Wow—in a truly incredible turn of events, it appears that President Donald Trump’s legal team has advised him not to sit down for “a wide-ranging interview” with special counsel Robert Mueller, the New York Times reported Monday evening.
Trump very publicly declared just over a week ago that he would be happy to speak with Mueller under oath and is “looking forward to it, actually,” before tempering his response by adding that the decision to do so would be “subject to [his] lawyers.”
Those lawyers, believing as they do that Trump is an inconsistent person “who has a history of making false statements and contradicting himself,” are concerned that the president could be “charged with lying to investigators,” also per the Times (emphasis mine):
But John Dowd, the longtime Washington defense lawyer hired last summer to represent Mr. Trump in the investigation, wants to rebuff an interview request, as do Mr. Dowd’s deputy, Jay Sekulow, and many West Wing advisers, according to the four people. The lawyers and aides believe the special counsel might be unwilling to subpoena the president and set off a showdown with the White House that Mr. Mueller could lose in court.
They are convinced that Mr. Mueller lacks the legal standing to question Mr. Trump about some of the matters he is investigating [and have] argued that on other matters—like the allegations that the president asked the former F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, to end the investigation into the former national security adviser Michael T. Flynn—the president acted within his constitutional authority and cannot be questioned about acts that were legal.
Others urging Trump to stay quiet are former Governor of New Jersey Chris Christie and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who told Fox & Friends last month that the “idea of putting Trump in a room with five or six hardened, very clever lawyers [...] would be a very, very bad idea.”