Trump's Legal Team Gives Robert Mueller a Last-Minute Birthday Gift

Illustration for article titled Trump's Legal Team Gives Robert Mueller a Last-Minute Birthday Gift
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On Tuesday, Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III celebrated his 74th birthday. On Wednesday, he got a late gift from Donald Trump’s legal team—a counter-offer to his request for an interview with the president as he continues his investigation into whether or not members of Trump’s campaign colluded with Russians in the 2016 presidential election.


Mueller has been trying to nail down an interview with the president since January. Trump attorney and former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani told NPR that this latest counter-offer may be the “last, best chance” for Mueller to get testimony from the president.

Giuliani clarified that this isn’t the White House’s final offer, nor are negotiations are off the table, but if Mueller’s team responded positively to the counter-offer, “we’d do it,” he said.

Giuliani told NPR that he thinks the negotiations are nearing their end and could wind up by Sept. 1.

If the two sides are not able to come to an agreement, Mueller does have the option of issuing a subpoena, thereby compelling a sitting president to give testimony.

For his part, Trump has openly said that he is willing to sit down with Mueller; it’s his legal team that has reservations. They want to make sure he is only asked questions on certain topics. They are open to the president answering questions about collusion, but they are less enthusiastic about him answering questions regarding obstruction of justice.

In Mueller’s last offer, he reportedly agreed to decrease the number of questions he would ask the president, but he did not agree to the Trump legal team’s request to avoid asking about obstruction of justice.


The back-and-forth negotiations between both sides could possibly delay Mueller’s investigation, but Giuliani said the Trump legal team will make a decision in the coming weeks as to whether or not the president will sit down with the special counsel for an interview.

News Editor for The Root. I said what I said. Period.



I doubt Trump will be subpoenaed.

Mueller is doing this by the book. And the book in question, namely the Department of Justice US Attorney’s Manual, says don’t subpoena the target of the investigation:

9-11.150 - Subpoenaing Targets of the Investigation

A grand jury may properly subpoena a subject or a target of the investigation and question the target about his or her involvement in the crime under investigation. See United States v. Wong, 431 U.S. 174, 179 n. 8 (1977); United States v. Washington, 431 U.S. 181, 190 n. 6 (1977); United States v. Mandujano, 425 U.S. 564, 573-75 and 584 n. 9 (1976); United States v. Dionisio, 410 U.S. 1, 10 n. 8 (1973). However, in the context of particular cases such a subpoena may carry the appearance of unfairness. Because the potential for misunderstanding is great, before a known “target” (as defined in USAM 9-11.151) is subpoenaed to testify before the grand jury about his or her involvement in the crime under investigation, an effort should be made to secure the target’s voluntary appearance. If a voluntary appearance cannot be obtained, the target should be subpoenaed only after the United States Attorney or the responsible Assistant Attorney General have approved the subpoena. In determining whether to approve a subpoena for a “target,” careful attention will be paid to the following considerations:

  • The importance to the successful conduct of the grand jury’s investigation of the testimony or other information sought;
  • Whether the substance of the testimony or other information sought could be provided by other witnesses; and
  • Whether the questions the prosecutor and the grand jurors intend to ask or the other information sought would be protected by a valid claim of privilege.

[cited in USAM 9-11.153] [updated April 2018]

Why hasn’t Trump been subpoenaed already?

Because no matter what Rosenstein has said (or allegedly said) about Trump not being the target of any investigation, TRUMP IS THE GODDAMN TARGET OF AN INVESTIGATION.

And Rudy Giuliani, a former US Attorney, should know better.