The South Asian Times

25 April 2019 11:50 AM

Trump's legal team responds to special counsel's terms for interview


Washington, Aug 9: Lawyers for US President Donald Trump said they have responded to the latest proposal from special counsel Robert Mueller over a potential interview with the president as part of the wide-ranging Russia probe.

"We have responded in writing to the latest proposal from Office of Special Counsel regarding the request to interview the President," Trump's lawyer Jay Sekulow said in a statement on Wednesday, Xinhua news agency reported.

"It is not appropriate, at this time, to comment publicly about the content of that response."

Rudy Giuliani, another lawyer for the president, reportedly rejected Mueller's terms.

Trump's legal team has also suggested a narrow path for answering questions and do not want the president to be asked by investigators about whether he obstructed justice, according to The New York Times, citing sources familiar with matter.

The two sides have gone back and forth for months over the scope and conditions of an interview with Trump, raising speculation that Mueller would seek a subpoena for the president, a move set to prompt a high-stakes legal battle.

Mueller is looking into the alleged Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election and any potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow, among other matters that may arise from the investigation.

Mueller's team has questions for Trump over the firing of FBI Director James Comey last year and his public criticism of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who rescued himself from the Russia investigation against the president's wishes.

It was reported earlier this month that Mueller has offered to reduce the number of obstruction-related questions that investigators would ask the president but wants obstruction to be addressed in person, not just in written answers.

Giuliani said Wednesday that millions of pages of documents have been provided to Mueller along with testimony from dozens of witnesses, while reiterating a call for ending the Russia inquiry "without further delay."

Since Mueller began to lead the probe in May 2017, he has indicted or secured guilty pleas from 32 people, including several former Trump campaign aides.

Former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort, who was indicted by Mueller last fall, is facing trial for bank and tax fraud in federal court in state of Virginia.

As the Russia probe continues with no immediate end in sight, Trump and his political allies have in recent months ratcheted up pressure on Mueller and his team.

The President escalated his attacks against the Russia probe last week, urging Sessions to shut down inquiry overseen by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, a defender of the special counsel.

Update: 09 Aug, 2018