WASHINGTON – Attorneys for President Donald Trump and special counsel Robert Mueller remained at an impasse Wednesday over Trump’s possible testimony, and said they hope to have the matter resolved one way or another by Sept. 1.
In rejecting ground rules proposed by Mueller, Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani repeated his call for Mueller to wrap up his investigation because, he says, the special counsel already has the answers he needs.
“Millions of pages of documents along with testimony from dozens of witnesses have been provided,” Giuliani said in a statement. “We’re re-stating what we have been saying for months: it is time for the Office of Special Counsel to conclude its inquiry without further delay.”
Another Trump attorney, Jay Sekulow, said the legal team responded in writing to Mueller’s latest proposal. “It is not appropriate, at this time, to comment publicly about the content of that response,” he said.
Giuliani has said that Trump wants to talk to Mueller, but his lawyers have advised him to be wary of “perjury traps” that prosecutors may try to set. The president’s legal team wants to limit the scope of the special counsel’s questions.
Appearing Wednesday on Sekulow’s radio show, Giuliani said the question of whether or not Trump testifies should be settled by the start of next month.
“This should be over by Sept. 1st,” Giuliani said. “We have now given him an answer, he obviously he should take a few days to consider it, but we should get this resolved.”
Mueller’s office declined comment.
Giuliani said he believes Mueller is preparing a report on his investigation into Russian efforts to influence the 2016 election in favor of Trump. The special counsel is also investigating whether Trump sought to obstruct justice in the Russia investigation.
Trump has denied collusion or obstruction, and his attorneys say Mueller has documentation exonerating the president.
On Sekulow’s radio show, Giuliani said Mueller “has got all the information he needs,” and a presidential interview “would provide nothing in addition to what he already has so he can write his report.”
There are many ways the investigation could be further delayed.
If the Trump team announces a refusal to testify, Mueller could seek to compel Trump’s testimony with a subpoena. Trump’s attorneys would likely contest a subpoena, setting up a legal battle likely to go all the way to the Supreme Court, delaying matters for months.
Even if Mueller reports this month, it would be some time before Congress acts, if it does at all. House and Senate members have August vacations, and will be well into campaign season in September and October.
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