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WSJ: Trump Lawyers to Decide by May 17 on Talking to Mueller

Image: WSJ: Trump Lawyers to Decide by May 17 on Talking to Mueller
President Donald Trump and special counsel Robert Mueller (AP)

By    |   Monday, 07 May 2018 08:10 PM

President Donald Trump's legal team is targeting May 17 as the deadline to decide whether he will sit down for an interview with the Russia probe investigators.

Rudy Giuliani, a former New York City mayor who is now one of Trump's attorneys, told The Wall Street Journal on Monday the decision will be made soon.

"Every day we swing a little different" on whether or not to advise Trump to speak with special counsel Robert Mueller, Giuliani said.

Giuliani noted Trump initially was willing to talk because he would be "telling the truth." But the president's legal team, which has seen a shakeup in recent weeks and months as the Russia investigation intensifies, is worried about Trump falling into a perjury trap.

Mueller is leading the Department of Justice probe about whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia. The investigation has led to five indictments of people in Trump's orbit, although the charges are not related to collusion.

Additionally, Mueller named and indicted 13 Russians who he said tried to sway the 2016 U.S. election in Trump's favor.

Giuliani spoke with Fox News' Sean Hannity last week and praised Mueller, but noted Trump sitting down with the former FBI director and/or his investigators might not happen.

"Right now, the odds are he wouldn't be interviewed," Giuliani said.

The other piece of the Russia probe Mueller's team is looking at is whether Trump committed obstruction of justice by firing FBI Director James Comey last spring. It has been reported Trump's varying statements on the subject he has made on Twitter and during interviews could come back to haunt him if he is interviewed under oath.

Giuliani tried to clear up the matter by offering another reason why Trump dismissed Comey.

"He fired Comey because Comey would not, among other things, say that he wasn't a target of the investigation," Giuliani said last week. "He's entitled to that. Hillary Clinton got that, actually. He couldn't get that."

Trump routinely calls the Russia investigation a "witch hunt" and has maintained there was no collusion between his campaign and Russia.

Last week, a list of more than four dozen questions Mueller could ask Trump were made public. It is unclear who leaked the questions to The New York Times, but they were described as inquiries from Mueller's team and ranged from Russia to Comey's firing and other topics in between.

Trump's lawyers have argued preparing him for an interview with the special counsel would be detrimental to his duties as president, particularly with the North Korean nuclear summit slated to occur in the coming weeks.

The Journal reported Monday that Trump's lawyers recently held an informal interview practice session for four hours, but interruptions from his staff on national security issues and Trump's long-winded answers resulted in just two questions being asked.

It was reported in early April that Trump and his legal team — which at the time did not include Giuliani — had begun preparations for a potential Mueller interview. Trump lawyer Ty Cobb, who will soon retire, has been in favor of a Trump-Mueller interview under certain conditions.

Giuliani is more resistant to the idea.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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A decision whether he should testify before FBI special counsel Robert Mueller's 2016 election investigation will be made by May 17 by President Donald Trump's lawyers, according to The Wall Street Journal.
fbi, special counsel, robert mueller, testify, under oath
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2018-10-07
Monday, 07 May 2018 08:10 PM
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