Rudy Giuliani, lawyer to President Donald Trump, said Special Counsel Robert Mueller won’t indict Trump. He also said Mueller doesn’t have the power to subpoena the president.
Mueller was appointed on May 17, 2017, to investigate the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election, including any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and the campaign of then-candidate Donald Trump.
Mueller has indicted 19 people and three companies, but none of the charges involve Trump-Russia collusion.
Meanwhile, a separate year-long House Intelligence Committee investigation has found no collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign.
Mueller’s team expressed a desire to interview Trump, but Giuliani has called that a “perjury trap,” meaning the investigators hope to grill Trump until he says something that can pass as inconsistent with other evidence and then accuse him of lying to investigators.
Mueller’s team reportedly floated the idea that if Trump refuses an interview, Mueller can subpoena him, but Giuliani said he’d contest such a subpoena in court.
“The same reason they can’t indict him, they can’t issue a subpoena to him,” Giuliani told Fox News’ Laura Ingraham on Wednesday, May 16. “Remember, [former President Bill] Clinton opposed a subpoena and then he voluntarily complied. He didn’t give up presidential prerogative, and then his administration wrote a memo saying they can’t do that.”
The rule that a president can’t be indicted was summarized in 1973, during the Watergate scandal, when the Justice Department “concluded that the indictment or criminal prosecution of a sitting President would impermissibly undermine the capacity of the executive branch to perform its constitutionally assigned functions.”
That doctrine was reaffirmed by the department in 2000, after the impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton.
According to Giuliani, Mueller acknowledged he’ll follow the rule.
Giuliani, a former federal prosecutor and New York City mayor, says Mueller’s case is over.
The administration has handed over a million documents to Mueller and the Trump legal team has sent Mueller five letters, asking what else he hopes to learn from an interview with Trump.
“We’re demanding from him, ‘Tell us what you have to get from an interview that you don’t already have,’” Giuliani said. “Because he has all the facts to make a decision.”
The lawyers haven’t received any response from Mueller, Giuliani said.
All that is left for Mueller is to write a report on what he’s found, according to Giuliani.
“I think they have the facts from which they can write their report,” he said. “If you’re going to write a fair report, fine, write it. If you’re going to write an unfair report, write it and we will combat it. We’re ready to rip it apart. And we’re ready to rip them apart, if that’s what they want. We would rather peacefully settle this and get it over with.”
Mueller has run into a series of problems recently.
First, federal Judge T.S. Ellis, III, questioned why charges in Mueller’s case against Paul Manafort have “nothing to do with Russia.”
Manafort was Trump’s campaign chairman for several months. But Mueller’s charges against him all stem from his work for Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych between 2005 and 2014 and are unrelated to the Trump campaign.
Then, one of three Russia-controlled companies Mueller indicted for meddling with the election showed up to defend itself in court and demanded discovery, meaning the Mueller team has to give them access to whatever evidence relevant to the case it has, including materials that undermine its case.
Extensive document requests may bring to light how far Mueller has cast his intelligence gathering net to mount the charges against the company, but if he refuses to produce the evidence and drops the charges, it may look like he was playing politics rather than pursuing justice.
“One thing you never want to do is to indict in a case that you’re not prepared to try,” former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy told The Daily Caller.
In addition, on May 14, an investigative report by The Hill’s John Solomon revealed Mueller may have had a conflict of interest in the investigation because the FBI, under Mueller’s leadership, received financial help from Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, an associate of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Deripaska, who used to do business with Manafort, is at least a witness in the current investigation, Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz told Solomon.