President Trump’s personal lawyer on Monday said the president’s written answers to special counsel Robert Mueller should not be made public.
“I would fight very aggressively for that information to not to be released,” Jay Sekulow said on CNN’s “New Day” in one of several morning-show interviews he gave Monday. “You’d have to weigh a lot of factors there on how that affects other presidencies. So I think it’s not a simple ‘just waive your hand and here’ we release the document. That would be very inappropriate.”
Sekulow conceded that ultimately it would be up to Attorney General William Barr to decide whether to release Trump’s written answers to Mueller.
“That will be a decision the attorney general makes,” Sekulow said, “but I have some strong opinions about that.”
In a four-page summary of the special counsel’s still-confidential report, Barr stated that Mueller did not find any evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Mueller, though, did not come to a conclusion on the question of whether Trump obstructed justice, Barr said.
“While this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him,” Barr wrote in his synopsis of the report.
Mueller, whose team interviewed hundreds of witnesses — including Trump campaign officials and associates — as part of the two-year probe, had sought to interview Trump himself. Sekulow and others successfully negotiated to have the president give written answers to Mueller’s questions about collusion but not obstruction of justice.
The responses were submitted on Nov. 20.
Last week Trump said that Mueller’s report should be made public.
“Let it come out, let people see it,” the president told reporters. “Let’s see whether or not it’s legit.”
Even if the report is eventually made public, presumably with redactions for security purposes, it’s not known whether it would include any or all of the responses Sekulow wants to keep hidden, excerpts from them or a summary.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Trump is “fully open to transparency” and that she doesn’t think the president has any problem with releasing the report.
But she said the decision would be up to Barr and stopped short of committing to the release of a complete report.
“We want to make sure we protect the office of the presidency,” Sanders said.
Speaking to reporters inside the Oval Office on Monday afternoon, Trump was asked if the entire Mueller report should be made public.
"Up to the attorney general," Trump said. "Wouldn't bother me at all."
The president repeated his claim that there are "a lot people who have done some very, very evil things" and “treasonous things” who ought to be investigated.
"I love this country as much as I can love anything. My family, my country, my god," he added. "But what they did — it was a false narrative. It was a terrible thing."
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