In a secret memo sent to Robert Mueller, Donald Trump’s lawyers essentially said that the president is above the law and has “unfettered authority” over the ongoing special counsel investigation.
According to The New York Times, “President Trump’s lawyers have for months quietly waged a campaign to keep the special counsel from trying to force him to answer questions in the investigation into whether he obstructed justice, asserting that he cannot be compelled to testify and arguing in a confidential letter that he could not possibly have committed obstruction because he has unfettered authority over all federal investigations.”
The stunning memo to the special counsel team shows that Trump and his team dangerously believe there is no crime the president can be held accountable for, even if he committed it.
More from The Times report:
In a brash assertion of presidential power, the 20-page letter — sent to the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, and obtained by The New York Times — contends that the president cannot illegally obstruct any aspect of the investigation into Russia’s election meddling because the Constitution empowers him to, “if he wished, terminate the inquiry, or even exercise his power to pardon.”
Mr. Trump’s lawyers fear that if he answers questions, either voluntarily or in front of a grand jury, he risks exposing himself to accusations of lying to investigators, a potential crime or impeachable offense.
As The New York Times noted, “Mr. Mueller has told the president’s lawyers that he needs to talk to their client to determine whether he had criminal intent to obstruct the investigation into his associates’ possible links to Russia’s election interference.”
The report added, “If Mr. Trump refuses to be questioned, Mr. Mueller will have to weigh their arguments while deciding whether to press ahead with a historic grand jury subpoena.”
The president’s legal team knows Trump is guilty
Once again, by arguing that Trump is above the law and not that he is innocent, the president’s lawyers are essentially admitting their client is guilty.
However, if Trump was as innocent as he tweets he is, then he would have no problem letting Mueller do the job he was given. And if the president’s legal team was so confident Trump had nothing to hide or to lie about in a possible interview, they wouldn’t be fighting so hard against it.
In any event, the Trump-is-above-the-law argument coming from the White House is setting up the possibility for a major legal battle between the president and Robert Mueller.
That’s a battle the White House is likely to lose.
Sean Colarossi currently resides in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and was an organizing fellow for both of President Obama’s presidential campaigns. He also worked with Planned Parenthood as an Affordable Care Act Outreach Organizer in 2014, helping northeast Ohio residents obtain health insurance coverage.