Trump Lawyers Submit a Counteroffer to Mueller’s Terms for Interview with the President

Trump Lawyers Submit a Counteroffer to Mueller’s Terms for Interview with the President

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President Trump’s lawyers on Wednesday, August 8, submitted a 
counteroffer to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s proposal for the terms 
of a possible interview with the president, the latest turn in the 
protracted negotiations over a sit-down stretching back to January, 
according to a report published in Wall Street Journal.

The counteroffer largely sticks to the 
terms the president’s legal team outlined last month, a person familiar 
with the matter said: The president’s lawyers would be open to questions
 about collusion with Russia but wished to limit inquires related to obstruction of justice.

Rudy Giuliani, one of the president’s 
lawyers, said in an interview that the team’s proposal was “a little bit
 different than what we recommended before, but not terribly.”

He said the legal team had “left open” 
the possibility to investigators that the president would answer a 
question on obstruction of justice “if they can show us an obstruction 
question that they need an answer to, where they haven’t gotten an 

Mr. Giuliani said that in the special 
counsel’s last offer, Mr. Mueller agreed to decrease the number of 
questions posed to the president but hasn’t agreed to the Trump team’s 
request to curb obstruction of justice inquiries.

A spokesman for Mr. Mueller, who has not
 publicly commented on the negotiations, didn’t immediately respond to a
 request for comment.

Mr. Mueller is investigating whether 
Trump associates colluded with Russia’s efforts to interfere in the 2016
 U.S. election, and whether Mr. Trump sought to obstruct justice by 
firing Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey in May 2017, while the FBI’s
 Russia probe was under way. Mr. Trump has repeatedly denied collusion 
and obstruction, and Moscow has denied election interference.

The special counsel’s team of 
investigators and prosecutors has netted guilty pleas from several Trump
 campaign associates and indictments of a dozen Russian intelligence 
officials on hacking charges, among other prosecutions. Mr. Trump’s 
one-time campaign chairman Paul Manafort is currently being tried in 
Virginia on bank and tax fraud charges.

The special counsel this year outlined 
for the president’s legal team more than 40 questions he planned to ask 
in a possible interview with Mr. Trump. The questions focused largely on
 the president’s decision to fire Mr. Comey and his public criticisms of
 Attorney General Jeff Sessions and other top law-enforcement officials.

Mr. Giuliani has said the reasons Mr. 
Trump has given in public for firing the former FBI director are “more 
than sufficient” and that as president, he had the power to fire any 
member of his administration.

The president’s legal team has been 
negotiating the terms of a possible interview with Mr. Mueller for more 
than eight months. Mr. Trump has said he is eager to sit down with Mr. 
Mueller. It is unclear how long the two sides will allow the 
negotiations to continue.

Mr. Giuliani said Wednesday that the 
legal team wants to see the Mueller investigation “over with” by Sept. 
1, ahead of the November midterm elections.
 He said Mr. Trump’s lawyers would make a final decision in the coming 
weeks whether or not the president would sit for an interview. The 
president’s lawyers have previously offered timelines in which they 
would decide on an interview, only to see those end dates pass by.


“It really depends on how badly they 
want it,” Mr. Giuliani said of an interview. “This is about the last 
couple of days that you can really putz around.”


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