President Trump’s legal team has been strategizing in recent weeks about a potential interview between Trump and Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
According to NBC News, Trump’s legal team is exploring whether it would be possible to avoid a sit-down interview with Mueller, who is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign.
In lieu of an in-person interview, the Trump lawyers have discussed the possibility of Trump providing a sworn affidavit attesting that he was not involved in collusion during the campaign.
The lawyers have been in preliminary discussions with FBI investigators about a potential meeting, reports NBC.
The legal team is exploring standards for presidential interviews and has sought clarification for the location of the interview, the topics that would be discussed and the length of the session.
According to NBC, the talks began shortly after Mueller indicted Paul Manafort in October. The former Trump campaign chairman was charged with several crimes related to money laundering and making false statements regarding his consulting work for a Ukrainian political party prior to joining the Trump team.
Trump has long denied that he or his campaign colluded with Russians to influence the election. That allegation is made in a dossier of research funded by the Clinton campaign and DNC.
Chuck Rosenberg, a former U.S. attorney who worked for Mueller when he served as FBI director, told NBC that his former boss will likely insist on a face-to-face interview with Trump.
“Prosecutors want to see and hear folks in person,” Rosenberg, who now works as an NBC News analyst, told the network.
“They want to probe and follow up. Body language and tone are important. And they want answers directly from witnesses, not from their lawyers. The odds of prosecutors agreeing to written responses are somewhere between infinitesimally small and zero.”
It is not clear what the Trump team’s preparatory steps suggest about the duration of the Mueller probe. Trump lawyer Ty Cobb suggested last year that the investigation would be wrapped up by the end of the year. He has since revised that prediction, claiming that the inquiry will end early this year. An interview with Trump is likely to be one of the final steps in the Mueller investigation, which began on May 17.