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Trump says he is willing to be interviewed under oath by Mueller

US President willing to speak under oath about Russian meddling in election

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump said on Wednesday he is willing to be interviewed under oath by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

"I am looking forward to it, actually," Mr Trump said of an interview with Mr Mueller, a former Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) director.

"I would do it under oath."

Mr Trump has pledged cooperation with Mr Mueller's probe before, but he made his assertion as the White House and allies in Congress have stepped up attacks on the investigation's credibility, and Mr Trump has hedged on whether he would answer questions.

His lawyers have been talking to Mr Mueller's team about an interview, according to sources.

"I would like to do it as soon as possible," Mr Trump said. But he said that setting a date certain for an interview would be "subject to my lawyers and all of that".

Mr Ty Cobb, lawyer in charge of the White House response to Mr Mueller's probe, said Mr Trump was speaking hurriedly to reporters before departing for Davos, Switzerland.

Mr Cobb said Mr Trump emphasised he remains committed to cooperating with the investigation and looked forward to speaking with Mr Mueller.

He added that Mr Mueller's team and Mr Trump's personal lawyers were working out the arrangements for a meeting.

Sources told Reuters earlier on Wednesday that senior US intelligence officers, including Central Intelligence Agency director Mike Pompeo, had been questioned by Mr Mueller's team about whether Mr Trump had tried to obstruct justice in the Russia probe.

Such questioning is further indication that Mr Mueller's criminal investigation into purported Russian interference in the election and potential collusion by Mr Trump's campaign includes examining the President's actions around the probe.

More than 20 White House personnel have voluntarily given interviews to Mr Mueller's team, Fox News reported on Wednesday.

It is unusual for FBI interviews to be conducted under oath. But even if Mr Trump is not interviewed by Mr Mueller's team under oath, it would still be a crime for him to lie to federal agents, said Mr Andrew Wright, a former associate counsel to President Barack Obama. - REUTERS

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