Politics Trump likely could not refuse Mueller subpoena to answer questions

01:06  09 january  2018
01:06  09 january  2018 Source:   nbcnews.com

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If Robert Mueller seeks to question President Trump , could the White House successfully refuse to make him available? While it's unlikely Trump could successfully refuse to answer Mueller 's questions if subpoenaed , how he does so would probably be negotiated.

While it’s unlikely Trump could successfully refuse to answer Mueller ’s questions if subpoenaed , how he does so would probably be negotiated. The special prosecutor might not be able to force him to appear on videotape for a deposition and might have to settle for written answers .

Former FBI Director Robert Mueller, center, the special counsel probing Russian interference in the 2016 election, arrives on Capitol Hill for a closed door meeting, Wednesday, June 21, 2017, in Washington. © AP Photo/Andrew Harnik Former FBI Director Robert Mueller, center, the special counsel probing Russian interference in the 2016 election, arrives on Capitol Hill for a closed door meeting, Wednesday, June 21, 2017, in Washington.

WASHINGTON — If Robert Mueller seeks to question President Donald Trump, could the White House successfully refuse to make him available?

Like anyone whose testimony is sought by grand jury subpoena in a criminal case, the president could cite his Fifth Amendment right not to testify against himself. Such a move, however, would carry significant political risk.

The White House has given no indication that he would refuse to answer Mueller's questions. Trump said in June that he "100 percent" would be willing to give Mueller his version of events. "I'd be glad to," the president said when asked at a news conference.

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Trump was ready to answer ANY questions Mueller has SINCE the start. duh. Only Susan Rice and Powers can refuse to answers a subpoena .

WASHINGTON — If Robert Mueller seeks to question President Donald Trump , could the White House successfully refuse to make him available? Like anyone whose testimony is sought by grand jury subpoena in a criminal case

But suppose he changed his mind. Could he decline to respond to a subpoena from Mueller on some other grounds? The answer, in a word, seems to be no.

The Supreme Court has never directly addressed the question about whether a president can refuse to cooperate in a criminal investigation potentially involving his own conduct. That's because no president has ever fought such a request. But in two other cases, the court has suggested that there's no authority to decline.

President Richard Nixon failed when he tried to shield his White House tapes from the Watergate prosecutor who wanted them as evidence in charging presidential aides with crimes related to the scandal. The court rejected Nixon's claim that the recordings were protected by executive privilege.

Trump allies urge him not to talk to Mueller

  Trump allies urge him not to talk to Mueller Close advisers and friends of President Donald Trump are warning him not to sit for an interview with special counsel Robert Mueller.The President has told friends he's willing to talk with Mueller -- the man Trump views as leading a "witch hunt" against him -- to make the case there was no wrongdoing, sources told CNN. White House special counsel Ty Cobb says the White House is cooperating with Mueller's investigation into potential collusion between the Trump team and the Russians in the 2016 election.

If Robert Mueller seeks to question President Trump , could the White House successfully refuse to make him available?

Related QuestionsMore Answers Below. Can Trump refuse a subpoena from Mueller to testify? As the Mueller ’s investigation continues, it appears likely that several of Trump ’s associates - during the campaign Mueller could handle this a few ways: 1- Agree to let Trump answer written questions .

"The President's generalized assertion of privilege must yield to the demonstrated, specific need for evidence in a pending criminal trial and the fundamental demands of due process of law in the fair administration of criminal justice," the court said in 1974.

Twenty-three years later, the Supreme Court ruled that President Bill Clinton was not immune from a lawsuit filed by Paula Jones, who accused him of sexual harassment.

It's settled law, the court said, "that the President is subject to judicial process in appropriate circumstances."

While that ruling involved a private civil case, the court said the need for evidence in a prosecution is even greater.

"We have made clear that in a criminal case the powerful interest in the 'fair administration of criminal justice' requires that the evidence be given under appropriate circumstances lest the 'very integrity of the judicial system' be eroded."

Bannon Is Subpoenaed in Mueller’s Russia Investigation

  Bannon Is Subpoenaed in Mueller’s Russia Investigation The move marks the first time the special counsel is known to have used a grand jury subpoena to seek information from a member of President Trump’s inner circle.The move marked the first time Mr. Mueller is known to have used a grand jury subpoena to seek information from a member of Mr. Trump’s inner circle. The special counsel’s office has used subpoenas before to seek information on Mr. Trump’s associates and their possible ties to Russia or other foreign governments.

If Robert Mueller seeks to question President Trump , could the White House successfully refuse to make him available?

The White House has given no indication that he would refuse to answer Mueller 's questions . But suppose he changed his mind. Could he decline to respond to a subpoena from Mueller on some other grounds? The answer , in a word, seems to be no.

Two former White House counsel, under both Republican and Democratic presidents, agreed Trump would have no legal grounds, other than the Fifth Amendment, to reject a subpoena for his testimony. Both spoke on condition that they not be identified.

Clinton became the first sitting president ever questioned by prosecutors about his own conduct. In 1998 Kenneth Starr's team asked him questions about his relationship with White House intern Monica Lewinsky for nearly six hours in the Map Room, as a grand jury watched on a special video feed to the federal courthouse 10 blocks away.

Starr's team had earlier interviewed both the president and Hillary Clinton in 1995 about the Whitewater real estate matter, and they gave sworn testimony about Whitewater the year before to Robert Fiske, the special counsel who was initially appointed to investigate the issue.

Previous presidents have cooperated in criminal investigations while in office. Ronald Reagan answered written questions from the special counsel investigating the Iran-Contra scandal. Jimmy Carter gave four depositions in criminal cases unrelated to his own conduct. And Gerald Ford gave a videotaped deposition in the trial of a woman accused of trying to assassinate him.

A century earlier, President Ulysses Grant gave a long deposition in a criminal case, testifying for the defense in the Whiskey Ring scandal.

While it's unlikely Trump could successfully refuse to answer Mueller's questions if subpoenaed, how he does so would probably be negotiated. The special prosecutor might not be able to force him to appear on videotape for a deposition and might have to settle for written answers.

Mueller could try to summon the president to appear in court, though his lawyers could cite the Clinton precedent and seek to have the questioning done in the White House. In its ruling in the Clinton civil case, the Supreme Court said, "We assume that the testimony of the President, both for discovery and for use at trial, may be taken at the White House." But that was a civil case with no grand jury.

Lewandowski rebuffs committee's questions in Russia probe .
Former Trump aide said he was unprepared to answer questions a day after Steve Bannon said he was told not to provide answers about his time in the White House.WASHINGTON — A top Trump administration official answered a full range of questions from House investigators Wednesday, just one day after former White House strategist Steve Bannon told them he was under instructions from the West Wing to remain silent, sparking new negotiations between Congress and the White House that could lead President Trump to formally invoke executive privilege for the first time in the Russia probe.

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