Fear - Trump in the White House
Bob Woodward
Contributed by Larisa Brooke
Chapter 42

It is March 5 and there is a meeting in Mueller’s office. Those present include Mueller, Quarles, Dowd, Sekulow and 3 prosecutors in Mueller’s team. Dowd requests to see any potential questions but Mueller is not willing to offer them (Woodward 283). In fact, he threatens to issue a grand jury subpoena against the President, a threat that Dowd reacts badly too, giving reasons for avoiding such a path. He tells Mueller that he will file a motion to squash the idea of a grand jury subpoena. He also notes that there is no President in the US history that has ever been subjected to such a process (Woodward 283). Dowd believes that such an approach is malicious and irrelevant especially considering that the president is giving 100% cooperation. Dowd also claims that the President is incapable of testifying since he does not know or remember some of the details (Woodward 285). He is also worried about the President’s reputation as since he may appear as incompetent to his fellow world leaders if they note that he cannot remember everything. After the meeting, Dowd seems convinced that Mueller has no case, it is only that he disapproves the president’s behavior (Woodward 287).

Another meeting happens and this time, Mueller and his team dictate 49 questions as Jay Sekulow takes notes. Dowd describes the questions as diverse, indicating that Mueller has no real case (Woodward 288). Other questions have no constitutional relevance as they ask for the intent of Trump’s actions such as Comey’s firing. After the meeting, Dowd informs the President that he does not trust Mueller, telling him that Mueller and his team have no constitutional reason to talk to the President. In addition, he strongly advises the President against testifying or answering any of the questions. He affirms that all the questions already have answers since Trump’s staff gave their responses (Woodward 290).

Ty Cobb keeps on telling the public that Trump is willing to testify, whilst Dowd keeps telling Trump not to say anything. However, Trump worries about his base voters and what people will say about him if he refuses to testify (Woodward 292). He also keeps on saying that he is a good witness, but Dowd knows the truth that the President would be a terrible witness. The pressure builds to the extent that Dowd resigns, albeit confident in the knowledge that Mueller has no case regarding any Russian interaction or an obstruction case. However, he worries that there is a possibility of something new appearing such as a witness changing their statement and turning on the President (Woodward 294).


Dowd is a resourceful lawyer who clearly understands the law and is willing to apply his knowledge effectively. On the other hand, Mueller has a profound determination and aims at using all means possible to build a case against Trump. Mueller’s initial decision of refusing to share his questions, shows that he wants to interview the President on a one-on-one basis. Clearly, he knows that the president is ignorant of many important things and is of the opinion that he will be able to snare Trump quickly. Dowd is also determined and offers Trump the best advice in handling the case. Dowd wants to win the case and he knows that it is possible to achieve victory if Trump simply refuses to testify.

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