Mueller explains decision not to subpoena Trump

Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.) on Wednesday pressed former special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerTrump calls for probe of Obama book deal Democrats express private disappointment with Mueller testimony Kellyanne Conway: 'I'd like to know' if Mueller read his own report MORE on why he did not subpoena President TrumpDonald John TrumpO'Rourke: Trump driving global, U.S. economy into recession Manchin: Trump has 'golden opportunity' on gun reforms Objections to Trump's new immigration rule wildly exaggerated MORE for an interview during his investigation into Russian election interference.

The lawmaker during a House Intelligence Committee hearing pressed Mueller on why his team did not pursue the president with a subpoena after Trump declined to sit for an interview voluntarily. 

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Mueller said his team weighed the evidence of Trump’s intent that the team had without the interview against the amount of time it would take to litigate a likely court challenge to a subpoena.

Mueller acknowledged that Trump’s written answers on Russian interference “were certainly not as useful as an interview would be,” but he said that his office ultimately decided against subpoenaing Trump because of the significant delay it would have caused to the investigation.

Maloney, who said Mueller didn’t strike him “as the kind of guy who flinches,” asked whether Mueller believed he had sufficient evidence to prove Trump’s intent without an interview and if that was the reason he didn’t seek a presidential subpoena.

“We had to make a balanced decision in terms of how much evidence we had” and how much time they were willing to spend in court, Mueller answered. 

Mueller said they decided against a subpoena “because of the length of time that it would have taken to resolve the issue.”