Special counsel Robert Mueller has reportedly told President Trump’s attorneys that he is not a criminal target of his probe, but he still wants to interview him to wrap up his investigation into possible obstruction of justice.
Citing “three people familiar with the discussions,” The Washington Post reported Tuesday evening that Mr. Mueller told the president’s attorneys that his actions are a “subject” of the investigation. But the special counsel told them he does not think there is enough evidence to bring charges.
The statements were made during an early March discussion on whether Mr. Trump will agree to an interview, The Post reported.
In those negotiations, Mr. Mueller reiterated that he wanted to speak with the president on obstruction of justice issues “to understand whether he had any corrupt intent to thwart the Russia investigation and to complete this portion of his probe,” The Post wrote.
Those mixed signals — saying both that Mr. Trump is not a target and trying to coax him into an interview — produced a split within the Trump legal team, The Post reported.
Some within the president’s circle interpreted it as vindication and meant the risks to an interview were low, while others cautioned Mr. Trump about the risk of a “perjury trap” that can make non-targets of an investigation into targets.
Mr. Trump, a man not short of self-confidence, is reportedly eager to give Mr. Mueller an interview.
In March, John Dowd resigned his post as Mr. Trump’s lead attorney on the Mueller investigation, reportedly because the president wasn’t taking his advice to refuse flatly Mr. Mueller’s interview request.