Special counsel Robert Mueller will accept written answers from President Donald Trump on questions about whether his campaign colluded with Russia to beat his Democratic opponent, The New York Times reported Tuesday.
The report is based on a letter Mueller and his investigators gave to Trump’s legal team Friday. But the special counsel did not ask for written responses about whether Trump obstructed the inquiry, according to the report, which cites anonymous sources.
Sources said the tone prompted Trump allies to believe that any interview will be more limited in scope than the president’s legal team initially believed. Investigators noted that they were limiting the answers to collusion because they recognize executive privilege complicates the investigation.
“We continue to maintain an ongoing dialogue with the office of the special counsel,” Trump’s lawyer Jay Sekulow told reporters. The president’s lawyers have tried to fight against accepting a formal interview, saying Mueller can use the more than 1 million documents the legal team provided investigators to determine if Trump conspired with Russia.
A spokesman for Mueller declined to comment. (RELATED: REPORT: WH Counsel Is Fully Cooperating With Mueller’s Russian Investigation)
Trump’s first team of criminal lawyers decided to cooperated fully with Mueller, saying their client had nothing to hide. Mueller’s probe would end quickly, they hoped, if they allowed investigators free access to information.
The report comes after a series of articles published in 2017 that suggested Trump angled to fire Mueller in June of that year but did not go through with it after his legal team refused and threatened to quit.
Trump claimed at the time that Mueller had multiple conflicts of interest, according to a January NYT report that relied on four unnamed sources. (RELATED: It’s A Risk, But Trump Should Meet With Mueller)
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