President Donald Trump said Thursday that he “would like” to testify before special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating alleged Russian collusion in the 2016 election.
Trump’s statement came hours after John Dowd, his lead personal attorney handling the Russian investigation, resigned, according to The Hill.
At the White House on Thursday, Trump signed new tariffs on billions of dollars worth of Chinese imports. As he was walking out of the room, a reporter asked, “Would you still like to testify before special counsel Robert Mueller?”
The president’s response was short, but very clear.
“Yes, I would like to. I would like to,” he said.
It’s not the first time Trump has expressed a willingness to testify before Mueller.
“I’m looking forward to it,” he said in January when asked about being interviewed by Mueller. “Here is the story: There has been no collusion whatsoever. There is no obstruction whatsoever. And I am looking forward to it.”
“I would do it under oath,” Trump added.
The president’s reasoning is that he should be able to tell Mueller directly that his 2016 campaign did not collude with Russia. But Trump’s lawyers — especially Dowd — have advised against this, noting that any misleading statements Trump makes under oath could have harsh consequences.
According to CNN, Trump’s lawyers and Mueller’s team are currently negotiating what topics might be brought up if the president does indeed agree to an speak with the special counsel.
Mueller and his team are reportedly interested in Trump’s involvement in creating a statement that responded to a report claiming Donald Trump Jr. met with Russian operatives in June 2016. They also want to know more about Trump’s actions regarding the firings of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and former FBI Director James Comey.
In recent days, Trump has appeared to take a tougher stance on the Russia probe. In addition to hiring lawyer Joseph diGenova — who has said that the investigation is nothing more than an FBI plot to frame the president — to his legal team, Trump called out Mueller by name on Twitter.
“The Mueller probe should never have been started in that there was no collusion and there was no crime,” the president tweeted over the weekend, before calling the investigation a “witch hunt.”
The Mueller probe should never have been started in that there was no collusion and there was no crime. It was based on fraudulent activities and a Fake Dossier paid for by Crooked Hillary and the DNC, and improperly used in FISA COURT for surveillance of my campaign. WITCH HUNT!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 18, 2018
“It was based on fraudulent activities and a Fake Dossier paid for by Crooked Hillary and the DNC, and improperly used in FISA COURT for surveillance of my campaign. WITCH HUNT!” Trump added.
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