Trump Should Not Agree to Interview with Mueller, Legal Experts Say
Everything about the Russia collusion investigation is starting to stink to high heaven; president needs to be extremely careful
President Donald Trump should not give special counsel Robert Mueller an interview in his investigation of allegations the chief executive’s 2016 campaign colluded with Russian interests to defeat Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, legal experts contend.
Mueller recently interviewed Attorney General Jeff Sessions and has been in conversation with White House lawyers about a conversation with Trump.
That would be a bad idea, said Judge Andrew Napolitano, Fox News senior judicial analyst, who said Trump should never meet with any Justice Department agents about the investigation.
“Never, never, never — in caps — should he [meet with Mueller],” said Napolitano, speaking to Fox News’ Martha MacCallum. “If the feds want to trap you, they are very, very good at doing it … It’s a trap, and he ought to stay away from it.”
Napolitano said Trump does not have to talk to the special counsel and the FBI — it’s a right guaranteed by the Constitution. The Fox News analyst and former New Jersey judge is not alone in his assessment.
Over at CNN, former New York homicide prosecutor Paul Callan wrote last week that “when Mueller is around, silence should be Trump’s golden rule.” If later subpoenaed to testify before a grand jury, Trump should still remain silent, Callan wrote, and plead the Fifth Amendment.
Pundits note that so far, Mueller has not indicted people for actual collusion with Russians in politically motivated computer hacking or related activities. Instead, Mueller has laid a series of perjury traps that caught two former Trump associates, national security campaign staffer George Papadopoulos and White House national security adviser Michael Flynn.
Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and his business associate, Rick Gates, were indicted for a series of unrelated alleged financial crimes.
Clearly, there is not much “Russia” in the indictments Mueller is getting. As with many past special investigations in Washington, D.C., the investigation has expanded into whatever subject on which the prosecutor thinks he can nail the target.
In Congress, the fear is that the special counsel investigation, aided by the FBI, has been tainted by extreme political bias against Trump, combined with a bias in Clinton’s favor.
Recently unearthed text messages, sent among FBI employees Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, seem to bear this out. Further, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, has published a classified memo, available only to House members, that details abuse of federal surveillance powers — powers designed for foreign powers but aimed at Trump during the campaign and transition.
Now reports indicate that a “secret society” of FBI agents met off-site after Trump won the election.
On “Special Report with Bret Baier” Tuesday evening, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) said the offsite meetings to avoid record keeping show “corruption of the highest levels of the FBI.”
“That secret society — we have an informant that’s talking about a group that were holding secret meetings off-site,” Johnson said. “There is so much smoke here.”
Baier asked Johnson to clarify that the FBI has such an informant. Johnson affirmed his words. It was the biggest news yet that the congressional Republicans have proof that the investigation was biased, and perhaps even unethically furtive in its pursuit of Trump associates.
The Justice Department is admitting it has misplaced about five months’ worth of texts between Strzok and Page.
Johnson’s disclosure follows news from last month that Strzok was removed from the investigation last summer because of the thousands of anti-Trump text messages he sent to Page.
Now the Justice Department is admitting it has misplaced about five months’ worth of texts between Strzok and Page. To many Republicans, the whole investigation seems tainted beyond repair.
But clearly, the least dangerous route for Trump is not to talk at all.