Can Trump Defy a Mueller Subpoena? Buchanan and Giuliani Suggest Just That

Rudy Giuliani, said in an interview Sunday "Trump Could Invoke Fifth Amendment."

“We don’t have to” comply with a possible subpoena for Mr. Trump, Mr. Giuliani said during an appearance Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.” “I’m gonna walk him into a prosecution for perjury, like Martha Stewart did?” Mr. Giuliani also left open the possibility the president could invoke his Fifth Amendment right to refuse to testify if forced to appear before a grand jury.

Agreeing to a voluntary interview would allow Mr. Trump’s lawyers to set conditions, including the length of the interview, the topics raised and whether Mr. Trump could be accompanied by counsel.

“When you volunteer at least maybe you can constrain the questions. When you’re subpoenaed, a subpoena is broad. Your lawyer isn’t present. This is a tough decision for the president’s team to make,” Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.

The high court has weighed in on cases involving presidents before. At the height of the Watergate scandal, the Supreme Court ordered Richard Nixon to turn over tapes and other evidence, but that case didn’t deal with testimony. Years later, the high court ruled Bill Clinton didn’t have immunity from civil suits, paving the way for his eventual deposition in a sexual-harassment case—but that case didn’t deal with questions of testimony in criminal investigations.

Memo to Trump: Defy Mueller

In a Memo to Trump, Pat Buchanan says Defy Mueller.

If Donald Trump does not wish to collaborate in the destruction of his presidency, he will refuse to be questioned by the FBI, or by a grand jury, or by Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his malevolent minions.

Should Mueller subpoena him, as he has threatened to do, Trump should ignore the subpoena, and frame it for viewing in Trump Tower. If Mueller goes to the Supreme Court and wins an order for Trump to comply and testify to a grand jury, Trump should defy the court.

The only institution that is empowered to prosecute a president is Congress. If charges against Trump are to be brought, this is the arena, this is the forum, where the battle should be fought and the fate and future of the Trump presidency decided.

The goal of Mueller’s prosecutors is to take down Trump on the cheap. If they can get him behind closed doors and make him respond in detail to questions — to which they already know the answers — any misstep by Trump could be converted into a perjury charge.

Trump has to score 100 on a test to which Mueller’s team has all the answers in advance while Trump must rely upon memory. Why take this risk?

Wrong Answer From NBC

This NBC headline comes up with the wrong answer: Trump probably could not refuse Mueller subpoena to answer questions.

Why can't he?

There may or may not be consequences, but no one can ever force anyone to talk if they refuse to talk.

Why Give a Reason?

Giuliani says plead the Fifth. Buchanan's approach seems more logical. Just refuse. Why give a reason other than Mueller has no authority?

Let the Supreme Court hear the case.

The Risk

The primary risk of such an approach is not legal. Rather, the primary risk is economic. The secondary risk pertains to the battle of public opinion and possible impact on the midterm elections.

A legal battle between Trump and the Supreme court would not change the downtrend (assuming one is in place), but it could speed things up. The fact of the matter is the market is insanely overvalued, and due to plunge anway. But Trump could get the blame.

Then again, Trump could see a benefit to such an outcome.

If the economy or stock market declined, Trump would have a nice scapegoat. He could and would blame the "Witch Hunt".

Trump's Best Option

Plead the Fifth? Why Bother?

All things considered, Trump's best option would be to defy Mueller with a "Go to Hell" speech along the lines that Pat Buchanan suggested.

The Supreme court may side with Trump and Trump would get a scapegoat.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

Comments
No. 1-22
Sechel
Sechel

Rudy is not Trump's lawyer. He's the p.r. man. He speaks to the base. And right now Trump is negotiating and calling Mueller's bluff. I suspect if Mueller believes an interview with Trump is critical to his investigation this will go to the Supreme Court. If its not critical Mueller will let it go. Really depends on what he has and what he thinks he can prove now, and what he believes is likely given Trump testifying

stillCJ
stillCJ

Editor

" It's also why Hillary wanted to win so badly, because Bill can't be prosecuted." Remember the perps that Willy Weasel sold pardons to just before he left office? Eventually the investigations will go where there is some real evidence of criminal behavior. If Hillary had been elected, none of the real crimes would ever be exposed.

MoonShadow
MoonShadow

Um, are you shocked by this? It's a long established legal principle, because if a current or former president didn't have immunity from prosecutions, political battles could devolve to the point that the losing side would simply prosecute for vengeful reasons later. After which, no worthy individual would ever want to hold the office again. It's also why Hillary wanted to win so badly, because Bill can't be prosecuted.

AndrewUK
AndrewUK

I can see no point whatsoever in President Trump cooperating with Mueller in anyway. Mueller has been busy digging for yonks and has achieved nothing of note because there was no collusion with the Russians. All that has been achieved is to highlight the corruption and incompetence in the DofJ, FBI and the CIA. There needs to be some heavy duty stable clearing.

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