President Donald Trump will not unconditionally cooperate with special counsel Robert S. Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and the possible collusion with the Trump campaign, Jay Sekulow said on Sunday. Sekulow, Trump’s lawyer, also asserted that former FBI Director James Comey submitted his prepared testimony that he delivered to the Senate Intelligence Committee in advance for Mueller to review. Comey denied doing this in an exchange during the hearing.
President Trump said on Friday that he would answer Mueller’s questions under oath. Now the president’s lawyer declined to rule out that Trump might at some later date fire Mueller, who is widely praised. “The president is going to seek the advice of his counsel and inside the government as well as outside,’’ Sekulow told ABC’s “This Week,’’ adding, “I’m not going to speculate on what he will or will not do.’’
The position that Sekulow is taking shows just how complex this situation is, due to the parallel congressional and criminal investigations that are taking place. There is also potential conflict in the fact that Mueller and Comey worked together during the George W. Bush administration. Comey was deputy attorney general, and Mueller was FBI director. Comey succeeded Mueller in his position in 2013.
On Friday, the president disputed some things Comey said in the Senate hearing, and emphatically denied that he in any way sought to obstruct the investigation. The contrast sets up a credibility contest between the president and the director of the FBI.
The possibility that there are recordings of exchanges between Trump and Comey may be the “smoking gun” in this investigation. Some are growing impatient with the president’s unwillingness to answer the question regarding the existence of tape recordings. Trump has promised to answer “within a fairly short peried of time,” and he added, “Oh, you’re going to be very disappointed when you hear the answer. Don’t worry.”
Three Democratic senators have called for Trump to acknowledge and divulge any tapes. “If there are tapes — and the president’s equivocal on this — bring those tapes forward,’’ Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who serves on the Intelligence Committee, said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
“He should give a straight yes or no answer to the … question of whether or not the tapes exist,” said Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine). “I don’t understand why the president doesn’t clear the matter up.”
And Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer of New York said on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” “He should make them public right away. If there aren’t tapes, he should let that be known. No more game playing.’’
It remains to be seen just how cooperative the president will be with Mueller. Do you think that Trump will eventually testify under oath?
Credit: LA Times