Special Counsel Robert Mueller is preparing to complete his investigation into alleged collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign without interviewing the president, according to reports.
The two sides have been negotiating for months to set up a sit down, but those talks collapsed after the FBI this week raided the home and office of President Trump’s personal lawyer, according to NBC News.
On Monday Trump’s lawyers were discussing a possible interview with Mueller’s team and had begun to hash out the final sticking points, including the timing, scope and length, according to people familiar with the discussions. One person familiar with the strategy said the president’s lawyers had sought over the weekend to expand his legal team to include individuals who would prepare him for an interview. Another person familiar with the matter, however, said preparations had not yet gone that far.
But the prospects for a presidential interview drastically dimmed once the FBI raided the home, office and hotel room of Trump’s long-time personal lawyer, Michael Cohen on Monday, these people said. The president criticized the raid as out of bounds in Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and possible collusion with Trump aides.
President Trump on Monday ripped the FBI’s raid of his personal lawyer’s office, calling it a “disgrace” and an attack on the United States.
“So I just heard they broke into the office of one of my personal attorneys. It’s a disgraceful situation. It’s a total witch hunt. I’ve been saying it for a long time. I’ve wanted to keep it down. I’ve given over a million pages in documents to the special counsel. They continue to just go forward,” Trump said. “It’s an attack on on our country … what we all stand for.”
“When I saw this, when I heard about it, that is a whole new level of unfairness.”
Meanwhile, White House Counsel Ty Cobb told NBC it is “untrue” that talks between the two teams have broken down.
Mueller’s report is expected to be released as early as next month.