President Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani has changed his mind and now says his client may sit for an on the record interview with Special Counsel Robert Mueller and the team investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and possible collusion by Trump and his campaign.
Giuliani said a decision on whether to allow Trump to be deposed will be made in the next few weeks and admitted it will likely have to cover both the campaign and the period since Trump was inaugurated.
The reason the former Mayor of New York City gives for moving toward an interview is that while the lawyers all agree the safe course is not to talk, his client wants to do it.
“I guess I’d rather do the interview,” Giuliani told The Washington Post today. “It gets it over with, it makes my client happy.”
“The safe course you hear every lawyer say is don’t do the interview,” continued Giuliani, “and that’s easy to say in the abstract.”
“That’s much harder when you have a client who is the President of the United States and wants to be interviewed,” added Giuliani.
The reason most lawyers advise against it is not just the facts but the chance that Trump, as is his habit, will go off script and ramble about things that may not be factual, which would put the president into what Giuliani calls “the perjury trap” because “the truth is relative.”
That is certainly the case in the Trump White House where facts are fungible and, as presidential counselor Kellyanne Conway once put it, there are “alternative facts.”
“They may have a different version of the truth than we do,” said Giuliani.
Mueller has shown in his dealings with others that have been investigated a willingness to call a person out for lying to the FBI or under oath, and then use that as a charge that provides leverage to turn that person into a witness who will cooperate with the government investigation.
As recently as yesterday, Giuliani told The Wall Street Journal that if pressed to make a decision on allowing Trump to be interviewed right now, the answer would be “no.”
He told The Washington Post that he talks to Trump on a daily basis and the president is anxious to get the investigation over and hopefully to put it behind him.
“There have been a few days where he says, ‘maybe you guys are right,'” said Giuliani, in reference to the lawyer’s standard advice not to talk. “Then he does right back to, ‘why shouldn’t I?'”
His nervous lawyers know the answer to that question. This is a president who by actual count has been caught lying over 1,000 times since he took office, frequently turning the truth into something closer to his preference for what happened, or just outright lying, as he has done with everything from the size of his inaugural crowd to whether or not he won the popular vote in the election.
This past January Timothy L. O’Brien wrote on Bloomberg News about a lawsuit in which he deposed Trump, who had claimed a biography he had written was inaccurate and defamatory.
“Trump also has a well-known inability to stick to the facts and a tendency to dissemble and improvise,” wrote O’Brien. “While under oath, he’ll try to avoid saying that he’s lied in the past until he’s presented with documentation proving otherwise.”
“‘How do you differentiate between exaggeration and a lie?’ one of my lawyers, Andrew Ceresney, asked when discussing inflated sales figures Trump had used to promote a property,” added O’Brien.
“’You want to put the best spin on a property,’ Trump told O’Brien’s lawyers while under oath. “‘No different than any other real estate developer, no different than any other businessman, no different than any politician.’”
Trump has not changed so both to get the president on the hot seat and see where it goes and to help Mueller find the truth, most Americans would favor Trump talking to the Special Counsel.
Based on his past performances it is impossible to believe Trump could or would stick to the truth even while under oath, so the sooner he talks the better.