Mueller Offered a ‘Formula’ for Trump Interview, Giuliani Says
(Bloomberg) -- Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office has given Donald Trump’s lawyers a proposal “that lays out a formula for doing” an interview with the president, according to his lawyer Rudy Giuliani.
“There are a few things wrong with it,” Giuliani said in an interview Thursday. He said he can’t discuss the details because “it’s just too sensitive at this point.”
The president’s lawyers and Giuliani’s teams have been in on-and-off negotiations since the end of last year over whether Trump will submit to questioning in Mueller’s investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential campaign and the ground rules for such a voluntary appearance.
If Trump refuses, Mueller may have to settle for submitting written questions or decide whether to seek a grand jury subpoena of the president, which could cause a legal fight that would go all the way to the Supreme Court.
But for now, Giuliani said, Trump lawyer Jane Raskin is going back-and-forth on interview terms with Mueller lawyer James Quarles. They talked at least once on Wednesday, he said.
“We are in active discussions, not just an exchange of letters” Giuliani said. “We are down to a couple important points.”
Giuliani said the two remaining issues are “very important to us” while declining to say what they were. If Mueller’s team won’t compromise on the key points, Giuliani, the former New York mayor, said, “I don’t think we can recommend to the president” that he do an interview.
In the past, Trump’s lawyers have said they won’t let the president answer certain questions on whether he obstructed justice, particularly concerning the firing of former FBI Director James Comey. Giuliani has said that could be a “perjury trap” where Mueller, also an ex-FBI chief, may be more inclined to believe Comey’s version than Trump’s.
Trump’s lawyers previously have asked that Mueller submit some questions in writing. Giuliani declined to comment on a New York Times report this week that Mueller has agreed to accept written answers about whether his campaign conspired in Russia’s election meddling.
Author Bob Woodward says in a new book that former Trump attorney John Dowd staged a practice session with Trump in January to dissuade the president from sitting down with Mueller. According to the Washington Post, Woodward wrote that after Trump stumbled through the session, Dowd told the president: “Don’t testify. It’s either that or an orange jumpsuit.” Dowd has denied the account, saying that “there was no so-called ‘practice session”’ and that he made no such comment.
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