Thursday, 15 November, 2018

Giuliani plays down idea of Trump self-pardon

Mueller Runs Up $16 Million Tab in Trump-Russia Investigation Mueller Probe Has Cost Taxpayers Nearly $17M
Kenny Thornton | 04 June, 2018, 05:48

In a confidential letter obtained by The New York Times, lawyers for President Trump reveal their legal strategy and inform special counsel Robert Mueller that Trump will not comply with requests for an interview.

Two of President Trump's lawyers told Special Counsel Robert Mueller to back off from his demand for an interview with their client - arguing that the president has a constitutional right to "terminate the inquiry" any time he wishes.

The letter is dated January 29 and addressed to Mueller from John Dowd, a Trump lawyer who has since resigned from the legal team.

In an earlier tweet, Trump took what appeared to be a pre-emptive swipe at the Times report shortly before it ran that questioned whether Mueller's office or the Justice Department leaked letters from his lawyers.

The letter also provides new details about Trump's actions in dealing with the Russian Federation probe.

"In light of these voluntary offerings, your office clearly lacks the requisite need to personally interview the president", the letter read.

It is a bold assertion of presidential power and another front on which Trump's lawyers have argued that he can not be subpoenaed.

Led Coalition Strikes Civilians in Syria, Leaving Eight Dead
IS jihadists have lost most of the self-proclaimed "caliphate" they once controlled in large parts of Syria and neighbouring Iraq since 2014.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a Republican, made clear he did not think Trump or any other president should pardon himself.

"As you know, under our system of government, the president is not readily available to be interviewed", the lawyers wrote. "Having him testify demeans the Office of the President before the world", they wrote.

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 letter says that even if Trump did order the termination of an investigation, "this could not constitute obstruction of justice".

Former Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, fired by Trump a year ago along with numerous other federal prosecutors, said it would be "outrageous" for a sitting president to pardon himself and that doing so would represent "almost self-executing impeachment".

The lawyers do admit in the letter that Trump "dictated" the statement his son, Donald Trump Jr., initially gave to explain his shady 2016 meeting with a Russian attorney who supposedly had dirt on Clinton.

Giuliani told Fox News on May 12 that Mueller notified Trump's legal team two weeks prior that he will not indict the president.

Giuliani said they would contest it if Mueller tried. Dowd left the president's legal team in March.

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