Opinion writer

* President Trump is less than eager to answer Robert Mueller’s questions:

President Trump on Wednesday declined to say whether he would grant an interview to special counsel Robert S. Mueller III and his team, deflecting questions on the topic by saying there had been “no collusion” between his campaign and Russia during the 2016 presidential election.

“We’ll see what happens,” Trump said when asked directly about meeting with the special counsel.

Trump then questioned why he would be interviewed, arguing again there had been “no collusion” between his campaign and Russia.

“When they have no collusion — and nobody’s found any collusion at any level — it seems unlikely that you’d even have an interview,” Trump said during a news conference at the White House with Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg.

I think criminal suspects everywhere should use this tactic. “You don’t need to interrogate me, officer, because I’m totally innocent.” “That’s good enough for us — you’re free to go!”

* The administration is getting ready to screw up everybody’s taxes:

The Trump administration is pushing American businesses to withhold fewer taxes from paychecks by February, aiming to quickly deliver the boost in take-home pay that Republicans promised their tax law would bring.

But the rush could expose millions of workers to the risk of underpaying taxes to the government now, which means they might owe more than they are expecting when they file taxes in April 2019.

Business and taxpayers looking for clarity will be appealing to an Internal Revenue Service that, according to an internal watchdog report Wednesday, is underfunded and ill-prepared to answer basic questions. The national taxpayer advocate, an independent official within the IRS, noted the agency has estimated it would need $495 million in 2018 and 2019 to meet the new obligations created by the GOP tax law.

The gutting of the IRS has been a long-term Republican project, and they actually like it when the tax agency can’t properly do its job.

* Matt Zapotosky reports that Robert Mueller has added a prosecutor with expertise in cybercrimes to his team, indicating what may be an additional focus of his inquiry.

* Mike DeBonis, Erica Werner, and Ed O’Keefe report on the thinking among Democrats as they mull if, and when, they want to force a government shutdown.

* Anita Kumar reports that Republicans say the biggest impediment to an agreement to protect the “dreamers” is hard-line White House aide Stephen Miller.

* GOP Rep. Darrell Issa is retiring, prompting Cook Political Report to shift his California district from the “Tossup” to “Leans Democratic” category, creating yet another big pickup opportunity for Dems.

* A new Gallup poll finds the GOP tax bill at 33-55, meaning GOP predictions of public applause have yet to come to pass.

* Psychiatrist Richard Friedman argues that we don’t need to give Donald Trump a psychological examination to make a judgment about whether he’s fit to be president.

* Cristian Farias gives a good analysis of the decision of the federal court that struck down the Trump administration’s effort to shut down DACA.

* Jonathan Chait argues that Republicans have taught themselves to value stupidity in a president, leading ultimately to Donald Trump.

* Marcy Wheeler says Congress is poised to give protections from government electronic eavesdropping to criminal suspects, but not to ordinary citizens the government might spy on.

* Kurt Bardella, who used to work for Steve Bannon at Breitbart, explains how Bannon’s character and agenda made his demise inevitable.

* Susan Glasser explains what Michael Wolff missed by not trying to understand Washington better.

* Will Bunch laments what the Oprah for president frenzy tells us about the state of our politics.

* At The Week, I explained why Trump’s lawyers are so terrified of what will happen if the president sits down for an interview with Robert Mueller.

* And Glenn Kessler and Meg Kelly report that President Trump has made 2,000 false or misleading statements in the time he’s been in office. Congrats to the president on this historic achievement.