Robert Mueller (AP/Evan Vucci)

Robert Mueller says he will accept written responses from Trump in Russia probe

Former Trump lawyer John Dowd reportedly told president he would likely perjure himself in a Mueller interview


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Shira Tarlo
September 5, 2018 6:45PM (UTC)

Special counsel Robert Mueller has reportedly agreed to accept some written responses from President Donald Trump about whether his campaign worked with Russia in its interference in the 2016 presidential campaign.

The New York Times reports that Mueller sent a letter to Trump's legal team late last week saying he would accept some of the president's answers in writing.

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On the question of whether the president tried to obstruct the inquiry itself, however, Mueller's team acknowledged that issues of executive privilege could muddle their push for an interview with Trump and didn't ask for written responses on that matter, the Times reported.

The two sides are still negotiating about whether Trump will sit down for an interview with the special counsel.

"We continue to maintain an ongoing dialogue with the office of the special counsel," Trump's lawyer Jay Sekulow told the Times.

In recent days, reports have suggested that Trump's legal team is reluctant to let the president to sit down with Mueller out of concern that the president could perjure himself.

In his upcoming book "Fear: Trump in the White House," famed Watergate journalist Bob Woodward reports that former presidential lawyer John Dowd convinced Trump in March he would commit perjury if he sat down for an interview with Mueller.

Rudy Giuliani, who is now Trump's lead attorney dealing with the special counsel investigation, has repeatedly said he believes Mueller is setting up a "perjury trap."

Giuliani last month said that lawyers representing the president are preparing to send a letter to Mueller expressing their "reluctance" to allow questions regarding to obstruction of justice during a possible interview with the president.

"We have a real reluctance about allowing any questions about obstruction," Giuliani told the Washington Post at the time.

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Mueller's decision to accept some written responses has led Trump's lawyers to conclude that any sit-down interview would be more limited in scope than Trump's legal team initially believed, the Times reported.

The news comes as Trump continues to publicly attack Mueller's investigation as a "TOTAL HOAX," and after he tweeted last month that Attorney General Jeff Sessions "should stop this Rigged Witch Hunt right now."

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Shira Tarlo

Contact Shira Tarlo at shira.tarlo@salon.com. Follow @shiratarlo.

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