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Exclusive: Trump worries that Mueller interview could be a 'perjury trap'


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Exclusive: Trump worries that Mueller interview could be a 'perjury trap'

By Steve Holland, Jeff Mason and James Oliphant

 

2018-08-20T221657Z_1_LYNXNPEE7J1KO_RTROPTP_4_USA-TRUMP.JPG

U.S. President Donald Trump answers a question during an interview with Reuters in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, U.S. August 20, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis

 

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump said on Monday he was worried that any statements under oath he provides to Special Counsel Robert Mueller could be used to bring perjury charges against him as part of the probe into Russia's electoral interference.

 

In an interview with Reuters, Trump echoed the concerns of his top lawyer in the probe, Rudy Giuliani, who has warned that any sit-down with Mueller could be a “perjury trap.”

 

The president expressed fears that investigators could compare his statements with that of others who have testified in the probe, such as former FBI Director James Comey, and that any discrepancies could be used against him.

 

"So if I say something and he (Comey) says something, and it's my word against his, and he's best friends with Mueller, so Mueller might say: 'Well, I believe Comey,' and even if I'm telling the truth, that makes me a liar. That's no good."

 

Despite his concerns, Trump did not comment on whether he would ultimately agree to an interview with Mueller, who is, among other things, investigating whether Trump's campaign team colluded with Russians during the 2016 election and whether Trump has obstructed justice in the probe.

 

Trump also declined to say whether he might strip Mueller of his security clearance, as he did last week to former CIA Director John Brennan, who had repeatedly criticized Trump's handling of foreign policy and national security issues.

 

“I haven’t given it a lot of thought,” he said.

 

Russia has denied interfering in the 2016 U.S. election and Trump has denied any collusion took place.

 

As he has done almost daily on Twitter, Trump railed against the probe in the Oval Office interview with Reuters, repeatedly calling it a disgrace and arguing that Mueller and other members of his team were biased.

 

Trump asserted that he retained the power to intervene in the probe, but that he had chosen not to do so for the moment.

His administration, Trump said, was “a smooth-running machine, except in that world. And I’ve decided to stay out. Now I don’t have to stay out.

 

“I can go in, and I could do whatever — I could run it if I want. But I decided to stay out,” he said. “I’m totally allowed to be involved if I wanted to be. So far, I haven’t chosen to be involved. I’ll stay out.”

 

Trump has been critical of Attorney General Jeff Sessions for recusing himself from the probe, leaving oversight to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

 

In the interview, Trump blamed the investigation for hampering his efforts to strengthen the country’s relationship with Russia and for sowing discord among the American public.

 

He again neglected to blame Russia for interfering in the 2016 election, a conclusion reached by the U.S. intelligence community.

The probe, he said, “played right into the Russians - if it was Russia - they played right into the Russians’ hands.”

 

(Reporting by James Oliphant, Steve Holland and Jeff Mason; Editing by Peter Cooney)

 
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-- © Copyright Reuters 2018-08-21
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3 minutes ago, webfact said:

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Monday he was worried that any statements under oath he provides to Special Counsel Robert Mueller could be used to bring perjury charges against him

Little, Trumphy! So, my guess is that it can not be any pugery charges if you not feel the need to committ purgery to save the little piece that is left of your sorry arse. 

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28 minutes ago, DoctorG said:

Even the totally innocent should never participate in a police interview.

Sheer luck, that no innocent has been given the chance to participate then.

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2 hours ago, webfact said:

Trump said on Monday he was worried that any statements under oath he provides to Special Counsel Robert Mueller could be used to bring perjury charges against him as part of the probe into Russia's electoral interference.

Not if you tell the truth. 

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10 minutes ago, Chomper Higgot said:

Unless under order of subpoena.

That´s right! On the other hand, when that happens it can no longer be considered as a perjury. In that case we are talking the truth, right?

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3 minutes ago, Bluespunk said:

No worries if you tell the truth. 

I guess he have to say like good old Jack Nicholson against Tom Cruise in A Few Good Men - You want the truth?`You can´t handle the truth!

 

 

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He has said many, many, many times that he wants to sit for an interview. (That's probably a lie.) He could take the fifth, lie or tell the truth. He can't be indicted, at least until he leaves office.

 

Maybe he could be impeached, but the numbers aren't there for a conviction.

 

There's no up-side for him to testify to Mueller, so just make it look like he wants to - so he doesn't look too guilty.

 

 

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No "could" about it. IMO Mueller has found no evidence of Russian collusion with DT and wants to do an "Al Capone" ie can't get someone on the actual charge, so get them on something else.

DT should agree to an interview on the same rules as HRC had when she was interviewed by the FBI.

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2 minutes ago, thaibeachlovers said:

No "could" about it. IMO Mueller has found no evidence of Russian collusion with DT and wants to do an "Al Capone" ie can't get someone on the actual charge, so get them on something else.

DT should agree to an interview on the same rules as HRC had when she was interviewed by the FBI.

 

I'm not sure we know what Mueller has "found"? His task is to investigate what Russia might have done to influence the 2016 election. trump probably didn't participate in the original crime(s), it's looking like he might have attempted to obstruct the investigation if only to protect his family/friends.

 

Comparing trump to Al Capone seems like a poor choice?

 

Yes, put trump through a Secretary Clinton's 11-hour-like Benghazi hearing.

 

 

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3 minutes ago, mtls2005 said:

 

I'm not sure we know what Mueller has "found"? His task is to investigate what Russia might have done to influence the 2016 election. trump probably didn't participate in the original crime(s), it's looking like he might have attempted to obstruct the investigation if only to protect his family/friends.

 

Comparing trump to Al Capone seems like a poor choice?

 

Yes, put trump through a Secretary Clinton's 11-hour-like Benghazi hearing.

 

 

Confused? I wasn't comparing DT to Capone, and I wasn't talking about congressional hearings re HRC. Try reading it more carefully.

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What a dreadful embarrassment for the USA this orange buffoon is!

I can't see the reputation of the US Presidency recovering from this idiot's antics any time soon.

He is more slow witted than GW, more vain than Bill Clinton and tell more lies than anyone, ever.  Apparently he's averaging 7.6 lies (public ones) a day in the Oval Office.

Silly little man-child.

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Both Mueller and Rudy, as trial lawyers or having been one, should know the old adage for trial lawyers that you do not ask a question under oath unless you already know the answer.  If Mueller wants to ask Trump, who can't keep his lies consistent with each other anyway, then Mueller knows that he'll get some useful testimony from the former real estate conman. 

 

Rudy must know this and just wants to muddy the waters by calling "perjury trap" as an excuse for Trump.

 

If you are curious for a real definition of "perjury trap," instead of the one a viewer may assume from a Rudy answer on the television, here's a helpful quote with its link (from the US Dept.of Justice) below for further details:

 

"The defense requires that the defendant show the false answer was illegally procured by the government. Thus, when the grand jury is attempting to obtain useful information in furtherance of its investigation, the perjury trap doctrine does not apply."  [Bold added.]

 

https://www.justice.gov/usam/criminal-resource-manual-1756-perjury-cases-special-problems-and-defenses-perjury-trap

 

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8 minutes ago, helpisgood said:

then Mueller knows that he'll get some useful testimony from the former real estate conman. 

 

Obstruction of Justice seems like the single, most likely "charge" for trump - he probably didn't conspire directly with Russians like others in his campaign/orbit - so Mueller would probably like to get to his "intent".

 

That said, trump's public pronouncements, tweets, statements, activities are already well known, along with the testimony of a dozen or so others on the inside (McGahn, Priebus, et al.) means this is a slam-dunk without his testimony.

 

"...this Russher thing..."

 

 

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Old Donald is in full meltdown mode at the moment Donald can’t tell the truth to save his life he is terrified of the silent truthful ex marine slowly closing in on him and his lies you are in deep do do Donald very deep

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26 minutes ago, saminoz said:

What a dreadful embarrassment for the USA this orange buffoon is!

I can't see the reputation of the US Presidency recovering from this idiot's antics any time soon.

He is more slow witted than GW, more vain than Bill Clinton and tell more lies than anyone, ever.  Apparently he's averaging 7.6 lies (public ones) a day in the Oval Office.

Silly little man-child.

and that is related to Mueller's interview because .........................

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3 hours ago, DoctorG said:

Even the totally innocent should never participate in a police interview.

 

 

it's not about trump but about everyone / anyone

 

 

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26 minutes ago, atyclb said:

it's not about trump but about everyone / anyone

 

That seems like a broad recommendation that may not even be applicable?

 

Obviously, dozens of trump hangers-on have freely testified to Mueller's investigators, or in front of a grand jury (subpoena).

 

Depending on the situation, and as a result of decent legal advice, one may choose to talk to the authorities.

 

trump can fight a subpoena, might make him look guilty, even if SCOTUS sides with him. He could take 5th, again making himself look bad.

 

I'm pretty sure everyone, from trump family member/loyalist to trump detractor recognizes that testifying can only harm trump. Seems like a "brainer" for him to avoid this at all costs?

 

 

 

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He's a pathological liar; of course he shouldn't testify.  If the right person rolls over and provides the right information about something he did he'll burn, otherwise there's no point in making it easier for the investigation.

 

His real problem is that there's a short list of things he's probably done that really are illegal, collusion just being the one that's getting press.  He's probably committed campaign finance violations too, and conflict of interest violations related to promoting his own businesses while in office, using the office role for that purpose.  He's as dirty as he could be.

 

The part of all this that really gets to me, well beyond the President being a sociopath, racist, liar, criminal, idiot, traitor, and all around scum-bag, is that it's working to retain 40% of the people in the US as backers in spite of all that.  Unfortunately in one sense America got the President they deserve.

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One thing that tends to get lost in discussion of what Trump did or didn't do is what collusion related law he may have broken (did break; the real issue is if he gets convicted).  That follows:

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/06/us/politics/donald-trump-jr-russia-investigation.html

 

Was the law broken?


A provision of the Federal Election Campaign Act, Section 30121 of Title 52, broadly outlaws donations or other contributions of a “thing of value” by any foreigner in connection with an American election — or even an express or implied promise to take such action, directly or indirectly.

Depending on how a grand jury interprets the facts the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, has gathered about the two Trump Tower meetings, it could find that the foreigners violated that law — and that Donald Trump Jr. conspired in that offense.

 

Another provision of the same statute makes it illegal for an American to solicit a foreigner for such illicit campaign help — again, even indirectly. If a grand jury were to interpret the evidence about Donald Trump Jr.’s words and actions as a solicitation, he could also be vulnerable to direct charges under that law, experts said.

Notably, the statute can be violated even if the promised or requested help is never provided...

 

What about making a false statement?
It is a felony to lie to Congress. In his September 2017 interview before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Donald Trump Jr. was asked whether any other foreign governments or nationals offered assistance to the Trump campaign, or whether he had directly or indirectly sought such foreign assistance for the campaign. He said he had not.

In May, after The Times reported about the meeting with the emissary for the Arab princes and the Israeli social media manipulation specialist, Senator Chris Coons, Democrat of Delaware, raised concerns that Mr. Trump may have lied to the committee...

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5 minutes ago, honu said:

One thing that tends to get lost in discussion of what Trump did or didn't do

 

Of course, the Special Counsel's investigation is not limited to trump himself, hence DJTJ, Jared, Paully Man, Stoney, et al., are targets. And both Conspiracy and Obstruction of Justice (the cover-up is often worse than the original crimes?), seems to be more important than campaign law violations?

 

The fall-out from all the other crimes which have been uncovered - Manafort, Cohen et al., is separate. Mueller probably can't swing a dead cat without hitting a hundred Russians, or other criminals in trump's orbit.

 

 

 

18 U.S. Code § 371 - Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud United States

If two or more persons conspire either to commit any offense against the United States, or to defraud the United States, or any agency thereof in any manner or for any purpose, and one or more of such persons do any act to effect the object of the conspiracy, each shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.

 

 

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2 hours ago, Small Joke said:

The Mayor should have moved to Hawaii on a high note, and retired, wreathed in glory, to write a 9/11 memoir. Unfortunately,  no amount of power,  money,  or accolades is ever enough for these tragic narcissists, and they sometimes,  but not often enough,  crash and burn spectacularly,  ending their lives in disgrace,  tarred by history for all time as supreme arsehats. 

 

No doubt, Guiliani has used up any of the tiny remaining bit of goodwill that people may have had for him, with this short episode working for the huckster in chief. He will be remembered as a whore, a sellout, a man who uttered the already infamous phrase "the truth is not the truth", and once Tiny Don fires him, he will spend the rest of his life in shame and denial. He deserves that fate. He is a small man, with no principals whatsoever, and like his employer, does not have a nanogram of integrity, in his entire body, nor his feeble mind. 

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15 minutes ago, spidermike007 said:

 

No doubt, Guiliani has used up any of the tiny remaining bit of goodwill that people may have had for him, with this short episode working for the huckster in chief. He will be remembered as a whore, a sellout, a man who uttered the already infamous phrase "the truth is not the truth", and once Tiny Don fires him, he will spend the rest of his life in shame and denial. He deserves that fate. He is a small man, with no principals whatsoever, and like his employer, does not have a nanogram of integrity, in his entire body, nor his feeble mind. 

His actions and words wrt the investigation are difficult to fathom, unless we consider he himself has something to fear.

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14 hours ago, Boon Mee said:

There's no obligation to give Mueller an opportunity to to set a perjury trap. 

Funny how the experts are debating that, but you know the answer ?  You should be president!  Everything is a trap when you lie everyday 

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