Donald Trump appeared to flip flop yet again on whether or not he’s willing to be interviewed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Just days ago he told reporters that he would do it because he’s innocent, but today he told reporters that such an interview is “unlikely” because he’s innocent. Trump is running out of time, as Mueller reportedly wants the interview to happen within the next few weeks. Now one prominent legal expert says that if the interview doesn’t happen, Mueller is ready to file criminal charges against Trump.
Trump said today that “it seems unlikely they could even have an interview” between him and Mueller. As Palmer Report has explained, his hesitant flip flopping on this matter is a sign that he knows he’s screwed either way. If he grants the interview, he’ll have to either admit to obstruction or get charged with lying about obstruction. If he pleads the fifth to avoid the interview, he’s finished politically. But now it turns out Trump is really screwed if he doesn’t grant the interview.
Norm Eisen, a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, summed it up this way on Twitter today: “Given the state of the obstruction evidence, if POTUS refuses an interview, Mueller WILL file charges.” He went on to add “either criminally or more likely with Congress.” But considering how thoroughly the Republican majority in Congress has thrown its weight behind protecting Trump from prosecution over the past few weeks, it’s difficult to imagine that they would allow impeachment hearings to begin, no matter how damning the charges are against Trump. Mueller has clearly been going for the kill from the start. We believe it’s more likely that he’ll file criminal charges against Trump.
Many among the public are under the mistaken impression that Robert Mueller can’t file criminal charges against a sitting president. However, there is no solid legal precedent to substantiate this. Richard Nixon was listed as an unindicted co-conspirator, a route Mueller could go here. But he could also get Trump indicted, and seek to put him on trial in a court of law; the Supreme Court would have to rule on whether he has this power. But one way or the other, some kind of charges against Trump are coming if he doesn’t give Mueller an interview.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report