Palmer Report has been warning for months that the potential for Donald J. Trump voluntarily sitting down for an interview with Special Counsel Robert Mueller was slim at best. No lawyer in his or her right mind would permit the Great Prevaricator of the United States, who lies about prior lies, to face prosecutors who are trained to ferret out inconsistencies and lies from those being examined. It turns out, that prediction has been validated.
Trump’s legal team has sent a letter to Mueller rejecting an interview with Trump “as part of the Russia investigation,” according to a report in The Guardian. The lawyers purportedly responded with a counteroffer that we predict Mueller will reject, one that likely does not permit any questions about obstruction of justice by Trump.
Mueller will now likely face a few options. First, he can continue to negotiate with the Trump legal team to reach agreement on the scope of the interview. That option does not appear to be worth Mueller’s time, because he is not likely to obtain much of value and likely has corroborating evidence from witnesses (including those who pleaded guilty and are cooperating) and from the mountain of documents that he has acquired as part of the investigation.
Second, Mueller could pull a fact pattern from the President Bill Clinton investigation (of which SCOTUS candidate, Brett Kavanaugh, was a major participant) and subpoena the president. The president’s legal team has indicated they will fight such an effort, but if we have justices who truly are loyal to the oath they took to enforce the laws, Trump will lose that battle. We may have ourselves a constitutional crisis in the meantime.
Third, as the Guardian and The New York Times have indicated, Mueller could find that these negotiations are not in good faith and add to what likely is a long list of alleged obstruction and bad behavior. Rudy Giuliani has suggested the question of whether Trump will sit will be resolved by September 1. We predict that there will not be a formal sit down and that, if Trump is subpoenaed, it will happen just post-mid-terms.
Daniel Cotter is a lawyer writing and teaching about SCOTUS, and married father of two boys living in Chicago, Illinois.