Vice President Mike Pence said Thursday that it’s time for the ongoing Russia investigation to come to an end, marking the first time he’s publicly discussed the issue, Fox News is reporting.
Speaking to NBC’s Andrea Mitchell, Pence called on FBI Special Counsel Robert Mueller to put an end to the investigation “in the interest of the country.”
“It’s been about a year since this investigation began. Our administration has provided more than a million documents, we’ve fully cooperated in it, and in the interest of the country, I think it’s time to wrap it up.”
Beginning in May 2017, the ongoing Russia investigation has been looking into possible links between Trump administration officials and Russian interference into the 2016 presidential election. As of this writing, Mueller has issued 22 indictments – 19 against individuals and three against Russian organizations, according to an April Fox News report. The investigation has, thus far, also resulted in five guilty pleas, including two from Trump associates Paul Manafort, Michael Flynn, and George Papadopoulos.
As of this writing, neither Trump nor Pence have directly been accused of any wrongdoing in the investigation.
Meanwhile, the investigation appears to be putting Trump in its sights. Already Mueller has submitted a list of questions he would like Trump to answer, according to CBS News. Trump’s lawyers have been conflicted about the best course of action regarding those questions. Trump, for his part, has offered to submit answers to those questions in writing, which Mueller has refused.
— CBS News (@CBSNews) May 7, 2018
With that option now off the table, Trump may yet be called in to answer Mueller’s questions in-person. However, he would like to put a pin in that process until after June 12, when Trump will hold an unprecedented summit with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un, in Singapore.
Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani signaled that he’d much rather have his boss’ attention focused on that summit, rather than a deposition.
“How can we take three, four hours, three, four days out of that schedule? To prepare him for a deposition when he should be preparing to go to North Korea.”
Giuliani has suggested that it would take a solid three weeks of preparation for Trump to get up to speed on the facts of the investigation in order to be able to provide Mueller with informed answers.
Putting aside the Kim summit, Giuliani is also concerned about whether or not Mueller can be “objective,” although Giuliani has indicated that Trump and his legal team are “open” to a sit-down interview.