EXCLUSIVE: Mueller told Trump attorneys that @realdonaldtrump is not a criminal target of his probe at this point; said he needs POTUS interview to complete his report on obstruction; lead lawyer resigned over Trump ignoring advice. Me w/ @costareports— Carol Leonnig (@CarolLeonnig) April 4, 2018
Special counsel Robert Mueller reportedly told President Donald Trump’s lawyers that he is not considering the president a criminal target in the Russia probe at this point.
However, he is compiling a report on Trump’s actions in the White House and possible obstruction of justice.
In March 2018, Mueller reportedly met with Trump’s lawyers and requested them to arrange an interview with the president. During the meeting, he also described Trump as a subject of his investigation in the probe.
According to sources, the special counsel further said he needed to finalize aspects of the investigation and that the compiled report would be sent to officials at the Justice Department.
“They’ve said they want to write a report on this — to answer the public’s questions — and they need the president’s interview as the last step,” said one of the sources.
Although the U.S. attorney general is Jeff Sessions, the report compiled by Mueller will be confidentially sent to Deputy Attorney Rod Rosenstein because Sessions has recused himself from the ongoing investigation into the Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
It will be then be Rosenstein’s decision to make the report public or not. However, Trump’s indictment in the case still remains a question.
According to former FBI agent Asha Rangappa, if Mueller determined in the report that Trump has obstructed justice, the report could be used by Congress who will decide to go ahead with impeachment proceedings.
Trump has said he is “looking forward” to speak to Mueller regarding the ongoing investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and said he would do so under oath.
“I’m looking forward to it, and I would like to do it as soon as possible. I would do it under oath, absolutely,” he said.
Trump also asserted he had nothing to worry about since there was “no collusion.”
“Here is the story: There has been no collusion whatsoever,” he continued, adding the interview might take place in the next two to three weeks. “There is no obstruction whatsoever. And I am looking forward to it.”
However, his legal team thinks otherwise.
His lawyers are reportedly worried he won’t be able to keep his facts straight, given his well-documented habit of lying and exaggerating things to an extreme, which could very well lead to perjury — the last thing the administration needs right now.
At least four sources familiar with the matter revealed Trump’s chief defense lawyer, John Dowd, was among those advising the president against sitting down with the special counsel.
However, he resigned in March 2018 over disagreements with the Trump.
Banner/Thumbnail Credits: Reuters, Kevin Lamarque/ Jonathan Ernst