The fact is that Trump should never have viewed his role as fighting back in the midst of an FBI investigation. His inclination to react and to move aggressively has resulted in the loss of a year of his Administration and could result in the loss of one or two houses of Congress for the GOP. You do not “fight back” under you are under possible investigation because it means interfering or trying to influence an investigation. That is problematic even for a private citizens. It is exponentially more problematic when you are the head of the Executive Branch. “Fighting back” when you have the power to fire people can easily cross the line from being aggressive to being obstructive.
However, it also shows Trump’s best and perhaps only defense” He was not trying to obstruct the investigation but defend himself. It is often missed in coverage that Trump was pushing Comey not to scuttle the investigation but to say publicly what he had said privately to Congress. While Comey cleared Hillary Clinton publicly, he had not confirmed what he told Trump and others — that Trump was not under investigation.
In his comments yesterday, Trump said that he believes that the investigation “puts the country in a very bad position.” He can argue that he was doing what he has always done: push back on attacks and defend himself (and his Administration). He continued his signature approach without thinking about the change in his status from businessman to president.
Trump added that he would speak under oath. Much is being made of this statement, but Trump could still be prosecuted (or impeached) for false statements to federal investigators regardless of whether the statements were made under oath. That can be done under 18 U.S.C. 1001. Thus, the oath does not radically alter that situation. Nevertheless, Trump’s attorneys appeared to immediately contradict him and say that he is only agreeing to speak with the Special Counsel.
However, the statement is a positive development because it shows a more constructive posture, even an eagerness, to cooperate. Trump has been hurt by the constant image of someone trying to undermine and belittle the investigation. This is an improvement both politically and legally.