Report: Mueller Told Trump He Isn't a 'Criminal Target'

But that doesn't mean he's off the hook, analysts say
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 4, 2018 3:58 AM CDT
Report: Mueller Told Trump He Isn't a 'Criminal Target'
President Trump speaks in the Diplomatic Room of the White House.   (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

Robert Mueller has told President Trump's lawyers that he is only a "subject" of his investigation, not a criminal "target," insiders say. Sources tell the Washington Post that the special counsel told the attorneys that he still wants to interview Trump and he is preparing a report about the president's conduct in office and whether Trump sought to obstruct his investigation of possible Russian meddling in the 2016 election. Mueller's team has "said they want to write a report on this to answer the public’s questions—and they need the president’s interview as the last step," one of the Post's sources says. The insiders say Trump has expressed relief at not being a "target," though legal experts warn that the president shouldn't start thinking he is in the clear and can put the investigation behind him.

"If I were the president, I would be very reluctant to think I’m off the hook," says Princeton University impeachment expert Keith Whittington, noting that what Trump says in a deposition "could wind up changing how the special counsel is thinking about him." Politico notes that Mueller may have concluded that Trump is not a criminal target of the investigation because of legal opinions in 1973 and 2000 that stated sitting presidents can't be indicted. "All today's news tells us is that Mueller hasn't decided to indict Trump at this time," tweeted former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti. "If Trump's lawyers know what they're doing, they'll tell him he's still under great risk." (The Mueller investigation has sent a Dutch attorney to jail.)

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