WASHINGTON ― Former special counsel Robert Mueller said Wednesday that he would have preferred to interview President Donald Trump but decided not to subpoena him because it would have taken too long to fight over the subpoena in court.
“We were almost towards the end of our investigation and we had little success in pushing to get the interview of the president,” Mueller said. “We decided that we did not want to exercise our subpoena powers because of the necessity of expediting the end of the investigation.”
“The expectation was if we did subpoena the president, he would fight the subpoena and we would be in the midst of the investigation for a substantial period of time,” Mueller said.
Trump provided written answers to written questions, but claimed more than 30 times that he didn’t recall, didn’t remember or didn’t have “independent recollection” of information investigators were seeking. An appendix in the Mueller report indicates that Mueller’s team believed that Trump’s answers were insufficient, but that they ultimately decided that a lengthy court fight would delay their investigation.
Mueller indicated Wednesday that Trump’s written answers were “certainly not as useful as the interview would be.”
“We understood we could subpoena the president,” Mueller said. “We had to make a balance decision.”
Here’s what the Mueller report says about the decision not to subpoena Trump: