President Trump asserted on Monday that he would be "totally allowed" to take over Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe if he wanted to, in another thinly veiled broadside against an investigation he has repeatedly derided as a partisan "witch hunt."
"I can go in, and I could do whatever — I could run it if I want," Trump told Reuters. "But I decided to stay out. I’m totally allowed to be involved if I wanted to be. So far, I haven’t chosen to be involved. I’ll stay out."
The extraordinary comment -- apparently a reference to Trump's executive authority to order Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein at the Justice Department to fire or replace Mueller -- came as jurors continued to deliberate in the first trial brought as a result of Mueller's probe. There was no verdict in the case on Monday, raising the defense team's hopes after three days of deliberations.
Trump also repeated the concerns raised publicly by his personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, that speaking with Mueller's team directly would expose him to perjury charges, even if he told the truth.
“So if I say something and [former FBI Director James Comey] says something, and it’s my word against his, and he’s best friends with Mueller, so Mueller might say: ‘Well, I believe Comey,’ and even if I’m telling the truth, that makes me a liar," Trump said. "That’s no good.”
Speaking exclusively to Fox News' "The Story with Martha MacCallum" Monday night, Giuliani defended his comment Sunday that "truth isn't truth," which drew a firestorm of criticism on social media. Prosecutors can bring perjury charges against an honest witness, Giuliani said, as long as they can find others to present an alternative version of events.
Giuliani also alleged that Mueller's team was trying to cause political damage for Trump, even though, he said, prosecutors had assured him they did not want to repeat Comey's mistakes.
"They're trying to run this right up until the election," Giuliani said, calling the investigation a "travesty."
"They're trying to do the same thing Comey did -- they're trying to be the judge and jury of the 2018 election," he added.
Giuliani also downplayed a report over the weekend that White House Counsel Don McGahn had extensive meetings with Mueller, saying McGahn is an "honorable" man who would have resigned long ago if Trump had told him to do anything illegal.
"They're trying to do the same thing Comey did -- they're trying to be the judge and jury of the 2018 election."
"I can't imagine him sitting around the White House for six months with a president he thinks committed a crime," Giuliani said.
Trump also told Reuters that he hadn't "given a lot of thought" to the possibility of revoking Mueller's security clearance -- a move that would be sure to trigger a political uproar in Washington and potentially unravel the Mueller probe.
Last week, the White House terminated ex-CIA Director John Brennan's security clearance, charging that he had misled Congress about the CIA's role in spying on Senate staffers and improperly politicized his access to classified information with his attacks on the president.
Trump told Reuters the Mueller probe had “played right into the Russians - if it was Russia - they played right into the Russians’ hands.”
Separately, Trump also responded to the news that several tech giants, including Google, Apple, Facebook, and Twitter, had removed or banned content from conspiracy theorist Alex Jones.
"I won't mention names, but when they take certain people off of Twitter or Facebook and they're making that decision, that is really a dangerous thing because that could be you tomorrow," Trump said.
Fox News' Martha MacCallum contributed to this report.