Trump Lawyers: A President Cannot Obstruct Justice

The New York Times reports:

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.

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 broad interpretation of executive authority is novel and is likely to be tested if a court battle ensues over whether he could be ordered to answer questions. It is unclear how that fight, should the case reach that point, would play out. A spokesman for Mr. Mueller declined to comment.

New York Magazine reports:

The letter, which was written by Trump lawyers John M. Dowd and Jay A. Sekulow, is reportedly part of a legal campaign to prevent Trump from having to answer Mueller’s questions, or from being compelled to testify, out of fear that Trump would expose himself to another crime — lying to federal investigators — which he could be impeached for.

The lawyers also made the broad claim that “every action that the president took [amid the Russia investigation] was taken with full constitutional authority pursuant to Article II of the United States Constitution,” and thus, “these actions cannot constitute obstruction, whether viewed separately or even as a totality.”