WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Donald Trump is reportedly reconsidering his decision to be interviewed by special counsel Robert Mueller in the wake of Monday’s FBI raid on his personal attorney, Michael Cohen.
According to a report published by ABC 7 Chicago, Trump, who has been engaged in negotiations with Meuller’s legal team to arrange a sit-down interview for the past several months, see’s Monday’s raid of Cohen’s office as a game changer.
Just last month, Trump said he would be “happy” to sit down with Mueller and answer any questions he may have in regard to what, if anything, the president knew about alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. But now, one source close to the White House says the president is “understandably less trusting” of Mueller and his team.
Monday evening after Cohen’s lawyer, Stephen Ryan, confirmed the raid, a visibly angry Trump addressed the media inside the White House Cabinet Room, calling the search of Cohen’s office “a disgrace”.
Mueller’s Russia investigation is “not only a political witch hunt but an attack on our country,” said Trump. “It’s an attack on our country in a true sense. It’s an attack on what we all stand for.”
As reported by The New York Times, FBI agents were looking for information relating to a $130,000 payment made to Stormy Daniels in exchange for a confidentiality agreement she signed in the midst of Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. Daniels, who now claims the agreement was void because it was never signed by Trump, claims to have had a sexual relationship with Donald Trump more than a decade ago after having denied of any sort of relationship with the then-private citizen Trump in the past.
The warrant also called for any and all documents connected to a $150,000 donation given to a Trump charity in 2015 by a Ukrainian businessman who is also on the record as having given tens of millions of dollars to Bill and Hillary Clinton in the past.
Not holding back in showing his anger, Trump openly questioned whether or not he should fire Mueller, who serves as the special counsel appointed to investigate Russian influence on the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.
“Why don’t I just fire Mueller? Well, I think it’s a disgrace what’s going on — we’ll see what happens,” Trump said on Monday.
The Mueller team is “the most conflicted group of people I’ve ever seen,” he added, pointing out the fact that a majority of Mueller’s aides are Democrats who had worked for President Barack Obama.
“They’re not looking at the other side,” he complained, referencing the ongoing longstanding investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server. “They’re not looking at the Hillary Clinton horrible things that she did and all of the crimes that she committed.”
Meanwhile, a top Republican senator said Tuesday that it would be “suicide” for President Trump to fire Mueller.
“I have confidence in Mueller. The president ought to have confidence in Mueller. I think … it would be suicide for the president to want, to talk about firing Mueller,” Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) told Fox Business Network. “The less the president said on this whole thing, the better off he would be, the stronger his presidency would be.”
The second- highest ranking Republican in the Senate, John Cornyn of Texas, says he too is confident that Trump won’t fire Mueller.
Addressing a crowd of reporters on Tuesday, Cornyn said Mueller “ought to be permitted to complete his work and I have confidence he’ll do so in a professional way.”
When asked why he thinks Mueller won’t be removed despite the president’s openly considering of the idea, Cornyn said: “I think the consequences of doing so are some that not even the president can anticipate. And I think it would be a mistake.”
Angry over the president’s comments on Monday, Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) challenged the president’s comments in a speech Tuesday morning on the Senate floor.
“Special counsel Mueller, the FBI, federal prosecutors and U.S. attorneys are following the due process of our legal system. Calling that an attack on our country undermines the rule of law,” Schumer said.
Schumer added that firing Mueller would be crossing a “red line” and called on Congress to pass legislation to protect Mueller from being removed before his investigation is complete.
Senators had initially unveiled bipartisan legislation designed to protect Mueller in 2017 but decided not to move forward on the grounds that they no longer felt it necessary.
Calls to Mueller’s office for statement were met with “no comment”.