President Trump and his legal team are unlikely to agree to an interview with Special Counsel Robert Mueller, Fox News has learned.
A final decision has not yet been made, but multiple sources told Fox News the team will almost certainly reject the request to interview the commander-in-chief – a question that has been hanging over the investigation and the White House for months.
The internal discussions come as the president and Rudy Giuliani, the public face of his legal team, take a newly combative stance toward the Mueller investigation.
“I’m ‘no’ on a sit-down until we get ironed down exactly what they want to do,” Giuliani told Fox News’ “Outnumbered” on Monday, when asked about the status of the interview request.
Giuliani said the president ultimately will decide what to do, but, “Right now, I’m telling him ‘no way.’”
Trump on Sunday also fired off a battery of tweets blasting the “Robert Mueller Rigged Witch Hunt” as an “illegal Scam;” claiming it was started by a “fraudulent Dossier, paid for by Crooked Hillary and the DNC;” asking why Mueller isn’t probing Democrats; and suggesting Mueller is after him because “I turned him down to head the FBI” and fired FBI boss James Comey “is his close friend.”
The criticisms come ahead of the start of the first Mueller probe trial — for former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort on charges unrelated to alleged Russian meddling and potential collusion with Trump campaign officials in 2016.
Earlier this month, it emerged that Trump’s lawyers were setting conditions for a Mueller interview – namely, that they want him to produce evidence that Trump has committed a crime before they agree for the president to be questioned.
The New York Times, which first reported on those demands, reported that Giuliani has acknowledged that Mueller is unlikely to agree to them.
The president’s lawyers also wanted Mueller to explain how the Justice Department gave him the authority to investigate possible obstruction of justice in what was initially a probe into Russian meddling, according to the Times. And they want him to show that the special counsel has exhausted every other investigative measure before requesting an interview with the president.
Giuliani has previously voiced concern that such a special counsel interview with Trump could be a perjury “trap.”
Despite internal momentum growing against the possibility of a sit-down, Trump’s outside legal team is still talking to Mueller about the possibility of – and terms for – an interview.