Rudy Giuliani, former Mayor of New York City, has reopened negotiations between the White House and special counsel Robert Mueller on a possible interview between Mueller and President Trump. Giuliani and Mueller met face-to-face earlier this week to discuss the matter according to sources.
The meeting took place in Washington D.C.
Giuliani reportedly conveyed to Mueller the President’s reluctance to sit for an in-person interview but didn’t rule out the possibility entirely. Mueller communicated that he would like the opportunity to ask President Trump about actions he took and decisions he made during the transition and the early part of the administration.
He emphasized, as he has in the past, that an in-person interview is essential to understand President Trump’s intent in taking the actions he took. Mueller is seeking this information, reportedly, to wrap up to potential obstruction of Justice portion of the investigation.
“I’m doing it because I hope we can negotiate an end to this for the good of the country and because I have high regard for the president and for Bob Mueller,” Giuliani said last week and when his hiring was announced.
President Trump said in a statement at the time that Giuliani “wants to get this matter quickly resolved.”
Mueller and Giuliani have known each other for decades through their work in federal law enforcement. Giuliani was the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York in the 1980s. The point of the meeting, according to its participants, was for the two men to “feel each other out.”
It was announced early in the year that preparations had begun for the President to be interviewed by Mueller. According to sources, the president’s legal team had been discussing a range of options with FBI investigators.
The president’s legal team had been seeking clarification on the legal standard for when a president can be interviewed. They were 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.
All that reportedly came to an end after President Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen had his offices raided by federal investigators earlier this month. The raids were connected, at least in part, to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation according to Mr. Cohen’s attorney, Stephen Ryan.
Investigators were looking for any and all communications between Cohen and the Trump campaign about suppressing “potential sources of negative publicity” for the President in the waning weeks and months of the 2016 election.
The raids incensed the President. Speaking before a meeting with his national security team shortly after they occurred, the president called the raids a “disgraceful situation” and an “attack on our country in a true sense,” earlier this week.
Giuliani joined Trump’s legal team after the President spent weeks trying to find a replacement for John Dowd, another attorney for the President who resigned in March because he his warnings to the President about sitting for an interview with Mueller were being ignored. More than half a dozen candidates reportedly turned the President down for a job after Dowd resigned.
Mueller’s team has reportedly told the White House they were considering releasing reports on their findings in stages, the first of which would be the one focused on obstruction of justice. In order to complete that report, Mueller said he needs to interview Trump personally to understand his motivation behind the firing of FBI Director James Comey.
Mueller is trying to ascertain whether that decision was an effort by the President to bring the Russia investigation to an end.
Photo by Marc Nozell via Wikimedia Commons