RUDOLPH W. GIULIANI, President Trump’s lawyer, told the Wall Street Journal in an interview published Sunday that Mr. Trump would not sit down with special counsel Robert S. Mueller III if the meeting would fall after Sept. 1, “because we’re not going to be the ones to interfere with the election.” We would accuse Mr. Giuliani of moving the goal posts, except that Mr. Trump’s lawyers have never clearly pledged that the president would meet with Mr. Mueller at any time. Just last week they suggested Mr. Trump would take questions about collusion but not obstruction of justice.
This silly game has gone on far too long. The country was attacked. Mr. Mueller is trying to determine what happened. The president should be eager to help the country learn and move on. Instead, his lawyers have spent the summer hemming and hawing about the right circumstances for an interview.
This summer has brought increasingly dire reminders that Russia interfered with the 2016 U.S. election and that it intends to continue meddling in the country’s democracy. Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats said in July that “warning lights are blinking red” about Kremlin cyber-efforts to meddle in the midterm elections. Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) revealed last month that Russians targeted her computer systems for hacking. The president’s senior national security staff stood at the White House lectern on Aug. 2 to inform the country that Russian election interference is a substantial, continuing threat that they take seriously. The message from the nation’s best-informed senior officials was clear, even if, later that evening, Mr. Trump complained that the Russia “hoax” was hurting his relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Meanwhile, questions continue to mount about interactions between the Trump team and Russians in 2016. Mr. Trump last week offered his clearest admission yet that a June 2016 Trump Tower meeting between his senior staff and a Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer was aimed at obtaining damaging information about Hillary Clinton — information that his staff was told was part of a Russian government plot to help Mr. Trump. Mr. Trump later dictated a false statement about the purpose of the meeting. He also, in May 2017, fired FBI D irector James B. Comey in an apparent effort to curtail the Russia probe.
If Mr. Trump has done nothing wrong and intends to tell the truth, he should welcome Mr. Mueller’s questioning and do everything possible to hasten the special counsel’s final report. Yet , Mr. Giuliani raised the possibility of the Trump side instead preparing its own report to counter whatever Mr. Mueller releases. The effort to create a he-said, he-said situation only heightens the impression that the president has reason to fear the truth. To help dispel that impression, he should answer Mr. Mueller’s questions, and soon.