Mueller threatened to subpoena Trump if he refuses to talk to the special counsel under oath

  • Special counsel Robert Mueller reportedly threatened President Donald Trump and his legal team that he could subpoena Trump if he refuses to testify under oath in the Russia investigation.
  • The alleged threat came as Trump's legal team and the special counsel's office were negotiating terms of a one-on-one interview with the president, which, at the time, Trump said he did not want to grant.
  • The development sheds new light on the internal wrangling between the special counsel's office and Trump, as the probe of Russia's interference in the 2016 US election gains new momentum.

The special counsel Robert Mueller threatened President Donald Trump's legal team with a grand-jury subpoena in March if Trump refuses to voluntarily sit down with prosecutors conducting the Russia investigation.

That apparent threat came during negotiations between Mueller's office and Trump's lawyers, at a time when the president's legal team asserted that they had no obligation to answer questions from Mueller under oath, The Washington Post reported on Tuesday.

Citing two people with knowledge of the conversations, The Post said that John Dowd, the now-resigned attorney who was representing Trump in the Russia probe, snapped back at Mueller's team: "This is not a game," Dowd reportedly said according to the newspaper. "You are screwing with the work of the president of the United States."

The development sheds new light on the internal wrangling between Trump's lawyers and the special counsel over the interview that Mueller wants with the president.

Reaction to Robert Mueller's appointment to Russia investigation
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Reaction to Robert Mueller's appointment to Russia investigation
Trump statement
My statement on DAG Rosenstein's decisions to appoint a special counsel
.@SpeakerRyan Statement on the Appointment of Special Counsel
Appointment of special counsel is very positive. Mueller is a solid choice who will help reestablish public confide…
Robert Mueller’s appointment is a positive step. I am hopeful that he will help us get to the bottom of the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia.
A special counsel is very much needed in this situation and Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein has done the right thing.
(1/2) I support the appointment of Bob Mueller as special counsel for the Russia investigation.
(2/2) Bob Mueller was a great U.S. attorney & FBI director. He’s respected, talented and has the knowledge & ability to do the right thing.
Having known him for years, I believe special counsel Mueller is a very good thing. He is one of the best -- indepe…
Mueller is a great selection. Impeccable credentials. Should be widely accepted.
Former Attorney General Eric Holder on appointment of Robert Mueller as Special Counsel in Trump/Russia affair:
"He has the expertise and experience, and the guts and backbone to uncover truth," Sen. Blumenthal says of Robert M…
Mueller is a good first step -- but can't take the place of an independent commission free from Trump's meddling.
I commend @TheJusticeDept for taking the appropriate step of appointing a special counsel.
Robert Mueller's appointment as special counsel is a positive step. My statement:
Senator Collins’ statement on appointment of former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel #mepolitics
Murphy statement on appointment of special prosecutor for investigation into Trump campaign ties to Russia
My full statement on the appointment of Special Counsel to oversee #TrumpRussia investigation…
Mueller does not erase the need for an independent commission. #ProtectOurDemocracy
.@RonWyden's statement on the appointment of special counsel
Here's my statement on appointment of a special counsel to lead FBI Russia investigation:
My statement on the appointment of a #SpecialCounsel to investigate the troubling #TrumpRussia ties:
I’m encouraged to see @TheJusticeDept has appointed a special counsel to lead the investigation into #TrumpRussia
Mr. Mueller is a man of integrity and well chosen. Must ensure he has resources necessary for a rigorous investigation #SpecialCounsel
Bob Mueller is a man of integrity. I have every confidence he will pursue this investigation and follow the facts,…
The issue of Russian meddling in our election must be investigated fully & former FBI dir. Mueller is well qualified to oversee this probe.

Over the last year, Trump has expressed his willingness to sit down with Mueller, but changed course last month after properties belonging to his longtime personal attorney, Michael Cohen, were raided by the FBI in an unrelated case.

More recently, those discussions were said to be back on, after Trump hired former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, a loyal supporter of the president, to join his legal team.

In what some legal experts have viewed as a key concession to Trump's team, Mueller reportedly offered Trump's lawyers a glimpse at some of the questions he might ask the president during such an interview.

The New York Times published a sampling of those questions on Monday night — some of which get at the collusion question between Trump's campaign and Russian operatives who sought to influence the US election.

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