President Donald Trump said Friday he is concerned he could open himself up to perjury if he sits down with special counsel Robert Mueller for questioning, echoing the worries of his personal attorneys.
“Everybody that looked at anybody over there, they get him on some kind of a lie,” Trump said, referring to the special counsel’s office, before referencing his former national security adviser Michael Flynn and former campaign adviser George Papadopoulos, both of whom have pleaded guilty to lying to federal investigators.
“So, I don’t want to be set up with a perjury trap, No. 1. No. 2, there was no obstruction and there was no collusion,” Trump said.
Trump’s comments echoed the message from his personal legal team, which has repeatedly expressed concerns that Trump could perjure himself if he sits down with Mueller. Rudy Giuliani, one of Trump’s attorneys, famously said last month that he believes Trump could face perjury charges even if he tells the truth, saying: “Truth isn’t truth.”
In a free-wheeling session with reporters aboard Air Force One, the President also said that while he would sit down with Mueller “under certain circumstances,” he said he believes sitting down for an interview would be “a big waste of time.”
“I’d do it under certain circumstances,” Trump said. “I think it’s a big waste of time because there is no collusion. It’s such a sad thing for our country to be going through a witch hunt like that.”
Trump’s comments about the possibility of an interview with Mueller’s team comes as the President’s legal team is nearing an agreement with the special counsel’s office to submit written answers to questions about allegations of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Those discussions to finalize an agreement are still ongoing, Giuliani said on Friday. There is no agreement yet about Trump answering any questions about possible obstruction of justice, which Mueller is also investigating and wants to question Trump about.
Trump again on Friday repeatedly said he had “nothing to do” with Russia and said there was no collusion, though Mueller’s investigation is still ongoing.
The President also distanced himself from Papadopoulos, the former foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign who has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI and is set to be sentenced on Friday.
“I don’t know Papadopoulos. I don’t know him,” Trump said. “I saw him sitting in one picture at a table with me. That’s the only thing I know about him. I don’t know him. But they got him, I guess, on a couple of lies, I guess that’s what they’re saying.”