Report: Lawyer Told Trump He'll Face Jail Time if He Testifies Before Mueller


A soon-to-be-released book by Washington Post associate editor Bob Woodward promises to expose some secrets previously hidden within the Trump administration.

As the Post revealed in excerpted portions of “Fear: Trump in the White House,” one particularly telling conversation involving former Trump lawyer John Dowd reveals why the president’s legal team has continued to advise him against testifying before the Justice Department special counsel.

The latest book from Woodward, whose reporting during the Watergate scandal revealed corruption in the Nixon administration, will be released on Sept. 11.

In one passage that purports to recount a conversation between Dowd and Trump, the lawyer advised that agreeing to answer Robert Mueller’s questions could have dire results far outside of the political realm.

“Don’t testify,” Dowd said, according to the book. “It’s either that or an orange jumpsuit.”

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It was the day after this conversation, Woodward wrote, that he resigned as the president’s lawyer.

Building on the threat of possible jail time due to the potential of perjury, the attorney went on to explain in frank terms why he thought Trump’s testimony would fall short.

“You are not a good witness,” Dowd reportedly told the president. “Mr. President, I’m afraid I just can’t help you.”

In another passage of the book, Woodward recalls a reported conversation between Dowd and representatives of the special counsel’s office, namely Mueller and his deputy, James Quarles.

Should Trump testify?

During that exchange, Trump’s lawyer is quoted as sharing his concerns about the public reception of the president’s testimony should transcripts of his answers ever be leaked.

“I’m not going to sit there and let him look like an idiot,” Dowd reportedly said. “And you publish that transcript, because everything leaks in Washington, and the guys overseas are going to say, ‘I told you he was an idiot. I told you he was a godd— dumbbell. What are we dealing with this idiot for?”

Mueller reportedly responded sympathetically, saying, “John, I understand.”

As excerpts from the book reveal, Woodward also examined a number of other areas of purported discord and chaos within the West Wing.

Several accounts involve White House chief of staff John Kelly, who has been said to have threatened to resign multiple times during his tenure.

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Following Trump’s comments convincing economic adviser Gary Cohn to rescind his decision to step down from the post, Woodward wrote that Kelly offered some curt consolation.

“I would have taken that resignation letter and shoved it up his a– six different times,” he reportedly said.

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Chris Agee is an American journalist with more than 15 years of experience in a wide range of newsrooms.
Chris Agee is an American journalist with more than 15 years of experience in a variety of newsroom settings. After covering crime and other beats for newspapers and radio stations across the U.S., he served as managing editor at Western Journalism until 2017. He has also been a regular guest and guest host on several syndicated radio programs. He lives in Phoenix, Arizona, with his wife and son.
Texas Press Association, Best News Writing - 2012
Bachelor of Arts, Journalism - Averett University
Professional Memberships
Online News Association
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Entertainment