Donald Trump backed away from a commitment to be interviewed by special counsel Robert Mueller, during a joint press conference yesterday with Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg.
When asked whether he would talk to Mueller’s team, Trump deflected the question by repeatedly stating there was “no collusion” between his campaign team and Russia.
“I’ll see what happens. But when they have no collusion – and nobody has found any collusion at any level – it seems unlikely that you would even have an interview,” Trump said. He called the investigation a “Democrat hoax.”
The comments are at odds with an earlier commitment Trump made, when he said he would be “100 per cent” willing to meet with Mueller, who informed Trump’s lawyers in December that his team is “likely to request an interview with the President”, the Washington Post says.
CNN reports that Trump used the phrase “no collusion” seven times in a single answer to Fox News chief White House correspondent John Roberts, calling his use of the phrase a “virtually Pavlovian” response to any mention of the Russia probe.
In answer to further questions on the topic, Trump drew comparisons with what he called the FBI’s “ridiculous” handling of its 2016 interview with Hillary Clinton over her use of a private email server when she was secretary of state.
“Hillary Clinton had an interview where she wasn’t sworn in, she wasn’t given the oath, they didn’t take notes, they didn’t record and it was done on the Fourth of July weekend,” Trump said.