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WaPo: Mueller floated possible Trump subpoena

The Washington Post reports that special counsel Robert Mueller raised the possibility of a presidential subpoena while meeting with President Trump's legal team.

Posted: May 2, 2018 12:55 PM
Updated: May 2, 2018 12:55 PM

President Donald Trump's lawyers are preparing for a legal showdown with special counsel Robert Mueller, according to sources familiar with their thinking.

Trump's legal team is bracing for the dramatic possibility that Mueller would subpoena the President, setting up a collision that could force a lengthy court fight and test the legal limits of the President's power all the way up to the Supreme Court.

Mueller has raised the possibility of a presidential subpoena in at least one meeting, according to two sources. But some of the President's legal advisers are gambling that Mueller would not go that far. The Washington Post first reported on the subpoena threat.

The already slim chances of Trump sitting for a voluntary interview with Mueller's investigators are growing dimmer, sources close to the President say.

Asked whether the President would ever plead the Fifth Amendment to avoid answering questions, two sources said the legal team believes there are many "constitutional challenges" that would need to be met before that possibility even would be considered.

Trump's lawyers are careful to say that the President hasn't shut the door to a possible agreement for an interview. His new legal team is still assessing that before making a recommendation, sources say.

If Trump refuses to give a voluntary interview, prosecutors could issue a subpoena compelling testimony.

The leaking of a version of Mueller's potential questions for the President, first published by The New York Times, and the President's reaction on Twitter underscore where the issue is moving, sources say.

Trump himself has told reporters he'd speak with the special counsel, and the President's legal team initially claimed that an interview could happen under the right terms.

The President's lawyers said they wanted to finish the interview quickly, claiming it would help end the special counsel's investigation.

But after the April 9 raid of his personal attorney, Michael Cohen, the President's view of sitting down with Mueller had a "seismic shift," according to one source -- from yes toward no.

Many legal observers believe that if Mueller issues a grand jury subpoena for Trump's testimony, the courts will order the President to comply, because the Supreme Court has repeatedly ordered presidents to comply with subpoenas.

During independent counsel Kenneth Starr's investigation of President Bill Clinton related to Monica Lewinsky, prosecutors eventually subpoenaed the president for grand jury testimony. Clinton's lawyers attempted to delay Clinton from speaking to prosecutors for months and told a federal judge they would avoid arguing the issue in court. They ultimately agreed to let Clinton appear before the grand jury without the weight of a subpoena.

In 1974, in United States v. Nixon, the Justices unanimously directed President Richard Nixon to comply with a criminal trial subpoena for the White House tapes. And in 1997, in Clinton v. Jones, the Court directed Clinton to comply with a subpoena for his deposition in Paula Jones' civil sexual harassment lawsuit against him.

Yet if Mueller attempts to force Trump to testify under subpoena -- as many legal analysts suspect could happen -- the sources familiar with the thinking of Trump's legal team say they believe Trump could successfully challenge the subpoena all the way to the Supreme Court.

One of the sources says the legal team views a subpoena for a presidential interview as "precipitating a constitutional crisis."

The Trump team's legal argument, according to multiple sources, is that they believe the special counsel does not have the authority to force a President to appear before a grand jury.

They also believe that Article II of the Constitution, which defines the office of the President, prevents the high court from ordering an investigation into the President's use of his executive powers. In this case, that could include the hiring and firing of persons like former national security adviser Michael Flynn and ex-FBI Director James Comey.

Their political argument also has changed. While the lawyers were originally in a let's-get-this-over-with mode, they now believe that time is on their side -- especially with the 2018 elections looming.

They believe that Trump has done a good job discrediting the investigators and the investigation itself.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 490011

Reported Deaths: 6618
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1016821593
Ramsey43388811
Dakota36714394
Anoka33545392
Washington22247262
Stearns18847202
St. Louis14915265
Scott13445107
Wright12635116
Olmsted1187890
Sherburne879474
Carver790941
Clay696288
Rice678691
Blue Earth604435
Kandiyohi582274
Crow Wing523682
Chisago502945
Otter Tail487171
Benton451890
Winona419749
Mower411931
Douglas395068
Goodhue390169
Nobles387347
Polk345363
McLeod341950
Beltrami339151
Morrison328147
Itasca315346
Becker315143
Lyon314045
Isanti310056
Steele304311
Carlton300649
Freeborn287124
Pine283616
Nicollet263341
Todd250330
Brown249137
Le Sueur238620
Mille Lacs230047
Cass221424
Waseca211217
Meeker208534
Martin190829
Wabasha18733
Roseau181017
Hubbard161041
Houston158214
Dodge15464
Renville152940
Redwood147127
Fillmore14029
Pennington139816
Chippewa137035
Cottonwood136120
Wadena131520
Faribault125017
Aitkin119233
Sibley118310
Watonwan11838
Rock116314
Kanabec109120
Pipestone101924
Yellow Medicine97817
Murray9548
Jackson94710
Swift87818
Pope8185
Marshall78715
Stevens7478
Lake74318
Clearwater72014
Lac qui Parle68816
Wilkin67711
Koochiching62111
Big Stone5173
Lincoln5122
Grant4928
Norman4808
Unassigned45368
Mahnomen4437
Kittson41121
Red Lake3615
Traverse3115
Lake of the Woods2231
Cook1190

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 337836

Reported Deaths: 5500
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk52116562
Linn19519317
Scott17180213
Black Hawk14973294
Woodbury13858214
Johnson1317875
Dubuque12452196
Dallas1023593
Pottawattamie9899146
Story965445
Warren515176
Clinton502884
Cerro Gordo501483
Webster495888
Sioux480469
Marshall465473
Des Moines428661
Muscatine426493
Buena Vista413337
Wapello4059110
Jasper388167
Plymouth369178
Lee354653
Marion341772
Jones285355
Henry279837
Bremer270655
Carroll266848
Crawford253435
Boone244830
Benton241554
Washington239247
Mahaska215846
Jackson210339
Dickinson204340
Tama203165
Kossuth198655
Delaware186340
Clay184525
Winneshiek183729
Fayette179535
Page178119
Buchanan178029
Wright174531
Hamilton173942
Cedar172923
Hardin170339
Harrison167870
Clayton160154
Butler159331
Mills148520
Floyd148141
Poweshiek148030
Cherokee146336
Lyon145741
Allamakee144948
Madison143318
Iowa140723
Hancock138030
Grundy132530
Winnebago130531
Calhoun129711
Cass129751
Jefferson128534
Appanoose123447
Louisa122644
Mitchell120740
Chickasaw119915
Union119331
Sac118818
Shelby117634
Emmet115440
Humboldt113925
Franklin109719
Guthrie109728
Palo Alto101721
Howard99722
Unassigned9790
Montgomery97036
Clarke95220
Keokuk92429
Monroe90028
Ida82132
Adair81630
Pocahontas80919
Davis76623
Monona76527
Greene73110
Lucas72321
Osceola68315
Worth6678
Taylor64112
Decatur5719
Fremont5619
Van Buren53818
Ringgold50720
Audubon4769
Wayne47521
Adams3194
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