In a letter to Mueller, Trump’s lawyers argued he could not obstruct justice: report

President Trump’s lawyers sent a confidential letter to special counsel Robert Mueller in January, arguing that the president could not have possibly obstructed justice because he has constitutional authority over all federal investigations. 

The letter, which was obtained by The New York Times, argues that the Constitution gives Trump the broad authority to, “if he wished, terminate the inquiry, or even exercise his power to pardon.”

The 20-page memo also says Trump is not required to sit for an interview with investigators. Mueller’s team has sought for months to negotiate an interview with Trump. 


Mueller has told Trump’s lawyers that investigators need to speak with the president to determine whether he sought to obstruct the probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. 

But Trump’s lawyers have been reluctant to grant such an interview out of concern that prosecutors could use the president’s words against him. 

That has raised the prospect of investigators subpoenaing Trump. Mueller floated that possibility to John Dowd, one of Trump’s former lawyers, in March, the Times reported. 

And Trump’s legal team is preparing for that possibility, Rudy Giuliani, one of the president’s lawyers, said. 

The letter, which was authored by Dowd and Jay Sekulow, another one of Trump’s attorneys, takes a broad interpretation of the president’s constitutional authority. That authority could be tested in a potential legal battle over whether Trump could be subpoenaed. 

The Times was the first to report on the letter’s existence, although Trump appeared to foreshadow the Times’s story on Saturday, minutes before it was published. In a tweet, the president questioned whether the special counsel’s office or the Justice Department had leaked his lawyers’ letters to the press. 

“There was No Collusion with Russia (except by the Democrats),” he tweeted shortly before the Times published its story.

“When will this very expensive Witch Hunt Hoax ever end? So bad for our Country. Is the Special Counsel/Justice Department leaking my lawyers letters to the Fake News Media? Should be looking at Dems corruption instead?”

— Updated at 3:04 p.m.

Tags Donald Trump Donald Trump Robert Mueller Robert Mueller Russia Investigation Subpoena

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