President Trump on Wednesday said that it is “unlikely” he will have a face-to-face sit down with special counsel Robert Mueller for an interview, arguing that there was “no collusion” between his campaign and Russia.
Facing reporters at the White House during a joint press conference alongside Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg, Trump repeatedly dodged whether he would submit to an interview with Mueller by citing his claim there was no collusion during the 2016 presidential election.
“When they have no collusion … it seems unlikely that you’d even have an interview,” Trump said when pressed by a reporter on Wednesday.
Multiple reports this week said that Mueller is likely to interview Trump in the coming weeks as part of the special counsel investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential race.
Earlier this week, NBC News reported that Trump’s lawyers have discussed whether to ask for stipulations to the interview, such as answering questions in writing or signing an affidavit asserting the president’s innocence.
Trump’s comments are a shift from this past weekend, when he indicated he was open to speaking with Mueller.
“It’s sort of like, when you’ve done nothing wrong, let’s be open and get it over with,” he told reporters at Camp David in Maryland.
Asked last June if he would be “100 percent willing” to speak to the special counsel under oath about his interactions with ousted FBI Director James Comey, Trump told a reporter, “I would be glad to tell him exactly what I just told you.”
Trump on Wednesday pivoted from the prospect of an interview to attacking the FBI and trying to change the conversation to Hillary Clinton’s email controversy.
“When you talk about interviews, Hillary Clinton had an interview where she wasn’t sworn in, she wasn’t given the oath, they didn’t take notes, they didn’t record and it was done on the Fourth of July weekend. That’s, perhaps, ridiculous, a lot of people looked at that as a very serious breach,” he said.
Trump went on to blast allegations that his campaign colluded with Russia, arguing that such claims have hurt his presidency.
“There was absolutely no collusion, everybody knows it. I’ve been in office for 11 months, for 11 months they’ve had this phony cloud over this administration, over our government, and it has hurt our government,” he said.
“It is a Democrat hoax that was brought up as an excuse for losing an election that frankly the Democrats should have won because they have such a tremendous advantage in the Electoral College,” he continued.
In short, Trump is feeling the heat and he fears being caught in a lie under oath.