Donald Trump is between the proverbial rock and a hard place, and his lawyers know it.
For months now there has been intense speculation and many different opinions given about the topic of whether, when and under what circumstances Donald Trump will be interviewed by special counsel Robert Mueller.
In recent days there has been contradictory information coming from Trump and his legal team concerning whether or not the president will submit to a formal interview. The dilemma Trump’s lawyers face is this:
They don’t want him to lie to investigators, but they also don’t want him to tell the truth.
They are concerned about perjury charges, of course, but it has now been revealed that they also do NOT want Mueller to know the truth about the president’s attempts to obstruct justice.
It seems that even though the lawyers are somewhat afraid of Trump lying under oath, they are more afraid that he won’t lie.
“Trump’s lawyers don’t just fear that he will lie to Mueller about his efforts to scuttle the investigation; it’s very likely that they also fear that Trump might tell the truth about those efforts, which could also be incriminating.”
“Trump’s repeated public statements have arguably already revealed his “corrupt intent” to obstruct justice, and Trump has been open about revealing that intent such as when he admitted on national television that he fired Comey over anger at the probe.”
“When Trump openly called on Sessions to end the Mueller investigation, his lawyers were forced to engage in absurd parsing to argue that this wasn’t an order, but merely was his “opinion.” Even if that were true, it would still go to establishing his criminal intent to obstruct justice.”
“Trump’s real problem is almost certainly that he can’t lie to Mueller about his conduct or tell him the truth about it.”
“Either way, Mueller will submit a report on Trump’s obstruction and collusion, and anything Trump says will figure into that report. Mueller’s report will depict Trump’s conduct in great new detail that we can only guess at.”
“Given what we know now, it’s hard to see how Trump’s testimony to Mueller can help him. It likely can only make the overall picture of his conduct look more damning — whether he lies to Mueller about that conduct, or tells him the truth about it.”
In recent days Trump’s attacks on Mueller via Twitter and elsewhere have stepped up to the point of causing many people serious concern. He asked his Attorney General Jeff Sessions to shut down the Mueller probe, and he continually calls it a “hoax” and a “witch hunt.”
With Paul Manafort’s first criminal trial now underway, and with the president now seeing that he is facing serious legal jeopardy, the pressure he is feeling will only increase. He is feeling the pain of both the rock (Mueller) and the hard place (the truth).
There is no easy way out for Donald Trump. Perhaps his best possible result is to just give up and resign from office under some negotiated deal with the special counsel that would allow him to avoid prosecution. It remains to be seen whether he is rational enough to do this because, as we have reported lately, his mental state seems to be in a state of serious decline.
It feels like something big is about to happen, but nobody knows what it is. For the good of the country we hope that Donald Trump will not go completely off the deep end and start acting even more irrationally, but based on recent events, such as last night’s rally in Pennsylvania, this does not appear likely to happen.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.