WASHINGTON (Circa) — President Donald Trump suggested without evidence Saturday that special counsel Robert Mueller’s office or his own Justice Department is leaking his attorneys’ letters to the “Fake News Media.”
“Is the Special Counsel/Justice Department leaking my lawyers letters to the Fake News Media? Should be looking at Dems corruption instead?” Trump tweeted early Saturday afternoon.
There was No Collusion with Russia (except by the Democrats). When will this very expensive Witch Hunt Hoax ever end? So bad for our Country. Is the Special Counsel/Justice Department leaking my lawyers letters to the Fake News Media? Should be looking at Dems corruption instead?— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 2, 2018
The tweet came hours before The New York Times reported his attorneys had sent Mueller a confidential memo arguing that he cannot be subpoenaed. The letter written by then-Trump attorneys John Dowd and Jay Sekulow was hand-delivered to the special counsel’s office in January.
“The president tried to preempt us,” tweeted Times reporter Michael Schmidt.
The Times posted a copy of the 20-page memo, which claimed that it is impossible for Trump to obstruct the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election because he can “if he wished, terminate the inquiry, or even exercise his power to pardon.”
The president tried to preempt us .. SCOOP: Trump’s lawyers hand delivered a 20 page confidential letter to Mueller in January. We have obtained it and here is our story: w/@maggieNYT @charlie_savage @mattapuzzo https://t.co/1SqsoV8SoA https://t.co/7N4kwsvSJd— Michael S. Schmidt (@nytmike) June 2, 2018
In the letter, the attorneys argued Trump cannot be forced to testify in Mueller’s probe, which is believed to be looking into whether the president’s campaign was involved in the Russian election meddling effort and on whether any of Trump’s actions in office constituted obstruction of justice.
Mueller has reportedly indicated to Trump’s attorneys that he may try to subpoena the president if he does not submit to a voluntary interview.
The letter posted by the Times listed 16 subject that the attorneys say Mueller’s office identified as issues it wants to address with Trump. They included his interactions with fired National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and fired FBI Director James Comey, his reaction to Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ recusal from the investigation, and his reaction to Mueller’s appointment.
Trump’s attorneys maintained that the White House has provided full cooperation and has already given Mueller testimony and exhibits that answer all of his questions. They also claimed Mueller’s office has acknowledged the “considerable burden” his investigation has placed on the president.
“We express again, as we have expressed before, that the Special Counsel’s inquiry has been and remains a considerable burden for the President and his Office, has endangered the safety and security of our country, and has interfered with the President’s ability to both govern domestically and conduct foreign affairs,” they wrote, according to the Times, adding that supposedly “astounding public revelations” about corruption in the Justice Department and FBI added to that burden.
In addition to arguing Trump has no obligation to speak to Mueller, they claimed preparation for such an interview would “represent a continued imposition that would directly impact the nation.”
“As recognized by the Framers in Article II and as articulated in jurisprudence, the President’s prime function as the Chief Executive ought not be hampered by requests for interview,” they wrote. “Having him testify demeans the Office of the President before the world. The imposition on the time and attention of the President caused by this inquiry has already inflicted unwarranted damage on the President and his Office.”
Though Dowd is no longer a member of Trump’s legal team, current attorney Rudy Giuliani has made many of the same arguments publicly in recent weeks.