Donald Trump says he is willing to be interviewed under oath by special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating possible Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Donald Trump says he is willing to be interviewed under oath by special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating possible Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Manuel Balce Ceneta

Trump wants Mueller interview

DONALD Trump has said he is willing to be interviewed under oath by special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating whether the US President's campaign advisers colluded with the Russian government to influence the 2016 election.

"I'm looking forward to it, actually,” Mr Trump said yesterday at the White House.

"I would do it under oath.”

His declaration ends months of speculation about whether he would submit to questions from Mr Mueller as part of an investigation Mr Trump has repeatedly called a "witch-hunt”.

The investigation also reportedly involves a probe into whether the President obstructed justice when he allegedly asked ex-FBI director James Comey to drop an inquiry into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

Earlier this month, it was reported that Mr Trump's lawyers were discussing ways in which the President could be interviewed.

The President's legal team was said to be discussing a range of options for the format of such an interview, such as written responses to questions in lieu of a formal sit-down, according to NBC News.

Politico reported last year that Mr Trump's cadre of attorneys wanted the President to be interviewed by Mr Mueller, believing that it could help the special counsel finish his investigation faster and dispel the allegations that Mr Trump committed any wrongdoing.

Mr Mueller's investigation also reportedly involves a probe into whether the President obstructed justice when he allegedly asked ex-FBI director James Comey to drop an inquiry into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

Mr Flynn pleaded guilty in December to lying to the FBI about his conversations with the Russian ambassador, becoming the first senior White House official to cut a cooperation deal in Mr Mueller's inquiry.

As the White House has been increasingly cooperating with Mr Mueller's investigative team, there has been mounting anxiety - and disagreement - about how to respond to the prosecutor's demands.

NBC also reported that the President's lawyers are looking for clarification on whether Mr Trump would be interviewed directly by Mr Mueller, as well as the legal standard for when a president can be interviewed, the location of a possible interview, the topics, and how long the discussion could last.

A meeting with Mr Mueller could pose serious risks for Mr Trump, as it would expose him to questions over some of his most controversial actions as president, including his firing of Mr Comey and his possible obstruction of justice.

The White House originally attributed Mr Trump's decision to fire Mr Comey as a result of the former FBI director's handling of an investigation into Hillary Clinton. But in an interview with NBC two days after the firing, Mr Trump tied his actions directly to the FBI's Russia probe. Mr Comey had been leading the investigation for the bureau at the time he was dismissed.

Even if he has nothing to hide, Mr Trump has demonstrated a willingness to bend the truth - a quality that could cause headaches for his legal team.

In June 2017, Mr Trump told reporters he was "100 per cent” willing to testify under oath about alleged Russian ties to his campaign. He has also repeatedly denied allegations of collusion.

- Alexandra Wilts, The Independent



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