Politics Trump Legal Team Navigates Minefield Ahead of Possible Mueller Interview

02:12  10 january  2018
02:12  10 january  2018 Source:   OBSERVER

Trump allies urge him not to talk to Mueller

  Trump allies urge him not to talk to Mueller Close advisers and friends of President Donald Trump are warning him not to sit for an interview with special counsel Robert Mueller.The President has told friends he's willing to talk with Mueller -- the man Trump views as leading a "witch hunt" against him -- to make the case there was no wrongdoing, sources told CNN. White House special counsel Ty Cobb says the White House is cooperating with Mueller's investigation into potential collusion between the Trump team and the Russians in the 2016 election.

FBI Director Robert Mueller . Alex Wong/Getty Images. A meeting between President Donald Trump and Special Counsel Robert Mueller may finally arrive. A source familiar with the Russia investigation told NBC News that Trump ’s legal team met with representatives from the special counsel’s office

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A meeting between President Donald Trump and Special Counsel Robert Mueller may finally arrive. A source familiar with the Russia investigation told NBC News that Trump’s legal team met with representatives from the special counsel’s office in late-December and is preparing for a possible sit down, or written responses to questions, within the next few weeks.

But as Mueller’s office looks toward gaining further insight into Trump’s firing of former FBI Director James Comey, along with the business ties of former national security advisor Mike Flynn, the president’s legal team is navigating a minefield.

Trump lawyers talked with special counsel team, source says

  Trump lawyers talked with special counsel team, source says President Donald Trump's legal team held talks with the members of special counsel Robert Mueller's team a few days before Christmas, a source briefed on the matter told CNN. In the discussion, Trump's lawyers were hoping to get a better sense of the next steps in the Mueller inquiry and how much longer the cloud of this investigation will hang over the President. The precise details of what was discussed couldn't be learned. But the President's lawyers haven't dampened their optimism that Mueller's Russia investigation will come to an end soon, and that there's no danger to the President.

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“Trump’s lawyers don’t have access to the information that Mueller has,” Kimberly Wehle, a former assistant U.S. Attorney and associate independent counsel in the Whitewater investigation, told Observer. “Trump’s team has to wonder how much their own client has told them. They can’t send their client in there to incriminate himself, but they also don’t know if they have the whole story to be able to protect him.”

Communication with Mueller’s office gives Trump two options: Negotiate a plea deal or provide a grand jury testimony. The former implies an admission of guilt, while the latter opens the president up to commit perjury. If the president does not agree to either of these routes, he can be subpoenaed to testify before a grand jury.

Trump declines to say whether he would sit for interview with Mueller’s team

  Trump declines to say whether he would sit for interview with Mueller’s team ‘We’ll see what happens,’ Trump said when asked directly about meeting with the special counsel."We'll see what happens," Trump said when asked directly whether he would sit for an interview with the special counsel.

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“My sense from his prior deposition testimony is that he’d be very careful [during a grand jury testimony],” explained Wehle. “From my experience in Ken Starr’s investigation, I read every obstruction of justice and perjury case every published… One thing a lot of lawyers will do in prepping a witness for grand jury testimony is, if there’s any question to whether their recollection is clear, they can always say, ‘I don’t recall.'”

Although Trump’s lawyers have welcomed granting the special counsel an interview with the president—claiming it will expedite the Russia investigation— the stakes are high.

During Ken Starr’s investigation into the Monica Lewinsky scandal, then-President Bill Clinton was impeached on a perjury charge over fraudulent statements he provided a grand jury over his relations with a White House intern.

A periodic theme of Mueller’s investigation has involved entrapping former members of the Trump campaign on charges unrelated to collusion with Russia. Both Flynn and former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort were charged over foreign lobbying efforts.

3 more months of the Mueller investigation? Papadopoulos filing signals it's likely

  3 more months of the Mueller investigation? Papadopoulos filing signals it's likely Robert Mueller's team of special prosecutors and the lawyers for George Papadopoulos delayed on Wednesday an upcoming check-in for the former Trump campaign staffer's case, an indication that the Mueller investigation will stay active until at least springtime and that Papadopoulos may continue to be useful to the prosecutors. Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to lying to investigators in October, agreed to cooperate with Mueller's team and awaits receiving his sentence. Yet neither side has even suggested putting a date for Papadopoulos' sentencing on the calendar.

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“The Manafort indictment is a classic case of [Mueller] looking to climb the ladder. In Dershowitz’s words, he’s getting Manafort not only to sing, but to compose,” criminal defense attorney Harvey A. Silverglate told Observer.

Last fall, Silverglate published a piece describing how the special counsel sought to entrap him while serving as the acting U.S. Attorney in Boston.

A special prosecutor “is almost certain to stumble across multiple actions that might be deemed criminal under the sprawling and incredibly vague federal criminal code,” wrote the attorney.

In a meeting with Mueller, Trump will likely be exposed to questions about his entire business enterprise, risking indictment and impeachment on any number of counts.

Trump personally made decision to limit Bannon testimony: report .
President Trump reportedly ordered that former White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon limit his testimony before the House Intelligence Committee. Trump's decision came after receiving advice from Uttam Dhillon, a deputy White House counsel, Foreign Policy reports.

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