President Donald Trump’s attorneys have prepared a draft motion opposing a subpoena compelling him to testify in connection with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Rudy Giuliani, who leads Trump’s defense team, said the president would use every available alternative to resist a subpoena.
“We would move to quash the subpoena,” Giuliani told The Washington Post late Wednesday. “And we’re pretty much finished with our memorandum opposing a subpoena.”
He added that the president’s lawyers are prepared to argue their case all the way to the Supreme Court. (RELATED: Kavanaugh’s Unexplained Recusals Create Transparency Challenge)
The president’s lawyers and the special counsel are currently negotiating the terms of a possible Trump interview with Mueller’s investigators. Sources familiar with those discussions told WaPo that Trump’s attorneys have narrowed the scope of topics the president would voluntarily address, and do not plan to make any further concessions to Mueller.
Should the parties fail to reach an agreement, the special counsel could attempt to compel Trump’s appearance before a grand jury via a subpoena.
The issuance of a subpoena would set off an unpredictable chain of events that would likely culminate in a ruling from the Supreme Court. Even if the high court ruled that the president must submit to a subpoena, the R Street Institute’s Paul Rosenzweig has explained that Trump could realistically resist the order until the end of his presidency, though he would be tempting impeachment. (RELATED: Liberal Group Behind Kavanaugh Resistance Is Hiding Its Funding)
Former independent counsel Ken Starr subpoenaed President Bill Clinton to appear for questioning relating to his affair with Monica Lewinsky in 1998. Clinton later testified to a grand jury via closed circuit television from the White House.
The possible issuance of a subpoena to a sitting president will likely come up during Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings to the U.S. Supreme Court in September, during which Democrats are expected to ask a series of questions relating to the Mueller investigation.
At this stage, matters arising from Mueller’s inquiry have not reached the high court, but that could change depending on the outcome of Giuliani’s negotiations with the special counsel.
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