Trump SOTU 2018
U.S. President Donald J. Trump smiles during the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives Jan. 30, 2018, in Washington, DC. This is the first State of the Union address given by President Donald Trump and his second joint-session address to Congress. Win McNamee/Getty Images

President Donald Trump’s legal camp appeared divided about whether he should be interviewed by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, with the New York Times reporting Monday his lawyers have advised him against doing so.

The president himself appeared keen, telling reporters last month at the White House, “I’m looking forward to it, actually.”

“Here’s the story, just so you understand,” Trump said. “There’s been no collusion whatsoever. There’s no obstruction whatsoever, and I’m looking forward to it.”

Defense lawyer John Dowd, who was hired last year to represent Trump in the investigation, his deputy Jay Sekulow and former governor of New Jersey Chris Christie are among other West Wing advisers who do not want Trump’s acquiesce to Mueller’s interview request.

“I don't think the president of the United States, unless there are credible allegations which I don’t believe there are, should be sitting across from a special counsel. The presidency is different. I don't think they should do that,” Christie said, ABC News reported.

As informal adviser Newt Gingrich, on “Fox and Friends,” put it last month: “The idea of putting Trump in a room with five or six hardened, very clever lawyers, all of whom are trying to trick him and trap him, would be a very, very bad idea.”

To be sure, Trump doesn’t have to grant the interview, but wishes to do so and for good reason. If Mueller were to subpoena POTUS, it could consequentially lead to “setting up a court fight that would drastically escalate the investigation and could be decided by the Supreme Court,” the New York Times report said.

Given that traditionally, presidents have usually agreed to speak to federal prosecutors investigating them or close aides, and that it may look like the president is hiding something, which would affect his credibility, rejecting Mueller’s request carries political consequences and would have to be handled delicately.

Siding with Trump is another lawyer hired last summer Ty Cobb, who recommends the White House do all it can to cooperate with the investigation.

Interestingly, in the event of an interview, if Dowd is concerned the president may make a false statement, contradict himself or lie to investigators, those fears may be unfounded.

However, Trump is no stranger to legal implications. According to an analysis by USA Today in 2016, the then Republican presidential nominee had seen “at least 3,500 legal actions in federal and state courts during the past three decades. They range from skirmishes with casino patrons to million-dollar real estate suits to personal defamation lawsuits.”

While his public persona can seem off the cuff, under oath the president may be a lot more measured. Timothy O’Brien, the author of the biographical “Trump Nation,” was sued by the president for libel.

During that deposition, under oath, Trump acknowledged having lied more than 30 times over the years about “his ownership stake in a large Manhattan real estate development; the cost of a membership to one of his golf clubs; the size of the Trump Organization; his wealth; the rate for his speaking appearances; how many condos he had sold; the debt he owed, and whether he borrowed money from his family to stave off personal bankruptcy,” O'Brien wrote.

In fact, the USA Today analysis noted lawsuits may be a primary negotiating tool for Trump. The analysis implied the president has used “litigation to distance himself from failing projects that relied on the Trump brand to secure investments.”

The president, in the past, used the legal system to dispute property tax and his companies have been in over 100 tax disputes. Owing to unpaid tax bills, the New York State Department of Finance obtained liens on his properties over three dozen times, and despite his claims of never settling lawsuits for fear of encouraging being sued, Trump and his companies settled at least 100 cases.

While Trump would not be under oath if he were to answer Mueller’s questions, lying to a federal investigator is a crime.