WASHINGTON (AFP) - A lawyer for Mr Donald Trump on Sunday (Dec 16) pushed back against reports that the special counsel investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 election might be seeking to interview the President, saying it would happen only "over my dead body".
Mr Rudy Giuliani said special counsel Robert Mueller and his team of prosecutors could not be trusted to deal fairly with the President, suggesting they had trapped another witness into committing perjury.
Asked on Fox News Sunday about reports Mr Mueller now wants a face-to-face interview to follow up on Mr Trump's submission of written answers, Mr Giuliani shot back: "Good luck. Good luck."
"Over my dead body."
Mr Mueller's 19-month-long probe into possible Russian collusion with the Trump election campaign has led to dozens of indictments for federal crimes and several guilty pleas or convictions.
Regarding a separate federal inquiry into hush-money payments by Mr Trump to two women alleging sexual encounters with him, Mr Giuliani said they did not violate federal election law because, he said, they were intended to help Mr Trump avoid embarrassing his family - not to influence the 2016 election.
"I can produce witnesses that the President was concerned about how it would affect his children, his marriage," Mr Giuliani told Fox.
"I know what he was concerned about. I can produce 20 witnesses to tell you what he was concerned about."
Mr Trump's former personal lawyer Michael Cohen was sentenced last week to three years in prison in connection with the payments to an adult film star and a former Playboy model.
Cohen said he regretted having helped the President carry out his "dirty deeds".
Mr Trump, who first denied knowledge of the payments, then blamed them on bad advice from Cohen, posted an angry tweet on Sunday blasting the FBI's handling of his former lawyer.
"Remember, Michael Cohen only became a 'Rat' after the FBI did something which was absolutely unthinkable & unheard of until the Witch Hunt was illegally started. They BROKE INTO AN ATTORNEY'S OFFICE!"
The FBI had a legal warrant to raid Cohen's office.
Asked on Fox whether anyone had suggested to Cohen that he might receive a presidential pardon if he refused to testify against Mr Trump, Mr Giuliani said, "The liar can say whatever he wants. There will be no pardons."