Donald Trump could be looking at the end of his presidency if he chooses to interview with Special Counsel Robert Mueller, a noted fraud attorney is predicting.
This week, the New York Times published a series of leaked questions that Mueller is reportedly planning to ask Trump with regard to the Russia investigation. Most of them focus on whether the president obstructed justice in his actions around the investigation and his decision last year to fire FBI Director James Comey. It is not clear yet if Trump would be interviewed in person, but Andrew Stoltmann believes that would be a colossal mistake on Trump’s part.
Stoltmann is a Chicago-based securities fraud attorney, and this week published an opinion piece on CNBC‘s website saying that Trump’s presidency could effectively be over if he chooses to interview with Mueller. Stoltmann said that Mueller’s questions represent a “perjury trap” that would be impossible for the fact-challenged president to escape.
“Unfortunately, President Trump has a history of exaggerations, half-truths and outright falsehoods and becomes easily distracted,” Stoltmann wrote. “His tendency toward inflating things-his actions, net worth and intellectual powers, has become a defining characteristic of his career in both politics and business.”
“Even if he isn’t questioned under oath, Trump could still open himself to charges if he lies to Mueller’s team, since lying to the FBI is also a crime.”
Stoltmann believes that Donald Trump has nothing to gain by cooperating with Mueller, and would face a high possibility of impeachment if he does sit down with the special counsel.
There appears to be some public wrangling between Trump’s team and the Mueller investigation. Though Trump has said publicly that he would be willing to sit down with investigators, Stoltmann noted that the president’s team is privately trying to find a way for Trump not to do the interview.
Donald Trump has also attacked the leaking of the questions from the Russia investigation, but some believe that the leak likely originated within Trump’s own team, The Hill noted. Michael Zeldin, a former assistant to Robert Mueller who now works as a legal analyst for CNN, said that the grammatical errors in the leaked questions make it clear that the leak came from someone close to Trump, if not Trump himself. An attorney from Mueller’s team would not have phrased the questions in that way and certainly would not have made grammatical errors, Zeldin estimated, meaning that they were likely transcribed by Trump’s lawyers in conversations with Mueller’s team.
Interesting Axios analysis on Mueller's reported Manafort-Russia question: "The phrasing — outreach *to* Russia rather than outreach *from* — suggests Mueller has reason to believe the Trump campaign requested Russian assistance in the campaign." https://t.co/mzXYX13Tie— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) May 1, 2018
Donald Trump has not said definitively if he will actually sit down with Robert Mueller’s investigators for an interview.