Mueller’s Russian Federation probe costing taxpayers close to $17M

Oliver Contreras  AP

In the letter, President Trump's attorneys noted the "unprecedented access and voluntary cooperation in the collection of all documents requested from the White House, the Donald J. Trump For President Inc., and individual witnesses".

Trump's "actions here, by virtue of his position as the chief law enforcement officer, could neither constitutionally nor legally constitute obstruction because that would amount to him obstructing himself", Dowd and Sekulow wrote.

President Trump has already tried to fire Robert Mueller and end his investigation.

Giuliani told ABC it is an "open question" whether Trump would sit for an interview with Mueller but that the president's lawyers were leaning against having him testify.

Mueller is also looking into whether Trump unlawfully sought to obstruct the Russian Federation investigation. Trump Jr., meanwhile, told the Senate Judiciary Committee in private testimony in September, released last month, that he didn't speak to his father about the statement, but that the President "may have commented through Hope Hicks", the then-White House aide, and that some of those comments might have made it into the statement.

In his latest attack on the Russian Federation investigation, President Donald Trump tweeted, "The appointment of the Special Counsel is totally UNCONSTITUTIONAL!'"

"Ensuring that the office remains sacred and above the fray of shifting political winds and gamesmanship is of critical importance", Trump's lawyers wrote, explaining that the Constitution grants the president the power to "if he wished, terminate the inquiry, or even exercise his power to pardon".

Mr Giuliani underscored one of the main arguments in a newly unveiled letter sent by Mr Trump's lawyers to Mr Mueller back in January: A president can not be given a grand jury subpoena as part of the investigation into foreign meddling in the 2016 election. However, the lawyers said they would be willing to provide written answers to questions asked by Mueller's team.

Editor's Note: For more about the special counsel and how the office operates, please see FactCheck.org's "Special Counsel Q&A'".

The argument, however, is not necessarily that the appointment of any special counsel would be unconstitutional, but rather that this one is, because of the broad investigative powers given to Mueller.

In May previous year, he was appointed by the Department of Justice to handle the probe, and was given the wide authority to investigate whether the President or his associates colluded with Moscow to bag the top job. The Washington Post later reported that Mueller also raised the possibility of subpoenaing Trump to compel his testimony before a grand jury should he refuse an interview.

In reality, the FBI began a counterintelligence investigation in July 2016 to determine if Trump campaign associates were coordinating with Russian Federation to tip the election. Giuliani has told The Associated Press that the president's legal team believes the special counsel does not have the authority to do so.

But it's not clear that Trump's lawyers understand those statutes, or the case, as well as they purport to.

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