President Donald Trump says he’s “looking forward” to being interviewed by special counsel Robert Mueller. Speaking to reporters Wednesday, Trump says he’d be willing to answer questions under oath. (Jan. 24)
WASHINGTON — President Trump said Wednesday he’s willing to testify in the special counsel’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election — and will do so under oath.
“I’m looking forward to it actually,” Trump told reporters in the West Wing of the White House. “There has been no collusion whatsoever, there has been no obstruction whatsoever.”
Trump said his lawyers are working on the rules regarding his testimony, but added “I would do it under oath, absolutely.”
Asked if Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his office would be fair to him, Trump said: “We’re going to find out.”
Trump said his testimony could take place within two to three weeks.
Earlier this month, Trump declined to commit to an interview with Mueller, claiming his testimony isn’t necessary for the Russia investigation he called a “Democrat hoax.”
“Certainly I’ll see what happens,” he said during a news conference following a bilateral meeting with Norway’s prime minister, Erna Solberg. “But when they have no collusion, and nobody’s found any collusion at any level, it seems unlikely that you’d even have an interview.”
As Mueller investigates Trump for possible obstruction of justice of the Russia probe, the potential interview could be a legal minefield.
The president will likely be pressed to explain his contacts with James Comey, the FBI chief he abruptly fired in May who memorialized the unusual encounters in written memos that have been turned over to Mueller’s team.
Comey has testified to Congress that Trump pressured him to drop the FBI’s investigation into ex-national security adviser Michael Flynn – and Trump acknowledged after Comey’s firing that the dismissal was linked to his handling of the Russia probe.
Trump also is likely to be questioned closely about his dismissal of Flynn for allegedly lying to Vice President Mike Pence about his pre-inaugural contacts with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
Last month, Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with the ambassador and is cooperating with Mueller’s team.
On Wednesday, Trump again criticized the Russia investigation, saying he no knowledge of any meddling during the election and did not need any help to defeat Democratic rival Hillary Clinton. “I was a much better candidate than her,” he said.
In pledging to take an oath during his interview, Trump noted that Clinton did not testify under oath when the FBI interviewed her during the investigation into her use of a private email during her time as secretary of State.
Trump also told reporters that, rather than Russia, they should pay attention to allegations of bias against some FBI officials. He cited news reports of “missing” text messages from FBI officials who had been critical of him.
The president also downplayed reports that he asked then-acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe who he voted for in the 2016 election.
“I don’t remember asking him that question,” Trump said, adding that he doesn’t see what the “big deal” is about such a query.
Yet an official with knowledge of Trump’s meeting with McCabe maintained that the president did inquire about how McCabe had voted in the 2016 election. McCabe responded that he did not vote, according to the official who was not authorized to speak about private conversations.
Trump’s comments come amid a flurry of developments in the Russia inquiry, including confirmation Tuesday that Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Comey have both been interviewed by Mueller.
Earlier Wednesday, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders suggested that the president’s insistence that there was “no collusion” with Russia doesn’t mean that Moscow didn’t interfere with the election.
“Stating the existence of something happening is very different than having helped make it happen, and you can’t conflate the two,” she said. When the president insists there was “no collusion,” she said, “he’s stating for himself and to anything that he would be a part of, or know about, or have sanctioned.”
But she also said the president has been clear that “he and his campaign had nothing to do with” the Russian interference.
Read or Share this story: https://usat.ly/2DJ7Qdm