Trump: I still 'would like to' sit down with Mueller

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said Thursday he still "would like" to testify before Special Counsel Robert Mueller as part of the investigation into alleged collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign during the 2016 election.

After a signing ceremony for new tariffs against China, Trump was asked if he would still like to appear before Mueller. "Yes," he said as he left the room. "I would like to. I would like to."

Trump has previously signaled that willingness, but Thursday's comments come days after Trump intensified his criticism of the Mueller investigation — and the same day as a shakeup in Trump's legal team for the Russia probe, with attorney John Dowd quitting the team Thursday morning.

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The president did not stay in the White House's Diplomatic Room to take questions from reporters on Dowd, or the recent changes to his legal team.

Trump added longtime Washington lawyer Joseph diGenova to his legal team Monday — a sign that the president could be preparing for a longer, and potentially more combative, legal battle despite repeated claims from the White House that Mueller's investigation was wrapping up.

In January, Trump expressed a willingness to speak "under oath" with Mueller, telling reporters he was "looking forward to it, actually."

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"I would love to do that. I'd like to do it as soon as possible," he said then, adding once more "there has been no collusion whatsoever. There is no obstruction whatsoever."

Talks have been underway for months for Trump to speak with the special counsel. In the aftermath of Dowd's resignation Thursday, Trump personal attorney Jay Sekulow said in a statement that they would continue cooperating with the special counsel's office.