Trump lawyers sent special counsel letter arguing President can't obstruct Russia probe

Trump speaks to the media as he departs the Oval Office for New York City May 23,2018. Trump answered questions about his upcoming summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as well as about the Robert Mueller investigation

Trump's lawyers had argued in the January letter that the President could not have obstructed the probe given the powers granted to him by the Constitution, the Times report said. Should Mueller seek to compel Trump's testimony with a subpoena, the arguments advanced in the letter could ultimately form the basis of a courtroom battle that would probably reach the U.S. Supreme Court.

Robert Mueller's team of prosecutors and Federal Bureau of Investigation special agents has spent by far the most money on covering salaries, followed by rent and information technology services, the statement of expenditures says. An attorney for President Donald Trump is playing down the possibility that Trump would try to - if it came to that.

"Indeed, the President not only has unfettered statutory and Constitutional authority to terminate the FBI Director", the letter reads, "he also has Constitutional authority to direct the Justice Department to open or close an investigation, and, of course, the power to pardon any person before, during, or after an investigation and/or conviction".

On Pres. Trump's 500th day in office, he took another swipe at special counsel Robert Mueller's probe into Russian Federation and whether it interfered in the 2016 election.

"Such an action obviously has an impact on the investigation, but that is simply an effect of the president's lawful exercise of his constitutional power and can not constitute obstruction of justice".

Mr Giuliani underscored one of the main arguments in a newly unveiled letter sent by Mr Trump's lawyers to Mr Mueller back in January: A president can not be given a grand jury subpoena as part of the investigation into foreign meddling in the 2016 election.

Although Giuliani was not on the legal team at the time, he confirmed the contents of the letter to ABC News.

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Editor's Note: For more about the special counsel and how the office operates, please see FactCheck.org's "Special Counsel Q&A'".

"The appointment of the Special Councel [sic] is totally UNCONSTITUTIONAL!" wrote Trump on Twitter.

Trump attorney Jay Sekulow and then-Trump attorney John Dowd challenged Mueller to prove there were questions remaining that had not already been answered in the avalanche of documents the White House and the Trump transition team provided to Mueller. They have been trying to sway Mueller away from seeking a subpoena to force Trump to testify before a grand jury. Among those areas of interest is Mr. Trump's reaction to Attorney General Jeff Sessions' decision to recuse himself in the Russian Federation investigation.

Rudy Giuliani, Trump's attorney, told Fox News Trump fired Comey because Comey wouldn't state "that he wasn't a target" of the Russian Federation probe.

"I would have quickly picked someone else" to lead the Justice Department, Trump tweeted of Sessions, who recused himself from the probe past year following reports of his meeting with the Russian ambassador.

Schatz responded to the news hours later, tweeting: "When the President does it, that means it's not illegal".

But it's not clear that Trump's lawyers understand those statutes, or the case, as well as they purport to.

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