The headline: “Giuliani: Trump to decide on Mueller interview ‘in the next couple weeks’.”
No, wait, I’m sorry. That’s a headline from May 24.
Today’s headline: “Giuliani: Trump to make Mueller sit-down call within 10 days.”
This live-action sitcom we’re all living in is wonderfully entertaining and inventive, but like any long-running show, it’s destined to recycle plot lines eventually.
“I think our decisions will get made in the next week to 10 days,” Giuliani told POLITICO, noting that Trump intends to reside at his property in Bedminster, New Jersey until mid-August…
“We don’t want questioning on obstruction. They would have to concede that,” he said. “It depends on how much they want his testimony on the other [topic].”
A decision about a presidential interview by the middle of the month would help keep Mueller on track for a possible report on the obstruction-related plank of his investigation by September, Giuliani said.
By September? Mueller’s going to drop a nuke about obstruction weeks before the midterms? Sweet fancy Moses. No wonder Republicans don’t have a plan for spinning the Russiagate findings. You can’t “plan” for a political atomic-bomb detonation in any meaningful sense.
You would think Trump and Giuliani would want to string out the maybe-maybe-not interview dance with Mueller a bit longer in hopes of delaying it past the midterms. But perhaps there’s a reason Rudy wants to speed this along. I don’t buy that there’s a September timetable, or any timetable, really, in Mueller’s office. If anything, Mueller’s probably looking for excuses to delay the report himself, as it’ll do no favors to his credibility of that of the DOJ if he follows Comey’s lead by springing an election-changing surprise shortly before a crucial vote. On the contrary, it might be Giuliani who’s eager to get the obstruction matter over and done with. Why? Because, if you believe Gabriel Sherman’s sources, Trump has almost reached his limit with Russiagate and is apt to behave rashly if it drags out much longer:
Sources say Trump is increasingly taking his legal defense into his own hands—very much at his own peril. The Sessions tweet crossed a line into what many interpreted to be outright obstruction of justice. Trump also is arguing that he wants to sit for an interview with Mueller, against his lawyers’ advice, The New York Times reported. This is partly driven by Trump’s frustration with his legal team’s inability to end the Mueller probe. As I reported this week, Trump is angry with his lawyer Rudy Giuliani for giving a series of erratic television interviews that seemed to disclose a previously unknown strategy meeting at Trump Tower that took place days before Don Jr.’s infamous sit-down with a Russian lawyer to get “dirt” on Hillary Clinton. Trump is also unhappy with White House counsel Don McGahn, who in the past stood in the way of Trump’s effort to fire Mueller.
Trump’s latest attacks on Mueller are partly being enabled by conversations with his attorney Emmet Flood, one source told me. “Emmet feels there’s nothing there with collusion, so it’s fine for Trump to comment and tweet,” the source explained. This person added that Trump appears to be in earnest about his desire for Sessions to end the Mueller probe, and spoke of a timeline of a couple of weeks. Otherwise, Trump has threatened to fire Rosenstein himself.
Rudy knows that firing anyone at this stage would be a political disaster. So does John Kelly, whom Sherman claims is sticking around as chief in order “to be present in case Trump makes a calamitous decision” about Russiagate. The best thing they can do under the circumstances, with Trump threatening to drop a political nuke of his own on himself and the party, is to make a bold move towards wrapping up the probe that might placate him for awhile. Decide in 10 days whether to do an interview or not. If Trump insists on doing one, that’ll buy a bunch of time — the interview will be scheduled, the two sides will meet, and then Trump will wait patiently for awhile longer knowing that the report is coming soon-ish. Or, if he concludes that it’s foolish to do an interview (which it is), make that clear and then await the report. Either way, resolving the lingering issue of a presidential interview moves the obstruction investigation towards the end. That should satisfy Trump, at least enough to hold him off on firing people.
Here’s Corey Lewandowski giving Trump some good advice.
"There's been no evidence the President did anything wrong or the campaign did anything wrong." – Former Trump Campaign Manager @CLewandowski_ tells @ErinBurnett he believes Donald Trump has no reason to sit down with Robert Mueller https://t.co/WGFB42UigL pic.twitter.com/vkxiSOa0hv
— OutFrontCNN (@OutFrontCNN) August 2, 2018