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Questions Mount About If And When Robert Mueller Will Interview Trump


Well, if President Trump is going to sit down with special counsel Robert Mueller, Trump's legal team wants to keep the conversation to a minimum. The Washington Post reported last night that the president's attorneys gave Mueller's team written descriptions of events in hopes of limiting the scope of a potential presidential interview. This comes, of course, as President Trump went on Twitter over the weekend criticizing the special counsel investigation. Some Republicans have told the president to back off and let Mueller do his job. Others have come to the president's defense, and they include Congressman Jim Jordan. He's a Republican from Ohio and a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus and joins us this morning.

Congressman, welcome back to the program.

JIM JORDAN: Good to be with you, David.

GREENE: So yesterday, Senator Bob Corker, Republican of Tennessee, said the president needs to leave Mueller alone. Senator Orrin Hatch, also a Republican, said, quote, "it would be the stupidest thing the president could do to fire Bob Mueller." Tell me your take here.

JORDAN: The White House has been very clear. They don't want to fire Bob Mueller. They're going to let him complete his investigation. But frankly, let's be honest. He should focus on what his charge is, and that is to look for any coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia to impact the 2016 election - to date, not one bit of evidence to suggest that there was any collusion, any coordination at all between the Trump campaign and Russia.

GREENE: But do you know that he's not focusing on what he's supposed to be focusing on? I mean...

JORDAN: We don't know, but we do know it's been a darn long time. And it's about time to wrap it up, so let's hope that he does that. And I guess I would just say, look, if any American had the former director of the FBI with 15 of the top lawyers in the country investigating them, at some point, you'd want it to end, particularly when there's been no evidence at all that's been brought forward by any congressional committees and the special counsel to suggest any type of coordination. So at some point, you want to say like, wow, this should probably stop; it's been a year already. Any other American who had to go through that would be frustrated by that. So I just hope it gets over with as soon as possible, and we can move on to doing what the American people elected us to do.

GREENE: But Congressman, you went to law school, right?

JORDAN: I did.

GREENE: I mean, if you...

JORDAN: Never took the bar exam, so don't, like - I'm not - I'm just a wannabe. but...

GREENE: But if you were Robert Mueller and you were carrying out an investigation of such importance and such weight, looking at whether and how a foreign government intervened in an election, wouldn't you want the freedom to take as long as you need to dot every I, cross every T, and really look into this and not have, for example, the president of the United States and lawmakers hounding you and saying, why is it taking so long? Why is it taking so long?

JORDAN: Well, well, fair enough, but by the same token, at some point, you got to say, OK, let's have something here, particularly in light of what we know has happened at the top levels of the FBI, particularly in light of all the evidence to suggest what key people at the FBI did, particularly relative to the dossier. That's, I think, what concerns so many of us. It looks like there was a push to take a disproven, unverified, salacious dossier, dress it all up as legitimate intelligence, take it to the secret court to get a warrant to spy on the campaign in the first place.

GREENE: Now, those concerns have been expressed by Republicans like yourself. But I have to - does that make you not trust Robert Mueller? Do you think he's not...

JORDAN: I didn't...

GREENE: ...Doing a credible job?

JORDAN: I've never said I didn't trust him. I did say, when he was - this - it's clear back when he was first named as the special counsel that, frankly, I didn't have the utmost confidence in the guy because the one interaction I had had with Mr. Mueller, he wasn't too confidence-inspiring. And that was just a few weeks after the IRS targeting scandal broke. He was in front of the Judiciary Committee, and I asked him three simple questions - who the lead agent is on the case, how many agents have been assigned to the case, and have you talked to any of the victims? And his answers to all three questions were, I don't know, I don't know, I don't know - so not exactly a confidence-inspiring answer, which, at the time, was the biggest in - biggest story in the country.

GREENE: OK, let's say - you agree that this is about looking into whether Russia intervened in a U.S. election. You say that you have some concerns about Bob Mueller, but you never said that you didn't trust him. You've said that you would love this to be over soon but that you understand why someone in the legal world like him would need time. What is the problem here? Why don't you agree with some Republicans...

JORDAN: I think...

GREENE: ...Who are saying that it's best for the president to lay off and let this carry out, especially if...

JORDAN: Well, I think the White House has said...

GREENE: ...The president, as he says he is, is innocent?

JORDAN: I think the White House has said they're going to let Bob Mueller finish his investigation. They reiterated that again yesterday. So that hasn't changed the fact that the president has sent out some tweets that are somewhat critical. I mean, frankly, when you look at what the FBI did - and remember, the top people at the FBI is who we're talking about. Jim Comey's been fired. Andrew McCabe has been fired. Jim Rybicki, former chief of staff, has left the FBI. Jim Baker, former general counsel - chief counsel, I should say, at the FBI, has been demoted and reassigned.

GREENE: But despite all of that, you still say you trust Bob Mueller.

JORDAN: Peter Strzok, deputy...

GREENE: And Bob Mueller has returned some indictments.

JORDAN: Peter Strzok, deputy in charge of counterintelligence...


JORDAN: ....At the FBI has been demoted and reassigned. And Lisa Page...

GREENE: I understand. But at the end of the day, you say that you....

JORDAN: ...Has been demoted and reassigned. These are the top people.

GREENE: You say you trust this special counsel. He has returned indictments against Russians. And he is carrying out an investigation in which, really, the safety of our democracy may be at stake. Why not let this thing play out as long as it needs to?

JORDAN: I think it's - it is playing out. And it probably will play out as long as it needs to or as long - I mean, I don't know if it's long as it needs to, but as long as Robert Mueller thinks it needs to is probably how long it'll play out. And the White House has been very clear that they're going to allow that to happen. They're not going to fire Mr. Mueller. OK, fine. Let's go. But what also needs to happen and something we called for seven months ago - and I don't like special counsels. But I see no other remedy than to have a second special counsel look at the top level of the FBI and what engaged in.

GREENE: If you think one special counsel investigation's going on too long, you think a second special counsel would help with that problem?

JORDAN: I - that's why I said I don't like special counsels, but I don't see any other remedy. You tell me how the FBI's going investigate themselves. Tell me how that's going to work, right?

GREENE: Congressman Jim Jordan is a Republican of Ohio, member of the House Freedom Caucus. Congressman, thanks for joining us this morning.

JORDAN: You bet. Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.