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Photo: Elsa/Getty Images

President Trump's lawyers are negotiating with Robert Mueller's team over whether to provide additional written answers, Rudy Giuliani tells me.

The backdrop: Giuliani said that when Trump lawyers were determining the rules for the first round of written answers that were submitted last month, the prosecutors said: "Suppose we have a few things we want to go over [after receiving the submission]?" So the former New York mayor said that there's an agreement that, after reviewing the answers, Mueller's team could "come back and show us what you need."

  • "We might agree," Giuliani said, and then might provide "a few more answers. ... Or we might not."

Giuliani said that's the phase the conversation is in now: "They have the right to submit more questions to us. We have the right to say yes or no."

  • "It's not particularly contentious," Giuliani said. "Other things are contentious."
  • Asked to elaborate, Giuliani said: "I'm very upset with the way they treated [Michael] Flynn" during his FBI interview.
  • "That’s a trap. That’s not a search for the truth. If I’m questioning you and want to know the truth, you make a mistake, I correct you."

Giuliani said that during the campaign, he spent 12 to 18 hours a day with Trump for four to five months: "There's no way he was doing anything with Russians."

  • When Trump delivered his original set of answers just before Thanksgiving, Giuliani told Axios that the Mueller questionnaire "looked like a law school exam ... one big long group of questions, that were multi-part questions."
  • In Sunday interviews, Giuliani seemed to rule out an in-person interview with Mueller. "Over my dead body," Giuliani told Chris Wallace on "Fox News Sunday." "But, you know, I could be dead."

Go deeper: Giuliani on Trump sitting down with Mueller: "Over my dead body"

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Go deeper

10 hours ago - World

Maximum pressure campaign escalates with Fakhrizadeh killing

Photo: Fars News Agency via AP

The assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the architect of Iran’s military nuclear program, is a new height in the maximum pressure campaign led by the Trump administration and the Netanyahu government against Iran.

Why it matters: It exceeds the capture of the Iranian nuclear archives by the Mossad, and the sabotage in the advanced centrifuge facility in Natanz.

Scoop: Biden weighs retired General Lloyd Austin for Pentagon chief

Lloyd Austin testifying before Congress in 2015. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Joe Biden is considering retired four-star General Lloyd Austin as his nominee for defense secretary, adding him to a shortlist that includes Jeh Johnson, Tammy Duckworth and Michele Flournoy, two sources with direct knowledge of the decision-making tell Axios.

Why it matters: A nominee for Pentagon chief was noticeably absent when the president-elect rolled out his national security team Tuesday. Flournoy had been widely seen as the likely pick, but Axios is told other factors — race, experience, Biden's comfort level — have come into play.

Updated 12 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: WHO: AstraZeneca vaccine must be evaluated on "more than a press release."
  2. Politics: Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York COVID restrictions.
  3. World: Thailand, Philippines sign deal with AstraZeneca for vaccine.
  4. Economy: Safety nets to disappear in December Black Friday shopping across the U.S., in photosAmazon hires 1,400 workers a day throughout pandemic.
  5. Education: National standardized tests delayed until 2022.