Troublesome Questions for President Trump

April FrancisMay 03, 2018

Special Counsel Robert Mueller, in a meeting with US President Donald Trump's lawyers in March, raised the possibility of issuing a subpoena for Trump if he declines to talk to investigators in the Russian Federation probe, a former lawyer for the president said on Tuesday.

By the afternoon, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders adopted Trump's strategy, calling the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election a "witch hunt".

In 1998, Justice Department independent counsel Ken Starr issued a subpoena to force President Bill Clinton to answer his questions.

Further, Trump has already told reporters that he would speak with the special counsel, even when the President's legal team initially claimed that an interview could happen under the right terms.

The White House announced the hiring not long after announcing the retirement of lawyer Ty Cobb, who has been the administration's point person dealing with special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation.

A person familiar with the matter, who insisted on anonymity to discuss ongoing negotiations, told the Associated Press that the president's lawyers extrapolated the list of expected questions based off conversations with Mueller's team about the topics prosecutors wanted to cover in a potential sit down with Trump.

The Washington Post reported yesterday that in March Mueller told Trump's lawyers that he had the power to subpoena Trump if the president did not submit to an interview.

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., the lead Democrat on the House committee that investigated the president, said after the Times released the questions on Monday that he was "struck" by what was not on the list and that he hoped Mueller was not observing any "red lines" laid down by the president that might have put some questions out of bounds.

The questions leaked to Trump's lawyers is just a pawn move by Mueller, who, like the best lawyers, already knows the answers to the questions he's prepared to pose.

Earlier this week, Mr Trump suggested on Twitter that he would not be vulnerable to obstruction charges if there were no coordination between his campaign and Russian Federation. Trump's lawyers met with prosecutors in early March.

The president's precarious position is not limited to questions about obstruction. In series of tweets on Wednesday morning, the president's agita was palpable.

Britain's Sainsbury's to buy supermarket chain Asda from Walmart for $10.1 billion
The Labour Party's business spokeswoman, Rebecca Long-Bailey, has already called for an investigation of the proposed deal. Asda has a strong presence in the north of England and Sainsbury's in the south. "We think it is a great deal all around".

From the start, Trump's legal team has been out-manned by Mueller's.

One question asks whether there were any efforts to reach out to Flynn "about seeking immunity or possible pardon" ahead of his guilty plea past year. Trump could easily be caught lying, or reveal new information damaging to himself.

Dowd himself left Trump's legal team more than a month ago.

"Your investigation and others into the allegations of Trump campaign collusion with Russian Federation are costing my family a great deal of money - more than $125,000 - and making a visceral impact on my children", Caputo said in a prepared statement that he delivered at the end of the Senate interview, which was provided to CNN.

Cohen is tied up in multiple legal battles over alleged "hush money" payments to adult film actress Stormy Daniels, who claims to have had an affair with Trump in 2006. A grand jury subpoena has always been the special counsel's trump card in the negotiations over a potential interview.

Article II gives the USA president authority to control the executive branch, including law enforcement and personnel, and his supporters say such power is absolute and unfettered.

In a Tuesday tweet, Trump blasts what he calls a "rigged system".

"There was no Collusion (it is a Hoax) and there is no Obstruction of Justice (that is a setup & trap)", Trump tweeted before citing a litany of economic and foreign policy challenges on his plate. Why so much redacting? "At that point, I think it could get really ugly". "Why such unequal 'justice?'"

Although Trump didn't specify how he will "get involved" in the process, he could do so in a variety of ways under the Constitution, including firing Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and ordering declassification of the documents and turning them over to Congress.

The Justice Department says that "dozens of members and staff from both parties" have viewed thousands of classified documents and House staff members have temporary office space in the department to review additional materials.

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