WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 21:  Special counsel Robert Mueller (2nd L) leaves after a closed meeting with members of the Senate Judiciary Committee June 21, 2017 at the Capitol in Washington, DC. The committee meets with Mueller to discuss the firing of former FBI Director James Comey.  (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Alex Wong/Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 21: Special counsel Robert Mueller (2nd L) leaves after a closed meeting with members of the Senate Judiciary Committee June 21, 2017 at the Capitol in Washington, DC. The committee meets with Mueller to discuss the firing of former FBI Director James Comey. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Now playing
01:46
Giuliani: Mueller's team will not indict Trump
WASHINGTON D.C - SEPTEMBER 27: Judge Brett Kavanaugh testifies to the Senate Judiciary Committee during his Supreme Court confirmation hearing in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill September 27, 2018 in Washington, DC. Kavanaugh was called back to testify about claims by Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused him of sexually assaulting her during a party in 1982 when they were high school students in suburban Maryland.  (Photo by Jim Bourg-Pool/Getty Images)
Pool/Getty Images
WASHINGTON D.C - SEPTEMBER 27: Judge Brett Kavanaugh testifies to the Senate Judiciary Committee during his Supreme Court confirmation hearing in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill September 27, 2018 in Washington, DC. Kavanaugh was called back to testify about claims by Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused him of sexually assaulting her during a party in 1982 when they were high school students in suburban Maryland. (Photo by Jim Bourg-Pool/Getty Images)
Now playing
02:34
Was Kavanaugh picked to block Mueller probe?
Raskin & Raskin
Now playing
02:45
Trump lawyers quietly driving talks with Mueller
Rod Rosenstein, deputy attorney general, listens during a Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing for Brett Kavanaugh, U.S. Supreme Court associate justice nominee for U.S. President Donald Trump, not pictured, in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2018. If confirmed, Kavanaugh would fortify the high court's conservative majority, and spotlight the rightward march of the federal judiciary under Trump and the GOP-controlled Senate. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Bloomberg/Bloomberg/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Rod Rosenstein, deputy attorney general, listens during a Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing for Brett Kavanaugh, U.S. Supreme Court associate justice nominee for U.S. President Donald Trump, not pictured, in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2018. If confirmed, Kavanaugh would fortify the high court's conservative majority, and spotlight the rightward march of the federal judiciary under Trump and the GOP-controlled Senate. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Now playing
01:02
The man who oversees Mueller's investigation
Michael Cohen, President Donald Trumps personal lawyer walks down Park Avenue in New York June 15, 2018 after leaving his hotel. - President Donald Trump's personal attorney Michael Cohen has indicated that he is willing to cooperate with federal investigators to alleviate the pressure on himself and his family. (Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP)        (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images
Michael Cohen, President Donald Trumps personal lawyer walks down Park Avenue in New York June 15, 2018 after leaving his hotel. - President Donald Trump's personal attorney Michael Cohen has indicated that he is willing to cooperate with federal investigators to alleviate the pressure on himself and his family. (Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP) (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
Now playing
02:06
ABC: Cohen has done interviews with Mueller
U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein delivers remarks on "Justice Department Views on Corporate Accountability" during the The Annual Conference for Compliance and Risk Professionals at the Mayflower Hotel May 21, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein delivers remarks on "Justice Department Views on Corporate Accountability" during the The Annual Conference for Compliance and Risk Professionals at the Mayflower Hotel May 21, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Now playing
05:41
Rosenstein: 12 Russians charged with hacking
CNN
Now playing
00:48
Trump: I believe Manafort will tell the truth at plea deal
Trump interview with NBC's Lester Holt. May 11 2017
NBC
Trump interview with NBC's Lester Holt. May 11 2017
Now playing
01:12
Sekulow: NBC edited Trump interview on Comey
CNN
Now playing
02:04
Starr: Mueller is getting closer to the truth
NBC
Now playing
01:30
Giuliani: Truth isn't truth
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 15: Don McGahn, general counsel for the Trump transition team, gets into an elevator in the lobby at Trump Tower, November 15, 2016 in New York City. President-elect Donald Trump is in the process of choosing his presidential cabinet as he transitions from a candidate to the president-elect. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Drew Angerer/Getty Images North America/Getty Images
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 15: Don McGahn, general counsel for the Trump transition team, gets into an elevator in the lobby at Trump Tower, November 15, 2016 in New York City. President-elect Donald Trump is in the process of choosing his presidential cabinet as he transitions from a candidate to the president-elect. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Now playing
03:27
Trump attacks NYT report in morning tweet
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 9: Don McGahn, lawyer for Donald Trump and his campaign, leaves the Four Seasons Hotel after a meeting with Trump and Republican donors, June 9, 2016 in New York City.
Drew Angerer/Getty Images
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 9: Don McGahn, lawyer for Donald Trump and his campaign, leaves the Four Seasons Hotel after a meeting with Trump and Republican donors, June 9, 2016 in New York City.
Now playing
02:27
NYT: WH counsel cooperating with Mueller probe
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 21:  Special counsel Robert Mueller (2nd L) leaves after a closed meeting with members of the Senate Judiciary Committee June 21, 2017 at the Capitol in Washington, DC. The committee meets with Mueller to discuss the firing of former FBI Director James Comey.  (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Alex Wong/Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 21: Special counsel Robert Mueller (2nd L) leaves after a closed meeting with members of the Senate Judiciary Committee June 21, 2017 at the Capitol in Washington, DC. The committee meets with Mueller to discuss the firing of former FBI Director James Comey. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Now playing
02:07
The Mueller investigation: Who could be next?
Now playing
02:20
Davis describes facing Mueller grand jury
CNN
Now playing
01:36
Analyst: Giuliani doing great harm to Trump
CNN
Now playing
02:00
Roger Stone: I'll never testify against Trump
(CNN) —  

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team has informed President Donald Trump’s attorneys that they have concluded that they cannot indict a sitting president, according to the President’s lawyer.

“All they get to do is write a report,” Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani told CNN. “They can’t indict. At least they acknowledged that to us after some battling, they acknowledged that to us.”

That conclusion is likely based on longstanding Justice Department guidelines. It is not about any assessment of the evidence Mueller’s team has compiled.

A lack of an indictment would not necessarily mean the President is in the clear. Mueller could issue a report making referrals or recommendations to the House of Representatives.

The inability to indict a sitting president has been the position of the Office of Legal Counsel in the Justice Department since the Nixon administration and reaffirmed in the Clinton administration, but it has never been tested in court.

It had been an open question whether, if investigators found potentially criminal evidence against Trump, Mueller’s team would try to challenge those Justice Department guidelines.

CNN reached out to Mueller’s team. They declined to comment.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein publicly discussed the issue earlier this month at an event held by the Freedom Forum Institute. He was asked if a sitting president can be indicted.

“I’m not going to answer this in the context of any current matters, so you shouldn’t draw any inference about it,” Rosenstein said. “But the Department of Justice has in the past, when the issue arose, has opined that a sitting President cannot be indicted. There’s been a lot of speculation in the media about this, I just don’t have anything more to say about it.” Rosenstein oversees the special counsel probe.

Giuliani tells CNN the special counsel’s team has decided that “they have to follow the Justice Department rules.”

“The Justice Department memos going back to before Nixon say that you cannot indict a sitting president, you have to impeach him. Now there was a little time in which there was some dispute about that, but they acknowledged to us orally that they understand that they can’t violate the Justice Department rules,” Giuliani said.

“We think it’s bigger than that. We think it’s a constitutional rule, but I don’t think you’re ever going to confront that because nobody’s ever going to indict a sitting president. So, what does that leave them with? That leaves them with writing a report,” said Giuliani.

It would then be up to the House of Representatives to decide what to do about with the special counsel’s report – and whether to pursue articles of impeachment.

Giuliani also said that he is using the one-year anniversary of the Mueller probe, which is Thursday, to push the special counsel to disclose how much money is being spent, and to actively begin negotiating with Trump’s legal team over any Trump interview Mueller is seeking.

“Do you really need an interview?” Giuliani said he wants Mueller’s team to answer.

“You’ve got all the facts. You’ve got all the documents. You’ve got all the explanations. We’re happy to tell you they’re not going to change.”

The legal team put the question of indictment directly to Mueller – and they were not surprised by his answer – as part of a strategy to deal with the issue of a subpoena to the President should he decide not to testify, according to a source familiar with the Trump legal team’s thinking.

The reason it’s important, this source said, is that under their view of the law the special counsel’s team would have to show they need the President’s testimony to investigate a crime of great significance. The President’s team would then argue that if you can’t indict the President for a charge like obstruction, then there is “no crime to justify the subpoena.”

Since questions about obstruction involve asking about the President’s state of mind, his legal team would ask why those questions are warranted if he can’t be prosecuted.

The President’s legal team believes that in order to justify an interview, then it has to be his crime and not somebody else’s, this source said.

In addition, the source said the Mueller team would also have to make the case they can’t get the information anywhere else and Trump’s legal team would argue that Mueller’s team has millions of documents and enough information.

Update: This story has been updated with more detail about why Trump’s legal team posed the indictment question to Mueller.

CNN’s Gloria Borger contributed to this report.