Donald Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani says that the president will not answer any further questions from FBI special counsel Robert Mueller, and in particular, he won’t answer any questions about obstruction of justice, in an exclusive interview with Axios.
Since the beginning, Trump has been widely critical of the Mueller probe and has even been accused of trying to obstruct it via various staff moves. Similarly, his legal team, of which Giuliani is a part, has also attempted to stall the probe and has publicly questioned such matters as whether or not a sitting president can be subpoenaed or indicted – questions whose answers remain an unanswered legal conundrum.
In what could be seen as a compromise, Mueller instead sent Trump a list of questions, which Trump answered. None of those questions were about obstruction of justice, and had there been any, says Giuliani, Trump wouldn’t have answered them. Nor will he in the future.
“I can’t tell you [Mueller] has given up on obstruction… [Any] question he has on obstruction,… [the] president has given [the answers] in interviews, tweets. Other witnesses have given it to him.”
So What Questions Did Donald Trump Answer Then?
Describing the test as not unlike a law school exam, with several, multi-part essay questions, Giuliani said his client answered questions about two main categories.
First, says Giuliani, Trump answered questions about whether or not Trump knew about the infamous meeting between his son, Donald Jr., and various Russian agents at Trump Tower. Giuliani says that he could see little reason why that meeting would be of interest to the FBI special counsel.
“The meeting turned out to be a big bust…. It’s a very unattractive crime [for a prosecutor] when somebody meets with you and then you don’t do anything.”
Second, Trump was asked about Russian hacks that occurred on July 27, 2016. Giuliani didn’t elaborate.
Giuliani also says that Mueller and his team have been “circumspect” with Trump about the investigation, declining to give him a timeline or any indication of when the investigation will end.
It remains unclear, as of this writing, if Mueller is done questioning Trump, whether directly (as in, via subpoena) or indirectly (via more written questions and answers). However, a subpoena isn’t going to happen, says Giuliani.
“And the law definitely requires that if you’re going to subpoena a president, you have to show that you can’t get the information any place else.”
And even if Mueller did manage to issue a subpoena, Trump’s team would fight it, dragging out the issue for “months,” Giuliani says.