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Mueller inquiry: Trump fears ‘perjury trap’ in Russia inquiry

Donald Trump


US President Donald Trump has said he is worried he might face perjury charges if he gives statements under oath to the investigation into Russia’s alleged role in his election victory.

He told Reuters news agency he feared any discrepancies between his account and others could be used against him.


Mr. Trump also suggested he could take over the investigation run by special counsel Robert Mueller, but said he’d decided to stay out of it.

He has called the inquiry a witch-hunt.

Russia also strongly denies claims it interfered in the 2016 election, which saw Mr. Trump defeat Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.

In the Reuters interview, Mr. Trump expressed concern that any statement he made to investigators could be compared with that of others who have testified, such as former FBI chief James Comey, and that any discrepancies could be used against him.

He was echoing previous concerns by his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, who said Mr. Trump could be “trapped into perjury.”

“So, if I say something and he (Comey) says something, and it’s my word against his, and he’s best friends with Mueller, so Mueller might say: ‘Well, I believe Comey,’ and even if I’m telling the truth, that makes me a liar. That’s no good,” President Trump said.

Mr. Trump also asserted that he could, if he wanted to, intervene in the investigation, but added that he had chosen not to do so for now.

“I’ve decided to stay out. Now I don’t have to stay out. I can go in, and I could do whatever – I could run it if I want. But I decided to stay out,” he said.

“I’m totally allowed to be involved if I wanted to be. So far, I haven’t chosen to be involved. I’ll stay out.”

In an interview with NBC on Sunday, Mr. Giuliani was asked whether the Trump team was stalling about a possible testimony at the Mueller inquiry.

Mr. Giuliani said: “I’m not going to be rushed into having him testify so he can be trapped into perjury.”

He added: “When you tell me that he should testify because he’s going to tell the truth and he shouldn’t worry, well that’s so silly because it’s somebody’s version of the truth. Not the truth.”

NBC host Chuck Todd countered: “Truth is truth.”

Mr. Giuliani responded by saying: “Truth isn’t truth.” That comment was widely mocked on social media.

Special counsel Mueller is investigating whether President Trump’s campaign team colluded with Russia to influence the outcome of the presidential election.

In 2016, US intelligence agencies concluded that Russia had used a state-authorised campaign of cyber attacks and fake news stories planted on social media in an attempt to turn the election against Mrs. Clinton.

Thirty-two people have now been indicted, including four members of Mr. Trump’s campaign team and 25 Russians.

The president’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, is the first person to go on trial as a result of Mr. Mueller’s investigation.

However, the charges are not related to the US election but instead to tax evasion and money-laundering stemming from his political consultancy work in Ukraine.




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