Why Trump didn’t testify for Mueller

perjury trap.

Here is Mueller’s intro to Appendix C, the complete written questions and Trump’s “insufficient, inadequate, incomplete, imprecise”  answers.  Mueller explains. quite logically, why he didn’t pursue in person testimony from our historically candid and truthful commander-in-chief:

Beginning in December 2017, this Office sought for more than a year to interview the President on topics relevant to both Russian-election interference and obstruction-of-justice.  We advised counsel that the President was a “subject” of the investigation under the definition of the Justice Manual—“a person whose conduct is within the scope of the grand jury’s investigation.” Justice Manual § 9-11.151 (2018).  We also advised counsel that “[a]n interview with the President is vital to our investigation” and that this Office had “carefully considered the constitutional and other arguments raised by … counsel, and they d[id] not provide us with reason to forgo seeking an interview.”   We additionally stated that “it is in the interest of the Presidency and the public for an interview to take place” and offered “numerous accommodations to aid the President’s preparation and avoid surprise.”  After extensive discussions with the Department of Justice about the Special Counsel’s objective of securing the President’s testimony, these accommodations included the submissions of written questions to the President on certain Russia-related topics.

We received the President’s written responses in late November 2018.   In December 2018, we informed counsel of the insufficiency of those responses in several respects.   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 written responses, we informed counsel, “demonstrate the inadequacy of the written format, as we have had no opportunity to ask followup questions that would ensure complete answers and potentially refresh your client’s recollection or clarify the extent or nature of his lack of recollection.”  We again requested an in-person interview, limited to certain topics, advising the President’s counsel that “[t]his is the President’s opportunity to voluntarily provide us with information for us to evaluate in the context of all of the evidence we have gathered.” The President declined. 

[entire short paragraph redacted:  “Grand Jury”]

Recognizing that the President would not be interviewed voluntarily, we considered whether to issue a subpoena for his testimony.  We viewed the written answers to be inadequate.  But at that point, our investigation had made significant progress and had produced substantial evidence for our report.  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.   As explained in Volume Il, Section II.B., 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.


The best line from the deadpan Mueller:

Other answers were “incomplete or imprecise.”

Among these answers was the president’s response to the final, multi-part question about his knowledge of the actions of his associates during the transition period, two subsections of which read:

Following the Obama Administration’s imposition of sanctions on Russia in December 2016 (“Russia sanctions”), did you discuss with Lieutenant General (LTG) Michael Flynn, K.T. McFarland, Steve Bannon, Reince Priebus, Jared Kushner, Erik Prince, or anyone else associated with the transition what should be communicated to the Russian government regarding the sanctions? If yes, describe who you spoke with about this issue, when, and the substance of the discussion(s).


At any time between December 31, 2016, and January 20, 2017, did anyone tell you or suggest to you that Russia’s decision not to impose reciprocal sanctions was attributable in any way to LTG Flynn’s communications with Ambassador Kislyak?  If yes, identify who provided you with this information, when, and the substance of what you were told.

You have to love Trump’s answer to this one:

[No answer provided]

Incomplete, inadequate, insufficient, sure, but hardly imprecise.   As precise a “fuck you, asshole” as you can write using three other words.   Why have I never seen any reference to this colossal FUCK YOU in the media?

I’ve got to ask Preet Bharara about this one.   As a former federal prosecutor, Preet, did you ever encounter this kind of in-your-fucking-face fuck you, you fucking fuck, even from the most psychopathic mobster?    Is there no sanction for this kind of deliberate and brazen evasion?

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