Trump says he has "absolute right" to pardon himself

Trump says he has

But that strategy changed after Trump overhauled his legal team, and in recent weeks, the President and his new attorneys have become openly dismissive of Mueller and his team of prosecutors.

President Donald Trump's lawyers argued in a letter to the special counsel investigating Russia's alleged meddling in the 2016 U.S. election that the president could not have obstructed the probe given the powers granted to him by the U.S. Constitution, the New York Times reported on Saturday.

Trump's statement about pardons on Twitter went further than Giuliani and raises the prospect that the President might try to test the limits of his pardon power if Mueller, tried to indict him for obstruction of justice in the case.

A court battle is likely if Trump's team argues that the president can't be forced to answer questions or be charged with obstruction of justice.

The letter, dated January 29, also says Trump can use his executive powers to pardon if needed. The DOJ said that about $5.5 million of the cost from October through March was spent by investigators who do not report to Mueller and those expenditures would have been spent on the investigation irrespective of the special counsel's appointment.

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.

Giuliani also said it is an "open question" whether Trump would sit for an interview with Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating potential collusion between Trump's 2016 presidential campaign and Russian Federation, but that the president's lawyers were leaning against having him testify.

The letter, obtained by the Times and written by Trump lawyers (at the time) John Dowd and Jay Kekulow, contends that Trump or any sitting president can't obstruct a federal investigation because the Constitution allows a president to shut down a probe or pardon those convicted. Mueller will have to decide whether to go ahead with a historic grand jury subpoena of a sitting USA president.

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Giuliani did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The letter states the president "could, if he wished, terminate the inquiry, or even exercise his power to pardon if he so desired".

Giuliani said last month that he wanted any interview of Trump to be limited in scope and length, suggesting it to be only 2-1/2 hours and not under oath. Negotiations between Trump's lawyers and the special counsel on a possible interview have continued since. Dowd left the president's legal team in March.

Giuliani said last week that the special counsel probe may be an "entirely illegitimate investigation" and need to be curtailed because, in his estimation, it was based on inappropriately obtained information from an informant and former FBI director James Comey's memos.

The FBI began a counterintelligence investigation in July 2016 to determine whether Trump campaign associates coordinated with Russian Federation to tip the election.

And one of the articles of impeachment prepared against Richard Nixon in 1974 was for obstruction. The investigation was opened after the hacking of Democratic emails that intelligence officials later formally attributed to Russian Federation.

Russian Federation has denied any interference and Trump has repeatedly said there was no collusion or obstruction.

"I mean, we're leaning toward not", Giuliani told ABC.

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