Special Counsel Robert Mueller is seeking an interview with President Donald Trump about his decisions to dismiss FBI Director James Comey and National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.
The Washington Post reports that Trump’s team has crafted negotiating terms for his interview with Mueller’s investigative team that could be presented to Mueller as soon as next week, according to two sources familiar with the special counsel’s plans.
According to the report, Mueller’s interest in those firings indicates his Russia probe is focusing on possible efforts by Trump to obstruct the investigation:
The president’s legal team hopes to provide Trump’s testimony in a hybrid form — answering some questions in a face-to-face interview and others in a written statement.
Those discussions come amid signs of stepped-up activity by the special counsel. Last week, Attorney General Jeff Sessions was interviewed for several hours by Mueller’s investigators, according to Justice Department officials.
A spokesman for the special counsel’s office, Peter Carr, declined to comment. A White House spokesman referred questions to the president’s legal team. Two attorneys for Trump, Jay Sekulow and John Dowd, declined to comment
Within the past two weeks, the special counsel’s office has indicated to the White House that the two central subjects that investigators wish to discuss with the president are the departures of Flynn and Comey and the events surrounding their firings.
Trump has been unclear on whether he would meet with Mueller, saying Jan. 10, “we’ll see what happens.” He has repeatedly said there was “no collusion” between his campaign and the Kremlin, and he has reportedly told his lawyers he has no worries about being interviewed since he has nothing to hide.
Trump fired Comey in May of 2017, and Comey has testified about previous conversations with Trump where he said the president asked him about laying off investigating Flynn.
Mueller interviewed Comey last year, the New York Times reported, and Comey was asked about the memos he kept about conversations with Trump while he was FBI director.
Trump fired Flynn in February after revelations that he misled Vice President Mike Pence and other administration officials about discussions with Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to the U.S.
Flynn pleaded guilty in December to making false statements to the FBI about his communications with Kislyak. Trump then tweeted he fired Flynn “because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI,” even though the White House had before only cited his lying to Pence as the reason for his ouster.
Mueller is also supposed to be interested in Trump’s prior pressuring of Sessions to quit. Trump reportedly berated Sessions and demanded that he resign for recusing himself from the Russia investigation and the resulting appointment of Mueller.
It was reported that Sessions offered his resignation, but White House advisers convinced Trump that Sessions’ departure would only add to the administration’s troubles.