The New York Times recently acquired and published a 20-page memo President Donald Trump’s attorneys sent special counsel Robert Mueller in January, in which they allege Trump can pardon himself, foreshadow a subpoena and reveal his role in his son’s statement on Russia.

While the confidential letter was meant to defend the president, it dredged up controversies the administration dealt with regarding the Russia investigation, such as Donald Trump Jr.’s infamous Trump Tower meeting with Russians. The letter reveals that despite repeated denials of the president’s involvement, Trump “dictated” the initial misleading statement regarding his son’s meeting.

“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.,” Trump’s attorney Jay Sekulow and then-attorney John Dowd wrote in the memo. “His son then followed up by making a full public disclosure regarding the meeting, including his public testimony that there was nothing to the meeting and certainly no evidence of collusion.”

Before this memo, both Sekulow and the White House insisted that while Trump gave advice on the statement, there was no “dictation.”


A week of political news in your in-box.
We find the news you need to know, so you don't have to.

The Times reports that the memo – and disclosures such as this one – serves as a reminder to Mueller that he is investigating actions and conversations by senior White House officials, and this includes the president, the vice president and the White House counsel.

It has been stated multiple times that Trump’s attorneys do not want him to interview, for fear of being accused of perjury due to his history of misleading and contradictory statements. Mueller raised the idea of subpoenaing Trump to Dowd should the president refuse to be questioned, and Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, said the White House is preparing for that historic possibility.

Subpoenaing the president is nearly unheard of. Former President Bill Clinton was ordered to testify before a grand jury in his 1998 impeachment proceedings following a failed request for a voluntary testimony from special counsel Kenneth Starr. However, Clinton’s attorneys negotiated a deal that said the president would interview in the White House for no more than four hours and the subpoena was then withdrawn.  

Sekulow and Dowd attempt to stave off a potential subpoena in their memo, writing: “We are reminded of our duty to protect the president and his office.” They added that they “cannot emphasize enough that regardless of the fact that the executive privilege clearly applies to his senior staff, in the interest of complete transparency, the president has allowed – in fact, directed – the voluntary production of clearly protected documents.”

It is speculated that they are hoping Mueller may not want to risk breaking new legal ground and subpoena a sitting president in a criminal case. They added that having Trump testify would demean the office of the president in front of the whole world.

President Trump has continued to try discrediting the investigation on Twitter, calling it a “witch hunt” and “unconstitutional.”

Read more about:

Get the free uPolitics mobile app for the latest political news and videos

iPhone Android

Leave a comment