Trump legal team seeking precedent to avoid Mueller interview: report

President TrumpDonald John TrumpMinneapolis erupts for third night, as protests spread, Trump vows retaliation Stocks open mixed ahead of Trump briefing on China The island that can save America 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) MuellerCNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump CNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting The Hill's 12:30 Report: New Hampshire fallout 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.

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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.