President Donald Trump will not answer questions from federal investigators, in writing or in person, about whether he tried to block the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 elections, one of the president's lawyers told The Associated Press on Thursday.
Trump's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, said the questions about the obstruction of justice were a "no-go".
Giuliani's statement was the most definitive rejection to date of Robert Mueller's special efforts to interview the president about any attempt to obstruct the investigation into possible coordination between his campaign and the Russians.
He notes that Trump's attorneys are committed to protecting the president from answering questions about the actions the president took in his position.
Trump's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, said the questions about the obstruction of justice were a "no-go". The former mayor of New York City is seen last month in New Hampshire
It is unclear if Giuliani's public position has been backed by Trump, who has said he wants to answer questions under oath.
Negotiations on the scope and format of an interview are still ongoing.
If the legal team maintains its position, it could force Mueller to try to summon the president, which would probably provoke a confrontation that would lead to the Supreme Court.
Mueller's office has previously tried to interview the president on the issue of obstruction, including the dismissal last year of former FBI Director James Comey and his public attacks on Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Trump's legal team has argued that the president has the power to hire and fire designated people and the special attorney does not have the authority to ask him to explain those decisions.
Giuliani said Thursday that the team held firm in that position.
It is unclear if Giuliani's public position has been backed by President Donald Trump (seen earlier in Montana on Thursday), who has said he wants to answer questions under oath.
& # 39; That's a no-go. That will not happen, "Giuliani said.
& # 39; There will be no questions about obstruction & # 39;
In a letter last week, Mueller's team said it would accept written responses from Trump on issues related to Russian electoral interference.
Giuliani suggested on Thursday that Trump's lawyers had accepted those terms, but he wanted to prohibit investigators from asking follow-up questions.
& # 39; It would be in written form and if you want to follow up on our answers, justify it. Show us why you did not get there the first time, "Giuliani said.
He said he did not categorically rule out answering a second round of questions, but that the whole question of whether there would be follow-up consultations should be resolved before the president answers anything.
"We're not going to let them worry about us," said Giuliani, who served as a lawyer and spokesman for the president's personal legal team, using television interviews and public comments as a tactic in the negotiations.
In the last letter to the legal team, Mueller's office did not address the obstruction questions, indicating that the investigators would then evaluate the additional information needed from the president after receiving a response on the written submissions, according to a person familiar with the document.
The team of Special Counsel Robert Mueller (above) raised the possibility in March that he could quote the president, although this would undoubtedly provoke a fight in court
The person familiar with the letter spoke on condition of anonymity because the person was not authorized to publicly discuss the negotiations.
Although the president has said publicly that he was anxious to answer Mueller's questions, his lawyers have been much more reluctant to make him available for an interview and have questioned whether Mueller has the right to ask him about the actions he is authorizing, according to the Constitution. . , take as president.
Mueller's team raised the possibility in March that he could quote the president, although this would undoubtedly provoke a fight in court.
The Supreme Court has never ruled definitively on the question of whether a president can be forced to testify, although the judges decided in 1974 that Richard Nixon had to produce recordings and documents that had been cited.
In addition to questions about Comey and Sessions, Mueller has expressed interest in Trump's role in writing a statement before The New York Times about a meeting at Trump Tower in June 2016 attended by his son, Donald Trump Jr., and a Russian lawyer.
Trump Jr. took the meeting, emails are shown, after it was described as part of a Russian government effort to help his father's campaign by providing derogatory information about Democrat Hillary Clinton.
Trump has said he knew nothing about the meeting before it happened.
Trump and Giuliani have led an avalanche of attacks on Mueller's credibility, claiming that the special lawyer was biased and that the entire investigation was a "witch hunt."
Giuliani also demanded that the investigation suspend its activities as the mid-term elections approach, but the former mayor said on Thursday he was not sure of Mueller's intentions.