Does Robert Mueller “want to interview the president,” Chris Wallace wondered yesterday on Fox News Sunday? Of course he does, but Rudy Giuliani insists it won’t happen. “Good luck,” Giuliani exclaimed when the question came up, and got more blunt when Wallace pressed Donald Trump’s attorney on what he meant. “They’re a joke,” Giuliani spat out, and said the interview would only take place “over my dead body.”
So you’re saying there’s a chance …
WALLACE: Is the special counsel — does he want to interview the president?
GIULIANI: Yes, good luck. Good luck. After what they did to Flynn, the way they trapped him into perjury and no sentence for him, 14 days for Papadopoulos. I did better on traffic violations than they did with Papadopoulos.
WALLACE: So, when you say good luck, you’re saying no way, no interview?
GIULIANI: They’re a joke. Over my dead body, but you know, I could be dead.
WALLACE: Do they want to speak to the president?
GIULIANI: I do have — I do have other lawyer — I am disgusted with the tactics they have used in this case. What they did to General Flynn should result in discipline. They’re the ones who are violating the law.
Frankly, that should have been the right answer all along, Giuliani’s hyperbole aside. That’s especially true if Trump and his team really believe the gist of their campaign against Mueller, which is that he’s pursuing a politically motivated “witch hunt.” Almost by definition, one does not cooperate with witch hunts. Potential targets of prosecutors don’t sit down for lengthy interviews with them, either, unless they have a masochistic streak or unless their attorneys have some lights-out revelations to offer.
Just how much of a “joke” Mueller turns out to be is another question. Giuliani scoffs at the minimal prison time given to George Papadapoulos and Michael Flynn, but they’re not the real targets of Mueller’s probe, and everyone knows it. Giuliani argues that “they went from collusion to obstruction, no evidence — now campaign finance, no violation of the law,” but that’s only Giuliani’s opinion … and we have no real evidence that Mueller has moved on from collusion or obstruction, at least not yet.
It might not be up to Giuliani’s body and its status as to whether Mueller gets to interrogate Trump. Mueller’s secret grand-jury subpoena for someone important is now under consideration by the DC Circuit and will almost certainly be on its way to the Supreme Court. If the subpoena has the name “Donald John Trump” on it, the court will once again take up the US v Nixon standoff, and likely will end up in the same place as John Sirica did in 1974. Trump could still invoke his Fifth Amendment privilege, but that won’t look too good in a 2020 re-election campaign.
That won’t prevent Giuliani from presenting an enthusiastic — and at times manic — public defense of the president. Here’s the full interview from yesterday’s Fox News Sunday. Did someone get Chris Wallace a Gatorade at the end of this segment?