By ERIC TUCKER, Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) — Lawyers for President Donald Trump said Wednesday they have responded to the latest interview proposal from special counsel Robert Mueller, part of a months-long negotiation process over whether and how investigators can question the president on possible obstruction of justice in the Russia investigation.
The two sides have gone back and forth over the scope and conditions of an interview as Mueller looks to understand whether the president acted with a criminal intent to stymie the investigation into possible coordination between his campaign and Russia.
Mueller’s team has questions for the president on the firing of FBI Director James Comey last year and his public criticism of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who recused himself from the Russia investigation against the president’s wishes.
Though he’s publicly railed against the Russia investigation, including earlier this week, Trump has said he’s willing to be questioned. His lawyers have been far more hesitant and have challenged the right of investigators to interview Trump about actions they say he is authorized under the Constitution to take, such as firing an FBI director.
Trump’s lawyers did not detail the terms of any counteroffer they may have made and they also did not suggest that they were close to agreeing to an interview, suggesting the possibility of additional negotiations.
“We have responded in writing to the latest proposal from Office of Special Counsel regarding the request to interview the President,” Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow said in a statement. “It is not appropriate, at this time, to comment publicly about the content of that response.”
Rudy Giuliani, another lawyer for the president, said millions of pages of documents have been provided to Mueller along with testimony from dozens of witnesses.
“We’re re-stating what we have been saying for months: it is time for the Office of Special Counsel to conclude its inquiry without further delay.”
It is not clear what would happen if Trump’s lawyers definitively reject Mueller’s interview request. Mueller’s team raised the prospect in March that it could subpoena the president to compel his testimony, though such an action would unquestionably prompt a court fight.
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