President Trump, “There was no collusion, Matt Whitaker is right.”
President Donald Trump said in a TV interview Sunday he would not intervene if Matthew Whitaker, his acting US AG, moved to curtail Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 Presidential election.
In the interview President Trump said he probably would not agree to a sit-down interview with Mr. Mueller, who also is investigating whether the Republican President’s campaign conspired with Moscow and whether President Trump has unlawfully sought to obstruct the probe.
Mr. Whitaker took over supervision of Mr. Mueller’s investigation on 7 November after President Trump appointed him as the chief US law enforcement official to replace Jeff Sessions, who the president ousted. Mr. Whitaker in the past criticized the scope of the Mueller probe and brought up the possibility of undermining it by slashing the investigation’s funding.
President Trump said he was unaware of Mr. Whitaker’s past statements about Mr. Mueller’s probe and that he would “not get involved” if Mr. Whitaker moved to curtail it.
“It’s going to be up to him,” President Trump said. “I think he’s very well aware politically. I think he’s astute politically. … He’s going to do what’s right.”
President Trump has denied any collusion with Moscow and has called the Mueller investigation a “witch hunt.” Russia also has denied collusion.
“There is no collusion, he happened to be right,” President Trump said, referring to 1 of Mr. Whitaker’s previous statements.
President Trump told reporters at the White House Friday he had “very easily” completed his written answers for Mr. Mueller’s investigation.
President Trump and his lawyers had been in negotiations with Mr. Mueller’s team for months over how the President would be questioned as part of the investigation.
In the interview Sunday, President Trump was asked whether it was his final position that he would not do a sit-down interview and would not give written responses to questions relating to obstruction of justice.
“I think we have wasted enough time on this witch hunt and the answer is probably, we’re finished,” President Trump said, though he added “I can change my mind.”
“We gave very, very complete answers to a lot of questions that I shouldn’t have even been asked, and I think that should solve the problem,” President Trump added.