Trump, his lawyers cite expansive view of executive power

Charlene Craig
June 6, 2018

In the letters, Trump's lawyers sternly oppose attempts by Mueller's office to interview him, saying "under our system of government, the president is not readily available to be interviewed".

In another eye-opening section of the letter, Trump's lawyers contend that the president's interview with NBC's Lester Holt two days after he fired Comey has been "widely misreported and mischaracterized".

Trump has issued two unrelated pardons in recent days and discussed others, a move that has been interpreted as a possible signal to allies ensnared in the Russian Federation probe.

Negotiations are still ongoing between Trump's legal team and the special counsel's office for an interview.

Speaking to reporters last week, the president's newly appointed lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, railed against the inquiry, and pushed Mueller to make his findings public.

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They also contended that nothing Mr. Trump did violated obstruction-of-justice statutes, making both a technical parsing of what one such law covers and a broad constitutional argument that Congress can not infringe on how he exercises his power to supervise the executive branch.

The Russia investigation, spearheaded by the special counsel Robert Mueller, has two broad threads as it relates to Trump: whether members of the Trump campaign colluded with Moscow to help tilt the 2016 US election in his favor, and whether Trump later sought to obstruct justice when he learned of the investigation's existence after taking office.

"Such an action obviously has an impact on the investigation, but that is simply an effect of the president's lawful exercise of his constitutional power and can not constitute obstruction of justice".

"You have received all of the notes, communications and testimony indicating that the President dictated a short but accurate response to the New York Times article on behalf of his son, Donald Trump, Jr.", the letter said, according to The New York Times, which published a copy of it.

The special counsel team also has obtained indictments against 13 Russians for engaging in an information warfare campaign to help Trump and damage his political opponent, Hillary Clinton.

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But President Trump has branded the investigation a "witch hunt". Among those areas of interest is Mr. Trump's reaction to Attorney General Jeff Sessions' decision to recuse himself in the Russian Federation investigation.

It's high time for Senate Majority Leader McConnell to put country before party and support the bipartisan legislation to protect the Mueller investigation.

The letter is dated January 29 and addressed to Mueller from John Dowd, a Trump lawyer who has since resigned from the legal team. Because of the authority the Constitution gives him, it is impossible for him to obstruct justice by shutting down a case or firing a subordinate, no matter his motivation, they said.

Paul Manafort, Gates's former business partner, who also served as Trump campaign chairman for a stretch in 2016, is fighting conspiracy, tax and money laundering charges. "If there is collusion with a guy 50 rungs down, if it did, I don't know what that means", he added.

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