Lawyers for Trump have advised him against sitting down for a wide-ranging interview with Mueller, four people briefed on the matter tell NYT.
His lawyers are concerned that Trump could be charged with lying to investigators. https://t.co/BuMbXRLfA8
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) February 6, 2018
Not just ‘Stupid Watergate’, but ‘Incredibly Stupid Watergate’. To give it the proper Nixonian flavor, ‘Unable-to-Pass-the-NFL-Concussion-Protocol Watergate’….
… Mr. Trump’s decision about whether to speak to prosecutors, expected in the coming weeks, will shape one of the most consequential moments of the investigation. Refusing to sit for an interview opens the possibility that Mr. Mueller will subpoena the president to testify before a grand jury, setting up a court fight that would drastically escalate the investigation and could be decided by the Supreme Court.
Rejecting an interview with Mr. Mueller also carries political consequences. It would be certain to prompt accusations that the president is hiding something, and a court fight could prolong the special counsel inquiry, casting a shadow over Republicans as November’s midterm elections approach or beyond into the president’s re-election campaign.
But John Dowd, the longtime Washington defense lawyer hired last summer to represent Mr. Trump in the investigation, wants to rebuff an interview request, as do Mr. Dowd’s deputy, Jay Sekulow, and many West Wing advisers, according to the four people. The lawyers and aides believe the special counsel might be unwilling to subpoena the president and set off a showdown with the White House that Mr. Mueller could lose in court…
Presidents have often agreed to speak with federal prosecutors who are investigating their actions or those close to them. But President Richard M. Nixon refused to turn over to the special prosecutor investigating him tapes of incriminating conversations with aides. The matter eventually went before the Supreme Court, which ruled in 1974 that the president, like every American, was not above the law and had to comply with the special prosecutor’s request.
“The upshot of the Nixon tapes case was that any president is going to have an extremely hard time resisting a request from a law enforcement officer,” said Neal K. Katyal, an acting solicitor general in the Obama administration and a partner at the law firm Hogan Lovells.
“In general,” he added, “presidents do sit for interviews or respond to requests from prosecutors because they take their constitutional responsibility to faithfully execute the laws seriously, and running away from a prosecutor isn’t consistent with faithfully executing the laws.”
Mr. Trump’s penchant for bravado has been a factor that his lawyers must contend with. The president has bragged to some aides that he would be able to clear himself if he talked to Mr. Mueller’s team.
“I’m looking forward to it, actually,” Mr. Trump told reporters at the White House last month, though he added, almost as an afterthought, that an interview would be “subject to my lawyers, and all of that.”…
Stick with me for this: The "president's" friends, advisers & lawyers insist the "president" is completely innocent, but is such a liar that he can't be trusted to speak to the prosecutor. Gotcha.
— John Weaver (@JWGOP) February 6, 2018
As NYMag phrases it, “Trump’s Lawyers Seem to Think He’s Incapable of Not Lying”
… Aside from Trump’s well-documented penchant for lying, the president’s attorneys must also deal with the strong possibility that their client is not, like, really smart. According to the Times, he’s privately claimed he wouldn’t just survive an exchange with Mueller, he’d find a way to exonerate himself: “The president has bragged to some aides that he would be able to clear himself if he talked to Mr. Mueller’s team.”…
Ordinarily, the president’s attorneys might be worried about the paper reporting on their efforts to mislead their client, but it doesn’t seem like there’s a high risk of Trump reading a Times story all the way to the end.
Either he’ll lie like the weird sculpt on his scalp, and open himself up to all sorts of further investigation. Or — more likely — he’ll fold like one of his crappy ties, expose the scotch-tape rigging beneath the facade, and every other weasel in his mal-administration will have to start writing their own requests for a plea deal.
(How many of the “like, really smart” grifters and goniffs around Trump realize just how much trouble he’s gotten them into? Maybe it’s just as well, for historians, that Trump’s so paranoid about being poisoned… )
in the end, the only Q is whether Trump takes the 5th.
as i spelled out last week, Trump will refuse, Mueller will go to judge, he'll compel Trump to testify, and WH will have to decide how bad it will look when Trump refuses to speak; https://t.co/zZExPa0awR
— Eric Boehlert (@EricBoehlert) February 6, 2018
Q. Pres. Trump, did your son tell you about the Trump Tower Russia meeting?
If No: perjury
If Yes: implicates Don Jr in perjury
Q: Pres. Trump, did you encourage anyone to mislead the media or fed authorities about Russia contacts?
If No: perjury
If Yes: obstruction https://t.co/pWgKoZRyoW
— Ryan Goodman (@rgoodlaw) February 6, 2018
(The explanation for Trump’s odd behavior around the Russia issue dating back to the campaign is probably that he’s guilty)
— Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias) February 6, 2018
Court filing: ¯\_(?)_/¯
— Schooley (@Rschooley) February 6, 2018