Donald Trump Reportedly Planned To Meet With Mueller’s Team In January, Backed Out When He Saw Their Questions

Donald Trump Reportedly Planned To Meet With Mueller's Team In January, Backed Out When He Saw The Questions
Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

Donald Trump was set to sit down with investigators from Robert Mueller’s team nearly a year ago but reportedly backed out as soon as he saw the list of questions they planned to ask.

Trump had been engaged in a months-long negotiation with investigators from the Russia investigation who sought to ask him questions about alleged collusion between his campaign and Russia. There had been some public back-and-forth led by Trump’s newest lawyer Rudy Giuliani before Trump ultimately submitted written answers to their questions this week.

Now, a new report from the Associated Press claimed that Trump nearly sat down for an in-person interview. The two sides had agreed to a January 27, 2018, meeting at Camp David, but the White House backed out after Mueller’s team gave them the list of questions they planned to ask Trump.

These questions focused on Donald Trump’s decision to fire then-FBI Director James Comey and whether he had any knowledge that National Security Adviser Michael Flynn met with Russians during the campaign and then lied about it to the FBI. They also wanted to know whether Trump had any knowledge of the Trump Tower meeting in which a Kremlin-connected lawyer offered dirt that Russian hackers had allegedly stolen on Hillary Clinton.

The report noted that White House lawyers convinced Trump not to meet with Mueller’s team over fears that he could not help perjuring himself. The meeting ultimately fell apart when White House lawyer John Dowd wrote a letter to Mueller questioning whether he had the authority to question Trump.

A report from earlier this week has shed new light on the fraught relationship between Trump and Comey. The New York Times reported that Trump sought to have the Justice Department prosecute both Comey and Hillary Clinton, though he backed away when White House lawyer Donald McGahn warned that it would be seen as an abuse of his power and could likely lead to Trump being impeached.

Trump has since mused about both Comey and Clinton on Twitter a number of times, often openly questioning why now-ousted Attorney General Jeff Sessions was not following through on investigations of both.

Robert Mueller’s final report on the Russia investigation is expected to be completed as soon as the coming weeks. Though there has not been any indication that Trump could face indictment, his Twitter habits could present him trouble. In a court filing this week, Mueller used tweets from George Papadopoulos against him, which experts said could be a bad sign for the Twitter-happy Trump.