Trump's Lawyers Send Mueller Counteroffer for Interview Terms
(Bloomberg) -- Donald Trump’s lawyers sent a written response on Wednesday to Special Counsel Robert Mueller with their latest counter-proposal for the terms of a possible interview with the president as the two sides move into the final stages of negotiations.
Jay Sekulow, confirmed that the letter was sent but declined to provide details on the content of the letter. Speaking earlier Wednesday on his daily radio show, he said he expects Mueller’s team to take several days to respond.
"Our response is thoughtful and includes issues raised under the Constitution," Sekulow said, adding that the letter has “well thought-out legal positions that have implications not just for this president, but for the presidency.”
Trump’s lawyers told Mueller last month that the president would be willing to answer questions about whether his campaign coordinated with Russian efforts to interfere in the election but not about whether he obstructed justice. The lawyers were concerned Trump could be charged with lying to investigators if his account is contradicted by other witnesses.
Sekulow said he thinks the interview -- the subject of months of negotiations -- will be “the last major decision point” in Mueller’s investigation.
Mueller responded to that proposal with a counter offer last week that narrowed the scope of questioning, but still include questions around obstruction.
Trump’s other lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, who was also on Sekulow’s radio show Wednesday, said he believes Mueller should wrap up his investigation by the beginning of September with or without an interview. He said Mueller should take several days to review the Trump legal team’s response and then make a determination on whether he will proceed with an interview.
Ultimately, it will be Trump’s decision on whether he will answer questions, Sekulow said. Trump’s lawyers have argued that Mueller should be able to conclude his investigation without questioning the president based on Trump’s public statements, documents the White House has provided, and testimony of other witnesses.
If talks break down, Mueller could issue a subpoena to force Trump to testify before a grand jury under oath without his lawyers by his side. Trump’s lawyers have previously signaled they would fight a subpoena because of his executive authority as president, citing prior Justice Department guidelines on the issue and a Clinton-era court ruling. But the issue could go all the way to the Supreme Court.
"If they were to issue a subpoena that raises a Constitutional issue that is very significant," Sekulow said.
Clinton agreed to testify to a grand jury convened by independent counsel Ken Starr after he was issued a subpoena.
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