Rudy Giuliani, a recent addition to President Trump’s legal team, said Monday that Special Counsel Robert Mueller has refused to allow Trump to answer questions posed by investigators in writing.
Trump’s legal team, which has recently experienced a series of high-profile departures, prefers that Trump answer investigators’ questions in writing to avoid the possibility that he lands himself in addition legal trouble by lying or misleading Mueller’s team.
The New York Times obtained a list of 49 questions Mueller’s team hopes to ask Trump late last month. The questions, which were reportedly recorded by Trump’s lawyers during a meeting with investigators, seem to indicate that investigators are exploring possible obstruction-of-justice charges related to the firing of former FBI director James Comey, while also trying to determine the extent of Trump’s knowledge regarding contacts campaign officials had with Russians.
Giuliani, who has been making regular media appearances since joining Trump’s legal team late last month, told CBS News that he will need another three weeks of preparation before he begins formal negotiations with Mueller regarding the possibility of a Trump interview. He also said that he would like to establish certain conditions before agreeing to such an interview, including the opportunity to rebut any allegations made publicly by the special counsel.
If Trump does submit to an interview, Giuliani said he would wait to prepare the president until after his meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, which is expected to take place in late May or early June.
If negotiations fail and Mueller resorts to a subpoena, Giuliani said his team would challenge it, likely prompting a Supreme Court battle.
White House lawyer Ty Cobb resigned earlier this month amid a disagreement with Trump over whether he should sit for an interview with Mueller. Cobb reportedly insisted that Trump should not expose himself by submitting to an in-person interview and felt he needed to resign when Trump refused to heed his advice.
Emmet Flood, the veteran Washington attorney who gained notoriety for representing Bill Clinton during his impeachment proceedings, was brought in to replace Cobb and lead the legal team as it pursues a more combative strategy for dealing with the special counsel.