Trump says he has ‘absolute right’ to pardon himself

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The letter came in response to a New York Times report on Saturday that the Trump legal team sent Mueller a 20-page memo in January arguing that Trump was incapable of obstructing justice in the Russian Federation collusion case because he could "if he wished, terminate the inquiry, or even exercise his power to pardon".

They also imply "corruption within the FBI" triggered the Russian Federation probe, and say "the president is not readily available to be interviewed".

In the letter, the legal team argues that a charge of illegal obstruction is moot because the USA constitution empowers the president to, "if he wished, terminate the inquiry, or even exercise his power to pardon".

The president's lawyer Rudy Giuliani threatened a legal battle with special counsel Robert Mueller if he attempts to subpoena Donald Trump.

In the letter to Mueller, Trump's lawyers had contended that the Constitution gives the President the power to "terminate the inquiry, or even exercise his power to pardon", and that meant he could not illegally obstruct the investigation, the Times reported.

"The only significant difference between Mueller's appointment and the appointment scheme for Independent Counsels, upheld by the Supreme Court in Morrison v. Olson, is that Mueller, unlike the Independent Counsels, was appointed by President Trump's own appointee, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, rather than by a three-judge court", Sklansky said.

He told The Washington Post last week that Trump's lawyers are drafting a letter to Mueller laying out those terms and that Jane and Marty Raskin, a husband-and-wife team from Florida assisting Trump's defense, are in contact with Mueller's office three times a week.

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Trump, who was spending a rainy Washington weekend at Camp David, also unleashed a new attack on the Justice Department, which he has repeatedly painted as corrupt and biased against him.

Trump's team has asked for a briefing about the informant, but Giuliani said Sunday that the president would not order the Justice Department to comply because it would negatively affect public opinion.

Trump's team advised Mueller that the president would not agree to an interview.

Trump himself commented on the issues on Twitter, asking: "Is the Special Counsel/Justice Department leaking my lawyers letters to the Fake News Media?" Larry Tribe dismissed it as a Nixonian assertion that the president is above the law.

After former NY mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani replaced Dowd as Trump's chief lawyer in March, he reopened negotiations with Mueller about forestalling that kind of public battle through a voluntary interview.

If, for example, the president were to bribe or threaten witnesses, or just even encourage them to lie, that would be obstruction of justice, as I see it. Trump's lawyers' claim that this "would amount to obstructing himself" seems specious. When will this very expensive Witch Hunt Hoax ever end?

The letter does not stress legal opinions by the Justice Department in the Nixon and Clinton administrations that held that a sitting president can not be indicted, in part because it would impede his ability to carry out his constitutional responsibilities.