Dershowitz: Trump Better Off Challenging a Subpoena Over Sitting Down With Mueller
Alan Dershowitz said Special Counsel Robert Mueller could force President Trump's hand by playing the "subpoena card."
According to a new report, Mueller told Trump's legal team that he could subpoena the president to appear before a grand jury if Trump refuses an interview with Mueller's team.
It appears to have been the first time Mueller raised the possibility of compelling Trump to testify as part of his investigation into allegations of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian officials ahead of the 2016 election.
This comes after a lengthy list of questions Mueller wants to ask Trump was leaked this week.
On "America's Newsroom," Dershowitz, a Harvard Law professor emeritus, said a subpoena would mean that Trump would have to appear before a grand jury without a lawyer and without any ability to limit the questions, although he does have the ability to challenge the subpoena in court.
Dershowitz explained that Trump could go to the federal district court, the court of appeals or the United States Supreme Court with several possible arguments:
- a president can't be subpoenaed in a criminal case in front of a grand jury.
- a president can't be asked why he engaged in acts that covered under Article 2 of the Constitution.
- Trump can't be asked questions that go beyond the original scope of the special counsel's investigation.
“I think he'd be in a better position challenging this legally than sitting down with the special counsel and answering that list of 40-some-odd questions that are so open-ended, so vague and so, so general," Dershowitz said, calling an in-person interview with Mueller a "perjury trap."
He suggested that Trump would be in a better position politically -- and possibly legally -- if he and his legal team submit written answers to most of Mueller's questions, and make objections to the others based on Article 2.
"Then tell the American public, 'Look, I've answered all these questions. Why are they trying to bring me in to a grand jury? This interferes with my right to govern.'"