I do not understand why Trump’s lawyers have spent so much energy in the last couple of days provoking coverage of whether he would testify to the Mueller probe. They have based this on their own predictions that they will be asked, without any assertion or reporting that they have been asked. So why talk about it? All they accomplished was forcing their client to be asked about it at least twice yesterday in media encounters. It seems, whenever this probe recedes to the background where it is better off for the president his own lawyers bring it back to the forefront.
And what makes them think they have any leverage in this anyway? The Nixon tapes case, broadly and unanimously decided by the Supreme Court, established that executive privilege does not override the needs of judicial process or a criminal investigation unless national security is somehow demonstrably at stake. That precedent is one reason Bill Clinton’s legal team did not fight a subpoena to testify.
Bob Mueller has no reason to concede anything. He can get Trump’s testimony in any way, shape or form he wants it. The president’s only choices are to re-litigate the Nixon case (he’ll lose), take the Fifth (politically disastrous), or answer the questions.
Trump’s “no collusion” mantra will be irrelevant if he takes questions under threat of perjury. The real questions will be about financial crimes, election fraud and obstruction of justice.
I can think of nothing more important about this entire fiasco than finally putting Donald Trump under oath in a setting where lying is ultimately consequential. Only Bob Mueller has the power, the right and the responsibility to get that done.