Trump legal team seeking precedent to avoid Mueller interview: report

President TrumpDonald John TrumpMnuchin knocks Greta Thunberg's activism: Study economics and then 'come back' to us The Hill's Morning Report - House prosecutes Trump as 'lawless,' 'corrupt' What to watch for on Day 3 of Senate impeachment trial MORE’s legal team has been looking into a 20-year-old federal court order that could be used to limit or avoid an interview between Trump and special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerSchiff: Trump acquittal in Senate trial would not signal a 'failure' Jeffries blasts Trump for attack on Thunberg at impeachment hearing Live coverage: House Judiciary to vote on impeachment after surprise delay MORE, according to a new report.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Trump’s lawyers are researching a 1997 case in which a federal appeals court ruled that sitting presidents and their top advisers are protected against disclosing certain information about decision-making and official government actions.

In the case, the appeals court ruled that prosecutors who hope to override claims of executive privilege are required to show the court that they hope to obtain “important evidence” that is otherwise unobtainable.


Legal scholars told the Journal that Trump’s lawyer’s could use the case to make a potential interview with Mueller more favorable for Trump and prevent a long court fight over the process.

“This is really the only argument they can make outside of the Fifth,” Todd Presnell, an attorney who has studied presidential privilege, told the Journal. “The Fifth Amendment would be a public-relations nightmare.”

The New York Times reported Thursday that Trump attempted to fire Mueller last June, but backed off after White House counsel Don McGahn refused Trump’s order and threatened to quit.

The Times's report came one day after Trump said he would be willing to interview with Mueller. 

Trump told reporters at the White House on Wednesday that he is "looking forward" to the opportunity to sit down with Mueller, but cautioned it would happen “subject to my lawyers.”

Trump also pushed back at critics who have accused him of obstructing the Russia probe by attacking the investigations and referring to them as a “witch hunt.”

“You fight back, oh, it’s obstruction,” Trump mockingly told reporters.