Politics

Trump Legal Team ‘Leaning Toward’ No Mueller Interview

Former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani said there's 'a high bar' special counsel's investigators must 'reach in terms of convincing us they’re fair'

President Donald Trump’s legal team is “leaning toward not” allowing the president to sit down for an interview with special counsel Robert Mueller as part of the probe into Russian collusion allegations and obstruction of justice concerns. Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani made that point Sunday on ABC News’ “This Week.”

“Jay [Sekulow] and I want to keep an open mind, and I have to just be honest … we’re leaning toward not,” Giuliani replied after host George Stephanopoulos asked if the president’s lawyers were “still recommending he does not sit down for the interview.”

“But look, if they can convince us that it will be brief, it will be to the point, there were five or six points they have to clarify, and with that we can get this long nightmare for the American public over” — then Trump might testify, Giuliani added.

Giuliani, who joined Sekulow and the other members of Trump’s legal team in April, said “there’s got to be a high bar” Mueller’s investigators “have to reach in terms of convincing us that they’re fair, convincing us that we’re going to get the things we need” for a sit-down interview with Trump.

Giuliani said it’s imperative Trump’s lawyers see the Spygate report detailing why the FBI planted an informant within the president’s campaign — someone who initiated contact with three campaign advisers before the FBI opened its investigation into Russian collusion allegations. He also insisted Trump’s lawyers be able to view the “authorization” Mueller was given to conduct his investigation.

Giuliani also said during an interview Sunday on NBC News’ “Meet the Press” that “the straight, unvarnished truth” is that Trump “wants to testify” because “he believes he’s innocent.”

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“He believes that, if he gets the chance to explain it, people will understand, no collusion with the Russians, no obstruction of justice,” Giuliani said. “So he wants to testify. Every lawyer he has, including this one, always wants their client not to testify.”

Nevertheless, Trump’s lawyers are “trying to come up with a narrow group of conditions in which” Trump could testify before Mueller’s team, “if we can justify the fact that they have an open mind and that they’ll conclude the investigation.”

But Trump would imperil himself if he agreed to testify because he’d be in danger of contradicting himself in his answers to investigators, Giuliani noted. And “you don’t let the president testify” because “that’s been the danger of being interviewed” all along, Giuliani told Stephanopoulos.

Related: Rudy to Mueller: ‘We’ve Tortured This President Enough’

Multiple media outlets obtained and reported on a two-page letter Saturday that Sekulow and former Trump lawyer John Dowd sent to Mueller in January. It outlined why the president didn’t need to sit down for an interview and why the president “could neither constitutionally nor legally constitute obstruction because that would amount to him obstructing himself.”

The letter also cited the president’s pardoning authority should Trump face indictments as a result of Mueller’s probe. But when Stephanopoulos asked Giuliani if Trump’s lawyers believe “the president has the power to pardon himself,” the lawyer replied, “He probably does,” but he “has no intention of pardoning himself.”

The letter also cited the president’s pardoning authority should Trump face indictments as a result of Mueller’s probe.

“It would be an open question. I think it would probably get answered by — gosh, that’s what the Constitution says and if you want to change it, change it,” Giuliani said. “I think the political ramifications of that would be tough. Pardoning other people is one thing. Pardoning yourself is another.”

PoliZette writer Kathryn Blackhurst can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter.

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