Mueller did not subpoena Trump to expedite end of probe

Former Special Counsel Robert Mueller testifies to the House Intelligence Committee at a hearing on the Office of Special Counsel's investigation into Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Election on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., July 24, 2019. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Former Special Counsel Robert Mueller told lawmakers on Wednesday his team decided not to exercise its subpoena powers against President Donald Trump because it wanted to expedite the end of the investigation and a subpoena could have led to a lengthy legal fight.

“We were almost towards the end of our investigation and we’d had little success pushing to get the interview of the president,” Mueller told the U.S. House Intelligence Committee. “We decided that we did not want to exercise the subpoena powers because of the necessity of expediting the end of the investigation.”

“The expectation was if we did subpoena the president, he would fight the subpoena and we would be in the midst of the investigation for a substantial period of time,” Mueller added.

The former special counsel said his office had hoped to interview Trump but ended up accepting written answers from the president to a series of questions. Mueller indicated the written answers from the president were imprecise, incomplete and insufficient.

“They were certainly not as useful as the interview would be,” Mueller said.

Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; Writing by David Alexancer; Editing by Eric Beech and Cynthia Osterman