President Donald Trump's lawyers have reportedly sent Special Counsel Robert Mueller a "counter-offer" regarding the scope of a possible sit-down interview as part of the ongoing Russia probe, and they apparently made one key demand: Absolutely no questions about whether Trump has obstructed justice.
As New York Times reported on Wednesday, the president's attorneys "rejected the special counsel's latest terms for an interview in the Russia investigation"—which included questions about possible obstruction of justice and a variety of other topics—and offered a far narrower framework.
While the president's legal team refused to discuss the contents of its response to Mueller, one anonymous source familiar with the response told the Times that Trump's lawyers made clear that they "do not want him answering questions about whether he obstructed justice."
Writer Parker Malloy suggested that there could be a good reason why Trump's lawyers want to avoid such questions:
Whatever topic he says is off-limits is the topic where he's definitely committed crimes. https://t.co/zyUkhrd7fW
— Parker Molloy (@ParkerMolloy) August 8, 2018
According to the Times, Trump's attorneys are seriously concerned that if Trump agrees to an interview, he "could perjure himself."
But Trump appears to be convinced that he can persuade Mueller that he has done nothing wrong, so he has continued to pressure his lawyers to set up an interview.
"He just can't help himself," one Trump associate told Axios.
Negotiations between Mueller and Trump's lawyers over a potential interview have gone on for eight months, and the special counsel has already reportedly threatened to subpoena the president if they fail to negotiate a voluntary interview.
"Only one president, Bill Clinton, has been subpoenaed while in office," the Times notes. "The president's lawyers have said they would fight a subpoena—a battle that could eventually be decided by the Supreme Court."