Preparations have begun for the president to be interviewed by the special counsel looking into the Russia-hacking affair. According to sources, the president’s legal team has been discussing a range of options with FBI investigators in anticipation of Robert Mueller, head of the investigation, requesting an interview with the president. Discussions have been described as ongoing.
The president’s legal team is seeking clarification on the legal standard for when a president can be interviewed. They are also discussing options for the format of any potential talks, including location, topics, length of the interview, as well as the option of submitting written responses to questions instead of sitting down face-to-face with investigators. Potential compromises are also being discussed that could avoid a presidential interview altogether.
Justice Department veterans are skeptical, however, that special counsel Mueller would forgo a chance to interview the president directly. Chuck Rosenberg, former U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia and chief of staff to FBI Director Comey said, “Prosecutors want to see and hear folks in person…body language and tone are important. The odds of prosecutors agreeing to written responses are somewhere between infinitesimally small and zero.”
The president’s legal team began discussions with FBI investigators shortly after former Trump campaign manager, Paul Manafort, was indicted on money laundering charges in October.