U.S. President Donald Trump said on Wednesday he would be willing to be interviewed under oath by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election.
“I’m looking forward to it, actually,” Trump, speaking to reporters at the White House, said of an interview with Mueller. “I would do it under oath.”
Although Trump has pledged cooperation with Mueller’s probe before, Trump made his assertion as the White House and allies in Congress have stepped up attacks on the investigation’s credibility and Trump himself has hedged on whether he would answer questions.
More recently, Trump’s attorneys have been talking to Mueller’s team about an interview, according to sources with knowledge of the investigation. “I would like to do it as soon as possible,” Trump said.
Trump, however, said that setting a date certain for an interview would be “subject to my lawyers and all of that.” Asked whether he thought Mueller would treat him fairly, Trump replied, “We’re going to find out.”
Sources told Reuters earlier Wednesday that senior U.S. intelligence officers including CIA Director Mike Pompeo have been questioned by the special counsel’s team about whether Trump tried to obstruct justice in the Russia probe.
Such questioning is further indication that Mueller’s criminal investigation into purported Russian interference in the U.S. election and potential collusion by Trump’s campaign includes examining the president’s actions around the probe.
In his remarks to reporters on Wednesday, Trump repeated past statements that there was no collusion between the campaign and Russia and “there’s no obstruction whatsoever.”
In interviews last year with Pompeo, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and National Security Agency Director Admiral Mike Rogers, Mueller’s team focused on whether Trump had asked them to lean on former FBI Director James Comey, the sources said.
Comey said after he was dismissed by Trump in May that the president had fired him to try to undermine the agency’s Russia investigation. His dismissal led to Mueller’s appointment to take over the FBI probe and is central to whether Trump may have committed obstruction of justice.
Mueller also asked the officials if Trump tried to shut down intelligence investigations into Russian election meddling and into contacts between Russian officials connected with President Vladimir Putin’s government and associates of Trump or his campaign, the sources said on condition of anonymity.
Representatives for the CIA declined to comment on whether Pompeo had been interviewed.
U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that Russia interfered in the election campaign using hacking and propaganda to try to tilt the race in Trump’s favor. Russia has denied it. Trump has denied collusion with Russia and calls the probe a witch hunt. After Comey’s accusation in June about the circumstances of his firing, Trump also denied any obstruction of justice.
Former White House strategist and Trump campaign aide Steve Bannon is expected to be questioned by Mueller’s team about Flynn and Comey by the end of the month, NBC and CNN reported.
(Reporting by Roberta Rampton, Warren Strobel, Doina Chiacu and James Oliphant; Editing by Frances Kerry and Grant McCool)
Joy Reid says Trump ‘pulled a full Charlottesville’ by ‘fanning the flames’ of racism and ethno-nationalism
MSNBC anchor Joy Reid blasted President Donald Trump's racism during her opening segment while hosting "The Last Word" on MSNBC on Friday.
"That didn’t last long. Having read the talking points crammed into his hands by nervous Republicans for almost an entire day, Donald Trump pulled a full Charlottesville, praising his supporters who chanted 'Send Her Back' to attack Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) at his North Carolina campaign rally as 'incredible patriots,'" Reid reported.
"Yep, 24-hours-ago, Trump -- per those nervous Republican talking points -- claimed that he disapproved of the racist chant about congresswoman Omar and even tried to stop it," she said. "He got nice headlines that claiming he was disavowing the chant from some of the news media who indulged in the false balance tick of pretending whatever the president said is true and it’s a given fact."
Maddow revolted by child sex trafficking charges against Trump pal George Nader: ‘None of this is normal’
MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow connected the dots between the President Donald Trump's administration and George Nader, who served time for child pornography prior to Trump's 2016 campaign and has subsequently been arrested on child sex trafficking charges.
"In what is an astonishingly scandal-ridden presidency, populated by an astonishingly strange cast of characters, he remains one of the most unsettling figures in all of Trump world. Again, to be clear, to disambiguate here, we are not talking about Jeffrey Epstein, seen here with the president, who is also now in custody awaiting child sex trafficking charges," Maddow explained. "No, this is a whole different guy who you can see in this picture with the president who is now in federal custody awaiting a different set of sex trafficking charges as well as serious child porn charges and not for the first time."
Trump ‘will get worse’ because he does not fear Democrats impeaching him: Chairwoman Maxine Waters
Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) predicted on Friday that President Donald Trump "will get worse" because of the lack of impeachment proceedings.
Waters, who chairs the House Financial Services Committee, was interviewed on MSNBC by Chris Hayes.
"I want to switch gears on the last question here, just to talk about what’s happened over the last several days with the president’s attacks on your colleagues, the chants of 'Send her Back,' which the president sort of very, very tepidly and meekly sort of disavowed yesterday, but then essentially reavowed today when given an opportunity to talk about it, he sort of reembraced his supporters who were chanting that," Hayes noted.