Monday 18 June 2018

Trump: I would love to face Mueller questions – under oath

The president said he would be willing to answer questions under oath.

Trump
Trump

By Associated Press Reporter

US president Donald Trump has declared he is “looking forward” to being questioned – under oath – in the special counsel’s probe of Russian election interference.

Mr Trump said he would be willing to answer questions under oath in the interview, which special counsel Robert Mueller has been seeking but which White House officials had not previously said the president would grant.

“I’m looking forward to it, actually,” Mr Trump said when asked by reporters at the White House. And for timing, he said, “I guess they’re talking about two or three weeks, but I’d love to do it.”

He said, as he has repeatedly, that “there’s no collusion whatsoever” with the Russians, and he added, “There’s no obstruction whatsoever.”

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The full scope of Mr Mueller’s investigation, which involves hundreds of thousands of documents and dozens of witness interviews, is unknown. And there have been no signs that agents are not continuing to work on ties between Mr Trump’s campaign and a Russian effort to tip the 2016 election.

But now that Mr Mueller’s team has all but concluded its interviews with current and former Trump officials, and expressed interest in speaking with the president himself, the focus seems to be on the post-inauguration White House. That includes the firing of FBI director James Comey and discussions preceding the ouster of White House national security adviser Michael Flynn.

The timing and circumstances of a Trump interview are still being ironed out. But soon it will probably be the president himself who will have to explain to Mr Mueller how his actions do not add up to obstruction of justice. And that conversation will be dominated by questions tied whether he took steps to thwart an FBI investigation.

So far, witness interviews and the special counsel’s document requests make clear Mr Mueller has a keen interest in Mr Comey’s May 9 firing and the contents of Mr Comey’s private conversations with the president, as well as the ouster months earlier of Mr Flynn and the weeks of conversations leading up to it.

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A focus on potential obstruction has been evident almost since Mr Mueller’s appointment as special counsel. And recent interviews with administration officials, including Attorney General Jeff Sessions, have shown that Mr Trump is dealing with prosecutors who already have amassed a wealth of knowledge about the events he will be questioned about.

Prosecutors have interviewed numerous White House aides including Mr Trump’s closest confidants such as Counsel Don McGahn, former chief of staff Reince Priebus and the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

Mr Sessions, who had urged Mr Comey’s firing, was interviewed for hours, becoming the highest-ranking Trump administration official known to have submitted to questioning. Mr Mueller also wants to interview former adviser Steve Bannon, who has called Mr Comey’s firing perhaps the biggest mistake in “modern political history”.

Four people have so far been charged in the Mueller investigation, including Mr Flynn and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort. Mr Flynn and former campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos have pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI.

Press Association

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