White House officials viewed the discussion as a sign that Mr. Mueller’s investigation of Mr. Trump could be nearing the end. But even if that is so, allowing prosecutors to interview a sitting president who has a history of hyperbolic or baseless assertions carries legal risk for him.
.. Mr. Mueller appeared most interested in asking questions about the former national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, and the firing of the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey — not the broader question of possible collusion with Russia.
.. Mr. Trump has sat for depositions before and shown discipline when under oath. His testimony in civil cases reveals a canny ability to avoid being cornered and a frank acknowledgment that he uses “truthful hyperbole” or “innocent exaggeration.” But he has never faced questioning from someone like Mr. Mueller, a veteran prosecutor and former F.B.I. director who has a dozen experienced litigators behind him.
.. “It’s pretty clear when Ty Cobb came in, he tightened up the ship and had a talk with Trump and must have said: ‘You’re O.K. on collusion. Stop attacking Mueller directly.’”
.. Mr. Mueller would almost certainly want to speak directly with Mr. Trump in person. They said Mr. Trump’s lawyers would want to prevent Mr. Mueller from putting Mr. Trump alone before a grand jury, where lawyers normally are not present.
.. Mr. Trump’s lawyers would do all they could to show Mr. Mueller they were cooperating to prevent the special counsel from putting him before the grand jury.