Comments represent hardening of White House stance on sit-down in Russia probeWASHINGTON— Rudy Giuliani said Sunday that President Donald Trump would only submit to an interview with Robert Mueller if the special counsel could show a “factual basis” for the Russia investigation, which he characterized as corrupt.The new statement from Mr. Trump’s lawyer, repeated on three Sunday news shows and in an interview with the New York Times, suggests prospects are receding for a sit-down between the president and Mr. Mueller... “We would not recommend an interview for the president unless they can satisfy us that there is some basis for this investigation,” Mr. Giuliani said on NBC, a hardening of the White House’s stance after months of negotiations on the terms under which the president would agree to testify.
The special counsel investigation was established by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to handle the FBI’s Russia investigation, which began in 2016, after Mr. Trump fired FBI Director James Comey in May 2017.
The enabling documents for the probe authorize Mr. Mueller to investigate “any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump” as well as “any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation.”
.. Lawyers for Mr. Trump had been eyeing early July as a possible time for an interview with the special counsel, likely at Camp David or the White House and lasting for about 2½ hours.
.. Earlier this year, Mr. Trump said he would be willing to testify under oath. But Mr. Giuliani later struck a more combative stance, saying he should only agree to such a meeting if federal prosecutors made clear the role played by a suspected informant said to have approached Trump campaign aides.
.. Mr. Giuliani said the investigation wouldn’t find any “evidence of wrongdoing” by the president.
“I have a pretty good idea because I have seen all the documents that they have,” Mr. Giuliani said on CNN, adding the investigation had produced 1.4 million documents.
.. Mr. Giuliani cited an inspector general report that found a former Federal Bureau of Investigation agent on Mr. Mueller’s team, Peter Strzok, had sent text messages critical of Mr. Trump. Mr. Strzok was reassigned from his post last summer after Mr. Mueller learned about the messages. “It cast a taint over the entire investigation,” Mr. Giuliani said on ABC. He added: “This is the most corrupt investigation I have ever seen.”
.. Mr. Trump would be “like a lamb going to the slaughter” if he were to testify, Mr. Giuliani added.
.. Mr. Giuliani also said he had “zero” concerns about Mr. Trump’s longtime personal lawyer Michael Cohen speaking with federal prosecutors as part of a separate probe into Mr. Cohen’s business dealings. Mr. Cohen has denied any wrongdoing. “As long as he tells the truth,” said Mr. Giuliani, “We’re home free.”