- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Special counsel Robert Mueller has reportedly agreed to take written answers from President Trump on key questions about Russia collusion.

According to a report Tuesday in The New York Times, Mr. Mueller has shifted his position on whether he wants Mr. Trump to answer questions under oath in a personal interview.

The Times cited “two people briefed on” a letter Mr. Mueller’s office sent to Mr. Trump’s lawyers.

The note, which The Times reported was sent Friday, also didn’t ask for written responses on another aspect of the probe — whether Mr. Trump tried to obstruct the investigation — because of issues related to executive privilege.

“The tone of the letter and the fact that the special counsel did not ask for written responses on obstruction prompted some Trump allies to conclude that if an interview takes place, its scope will be more limited than Mr. Trump’s legal team initially believed,” The Times wrote.

“We continue to maintain an ongoing dialogue with the office of the special counsel,” Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow told the Times.

The note is the latest move in months of back-and-forth about the terms and scope of any interview Mr. Trump might give Mr. Mueller, which raises sticky separation-of-powers questions that also came up 20 years ago in the Ken Starr probe of President Bill Clinton.

According to numerous reports, including the latest Bob Woodward book out this week, Mr. Trump wants to testify to Mr. Mueller, thinking he’ll clear his name in what he regards as a phony probe. But his lawyers have strongly advised him not to, citing the danger of a “perjury” trap and the risk that the brash Mr. Trump might say something false under oath even if there is no underlying crime to lie about.

• Victor Morton can be reached at vmorton@washingtontimes.com.

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