Contrary to reports that President Trump is considering benching his newest attorney, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, following a series of disastrous and revealing interviews last week, Giuliani just confirmed to CBS News during an interview with correspondent Paula Reid that Special Counsel Robert Mueller has rejected the Trump legal team’s request to answer investigators’ questions in a written format.
That contradicts claims (also made by Giuliani last week) that it would be at least a few weeks before Trump’s legal team would have any insight into Mueller’s decision.
Trump’s team had been pushing for Mueller to accept written questions to help the president – whose tendency toward embellishment has been well-documented – avoid a perjury trap.
If Trump does assent to being interviewed, the questioning likely wouldn’t take place until after his historic summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
Giuliani told Reid that he and the president’s legal team continue to be in communication with the special counsel, but that he wants to have a better sense of the facts before engaging in formal negotiations about a possible interview.
Giuliani said Mr. Trump’s team also wants some issues to be off-limits, although he wouldn’t elaborate on which ones, and they want a time limit for the interview.
In addition, Giuliani also told Reid he’d want to know whether the interview would become public, and whether they would have the chance to issue a rebuttal to anything alleged by the special counsel.
If they can come to an agreement on the terms of an interview, Giuliani says he would like to wait until after the North Korea summit to prepare Mr. Trump. He believes that it would take several days to prepare the president for this kind of interview and he would not want to take him away from preparing for talks with North Korea.
If negotiations are not successful and Mr. Trump is subpoenaed, he will fight it, Giuliani said. The case would likely end up at the Supreme Court.
Giuliani, who is apparently Trump’s point man during negotiations with the Mueller team (the two man have a decades-long working relationship), last week said that if Trump does sit for an interview, it would last only a few hours – and certainly wouldn’t resemble the marathon 12-hour long questioning sessions to which some Trump associates (Steve Bannon, for example) have been subjected.
This is just the latest sign that Trump and his legal team are leaning toward rejecting Mueller’s interview request. It’s widely expected that the special counsel will then seek to subpoena the president, which could trigger a constitutional crisis that would need to be resolved by the Supreme Court.