Friends and lawyers were aghast after President Trump brashly declared yesterday that he was willing to testify under oath for special counsel Bob Mueller, to give his own version of events fired FBI director Jim Comey described.
These people said the fact that Trump blurted out "100 percent!," in response to a question from ABC's Jon Karl, is proof of why the president shouldn't be giving a deposition to a federal prosecutor. He answered in the moment, with brio, and without regard to what his lawyer or aides might advise.
The lawyers pointed out that Trump isn't bound by something he said at a press conference. And his lawyer, Marc Kasowitz, could always set terms that had the effect of delaying or limiting Trump's testimony.
Here are some of the considerations that cause lawyers to strongly advise against such an appearance:
Be smart: Yesterday's declaration shows that Trump's Russia-related comments aren't being fully vetted by his legal team — meaning that he may keep creating new landmines for himself, as Mueller works away.
Exchange of a lifetime at Rose Garden presser, where Trump was side by side with Romanian President Klaus Ioannis:
Trump: "Who would like to ask — should I take one of the killer networks that treat me so badly as fake news? Should I do that? Go ahead, Jon. Be fair, Jon."
ABC's Jonathan Karl: "Oh, absolutely."
Trump: "Remember how nice you used to be before I ran? Such a nice man."
Karl: "Always fair. Mr. President, can we get back to James Comey's testimony. You suggested he didn't tell the truth in everything he said. He did say, under oath, that you told him to let the Flynn — you said you hoped the Flynn investigation he could let — "
Trump: "I didn't say that."
Karl: "So he lied about that?"
Trump: "Well, I didn't say that. I mean, I will tell you I didn't say that. ... And there would be nothing wrong if I did say it, according to everybody that I've read today. But I did not say that."
Karl: "And did he ask for a pledge of loyalty from you?" ...
Trump: "No, he did not."
Karl: "So he said those things under oath. Would you be willing to speak under oath to give your version of those events?"
Trump: "One hundred percent. I didn't say under oath — I hardly know the man. I'm not going to say, I want you to pledge allegiance. Who would do that? Who would ask a man to pledge allegiance under oath? I mean, think of it. I hardly know the man. It doesn't make sense. No, I didn't say that, and I didn't say the other."
Karl: "So if Robert Mueller wanted to speak with you about that you would be willing to talk to him?"
Trump: "I would be glad to tell him exactly what I just told you, Jon."
Karl: "And you seem to be hinting that there are recordings of those conversations."
Trump: "I'm not hinting anything. I'll tell you about it over a very short period of time." ...
Karl: "When will you tell us about the recordings?"
Trump: "Over a fairly short period of time. ... Oh, you're going to be very disappointed when you hear the answer. Don't worry."
"Trump expected to unveil new Cuba policy as early as next Friday," by Reuters' Matt Spetalnick: "Trump is expected to visit Miami as early as next Friday to announce a new Cuba policy that could tighten rules on trade and travel, rolling back parts of ... Obama's opening to the island."
White House statement yesterday: "President Donald J. Trump accepted the invitation of the President of the Republic of Poland, Andrzej Duda, to visit Poland in advance of the G20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany."
Trumplomacy ... "As Tillerson calls for calm, Trump calls out Qatar on terror" AP's Josh Lederman: "Trump is ramping up pressure on Qatar to stop what he calls a 'high level' of financial support of terrorism, even as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson tries to calm the worst diplomatic crisis in the Persian Gulf in years."
Phrase that pays ... Trump, asked about NATO in the Rose Garden: "I'm committing the United States, and have committed, but I'm committing the United States to Article 5. And certainly we are there to protect. And that's one of the reasons that I want people to make sure we have a very, very strong force by paying the kind of money necessary to have that force. But, yes, absolutely, I'd be committed to Article 5."
Wall Street Journal front-pager, "Russell Moore, Baptist Leader Who Shunned Trump, Splits the Faithful: The head of the Southern Baptist Convention's public-policy arm triggered a backlash by criticizing Donald Trump's supporters. Now he has no access to the White House," by Ian Lovett in Washington:
Rising stars ... Cover of N.Y. Times Sunday Styles, "'You Can't Rattle Her' ... Katy Tur Is Tougher Than She Looks: The NBC correspondent's swift and surprising rise at the network mirrored that of the presidential candidate she covered and occasionally battled with," by Luisita Torregrossa.
The Nate Silver of London ... "One analyst predicted the UK general election exactly right," by Jim Edwards, founding editor of U.K. edition of Business Insider:
"On May 19, three weeks before the general election, Pantheon Macronomics analyst Samuel Tombs published [a] chart showing the relationship between consumer confidence and the size of a UK government's majority in the House of Commons after a general election. He predicted 'only a slender Tory win.'''
Sound familiar? "An election that has deepened UK divisions" — Financial Times front-page column by Editorial Director Robert Shrimsley:
"Far from settling the divisions exposed by the Brexit referendum, this election appears to have sharpened them. To purloin the words used of another Tory leader: [Prime Minister Theresa May] remains 'in office but not in power,' dependent on the goodwill of one of most sectarian and sectional political parties in the UK."
Great N.Y. Times online headline for print lead story: "The British Election That Somehow Made Brexit Even Harder."
"Inside The Chaotic Battle To Be The Top Reply To A Trump Tweet: The area below the president's tweets is the most valuable real estate on the internet," by BuzzFeed's Charlie Warzel:
"Thanks to Twitter's weighted reply algorithm, you don't even have to be the first to hit 'send' — though it certainly helps. So seconds after the president sounds off to his 31 million–plus followers, he's bombarded with replies — almost all of them extreme.
"There are breathless condemnations of Trump policy; cries for his speedy impeachment; furious demands for his administration to admit its role in any number of global and political conspiracies; #Resist-ers; #TrumpTrain conductors and passengers; impassioned defenses of his character; praise for Trump as chessmaster-in-chief, 10 steps ahead and constantly outwitting enemies. ...
"And within seconds they're all just a few pixels below the president's missive — yelling, arguing, and looking to be the one Donald Trump sees when he checks his Twitter feed."