President Trump and his legal team may be close to submitting written answers to questions from Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller, the president has confirmed.
Trump told Laura Ingraham of Fox News that he considers it "ridiculous" that he and his lawyers must go along but "we probably will do something, yes, where we'll respond to some questions."
Trump did not give a sense about when his team might give Mueller's office the answers, but he did suggest there could be other milestones coming up in the Russia imbroglio after Election Day next week.
Ingraham also asked the president about another subplot in the saga, whether the government might release more declassified materials related to the surveillance of one sometime Trump aide, Carter Page, who was suspected of conspiring with Russia as it attacked the 2016 presidential election.
Trump had built up expectations about unveiling that material to a near-crescendo but then walked the story back. He announced that the Justice Department's inspector general would review it before it became public and told Ingraham on Monday evening that the documents could come out sometime next month.
"We're getting very close to doing what we have to do," the president said. "I want to wait till after the election."
The Russia imbroglio has slipped into a quieter phase as compared with earlier periods since Trump fired then-FBI Director James Comey in May of 2017.
The Justice Department hasn't gone totally silent — it unsealed charges against a Russian woman allegedly connected to Russia's ongoing disinformation war against the United States — but observers have speculated Mueller is in a "quiet period" ahead of Election Day.
The special counsel's office does not comment on its plans or intentions for future work.
Events are continuing to happen beneath the surface, however. Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, is cooperating with investigators, as is Trump's longtime former lawyer, Michael Cohen. Both men have pleaded guilty to federal charges in exchange for leniency.
So once Election Day has come and gone, the stage may be set for more action by federal authorities and for big moves by Trump and his allies.
That could include new indictments unsealed by Mueller's office — one of Trump's political advisers, Roger Stone, says early and often that he expects to be charged, for example, although he maintains he has done nothing wrong and is being persecuted.
Or Mueller could submit the report about his work he owes to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
The details about the White House's negotiations with the special counsel's office also aren't clear. If Trump gives Mueller written answers to questions about what he knew about events in 2016 and since, that may not mean the special counsel's investigators will be satisfied.
Mueller and his office still might ask for an in-person discussion with the president; the long-running standoff over that interview has never been resolved.
For Trump's part, he may use the final two months of the year to fire Attorney General Jeff Sessions and replace him with someone who isn't recused from the Russia investigation, although Trump appeared to agree with Ingraham that he and Rosenstein, another frequent antagonist, are getting along.
Trump continues to maintain, however, that Mueller's investigation is unlawful — an argument based on an incorrect characterization of the facts of the Russia case sometimes propounded by Trump's supporters in Congress — and that no one in his campaign conspired with Russia's active measures.
"I do get along, but ... there should never have been a special counsel, in my opinion," Trump said. "It's an illegal investigation totally. A lot of people agree with me. A lot of people on your show and other shows agree. There was no collusion. There was never any collusion ... But with all of that being said, I do get along and I have made everything available. You know why? Because I have nothing to do with Russia. Hillary was a lousy candidate and I did a very good job."