Saturday, June 2, 2018

I am the law - Trump's ultimate defense

Mayor Frank Hague of  Jersey City, leader of the legendary Hudson County Democratic party machine famously said "I am the law".  So too does Trump.
Herewith his lawyer's soon to be legendary January 29, 2018  letter to Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

January 29, 2018
By Hand
John M. Dowd
Attorney at Law
Washington, D.C. 20015
Robert S. Mueller
Special Counsel
United States Department of Justice
Washington, D.C. 20024
Re: Request for Testimony on Alleged Obstruction of Justice
This letter will address the recent request by your office for an interview with the President and our discussions with you concerning the same on November 21, 2017, and January 8, 2018.
In our conversation of January 8, your office identified the following topics as areas you desired to address with the President in order to complete your investigation on the subjects of alleged collusion and obstruction of justice:
  1. Former National Security Advisor Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn — information regarding his contacts with Ambassador Kislyak about sanctions during the transition process;
  2. Lt. Gen. Flynn’s communications with Vice President Michael Pence regarding those contacts;
  3. Lt. Gen. Flynn’s interview with the FBI regarding the same;
  4. Then-Acting Attorney General Sally Yates coming to the White House to discuss same;
  5. The President’s meeting on February 14, 2017, with then-Director James Comey;
  6. Any other relevant information regarding former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn;
  7. The President’s awareness of and reaction to investigations by the FBI, the House and the Senate into possible collusion;
  8. The President’s reaction to Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ recusal from the Russia investigation;
  9. The President’s reaction to Former FBI Director James Comey’s testimony on March 20, 2017, before the House Intelligence Committee;
  10. Information related to conversations with intelligence officials generally regarding ongoing investigations;
  11. Information regarding who the President had had conversations with concerning Mr. Comey’s performance;
  12. Whether or not Mr. Comey’s May 3, 2017, testimony lead to his termination;
  13. Information regarding communications with Ambassador Kislyak, Minister Lavrov, and Lester Holt;
  14. The President’s reaction to the appointment of Robert Mueller as Special Counsel;
  15. The President’s interaction with Attorney General Sessions as it relates to the appointment of Special Counsel; and,
  16. The statement of July 8, 2017, concerning Donald Trump, Jr.’s meeting in Trump Tower.
It is our understanding that the reason behind the request for the interview is to allow the Special Counsel’s office to complete its report. After reviewing the list of topics you presented, it is abundantly clear to the undersigned that all of the answers to your inquiries are contained in the exhibits and testimony that have already been voluntarily provided to you by the White House and witnesses, all of which clearly show that there was no collusion with Russia, and that no FBI investigation was or even could have been obstructed.
It remains our position that the President’s actions here, by virtue of his position as the chief law enforcement officer, could neither constitutionally nor legally constitute obstruction because that would amount to him obstructing himself, and thathe could, if he wished, terminate the inquiry, or even exercise his power to pardon if he so desired.1Nevertheless, the President’s strong desire for transparency indicated the need to obtain an honest and complete factual report from the Special Counsel, which would sustain and even benefit the Office of the President and the national interest throughout his time in office. Thus, full cooperation was in order, and was in fact provided by all relevant parties.
We express again, as we have expressed before, that the Special Counsel’s inquiry has been and remains a considerable burden for the President and his Office, has endangered the safety and security of our country, and has interfered with the President’s ability to both govern domestically and conduct foreign affairs. This encumbrance has been only compounded by the astounding public revelations about the corruption within the FBI and Department of Justice which appears to have led to the alleged Russia collusion investigationand the establishment of the Office of Special Counsel in the first place.2The Special Counsel acknowledged that he was aware of and understands this burden and, accordingly, has committed to expedite his effort.
Counsel for both sides developed an informal, confidential, and cooperative relationship to expedite the conclusion of the inquiry. It was agreed that all conversations were confidential and “off the record” so as to encourage candor and engagement as opposed to adversarial hostility. It was agreed that each side could call or meet at any time to facilitate the exchange of information. We agreed on the parameters of the inquiry and that if anything changed, the Special Counsel would notify us before proceeding.
We all remain in agreement that your office has received unprecedented access and voluntary cooperation in the collection of all documents requested from the White House3, the Donald J. Trump For President, Inc. (the “Campaign”)4, and individual witnesses5, and that our offices have developed a collegial and professional working relationship which encourages honesty and candor. Further, we all agree that your office and the Congressional Committees have received the full cooperation and testimony of both present and former White House staff members, including White House Counsel, as well as the President’s most senior advisers and his most senior Campaign employees. The majority of that information could have been rightfully withheld on multiple privilege grounds, including but not limited to the presidential communications privilege6.
We cannot emphasize enough that regardless of the fact that the executive privilege clearly applies to his senior staff, in the interest of complete transparency, the President has allowed — in fact, has directed — the voluntary production of clearly protected documents. This is because the President’s desire for transparency exceeded the policy purposes for the privilege under the circumstances. Without question, the privilege “attaches not only to direct communications with the President, but also to discussions between his senior advisors, who must be able to hold confidential meetings to discuss advice they secretly will render to the President.”7 The privilege applies and is available for the President to claim here because “restricting the presidential communications privilege to communications that directly involve the President will impede the President’s ability to perform his constitutional duty.”8
[C]ommunications made by presidential advisers in the course of preparing advice for the President come under the presidential communications privilege, even when these communications are not made directly to the President. Given the need to provide sufficient elbow room for advisers to obtain information from all knowledgeable sources, the privilege must apply both to communications which these advisers solicited and received from others as well as those they authored themselves. The privilege must also extend to communications authored or received in response to a solicitation by members of a presidential adviser’s staff, since in many instances advisers must rely on their staff to investigate an issue and formulate the advice to be given to the President.9
The privilege applies to communications authored or solicited and received by members of an immediate White House adviser’s staff who are responsible for advising the President.10

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