Schumer: Trump lawyers’ argument that he can’t obstruct justice would be valid in a dictatorship

Schumer: Trump lawyers’ argument that he can’t obstruct justice would be valid in a dictatorship
© Greg Nash

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerLawmakers pay tribute to late Justice Stevens Trump administration denies temporary immigrant status to Venezuelans in US Colombian official urges more help for Venezuelan migrants MORE (D-N.Y.) on Saturday compared an argument made by President TrumpDonald John TrumpPompeo changes staff for Russia meeting after concerns raised about top negotiator's ties: report House unravels with rise of 'Les Enfants Terrible' Ben Carson: Trump is not a racist and his comments were not racist MORE's legal team to one that would be valid in a dictatorship.

A letter obtained by The New York Times and published Saturday revealed that Trump's lawyers sent a confidential letter to special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerTop Republican considered Mueller subpoena to box in Democrats Kamala Harris says her Justice Dept would have 'no choice' but to prosecute Trump for obstruction Dem committees win new powers to investigate Trump MORE in January, arguing that the president could not have possibly obstructed justice because he has constitutional authority over all federal investigations. 

“This would be a valid legal argument — if our government were a dictatorship,” Schumer tweeted. “Fortunately, we are a government of laws, not men. And in America, no one is above the law, including the president.”

In his tweet, Schumer linked to the The New York Times article that featured the letter. According to the 20-page note, the Constitution gives Trump the broad authority to, "if he wished, terminate the inquiry, or even exercise his power to pardon."


The letter also said Trump doesn’t have to be interviewed by investigators.

For months, Mueller’s team has been working to get an interview with Trump for his investigation into possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia. Trump’s lawyers have been reluctant to agree to an interview for fear that the president might incriminate himself.

Mueller has considered subpoenaing Trump for an interview, a possibility Trump’s legal team has been preparing for.

The president has repeatedly stressed that his campaign did not collude with the Russians during the 2016 presidential election and has called for Mueller’s investigation to end on numerous occasions, dubbing the probe a "witch hunt."