Well somebody certainly did not study their history.
Courtesy of the NYT:
President Trump’s lawyers have for months quietly waged a campaign to keep the special counsel from trying to force him to answer questions in the investigation into whether he obstructed justice, asserting that he cannot be compelled to testify and arguing in a confidential letter that he could not possibly have committed obstruction because he has unfettered authority over all federal investigations.
In a brash assertion of presidential power, the 20-page letter — sent to the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, and obtained by The New York Times — contends that the president cannot illegally obstruct any aspect of the investigation into Russia’s election meddling because the Constitution empowers him to, “if he wished, terminate the inquiry, or even exercise his power to pardon.”
Mr. Trump’s lawyers fear that if he answers questions, either voluntarily or in front of a grand jury, he risks exposing himself to accusations of lying to investigators, a potential crime or impeachable offense.
Mr. Trump’s broad interpretation of executive authority is novel and is likely to be tested if a court battle ensues over whether he could be ordered to answer questions. It is unclear how that fight, should the case reach that point, would play out. A spokesman for Mr. Mueller declined to comment.
Hand-delivered to the special counsel’s office in January and written by two of the president’s lawyers at the time, John M. Dowd and Jay A. Sekulow, the letter offers a rare glimpse into one side of the high-stakes negotiations over a presidential interview.
While it is quite understandable for Trump’s lawyers to want to keep him from testifying, we learned from the Clinton and Nixon cases that he can indeed be charged with obstruction, and can also most certainly be subpoenaed.
This seems to be, in my opinion, an opening salvo in an ongoing negotiation to get Trump to testify on terms more favorable to him, and it is likely we are being left in the dark as to how that has progressed since this memo was sent.
But the memo contains a number of other interesting facts as well:
In making their arguments, Mr. Trump’s lawyers also revealed new details about the investigation. They took on Mr. Comey’s account of Mr. Trump asking him privately to end the investigation into Mr. Flynn. Investigators are examining that request as possible obstruction.
But Mr. Trump could not have intentionally impeded the F.B.I.’s investigation, the lawyers wrote, because he did not know Mr. Flynn was under investigation when he spoke to Mr. Comey. Mr. Flynn, they said, twice told senior White House officials in the days before he was fired in February 2017 that he was not under F.B.I. scrutiny.
“There could not possibly have been intent to obstruct an ‘investigation’ that had been neither confirmed nor denied to White House counsel,” the president’s lawyers wrote.
That is interesting because, in the Comey memo, written directly after their meeting, he wrote that Trump referred to the Flynn investigation and asked Comey to “Let this go.”
Oh, according to Trump’s lawyers he was also a hero for ultimately firing Flynn:
They went beyond asserting Mr. Trump’s innocence, casting him as the hero of the Flynn episode and contending that he deserved credit for ordering his aides to investigate Mr. Flynn and ultimately firing him.
“Far, far, from obstructing justice, the only individual in the entire Flynn story that ensured swift justice was the president,” they wrote. “His actions speak louder than any words.”
Damn, that is some serious revisionist history right there.
Trump had absolutely no plan to fire Flynn, and even “expressed confidence” in is abilities, right up until the White House was notified about a Washington Post story that revealed the campaign had been warned by law enforcement officials that Flynn was vulnerable to blackmail.
It was only THEN that Flynn got the old heave-ho.
But wait, there’s more:
The lawyers acknowledged that Mr. Trump dictated a statement to The Times about the 2016 Trump Tower meeting between some of his top advisers and Russians who were said to have damaging information about Hillary Clinton. Though the statement is misleading — in it, the president’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., said he met with Russians “primarily” to discuss adoption issues — the lawyers call it “short but accurate.”
Mr. Mueller is investigating whether Mr. Trump, by dictating the comment, revealed that he was trying to cover up proof of the campaign’s ties to Russia — evidence that could go to whether he had the same intention when he took other actions.
The president’s lawyers argued that the statement is a matter between the president and The Times — and the president’s White House and legal advisers have said for the past year that misleading journalists is not a crime.
The argument here is that yes Trump lied to the New York Times but that he has every right to lie to the American people so long as he is not under oath.
And clearly, it is a right that he exercises with great frequency.
Well, damn this memo is just chock full of desperation, don’t you think?
Some of it reads as if it were dictated by Trump himself, while other parts seem to be a desperate “throw everything but the kitchen sink” attempt to cover for the things that he has already said publicly.
It should also be noted that the font used in the memo was Comic Sans, make of that what you will.
I bet everybody on the Mueller team went around with huge smiles on their faces on the day they received this memo.
I know I would have.
Update: Take a look at this.
In a letter to Mueller, Trump’s lawyers said he “dictated a short but accurate response to the New York Times” about the infamous Trump Tower meeting with Russians. But here are FIVE TIMES @JaySekulow and @PressSec previously denied Trump’s role in the misleading statement. pic.twitter.com/DINgjFdKvL
— Marshall Cohen (@MarshallCohen) June 2, 2018
Oh man, somebody definitely stuck their foot in it.