President Donald Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, says the President should not agree to an interview with special counsel Robert Mueller before obtaining more information about a confidential FBI source who spoke with Trump’s campaign aides in 2016 about Russian interference in the election.
“What we intend to do is premise it on, ‘If you want an interview, we need an answer to this,’” Giuliani told the Journal in an interview published Sunday.
Giuliani also said Trump could be “walking into a trap” by agreeing to the interview without an understanding of the confidential source’s role and whether the person compiled “incriminating information” about Trump’s associates.
The comments come after several reports revealed that the FBI dispatched the source to speak with at least two advisers to Trump’s presidential campaign about its possible ties to Russia.
On Saturday, Trump for the first time called on his Justice Department to allow members of Congress to review documents related to the FBI source.
“If the FBI or DOJ was infiltrating a campaign for the benefit of another campaign, that is a really big deal,” Trump tweeted. “Only the release or review of documents that the House Intelligence Committee (also, Senate Judiciary) is asking for can give the conclusive answers. Drain the Swamp!”
US officials have told CNN that the confidential intelligence source was not planted inside the campaign to provide information to investigators despite the President’s suggestion in recent days that an FBI informant was embedded in his campaign.
The officials say that the identity of the source had been closely held at the highest levels of the FBI and intelligence community, and the individual has been a source for the FBI and CIA for years.
Earlier this month, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes threatened to hold Justice Department officials in contempt of Congress if they don’t release documents related to the source that he has subpoenaed.
Officials from the Justice Department, FBI and Office of the Director of National Intelligence have maintained that turning over that information Nunes has requested on the individual would pose a grave risk to the source’s life.
To quell rising tensions, officials briefed Nunes and South Carolina Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy earlier this month in a meeting the lawmakers later called “productive.”
Last week, the Justice Department offered to brief Nunes and Gowdy once again with the understanding that certain questions remained outstanding from the previous briefing. Top officials at the department, the FBI and Office of the Director of National Intelligence were prepared to meet with the two lawmakers Friday and answer questions, but their invitation went unanswered, CNN has reported.
CNN’s Matt Korade, Alessia Grunberger, Clare Foran, Shimon Prokupecz, Jim Sciutto, Laura Jarrett and Manu Raju contributed to this report.