President Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani said on Wednesday that special counsel Robert Mueller’s team has informed him they understand that they cannot indict a sitting president.
“All they get to do is write a report,” Giuliani told CNN. “They can’t indict. At least they acknowledged that to us after some battling, they acknowledged that to us.”
CNN added, “That conclusion is likely based on longstanding Justice Department guidelines. It is not about any assessment of the evidence Mueller’s team has compiled.”
The Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel looked at the issue both during the Nixon and Clinton administrations and reached the same conclusion, which was recorded in official legal memos.
Giuliani told Fox News that Mueller will abide by those DOJ findings, and he really has no choice but to do so.
Rudy Giuliani tells @FoxNews that Robert Mueller told @realDonaldTrump legal team two weeks ago that he will abide by DOJ guidelines that a President cannot be indicted. Giuliani said Mueller has no choice but to honor a 1999 Clinton-era memo
— John Roberts (@johnrobertsFox) May 16, 2018
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein addressed the matter at an event held earlier this month by the Freedom Forum Institute.
When asked specifically if a sitting president can be indicted, Rosenstein replied, “I’m not going to answer this in the context of any current matters, so you shouldn’t draw any inference about it.”
“But the Department of Justice has in the past, when the issue arose, has opined that a sitting president cannot be indicted,” he said. “There’s been a lot of speculation in the media about this, I just don’t have anything more to say about it.”
Conservative commentator Mark Levin — who served as chief of staff for Attorney General Edwin Meese during the Reagan administration — stated earlier this month on Fox News that the DOJ’s conclusion when it addressed the issue in 1973 and 2000 was binding on Mueller.
“Grand juries and prosecutors cannot supplant Congress,” he said. “The only way to remove a sitting president is through the impeachment process, not through the indictment process.”
“This is not me, this is the Department of Justice speaking,” Levin told host Sean Hannity, while holding up a copy of one of the DOJ legal opinion memos. “Special prosecutors cannot supplant Congress.”
Levin said Trump’s legal team should use the memos to directly question Mueller as to why he thinks he can threaten to subpoena the president.
“I would say if I were the president’s lawyer to Mr. Mueller, ‘We want you to present us with an explanation of your defiance of the Department of Justice policy which you are required to follow as an employee of the Department of Justice.'”
In an interview with Fox News’ Laura Ingraham that aired Wednesday night, Giuliani said his optimal timeline for the Mueller probe to end is “today.”
Laura Ingraham: "What is your optimal timeline for [the Mueller probe] to wrap up?"
Rudy Giuliani: "They should do it today."
— Fox News (@FoxNews) May 16, 2018
“I think they have the facts from which they can write their report,” he said. “If you’re going to write a fair report, fine. If you’re going to write an unfair report, write it, and we will combat it. We’re ready to rip it apart.”
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