The Memo: Will Mueller play hardball with Trump?

Source: The Hill | May 20, 2018 | Niall Stanage

Special counsel Robert Mueller wants to interview President Trump — but how far is he willing to go to get the president’s testimony?

Some legal experts believe Mueller might have gathered sufficient evidence for indictments even without a Trump interview. They say Mueller could be reluctant to get bogged down in the months-long legal battle that would ensue were the president to resist a subpoena.

“Originally my thought was, ‘Without question, Mueller will subpoena him given how he has handled this case.’  I’m not so completely sure of that anymore. I think Mueller could say, ‘We’ve tried to accommodate them, we’re moving ahead,’” said Solomon Wisenberg, a Washington attorney who served as independent counsel Kenneth Starr’s deputy during investigations into President Clinton.

Wisenberg still said a subpoena was more likely than not, however. And he noted that negotiations between the Mueller team and Trump’s lawyers could yet reach an agreement on the conditions for an interview. 

Katy Harriger, a Wake Forest professor and the author of several books about special prosecutors and constitutional law, also raised the possibility that Mueller might already have gathered enough ammunition for prosecutions. 

“What we don’t know is what they have. For the people they’ve indicted so far, they clearly didn’t need the president’s testimony,” she said.

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