It seems that Special Counselor Robert Mueller has told President Donald Trump’s lawyers that Trump is not a criminal target of Mueller’s “investigation;” Trump is merely a subject of it.
While WaPo has based its story on sources that may or may not exist (“three people familiar with the discussions;” we don’t get to know who they are, we don’t even know if “three” is accurate), let’s take the story as accurate, arguendo. Some of Trump’s advisors think Mueller’s remarks are just an attempt to bait Trump into sitting for a Mueller interrogation.
There’s another aspect to this, though. Keep in mind that it’s entirely legal for a government agent—policemen, FBI agents, a special counselor—to lie to their investigatees, even as it’s a crime for the lie to go the other way around.
There’s no reason to take Mueller’s claim seriously. Or perhaps Trump and his lawyers should: apart from being a bait attempt, it could be an attempt to sandbag Trump or anyone associated with him into getting careless. The same perjury trap some of Trump’s lawyers worry about being the purpose of a Mueller interrogation of Trump could be in play here, too.