WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday shifted his position over possible talks with U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller, saying his lawyers have advised him against any talks but that he would submit to questioning if it was “fair.”
Trump has repeatedly said he wanted to talk to Mueller, a fellow Republican investigating alleged Russian meddling in the U.S. 2016 election and possible collusion by the Trump campaign.
“I would love to speak. I would love to. Nobody wants to speak more than me … because we’ve done nothing wrong,” Trump told reporters at the White House. “But I have to find a way to be treated fairly.”
“If I thought it was fair, I would override my lawyer,” he added.
Trump also defended Rudy Giuliani, who he recently hired to represent him in the matter. The former federal prosecutor, however, raised a number of questions about Trump’s actions and motivations in a series of media interviews this week.
On Thursday, Giuliani said he wanted limits for any Trump interview with Mueller.
“He started yesterday. He’ll get his facts straight. He’s a great guy,” Trump told reporters. One of Trump’s lawyers announced Giuliani’s addition to the team on April 19.
The president also repeated his assertion that there was no collusion by his team and that the federal probe led by Mueller was a “witch hunt.” Russia has also denied any interference, despite the conclusions of U.S. intelligence agencies.
Giuliani’s “learning the subject matter. … He knows this is a witch hunt. That’s what he knows,” Trump added.
(Reporting by Roberta Rampton and Tim Ahmann; writing by Susan Heavey; editing by Bernadette Baum and Jonathan Oatis)