Special counsel Robert Mueller is not playing any game with President Donald Trump as he has issued warning that he had the power to issue a subpoena if the White House refused a request for a sit-down interview with Trump, The Washington Post reported Tuesday.
In the month of March, Mueller was with Trump’s attorneys to negotiate the terms of an interview as part of the inquiry into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
“This isn’t some game,” John Dowd, Trump’s former lead attorney, replied. “You are screwing with the work of the president of the United States.”
Dowd later confirmed the encounter and his comments to Reuters.
The special counsel’s office has been negotiating the terms of any sit-down with Trump and his legal team amid the president’s own public assertions that he was “looking forward” to the interview. Dowd was among those urging Trump to reject the request, apparently over concerns that Trump has a tendency to go off-script, which could lead him to make false statements.
The New York Times on Monday published a list of questions Mueller hopes to ask Trump, a list that was compiled by Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow as part of those negotiations. Many of the open-ended queries focus on potential efforts to obstruct justice through the firings of FBI Director James Comey or attempts to fire the special counsel himself.
Dowd, upon hearing of Mueller’s line of inquiry, was further convinced that Trump should refuse an interview, the Times reported. He resigned from his role in March after the president appeared poised to reject his advice.