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Donald Trump has said he would be willing to be interviewed under oath by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
Donald Trump has said he would be willing to be interviewed under oath by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Trump Lawyers Want Him to Refuse Mueller Interview

If Trump refuses to sit for an interview, Mueller could subpoena the president to testify before a grand jury. A subpoena could trigger a court fight that might ultimately be decided by the Supreme Court

Trump Lawyers Want Him to Refuse Mueller Interview

Several of US President Donald Trump’s lawyers have advised him not to sit down for an interview with a special counsel investigating possible collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign to influence the 2016 presidential election, the New York Times reported on Monday.
Citing four people briefed on the matter, the newspaper said the lawyers were concerned that given Trump’s penchant for making false statements and contradicting himself, he could be charged with lying to investigators.
Trump has said he would be willing to be interviewed under oath by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. “I‘m looking forward to it, actually,” Trump told reporters last month.
A person familiar with the matter told Reuters that no decision had yet been made on whether Trump would agree to an interview. 
Trump denies collusion between his campaign and Moscow, and has dismissed the Russia probes as a witch hunt.
If the president refuses to sit for an interview, Mueller could subpoena the president to testify before a grand jury. A subpoena could trigger a court fight that might ultimately be decided by the Supreme Court.
Rejecting an interview with Mueller also carries political consequences. It would be certain to prompt accusations that the president is hiding something, and a court fight could prolong the special counsel inquiry, casting a shadow over Republicans as November’s midterm elections approach or beyond into the president’s re-election campaign.
But John Dowd, the longtime Washington defense lawyer hired last summer to represent Mr. Trump in the investigation, wants to rebuff an interview request, as do Mr. Dowd’s deputy, Jay Sekulow.
They are convinced that Mueller lacks the legal standing to question Trump about some of the matters he is investigating, like the president’s role in providing a misleading response last summer to a New York Times article about a meeting Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr. had with Russians offering dirt on Hillary Clinton. 
The advisers have also argued that on other matters—like the allegations that the president asked James Comey, then the FBI director, to end the investigation into the former national security adviser Michael Flynn—the president acted within his constitutional authority and cannot be questioned about acts that were legal.
The lawyers and some Trump aides believe Mueller might be unwilling to subpoena the president and set off a showdown with the White House that the special counsel could lose in court, the Times reported.
Trump’s longtime personal attorney Marc Kasowitz has also cautioned against a free-wheeling interview with Mueller, according to the Times.
Ty Cobb, a lawyer who was hired in July to handle the White House’s response to the Russia probe, has argued for cooperating with Mueller, the newspaper reported.
Chris Christie, the former governor of New Jersey who led the presidential transition team until just after the election, bluntly said last week that Trump should reject a request to be questioned.
“I don’t think the president of the United States, unless there are credible allegations — which I don’t believe there are—should be sitting across from a special counsel,” he told  ABC.
Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker and an informal adviser to Trump, has also echoed that advice.
“The idea of putting Trump in a room with five or six hardened, very clever lawyers, all of whom are trying to trick him and trap him, would be a very, very bad idea,” Gingrich said last month on “Fox and Friends.”
In response to requests for comment from Reuters, Dowd and Cobb sent a statement that said the discussions between the president’s personal lawyers and the special counsel’s office “regarding how and under what terms information will be exchanged are understandably private.”

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