Trump's lawyers argue Mueller has not met threshold for presidential interview

President Donald Trump's attorneys are arguing that special counsel Robert Mueller's team has not met the high thresh...

Posted: Jan 31, 2018 9:01 AM
Updated: Jan 31, 2018 9:01 AM

President Donald Trump's attorneys are arguing that special counsel Robert Mueller's team has not met the high threshold they believe is needed to interview a president in person, according to sources familiar with the ongoing deliberations.

Despite the fact that Trump himself has said he is "looking forward" and would "love to" meet with Mueller, he did say any interview would be "subject to my lawyers," who believe that Trump should not be required to do that.

Sources said this is an ongoing negotiation

The President's legal team argues that he should not be treated like anyone else

Sources said this is an ongoing negotiation and the position by the President's lawyers is not a final stance.

While the White House has cooperated with Mueller's investigation by providing documents and voluntary witness testimony, the President's legal team argues that the President should not be treated like anyone else. Trump's attorneys would like Mueller's prosecutors to show that only the President can give them the information they require. The President's team, one source said, is consulting with the White House counsel's office and other outside legal experts given the implications of any decision about the President's testimony on the office of the President.

The discussions about presidential testimony are ongoing and professional, says one source. But it is now clear where the President's attorneys stand.

Mueller has made clear he is seeking a sit-down interview with the President, CNN reported last week. Mueller has even provided Trump's attorneys with a range of topics he wants to ask about as part of ongoing negotiations regarding an interview with the President, sources familiar with the matter tell CNN.

Trump's lawyer, John Dowd, told CNN last week that he will decide if the President talks to Mueller's investigators.

"I have not made any decision yet," Dowd said.

But even if the President's lawyers object and seek to fight efforts to talk to him, Mueller could ultimately seek to force the issue through a grand jury subpoena. That would prolong the issue and could lead to court battles.

One legal theory comes from a case related to the investigation of Mike Espy, President Bill Clinton's first agriculture secretary, who resigned in 1994 amid an ethics scandal and independent investigation involving gifts. His case attempted to use executive privilege to rebuff an independent criminal investigator's request for documents.

The Espy decision also laid out a legal test that lawyers on both sides could use when a president faces an inquiry. A special counsel that subpoenas the president must seek evidence that's "important to the ongoing grand jury investigation and [must demonstrate] why this evidence is not available from another source."

One significant challenge facing the President's lawyers is there is no clear legal precedent for a president to avoid testifying.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

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Reported Deaths: 6614
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1014901592
Ramsey43327810
Dakota36619394
Anoka33496391
Washington22208262
Stearns18822202
St. Louis14887265
Scott13403107
Wright12609116
Olmsted1185990
Sherburne878574
Carver787641
Clay695588
Rice677691
Blue Earth601035
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Chisago501745
Otter Tail486071
Benton450990
Winona419749
Mower410831
Douglas394568
Goodhue389069
Nobles387247
Polk345063
McLeod341250
Beltrami338951
Morrison327747
Becker314842
Itasca314646
Lyon313845
Isanti309456
Steele303611
Carlton300449
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Pine283216
Nicollet262441
Todd249730
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Meeker208134
Martin190829
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Swift87818
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Unassigned44768
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Iowa Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 337676

Reported Deaths: 5494
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk52087560
Linn19512317
Scott17167212
Black Hawk14970293
Woodbury13847214
Johnson1317075
Dubuque12450196
Dallas1022593
Pottawattamie9897146
Story965045
Warren514976
Clinton502684
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Webster495788
Sioux480369
Marshall465273
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Buena Vista413237
Wapello4059110
Jasper387767
Plymouth368978
Lee354653
Marion341571
Jones285155
Henry279837
Bremer270555
Carroll266948
Crawford253635
Boone244330
Benton241154
Washington239547
Mahaska215746
Jackson210339
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Tama203065
Kossuth198655
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Clay184425
Winneshiek183628
Fayette179335
Page178119
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Hamilton173942
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Clayton160254
Butler159331
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Floyd148141
Poweshiek148030
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Iowa140723
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Appanoose123247
Louisa122644
Mitchell120740
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Guthrie109628
Palo Alto101721
Howard99722
Unassigned9720
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Monona76527
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