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Why President Trump May Plead the Fifth

Why President Trump May Plead the Fifth

Former White House counsel John Dean said Wednesday that President Donald Trump's tweets on the Russian Federation investigation could negate any of his claims of executive privilege should he be subpoenaed by special counsel Robert Mueller.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement that "Flood will be joining the White House staff to represent the president and the administration against the Russian Federation witch hunt".

The view that a subpoena would create a moment of grave danger - either with Trump looking guilty for not talking or placing himself in greater legal danger by getting caught in lies - misses the way in which the President has been using the investigation to his own political advantage and envisions using it to embolden the Republican Party. "Ty Cobb, a friend of the president, who has done a terrific job, will be retiring at the end of the month".

Direct interaction between the president and the special counsel's office has been possible all along, and in an earlier phase, Trump said he wanted to talk with Mueller - if his lawyers said it was OK.

But Trump's lawyers are preparing for it and have put together a list of 49 questions, as reported earlier, that they believe Mueller's team could ask, gleaned from conversations with them.

Dowd, who left Trump's defence team soon after, told Associated Press that Mueller's team brought up the issue of a subpoena during the negotiation of terms of a possible interview with the president.

He also promoted an upcoming book, called "The Russia Hoax: The Illicit Scheme to Clear Hillary Clinton and Frame Donald Trump". The questions are apparently a road map of inquiry that Mueller and his prosecutors and Federal Bureau of Investigation agents plan to put to the president if the president agrees to sit down for an interview with them.

Flood, a partner at Williams & Connolly who appears willing to take a more adversarial approach to the special counsel than Cobb, was recruited in large part by White House Counsel Donald McGahn, according to two people familiar with the process.

More news: Thunderstorms in today's weather forecast

The others are questions to which Mueller already knows the answers and for which he has irrefutable hard evidence - and the quest is to see whether the president will be truthful. The questions reflected what the defense lawyers anticipated Trump would be asked, rather than verbatim queries that Mueller's team provided, the person said.

But Trump's freewheeling speaking style is well-known both to his critics and his supporters, including his lawyers. Republican members of the House Freedom Caucus say impeachment would be used against Rosenstein as a "last resort" if he doesn't comply with requests for information pertaining to the Russian Federation investigation. But whether the president would be willing to do so is an open question. In the meeting, Giuliani said, he talked with Trump about his assessment of where the case was heading and what Trump's personal lawyers could do compared with the role Flood will play. Trump called it a "false story", and said he was "very happy" with his attorneys, including Dowd, Cobb and Sekulow.

As much as he complains about Mueller, the investigation has become a pillar of Trump's larger narrative on what's wrong with Washington, and the forces he is up against.

The interview took place in Mueller's Southwest Washington office where Caputo, 56, described the interview room as a "nondescript, ugly, government furniture conference room about the size of a bathroom", where prosecutors took turns peppering him with questions.

Contrary to Trump claims that the questions deal only with obstruction of justice, however, numerous queries do deal with collusion. Why so much redacting?

In another tweet Thursday, Trump cited comments from attorney Joe diGenova that questions about Comey's firing "are an intrusion into the President's Article 2 powers under the Constitution to fire any Executive Branch Employee...what the President was thinking is an outrageous....as to the President's unfettered power to fire anyone..."

Several Republican House committee chairmen have recently negotiated deals with the Justice Department to turn over documents related to Russian Federation investigations into Trump and also the 2016 investigation into Democrat Hillary Clinton's emails. "Why such unequal 'justice?'"

Rosenstein says the Justice Department wants to cooperate with members of Congress but within reason.


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