US President Donald Trump says he “very easily” answered written questions from special counsel Robert Mueller, though he speculated that the questions had been “tricked up” to try to catch him in a lie. He said he hadn’t submitted his answers to investigators yet.
“You have to always be careful when you answer questions with people that probably have bad intentions,” Trump told reporters Friday in his latest swipe at the probe into 2016 election interference and possible ties between Moscow and the president’s campaign.
The president did not say when he would turn over the answers to Mueller, but his attorney, Rudy Giuliani, indicated it could happen next week.
The special counsel has signaled a willingness to accept written answers on matters related to collusion with Russia. But Giuliani has said repeatedly the president would not answer Mueller’s questions on possible obstruction of justice.
During months of back-and-forth negotiations with the special counsel office, Trump’s lawyers have repeatedly counseled the president against sitting down for an in-person interview.
Trump’s written response, though not yet delivered, signals a new phase in the Mueller probe, the year-and-a-half-long investigation that has produced guilty pleas and convictions from several top Trump aides even as the special counsel and the
White House have engaged in lengthy negotiations about how - or if - the president would testify.
Though he spent hours with his attorneys, Trump insisted: “My lawyers don’t write answers, I write answers.”
The president’s remarks were fresh evidence of his return to the ominous rhythms of the Russia probe after spending heady weeks enjoying adulation-soaked campaign rallies before the midterm elections.