In the surest sign yet that special counsel Robert Mueller is zeroing in on President Trump, CNN reported late Wednesday that the special counsel’s office has been engaged in heavy negotiations with the president’s legal team over terms of his expected testimony in the Trump-Russia investigation.
According to Pamela Brown and Gloria Borger, Mueller has sent the president’s lawyers a list with ‘a range of topics he wants to ask about,’ sources familiar with the matter tell them.
“Mueller’s team has also made clear it is seeking a sit-down interview with Trump,” these same sources told CNN, as opposed to some kind of written response to questions.
The New York Times first reported earlier Wednesday that President Trump told reporters gathered in the West Wing that, “I’m looking forward to it,” when asked about speaking to Mueller. This admission put the bed any doubts that he could avoid the witness chair in Mueller’s investigation.
The Times report hinted that Mueller may also be “looking into whether the president sought to thwart the inquiry.” CNN’s report seems to confirm that.
Most of the topics on the list Mueller submitted seem to center on former national security advisor Michael Flynn and former FBI Director James Comey, according to CNN. Both men were fired by Trump, though under very different circumstances.
CNN further concludes that this list of topics indicates that special counsel Mueller is building an obstruction of justice case against the president.
In just the last 24 hours, news reports have revealed that Mueller’s office has interviewed CIA Director Pompeo and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and that former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon will be sitting down with the special counsel’s investigative team within days.
A sit-down with Donald Trump would logically come toward the end of an obstruction investigation, which is where we appear to be.