Four sources tell the Washington Post that special counsel Robert Mueller told Donald Trump's lawyers that he could issue a subpoena for the president to appear before a grand jury, if Trump didn't voluntarily come in for an interview to tell what he knows about Russia, collusion, obstruction, and whatever else investigators want to know.
"The tense March encounter kicked off weeks of turmoil among the president's lawyers and led to the development of a list of questions Trump's team expects he would be asked," write Carol Leonnig and Robert Costa at WaPo.
ONE TENSE MEETING >>>
"This isn't some game… You are screwing with the work of the president of the United States."
Me and @costareports on what happened in March standoff between Mueller and @realDonaldTrump 's lawyers https://t.co/DcJKIKr7ly@CarolLeonnig @costareports
— Carol Leonnig (@CarolLeonnig) May 2, 2018
Mueller's warning — the first time he is known to have mentioned a possible subpoena to Trump's legal team — spurred a sharp retort from John Dowd, then the president's lead lawyer.
"This isn't some game," Dowd said, according to two people with knowledge of his comments. "You are screwing with the work of the president of the United States."
The flare-up set in motion weeks of turmoil among Trump's attorneys as they debated how to deal with the special counsel's request for an interview, a dispute that ultimately led to Dowd's resignation.
In the wake of the testy March 5 meeting, Mueller's team agreed to provide the president's lawyers with more specific information about the subjects that prosecutors wished to discuss with the president. With those details in hand, Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow compiled a list of 49 questions that the team believed the president would be asked, according to three of the four people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk publicly. The New York Times first reported the existence of the list.
Related: 'Mueller has dozens of questions for Trump on Russia and obstruction. Read them here.'