US President Donald Trump speaks at a working session with mayors at the White House in Washington, US, January 24, 2018. (Photo: Reuters)
US President Donald Trump said on Wednesday he would be willing to be interviewed under oath by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 US election.
"I'm looking forward to it, actually," Trump, speaking to reporters at the White House, said of an interview with Mueller, a former FBI Director. "I would do it under oath."
Although Trump has pledged cooperation with Mueller's probe before, Trump made his assertion as the White House and allies in Congress have stepped up attacks on the investigation's credibility and Trump himself has hedged on whether he would answer questions.
Trump's attorneys have been talking to Mueller's team about an interview, according to sources with knowledge of the investigation. "I would like to do it as soon as possible," Trump said.
Trump, however, said that setting a date certain for an interview would be "subject to my lawyers and all of that." Asked whether he thought Mueller would treat him fairly, Trump replied, "We're going to find out."
Sources told Reuters earlier Wednesday that senior US intelligence officers including CIA Director Mike Pompeo have been questioned by the special counsel's team about whether Trump tried to obstruct justice in the Russia probe.
Such questioning is further indication that Mueller's criminal investigation into purported Russian interference in the election and potential collusion by Trump's campaign includes examining the president's actions around the probe.
In his remarks to reporters on Wednesday, Trump repeated past statements that there was no collusion between the campaign and Russia and "there's no obstruction whatsoever." The Kremlin has denied conclusions by US intelligence agencies that Russia interfered in the election campaign using hacking and propaganda to try to tilt the race in Trump's favor.
Trump on Wednesday denied a Washington Post report that last year he had asked then-acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe whom he had voted for in 2016, which reportedly left McCabe concerned about civil servants being interrogated about their political leanings.
"I don't think so. I don't think I did. I don't know what's the big deal with that, because I would ask you," Trump said to reporters.
In interviews last year with Pompeo, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and National Security Agency Director Admiral Mike Rogers, the sources said Mueller's team focused on whether Trump had asked them to lean on James Comey, the Federal Bureau of Investigation Director until Trump fired him in May.
Comey said Trump dismissed him to try to undermine the agency's Russia investigation. His firing led to Mueller's appointment to take over the FBI probe and is central to whether Trump may have committed obstruction of justice.