President Donald Trump’s lawyers and special counsel Robert Mueller are hurtling toward a showdown over a yearlong investigation into the president’s conduct, with Mueller pushing to write up his findings by summer’s end and Trump’s lawyers strategizing how to rebut a report that could spur impeachment hearings.
The confrontation is coming to a head as Trump and allies rack up their rebuttals on the special counsel probe, seizing on a report released Thursday by the Justice Department’s inspector general that castigated FBI officials for their conduct during the 2016 Hillary Clinton email investigation.
Rudy Giuliani, the president’s personal attorney, said that he planned to use the inspector general’s conclusions to show how biased Mueller and his team are, suggesting he may ask Attorney General Jeff Sessions to appoint a second special counsel to examine the current probe.
Giuliani said in an interview “We want to see if we can have the investigation and special counsel declared illegal and unauthorized,”. In the meantime, Trump must decide whether to do a face-to-face interview with Mueller’s team — an answer the president’s legal team expects to have in the next two weeks.
If the president agreed to a sit-down, the special counsel has told Trump’s lawyers that he could finish within roughly 90 days a report on whether Trump sought to obstruct a probe into Russian interference in the 2016 campaign, according to two people familiar with the discussions.
A separate report outlining Mueller’s broader findings on Russian attempts to bolster Trump’s candidacy is expected to take longer. The confidential obstruction report, which would be delivered to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, is expected to contain the prosecutors’ conclusions about whether Trump engaged in any criminal wrongdoing by trying to derail the investigation into his campaign’s contact with Russians, according to insiders. The filing of the report could trigger a political firestorm over whether to make the special counsel’s findings public — just as this fall’s midterm campaign season kicks off.
former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said in an interview “It’ll be a moment that polarizes the country, exposing just how divided the country is about this investigation and who’s on the other side,” he added that he and other Trump allies are “prepared for war.” Among those suited up for battle: the president’s attorneys, who are readying to write a rebuttal disputing any conclusions that the president’s actions were improper or illegal.
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