Rudy Giuliani has come up with a new condition for special counsel Robert Mueller to meet in order for him to allow his client, President Donald Trump, to submit to an interview with Mueller and his team of investigators. President Trump’s lawyer wants Mueller to promise to end his investigation within two months after an interview with the president.
“We got pretty close on the amount of time they would need to write a report, which roughly was about 60 days after they finished their investigation,” Trump’s lawyer Rudy Guiliani told TIME on Wednesday.
In criminal proceedings, especially FBI investigations, it is extremely unusual for prospective witnesses (and possible subjects) to demand that conditions be met before they will give an interview to the investigators. Of course the special counsel’s investigation of the president is an extremely unusual situation.
Giuliani knows he is playing with fire, because as a former U.S. Attorney he knows that the government has a great deal of power to compel people to talk to investigators in criminal proceedings. He knows that Mueller could issue a subpoena to Trump to force him to testify under oath. Giuliani, however, said a subpoena from Mueller would force them to go to court to fight it.
But despite this, Giuliani keeps playing games with the special prosecutor, and he keeps doing it on television. Many people are wondering what Giuliani’s strategy is because nobody believes that he or his client can force Mueller to give in to their demands.
Giuliani joined Trump’s legal team in April and immediately predicted he would get Trump’s case resolved very quickly, ending the Mueller probe.
By attempting to link an interview with Trump to a specific end date for Mueller to submit his findings to the Department of Justice is Giuliani’s attempt to make the investigation end. After Mueller submits the special counsel’s report the next step is for Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to decide what information to share with Congress and the public.
Negotiations over the interview have been stalled because Giuliani has insisted that Mueller disclose all the authorizations he’s been given by the Department of Justice. He has also demanded DOJ documents concerning an FBI informant who collected information about the Trump campaign in the summer of 2016. He has not been successful in getting the DOJ or the special counsel to agree to these demands.
At this point, those two requirements seem “insurmountable,” Guiliani said. “We’d have to see those before we would advise him on whether to testify or not.”
The latest demand also is probably “insurmountable,” and is not likely to result in a victory for the president. Nobody is sure if Giuliani thinks he has a viable legal strategy or if he is just playing the political game on television, and trying to sway public opinion.