The Washington Post reports that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into obstruction of the Russian election interference probe is firmly targeting the President of the United States for testimony. Eight out of ten Americans polled by CNN want Trump to testify before Mueller, including a majority of Republicans.
News that Mueller wants to question President Trump about his reasoning for firing ex-FBI Director James Comey and ex-NSA, the disgraced General Flynn indicates that the criminal probe has intensified.
Today, two other bombshell details emerged when the sitting Attorney General’s interview – with his criminal defense counsel present – and Comey’s interview were revealed in the New York Times. The Post reports:
Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III is seeking to question President Trump in the coming weeks about his decisions to oust national security adviser Michael Flynn and FBI Director James B. Comey, according to two people familiar with his plans.
Mueller’s interest in the events that led Trump to push out Flynn and Comey indicates that his investigation is intensifying its focus on possible efforts by the president or others to obstruct or blunt the special counsel’s probe.
Mueller has also expressed interest in Trump’s efforts to remove Jeff Sessions as attorney general or pressure him into quitting, according to a person familiar with the probe who said the special counsel was seeking to determine whether there was a “pattern” of behavior by the president.
It is a crime to lie to any federal investigation, and two former Trump campaign staffers, including Flynn, have already pled guilty to that crime.
That’s probably why after Trump promised a voluntary interview to the Special Counsel’s office last summer in a shoot-from-the-hip press conference, he has consistently backed slowly away from that position, because he can’t avoid testifying altogether.
During the Clinton-era, Republicans used the independent counsel as a partisan attack machine, setting numerous precedents ensuring that future presidents would have to appear under oath in criminal probes. (Note: Robert Mueller is a registered Republican.)
Trump’s only alternative to a voluntary interview as an appearance in front of the grand jury, by subpoena – a testimony for which he does not have the right to counsel.
In that case, former independent counsel Kenneth Starr did allow Clinton – himself a Yale-trained lawyer – to have a lawyer present, but it didn’t help President Clinton anyway when ultimately faced impeachment charges for perjury to the grand jury over an extramarital affair.
Unlike Clinton, Donald Trump is undisciplined, prone to wild exaggeration and blanket statements of denial in his pitiful attempts at self-defense when caught in an obvious lie or cornered on the facts.
One of the most prominent examples is a civil court deposition where he’s caught in a blatant lie about his links to Felix Sater, the Russian mobster who helped his campaign, emailing Trump’s lawyer “we will get Trump elected” with Putin’s help and who is at the heart of Mueller’s follow the money investigation.
Now, there’s a very high likelihood that Donald Trump will face the music in Robert Mueller’s Special Counsel investigation for obstruction of justice much sooner than most people predicted.