The special prosecutor investigating whether Donald Trump’s campaign colluded with Russian agents could soon seek to interview the US president in the case, according to media reports.
Special counsel Robert Mueller, appointed by the Justice Department to pursue a broad range of election-related cases including suspected Russian meddling, could be within weeks of seeking to interview Trump after raising the possibility last month with the president’s lawyers, the Washington Post reported, citing two people familiar with the meeting.
A source speaking on condition of anonymity who is “close to” Trump said that the case is “moving faster than anyone really realizes,” the newspaper reported.
The source said Trump was willing to be interviewed by Mueller in hopes of ending the politically damaging case.
Broadcaster NBC News, citing three people familiar with the matter, reported that Trump’s legal team was considering proposing written questions and answers in the event of a request by prosecutors to interview the president.
In a statement, a White House lawyer declined comment on communications with Mueller’s Office of Special Counsel.
Trump has for months insisted there was no collusion with Russia by his campaign, labelling the allegations “fake news.”
“There’s been no collusion. There’s been no crime,” he said on the weekend.
Former White House national security advisor Michael Flynn and a second Trump campaign aide are cooperating with the Mueller investigation after pleading guilty to lying to the FBI about their contacts with Russia.
Paul Manafort, who was Trump’s campaign manager from June-August 2016, is facing charges filed by Mueller of conspiracy and money laundering over lobbying work years earlier for a pro-Russian party in Ukraine.
Earlier Monday in Moscow, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova accused CIA director Mike Pompeo of lying when he said in a television interview that Russia had been meddling in US elections “for decades.”
“The best evidence that this was a pure lie is that for all these decades American special services and officials had not once made such a claim or presented such issues to Russia,” Zakharova wrote Facebook.
“There was not a single story about it … until the American electoral system made Trump president. That is when it all started, the unsubstantiated accusations, these searches for a foreign enemy, the moaning about the ‘Kremlin’s hand.’”
On Sunday, Pompeo told US broadcaster CBS News that Russians had engaged in efforts to undermine the presidential election, repeating assertions first issued by US intelligence agencies weeks before the November 2016 vote.
“Yes, sir. Have been for decades,” Pompeo said. “We have many foes who want to undermine Western democracy. So there’s this Washington-based focus on Russian interference.”
“We have an important function as part of the American national security team to keep the American elections safe and secure, and democratic,” Pompeo said. “We are working diligently to do that. So we’re going to work against the Russians or any others who threaten that very outcome.”