Trump legal team balks at Mueller’s questions on post-2016 election activity
President Donald Trump and his legal team have taken issue with some of the questions from special counsel Robert Mueller that cover the transition period after the 2016 election, believing it could be off limits under executive privilege as they pertain to the presidency, according to a source familiar with the negotiations.
The source would not explicitly say whether the President answered those questions other than to say that there are “responses” to all of the questions that were asked.
Trump’s lawyers had previously made the case to Mueller’s team that the President would only answer questions related to collusion about events that took place before the 2016 election.
In an interview with The Washington Post Thursday, the President’s attorney Rudy Giuliani alluded to the sticking point with the questions, saying, “There are some that create more issues for us legally than others.”
The source would not say if the concerns have been conveyed to Mueller’s team.
A list of questions provided to Trump’s legal team in the spring by the special counsel included questions about efforts during the transition to establish a backchannel line of communication to Russia and a 2017 meeting in the Seychelles involving Trump ally Erik Prince, a businessman and founder of the private security company formerly known as Blackwater.
The President and his lawyers are finalizing answers to the special counsel’s questions and could return the responses as early as next week, according to the source.
Giuliani did not respond to requests for comment.
The President is meeting with his legal team again Friday to go over the questions as they wrap up the process, according to the source.
Mueller’s team could respond with follow-up questions and could still push for an in-person interview with the President — something Trump’s legal team would like to prevent.
On Friday, the President said he was done with his answers, though they have yet to be submitted.
“From what I’m hearing it’s ending and I’m sure it’ll be just fine,” Trump said. “And you know why it’s going to be just fine? Because there was no collusion.”