Donald Trump has expressed concern that anything he says under oath to the investigation into alleged Russian collusion in the 2016 presidential election could be used to charge him with perjury.
The US president repeatedly has said he wants to sit down with special counsel Robert Mueller because “there is no collusion”.
But in an interview on Monday with the Reuters news agency, the president voiced concern that investigators could use his statements against him if they do not match up with other individuals they have already interviewed, such as former FBI director James Comey.
Mr Trump said: “Even if I am telling the truth, that makes me a liar. That’s no good.”
Mr Trump did not say whether he would ultimately agree to be interviewed by Mr Mueller.
Mr Trump’s legal team, led by Rudy Giuliani, has expressed reservations about allowing their client to sit down with the veteran prosecutor, but continues to negotiate with Mr Mueller’s team over whether and how investigators can question Mr Trump about possible obstruction of justice in the Russia investigation.
Russia has denied interfering in the election.
Mr Trump, who makes his unhappiness over the long-running investigation known through near-daily posts on Twitter, also told his Reuters interviewers that he has decided to “stay out” of the probe but is “totally allowed” to get involved if he wanted to.
Mr Trump added: “I could run it if I want.”
The president tweeted earlier on Monday to accuse Mr Mueller’s team of “enjoying ruining people’s lives” and “looking to impact the election” in November.