Trump team expected to respond to Mueller in coming days regarding interview

Leroy Wright
August 7, 2018

"The president can't distinguish between any allegations of conspiracy against his campaign and the broader problem of Russian Federation continuing to interfere in our elections", Schiff said on CBS's "Face the Nation".

While collusion is not a technical legal charge, Mueller could bring conspiracy charges if he finds that any campaign member worked with Russian Federation to break US law.

Donald Trump Jr. stands onstage with his father then-presidential nominee Donald Trump after a debate against Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, in September 2016. Trump's lawyers - who are not in favor of any interview despite the President saying he wants to set the record straight with special counsel - are seeking to limit the interview to collusion topics.

Trump was responding to a Washington Post report this weekend that although he does not think his eldest son intentionally broke the law, he is anxious that Trump Jr. may have unintentionally stumbled into legal jeopardy and is embroiled in Mueller's investigation largely because of his connection to the president.

On Twitter, he wrote: "Fake News reporting, a complete fabrication, that I am concerned about the meeting my wonderful son, Donald, had in Trump Tower". The president tweeted that the Trump Tower meeting was "to get information on an opponent", the clearest indication to date that the initial Trump Jr. statement was not entirely true.

Why does his tweet matter?

However, a tweet Trump sent last week in which he appeared to ask Attorney General Jeff Sessions to stop the Mueller investigation was quickly downplayed by Trump's lawyers as the President's opinion, not an order. Ahead of it, music promoter Rob Goldstone sent an email to Trump Jr. saying, "The Crown prosecutor of Russian Federation met with his father Aras this morning and in their meeting offered to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary (Clinton) and her dealings with Russian Federation and would be very useful to your father".

The Republican president had previously said the meeting was about the adoption of Russian children by Americans.

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Lawyers described the statement as "short but accurate", according to The Post.

The Post had reported that the statement to The Times was dictated by the president, though at the time Trump's lawyers denied his involvement.

Political campaigns routinely pursue opposition research on their opponents, but not with foreign representatives from a country viewed as an adversary.

While "collusion" is not mentioned in US criminal statutes, Mueller is investigating whether anyone associated with Trump coordinated with the Russians, which could result in criminal charges if they entered into a conspiracy to break the law, including through cyberhacking or interfering with the election.

His apparently enthusiastic response to the offer of information about Mrs Clinton could also breach conspiracy laws.

A day later, the paper reported that Trump Jr. was promised damaging information about Clinton at the meeting.

One of the president's personal lawyers said on Sunday that if Trump is subpoenaed by the special counsel, his lawyers will attempt to quash it in court. "There's corroboration. So if you look at the facts as you laid them out, you know, as we discussed the facts, looking at the law and apply the two, it's a credible argument to be made the statute violated and that a foreign power was involved in the elections with the knowledge of the parties involved here".

U.S. media reported previous year that some of the president's advisers feared the extent of the president's intervention could place him and some of his inner circle in legal jeopardy.

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