Trump suggests he may give written testimony in House probe


(Photo: AP)

US President Donald Trump suggested Monday he might be willing to offer written testimony in the House impeachment inquiry over whether he pressured Ukraine’s president to investigate Joe Biden and his son while withholding aid to the country. But people familiar with the matter cautioned that the conditions for his testimony were unlikely to be met.

In a pair of tweets, Trump said he will “strongly consider” an offer by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to testify before the House impeachment panel. Pelosi told CBS’ “Face the Nation” in an interview aired Sunday that Trump could come before the committee and “speak all the truth that he wants.”

Trump tweeted: “She also said I could do it in writing. Even though I did nothing wrong, and don’t like giving credibility to this No Due Process Hoax, I like the idea & will, in order to get Congress focused again, strongly consider it!”

The president provided written answers to questions from special counsel Robert Mueller during his probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

While some officials have complied with subpoenas, Trump has made defiance the official posture of his administration in the face of congressional demands for testimony and documents. He’s objecting to impeachment inquiry rules that don’t give his attorneys the right to cross-examine witnesses and review documents. Two people familiar with the matter said Trump would only seriously consider testifying if Democrats acceded to the president’s demands. They spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.

Mueller’s team tried to interview the president for more than a year before Trump submitted the written testimony in response to questions on certain Russia-related topics in November 2018.

But Mueller found many of Trump’s answers in the Russia probe less than satisfying. He said in his final report to Congress that the answers showed “the inadequacy of the written format,” especially since the office was unable to ask follow-up questions.

Mueller’s team cited dozens of answers that it considered incomplete or imprecise. Trump said he had no recollection for several questions posed by the special counsel’s office

After Trump submitted the written answers, the special counsel’s office again sought an in-person interview with Trump, but the president declined.