October 11, 2018 / 10:54 PM / 6 days ago

Trump's lawyers preparing answers to questions in Russia probe: source

NEW YORK (Reuters) - President Donald Trump’s lawyers are preparing answers to questions for the U.S. special counsel probing Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, a source familiar with the matter said on Thursday.

FILE PHOTO: Special Counsel Robert Mueller departs after briefing the U.S. House Intelligence Committee on his investigation of potential collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., June 20, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein -/File Photo

The development, first reported by CNN, appears to show progress after several months of talks between the special counsel, Robert Mueller, and Trump’s legal team in connection with the president answering questions in the investigation.

Rudy Giuliani is seen ahead of U.S. President Donald Trump introducing his Supreme Court nominee in the East Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., July 9, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis

Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani said last month that Mueller wanted the president to commit to a follow-up interview to any written questions, a position Trump’s legal team was resisting.

The question of a potential interview has not yet been settled. But the source told Reuters that Mueller was willing to accept written answers to questions without a commitment from Trump’s lawyers over what comes next.

A spokesman for Mueller declined to comment.

U.S. President Donald Trump arrives followed by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton for the annual meeting of the Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons at the White House in Washington, U.S., October 11, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

In an interview on Tuesday, Giuliani told Reuters: “We are not prepared to agree to more questions until the first group of questions are asked, answered and somebody can explain to us why that isn’t enough.”

Giuliani reiterated that Trump would be willing to answer questions on whether his campaign had colluded with Moscow to influence the 2016 election, but not whether he had acted to obstruct the Russia probe. Mueller is investigating both.

In an NBC News interview last year, Trump tied his decision to fire FBI Director James Comey to the investigation into Russian election meddling. At the time of his firing, Comey was leading the probe.

U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that Russia interfered in the election to try to tip it toward Trump and away from his Democratic challenger, Hillary Clinton. Moscow has denied any interference, while Trump has denied any collusion with Russia and any obstruction of justice.

Reporting by Karen Freifeld; writing by Tim Ahmann; Editing by Cynthia Osterman

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