Special counsel Robert Mueller considered President Donald Trump’s written responses “inadequate” and sought an interview with Trump, but ultimately decided not to issue a subpoena for the interview.
Why this matters: The criticism stands in contrast to the attorney general saying Thursday the White House had “fully cooperated.”
In a report appendix, the special counsel wrote that it sought an interview with the President for more than a year, beginning in December 2017, and considered an interview “vital to our investigation.”
The special counsel agreed to receive written responses from Trump, but it “viewed the written answers to be inadequate.”
“We noted, among other things, that the President stated on more than 30 occasions that he ‘does not ‘recall’ or ‘remember’ or have an ‘independent recollection’ of information called for by the questions. Other answers were ‘incomplete or imprecise,'” the report states.
“The written responses, we informed counsel, ‘demonstrate the inadequacy of the written format, as we have had no opportunity to ask follow-up questions that would ensure complete answers and potentially refresh your client’s recollection or clarify the extent or nature of his lack of recollection,’” the special counsel added.
Why there wasn’t a subpoena: The special counsel said it considered a subpoena, but ultimately decided against it because the investigation had already “made significant progress.”
“We thus weighed the costs of potentially lengthy constitutional litigation, with resulting delay in finishing our investigation, against the anticipated benefits for our investigation and report,” the report states. “We determined that the substantial quantity of information we had obtained from other sources allowed us to draw relevant factual conclusions on intent and credibility, which are often inferred from circumstantial evidence and assessed without direct testimony from the subject of the investigation.”