President Trump’s lawyers want the special counsel’s office to promise to end its investigation within two months after an interview with the president, adding another demand to tense negotiations that have dragged on for months.
“We got pretty close on the amount of time they would need to write a report, which roughly was about 60 days after they finished their investigation,” Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani told TIME on Wednesday.
When Giuliani joined Trump’s legal team in April, he boldly predicted he could get the case resolved in a matter of weeks. Linking an interview with Trump to a specific end date for special counsel Robert Mueller to submit his findings to the Department of Justice seems to be an attempt to force things to a close. Once Mueller submits his report, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein will then determine what to share with lawmakers and the public.
Talks have stalled in recent days over Trump’s insistence that Mueller disclose all authorizations he’s been given by the Department of Justice as well as documents about an FBI informant who collected information about the Trump campaign in the summer of 2016. At this point, those two requirements seem “insurmountable,” Giuliani said. “We’d have to see [those] before we would advise him on whether to testify or not.”
Other topics under discussion are the length of an interview and whether it would be recorded. An audio recording would be “for everybody’s protection — theirs and ours,” Giuliani said.
Mueller has reportedly been looking at whether Trump obstructed justice by trying to interfere with investigations into Russian contacts with his campaign. Trump tweeted on June 4 that he had the “absolute right” to pardon himself if he’s convicted of a crime, but Giuliani said Trump’s not going to take that step because he’s “done nothing wrong” and it could prompt Congress to impeach him.
“He’s not going to do it. He’s not going to pardon himself. Nor would any president pardon himself. It would leave him completely maligned in history, and it probably would lead to some kind of action by Congress,” he said. Trump’s better strategy is “to defend himself and prove he’s innocent,” Giuliani said.