Lawyer says Trump could defy potential subpoena in Russia probe

Washington (AFP) –


Presidential lawyer Rudy Giuliani said Sunday that Donald Trump would not be required to comply with a potential subpoena from the special counsel investigating possible collusion with Russia.

But Giuliani, whose statements since he recently joined Trump's legal team have created some confusion, also said that the president "wants to testify" and that "we may actually work things out with Bob Mueller," the special counsel.

The former New York mayor and onetime prosecutor was asked on ABC's "This Week" whether Trump would comply with a subpoena if Mueller were to issue one.

"We don't have to," Giuliani replied. "He's the president of the United States. We can assert the same privileges other presidents have."

President Bill Clinton had resisted a subpoena during the investigation of his relationship with Monica Lewinsky, then a White House intern. But he ultimately testified for more than two hours before a grand jury.

When Giuliani was asked if he was confident that Trump, should he appear before Mueller, would not invoke his constitutional right under the Fifth Amendment to remain silent, Giuliani responded, "How could I ever be confident of that? ... Every lawyer in America thinks he would be a fool to testify."

Yet he listed a series of points suggesting the Trump team has given considerable thought to the framework of a potential interview.

Giuliani said he would want such testimony to be "only for two and a half hours. Only with an arranged format... (not) under oath. Only a Q&A. We get the questions in advance."

"So," he added, "we may actually work things out with Bob Mueller. Because working with him directly is good."

But any such plan, he suggested, could be derailed depending on how the Mueller investigation proceeds.