Trump's lawyers are apparently trying to get out ahead of any request by Special Counsel Robert Mueller to interview Donald Trump himself as Mueller's investigation closes in on the Oval Office.
Anticipating that special counsel Robert Mueller will ask to interview President Donald Trump, the president's legal team is discussing a range of potential options for the format, including written responses to questions in lieu of a formal sit-down, according to three people familiar with the matter.
Lawyers for Trump have been discussing with FBI investigators a possible interview by the special counsel with the president as part of the inquiry into whether Trump's campaign colluded with Russia during the 2016 election.
The discussions were described by one person with direct knowledge as preliminary and ongoing. Trump's legal team is seeking clarification on whether the president would be interviewed directly by Mueller, as well as the legal standard for when a president can be interviewed, the location of a possible interview, the topics and the duration. But the president's team is also seeking potential compromises that could avoid an interview altogether, two of those interviewed told NBC News.
With the possibility now looming that the president himself could be subject to an interview by the FBI or Mueller's investigators, Trump's legal team has been debating whether it would be possible to simply avoid it. One individual familiar with the strategy said those internal discussions within Trump's legal team began shortly after the president's former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, was indicted in late October for money laundering in connection with his business dealings with Ukraine.
Trump's legal team sat down with representatives from the special counsel's office in late December.
In a statement to NBC News, Trump lawyer John Dowd said: "The White House does not comment on communications with the OSC (Office of Special Counsel) out of respect for the OSC and its process. The White House is continuing its full cooperation with the OSC in order to facilitate the earliest possible resolution."
Peter Carr, spokesperson for the special counsel's office, declined to comment.
Of course Trump is going to refuse. He'd be stupid not to. Mueller will either have to subpoena Trump or accept whatever garbage deal comes from his lawyers. That's why the attacks on the grand jury proceedings from Trump's media enablers have been so heavy in the last month or two. They've known for some time now that eventually Mueller was going to subpoena Trump. They've been attacking the proceedings for six months now.
So sometime soon we're going to be in a position where Mueller subpoenas Trump, and Trump can either comply or face federal contempt charges. It's at that point where we determine whether or not rule of law applies to Trump.
That is, of course, unless Mueller is fired first.