Trump indicates he's leaning against Mueller sit-down

Trump indicates he's leaning against Mueller sit-down
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpAverage tax refunds down double-digits, IRS data shows White House warns Maduro as Venezuela orders partial closure of border with Colombia Trump administration directs 1,000 more troops to Mexican border MORE on Monday indicated he is not inclined to agree to an interview with special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE, saying any statements he makes under oath could be used to bring perjury charges against him. 

Trump told Reuters in an interview that he agreed with the assessment of his personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, that such an encounter with Mueller could be a "perjury trap." 

“Even if I am telling the truth, that makes me a liar,” Trump said. “That’s no good.”


The president, however, did not say if he has made a final decision on whether to submit to questioning from Mueller. 

Trump has repeatedly wavered on whether he would agree to a sit-down with the special counsel, who is investigating alleged ties between the president's campaign and Russia's efforts to interfere in the 2016 election. 

Mueller is seeking an interview with Trump to ask about his mindset during key events during the probe, such as the firing of FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyRosenstein: My time at DOJ is 'coming to an end' Five takeaways from McCabe’s allegations against Trump FBI’s top lawyer believed Hillary Clinton should face charges, but was talked out of it MORE, in order to determine whether the president obstructed justice. 

Trump said last summer he is "100 percent" willing to testify under oath about Comey's firing and other events, a stance he reiterated in January. But he has since changed his answer several times, as his legal team has repeatedly advised him not to sit for an interview. 

The president's latest comments came after The New York Times revealed over the weekend that White House counsel Donald McGahnDonald (Don) F. McGahnManafort pardon would be impeachable, indictable and convictable Both political parties guilty of weaponizing impeachment More questions than answers in too many Trump stories MORE has sat for 30 hours of interviews with Mueller's team, during which he could have provided key information about the Comey firing and Trump's efforts to fire Mueller. 

Trump declined to say if he is willing to take drastic measures to stop the Mueller probe, such as stripping the special counsel of his security clearance. That is a step Trump took last week with former CIA Director John BrennanJohn Owen BrennanOvernight Defense: Trump declares border emergency | .6B in military construction funds to be used for wall | Trump believes Obama would have started war with North Korea | Pentagon delivers aid for Venezuelan migrants Trump: I believe Obama would have gone to war with North Korea Intel agencies' threat assessment matters more than tiff with Trump MORE, a vocal critic of the president. 

The president said he has chosen not to be involved in the Mueller probe, but he believes he is "totally allowed" to be if he so desires. 

"I've decided to stay out. Now, I don't have to stay out, as you know. I can go in and I could ... do whatever, I could run it if I want," he said

Trump has previously urged Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsTrump says he hasn't spoken to Barr about Mueller report Ex-Trump aide: Can’t imagine Mueller not giving House a ‘roadmap’ to impeachment Rosenstein: My time at DOJ is 'coming to an end' MORE to end the investigation, even though the Justice Department chief has recused himself. 

The Russia probe has served as a constant irritant for Trump since Mueller took it over in the spring of 2017. 

The president again cast doubt on whether Moscow interfered in the 2016 race, refusing to fully accept the unanimous conclusion of U.S. intelligence community. 

"I think it’s a disgrace. And they had played right into the Russians — if it was Russia — they played right into the Russians’ hands," he said.

Updated at 7:22 p.m.