Robert Mueller investigators interested in interview with Donald Trump

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team of investigators has expressed interest in speaking with Donald Trump as its investigation into potential coordination between Russia and the president’s election campaign looks set to reach right into the Oval Office, it emerged on Monday.

No details are set at this stage, including a date for any possible interview, the scope of questions or even whether an interview will take place, according to a person familiar with the matter, who spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

But the source expressed the view that it was not surprising that Mueller’s team would want to interview Trump as part of the investigation that got under way last year and has been working its way closer and closer to the ultimate seat of power.

Trump has insisted there was “no collusion” between his campaign team and anyone connected with the Russian government who might have been involved in any effort to interfere with the 2016 election and sway it in his favor. He repeated this assertion 16 times in a 30-minute impromptu interview with the New York Times at his golf club in Florida shortly after Christmas.

Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort is suing the Department of Justice in an attempt to foil the inquiry, which late last year indicted him on money-laundering charges.

Mueller’s team briefly interviewed Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner in November, chiefly in relation to Trump’s fired national security adviser Michael Flynn. In a crucial step for the Russia investigation, it emerged in December that Flynn is cooperating with the investigators after admitting lying to the FBI shortly after the presidential inauguration about conversations he had held with the then Russian ambassador, Sergey Kislyak, concerning US sanctions on Russia and other matters.

At the weekend, former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon apologized for accusing Trump’s eldest son, Donald Jr, of treasonous and unpatriotic conduct in meeting with Russians at Trump Tower during the election. This was just one of many explosive criticisms of Trump, Bannon’s former boss, his staff and family in media commentator Michael Wolff’s instant-blockbuster book Fire and Fury about the the Trump administration, which was first revealed by the Guardian.

On Monday a spokesman for Mueller declined to comment, as did Trump lawyer John Dowd.

A White House spokesman pointed to a statement from White House lawyer Ty Cobb saying the White House does not publicly discuss its conversations with Mueller.