, but Trump's lawyers are concerned about letting their "freewheeling conversationalist" of a client face "skilled prosecutors armed with documents and witness testimony who have shown they are willing to indict people on perjury charges," the Journal notes.

One member of Trump's legal team argued that Mueller should already have enough documents and testimony from Trump staff and White House lawyers to make a Trump interview unnecessary. "Any question for the president is answered in these materials and testimony," the person told the Journal, adding, "It would be a travesty to waste [Trump's] time and to set a precedent which would cripple a future president." Mueller apparently doesn't agree. If Trump's lawyers refuse Mueller's interview request, he could subpoena Trump, setting off a long legal battle with unknown outcome. You can read more about the legal and political considerations at The Wall Street Journal.