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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 1:53 PM
Updated: May 2, 2018 1:55 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.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 751242

Reported Deaths: 13795
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1032931788
Lake556911009
Allen41692692
St. Joseph36990565
Hamilton36588417
Elkhart29398461
Tippecanoe22901226
Vanderburgh22556400
Porter19356325
Johnson18471389
Hendricks17682317
Clark13226195
Madison13149344
Vigo12614253
LaPorte12419221
Monroe12207176
Delaware10966198
Howard10321225
Kosciusko9630121
Hancock8576146
Bartholomew8169157
Warrick7860156
Floyd7811180
Grant7242179
Wayne7162201
Boone6966103
Morgan6761141
Dubois6218118
Marshall6209116
Cass6016110
Henry5900110
Dearborn589878
Noble581488
Jackson509076
Shelby501496
Lawrence4742122
Gibson444894
Clinton442355
Harrison441875
DeKalb439885
Montgomery438090
Whitley406543
Huntington402681
Steuben400159
Miami395269
Jasper388054
Knox375991
Putnam372960
Wabash361983
Ripley347170
Adams345555
Jefferson335886
White331953
Daviess3033100
Wells295281
Decatur289992
Greene286885
Fayette284864
Posey273835
LaGrange273072
Scott270156
Clay267148
Washington246036
Randolph244783
Jennings235349
Spencer234531
Starke228058
Fountain220948
Sullivan214643
Owen211858
Fulton202942
Jay200932
Carroll193620
Orange188255
Perry187237
Rush175926
Vermillion174844
Franklin170335
Tipton166246
Parke149416
Pike138234
Blackford136232
Pulaski120647
Newton113936
Brown104243
Crawford102516
Benton101714
Martin91715
Warren84015
Switzerland8148
Union72810
Ohio57911
Unassigned0420

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1108736

Reported Deaths: 20166
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1287201467
Cuyahoga1157922211
Hamilton813971250
Montgomery525481043
Summit484271001
Lucas43353820
Butler39013606
Stark33332929
Lorain25672505
Warren24591303
Mahoning22370603
Lake21207388
Clermont20117253
Delaware18852136
Licking16662222
Fairfield16574204
Trumbull16548482
Medina15610271
Greene15281248
Clark14237306
Wood13292200
Portage13251215
Allen11913239
Richland11605211
Miami10849225
Wayne9141223
Columbiana9032230
Muskingum8906135
Pickaway8663122
Tuscarawas8649250
Marion8642138
Erie8056165
Ashtabula7160179
Hancock6998132
Ross6944161
Geauga6838151
Scioto6534106
Belmont6157174
Union584549
Lawrence5731102
Jefferson5678158
Huron5546122
Sandusky5442126
Darke5420129
Seneca5348128
Washington5319109
Athens523960
Auglaize502187
Mercer487385
Shelby476895
Knox4571112
Madison444266
Ashland435797
Putnam4336103
Defiance432399
Fulton432074
Crawford4037110
Brown402461
Logan387677
Preble3855105
Clinton379166
Ottawa373681
Highland359665
Williams348278
Champaign344759
Guernsey324953
Jackson318254
Perry297350
Morrow291840
Fayette285450
Hardin275265
Henry273467
Holmes2701101
Coshocton269060
Van Wert247264
Adams243256
Pike242835
Gallia240650
Wyandot234556
Hocking220563
Carroll197348
Paulding176542
Meigs148440
Monroe136344
Noble136239
Harrison114138
Morgan109624
Vinton85517
Unassigned03
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