Politics

‘Put a Hard Deadline’ on Mueller Probe, McCullough Says

Former inspector general contends President Donald Trump should 'stick to' a time limit because 'these things can't go on forever'

President Donald Trump should put “a hard deadline” on special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of allegations of collusion with Russia and “stick to it,” former Inspector General of the Intelligence Community Charles McCullough said Monday on Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle.”

“[The probe has] gone on for well over a year, and there’s nothing wrong with the administration putting a hard deadline on this,” McCullough said, emphasizing that Trump and his officials “shouldn’t interfere with the investigation” because “investigators get to do what they do.”

“But there’s certainly nothing wrong — these things can’t go on forever. They are stressful for everyone involved. You’ve had numerous people having to expend great amounts of money for legal fees,” he added. “So they should put a hard deadline on this and stick to it.”

McCullough and veteran investigative journalist John Solomon, an editorial contributor to The Hill, reacted Monday to a string of recent interviews from former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Now a member of Trump’s legal team, Giuliani dominated headlines Monday after a delivering a series of interviews on CNN and Fox News.

Mueller entered his second year of the Russia collusion probe in May. After Giuliani joined Trump’s legal team in April, Giuliani called on Mueller to wrap up his probe for the good of the nation, and well before the November midterm elections.

“We’re mindful of the fact that we’d like to get [the investigation] over with by September. I do believe that Mueller does, too. He said something in our meeting with him that he thought September was the date to get their report in,” Giuliani said Monday during an interview on CNN’s “New Day.” “It makes sense … it’s enough before the November elections so you can’t say [Mueller] interfered with it one way or the other.”

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Speculation surrounding whether Trump would sit down with Mueller before the probe wraps up has continued for weeks. Mueller reportedly hopes to ask Trump about the collusion allegations and accusations of obstruction of justice arising from his May 2017 firing of former FBI Director James Comey.

But Giuliani warned Monday on Fox News’ “Outnumbered” that there’s “no way” Trump will sit down for an interview with Mueller.

“I’m ‘no’ on a sit-down until we get ironed out exactly what [Mueller’s officials] want to do,” Giuliani said. “Right now, I’m telling him, ‘No way.’ We’re not going to do it.”

Solomon told Fox News host Laura Ingraham that Mueller “could have issued” a subpoena compelling Trump to testify “a long time ago” if he truly wished to do so.

But longstanding Department of Justice (DOJ) policy holds that a sitting president cann0t be indicted or compelled to respond to a subpoena, so a Mueller subpoena of Trump would almost certainly be appealed all the way to the Supreme Court.

“It’s been clear that this has not been moving in any direction that was going to come to a resolution — lot of conversation, no resolution. If [Mueller] wanted to make it happen, he could have issued that subpoena awhile ago,” Solomon said.

“My gut tells me that they know what they need to know about the president. They know enough to write whatever reports they’re going to write and pursue whatever prosecutions they’re going to pursue,” Solomon said, adding, “I don’t get a sense of a major constitutional crisis on the horizon. I could be wrong, but he would have issued the subpoena awhile ago if he had so chosen.”

Related: No Trump Sit-Down with Mueller, Giuliani Says

Solomon also claimed that “there’s no tweet that the president could issue, there’s no defense that his lawyers can put out there, there’s no bar that any politician could put out there that will change more the course of the Russia investigation than if the president were to declassify the remaining parts of the [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act] memo.”

Solomon referred to the FISA applications FBI officials originally filed and renewed to surveil former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. The FBI used the unverified anti-Trump dossier, compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele and funded by 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC), to renew the warrants.

The DOJ released a heavily redacted version of the applications in July.

“That is where this story lies. And when that is released, I think the American public’s going to learn a lot about the flaws in the investigation, the circular intelligence reporting that occurred and whether there’s any evidence of collusion, which I don’t believe there is, based on my reporting,” Solomon warned.

“Also, I think we’re going to learn there [were] other tactics, other ways of gathering information about the president, that have not yet been revealed,” Solomon predicted. “And when they are revealed, they’ll be very troubling to the American public.”

(photo credit, homepage and article image: Donald Trump, CC BY-SA 2.0, Collage Gage Skidmore)

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