Rudy Giuliani, President Trump’s attorney and longtime associate, told Fox News on Wednesday that special counsel Robert Mueller has notified Trump’s legal team that he will follow Justice Department guidance and not seek an indictment against Trump.
“All they get to do is write a report,” said Giuliani.
Giuliani, himself a former federal prosecutor and mayor of New York City, also told Fox that Mueller’s investigators have not responded to five information requests from the president’s team. That has forced Trump’s legal team to push off making a decision about whether the president will sit for an interview with the special counsel — a decision they had hoped to reach by Thursday. –Fox News
Federal prosecutors are barred from indicting a sitting president, as laid out in a Justice Department memo. Giuliani says that Mueller has no choice but to follow its guidance.
Meanwhile, the special counsel’s office and Trump’s legal team continue to hash out the conditions under which the President will communicate with investigators.
Giuliani joined Trump’s legal team last month and has repeatedly warned that an in-person interview of the president by the special counsel’s team would constitute a “perjury trap.” Complicating matters, Trump himself has refused to rule out agreeing to an interview with Mueller.
In an interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity earlier this month, Giuliani said that the Mueller team had ruled out allowing the Trump team to submit written answers to the special counsel’s questions.
Giuliani said last week that the president’s legal team would oppose any subpoena unless they could “reach agreement on the ground rules.” He argued that Trump could invoke executive privilege, and the team would point to Justice Department opinions in fighting a subpoena and “on both law and the facts, we would have the strongest case you could imagine.“-Fox News
Giuliani has pointed to the fact that the Trump team has handed over 1.2 million documents to Mueller as evidence of cooperation with the probe – which marks its one-year anniversary on Thursday.
So far, Mueller’s probe has resulted in the resignation of National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, the arrests of Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, and the indictment of 13 Russian nationals on allegations of hacking the 2016 election – along with the raid of Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen.
Earlier this month, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein – who is officially in charge of the Russia investigation – admitted that Trump can’t be indicted.
“The Department of Justice has in the past, when the issue arose, has opined that a sitting President cannot be indicted,” Rosenstein said. “There’s been a lot of speculation in the media about this, I just don’t have anything more to say about it.”
In a series of memorandums, the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel concluded that indicting a sitting president would violate the Constitution by undermining his ability to do his job. Those memos, too, though, said the answer was a matter of structure and inference.
The Justice Department’s regulations require Mr. Mueller, the special counsel, to follow the department’s “rules, regulations, procedures, practices and policies.” If the memos bind Mr. Mueller, it would seem he could not indict Mr. Trump, no matter what he uncovered.-NYT
No American court has ever addressed the matter, however elements of the issue were argued before the Supreme Court in United States v. Nixon in a 1974 case in which Richard Nixon was forced to comply with a subpoena from special counsel Lee Jaworski during the Watergate investigation, however the issue of indictment was not ruled on.
“This case is essentially over,” Giuliani said. “They’re just in denial.”