Things are looking up for a potential Trump-Mueller interview.
Rudy Giuliani, the president’s lawyer, told PBS Newshour that Trump’s legal team has been working with special counsel Robert Mueller to narrow the scope of questions, and he said the possibility of a meeting sounds “more hopeful then it did a day or so ago.”
Giuliani said it would be “a little too far to say he’s going to sit down,” but Trump’s attorney indicated there’s definitely an opening in talks. (Mueller’s team did not comment.)
But it does look as if Trump’s team is starting to plan for the possibility of a Mueller interview. According to Politico, the president’s lawyers are planning some prep sessions for Trump. This is also according to Rudy Giuliani, who told Politico they’re going to apply the same strategies his advisers used when preparing Trump for presidential debates:
“You can’t take a president away to Camp David and just prepare him for two or three weeks,” Giuliani said in an interview.
“I think of it as the way we prepared him for debates,” he added. “He never liked to be sitting down for long stretches. We’d do an hour here, two hours there. We’d end up doing 15, 16 hours of preparation, particularly for the first debate. But we’d do it here and there. We have to do it over the course of two or three weeks. Maybe at nights, maybe in the morning.”
Giuliani also said they’d work with Trump “at the White House, then at night and after he finishes playing golf. We’d get to play together.”
Trump favors improvisation over preparation, and he did not enjoy practicing for the presidential debates. Though Trump usually declared himself the winner of the debates regardless, reports suggested that he “found it hard to focus” during his first debate prep and spent time watching videos of Hillary Clinton’s past debate performances.
Trump’s previous lawyers had been concerned that Trump, with his habit of exaggeration and lying, would get himself into trouble during a sit-down with Mueller and his team. But Giuliani seemed unconcerned that Trump would get himself in more legal trouble with Mueller, according to Politico.
Giuliani’s stance on a Trump-Mueller interview seems to have softened now that the threat of criminal charges seem to be off the table — at least according to Giuliani. Giuliani said he got confirmation from Mueller that he agrees with Justice Department guidelines that a sitting president can’t be indicted. “All they get to do is write a report,” Giuliani said on CNN. “They can’t indict. At least they acknowledged that to us after some battling; they acknowledged that to us.”
Giuliani reiterated this to PBS, saying Mueller won’t indict. “He has already told us he wouldn’t do it so he would be breaking his word,” he said.
Mueller and his tight-lipped team have not commented publicly on that. But a report could have serious consequences, depending on what Mueller uncovers in his investigation and during the interview. Though Giuliani told PBS he was confident, should the Democrats take control of the House of Representatives in 2018 and attempt impeachment, that Trump “would fight them. And we would win. Just like Clinton did.”