Giuliani Argues Trump Has Legal Right To Obstruct Russia Probe, Says He Hasn’t

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Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani said Wednesday that he believed it would be legal for President Donald Trump to obstruct the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and related matters.

The comment came after a reporter asked Giuliani why the President simply didn’t fire Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who oversees special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe, given that Trump has frequently shared his unhappiness with the investigation on Twitter.

“He wants the investigation to come to a conclusion and not interfere in it,” Giuliani responded. “That’s why this whole obstruction of justice thing is nonsense. If he wanted to obstruct it, he’d have obstructed it, he could just end it. Then you’d battle whether he has the legal right to do that, which I think he does, but he’s not going to do that.”

Later, asked about the remark, Giuliani said “of course” obstruction of justice is a crime, but that “under Article II of the Constitution, if the President is acting within his capacity as President, and he fires someone, then that can’t be questioned.”

“Now, is there a narrow area where you could question him? I don’t know. We don’t have to deal with that, because he had very legitimate reasons for firing Comey.”

“If we didn’t have Article II, he still didn’t obstruct anything,” Giuliani said later, adding: “The best proof is in the pudding: He didn’t obstruct the investigation. It’s been going on for a year-and-a-half, they’ve talked to every witness they want to, we haven’t asserted executive privilege, and they’ve gotten every single last document, 1.4 million, that they wanted.”

It marked yet another instance when the Trump team shifted the goalposts of criminality: First, the public was told that there had never been any communication between the Trump campaign and Russians, then that there had been no collusion between them, and just recently, that even if there had been collusion, that it was not illegal.

The New York Review of Books reported Tuesday that Trump had been informed that former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn was under criminal investigation when he asked then-FBI Director James Comey to lay off of Flynn — a potential instance of obstruction of justice.

The Trump lawyer said the President had “made it clear that he wants it to run its course, but on the other hand, he is a person with a First Amendment right to defend himself.”

“If he believes he’s innocent, and he is innocent, he should speak out,” Giuliani added.

Earlier, Giuliani had commented on the long volley of letters between Trump’s legal team and special counsel Robert Mueller’s, negotiations for a potential sit-down interview between Mueller and the President.

“I’m not going to give you a lot of hope it’s going to happen, but we’re still negotiating,” Giuliani said. “We haven’t stopped negotiating with them. The most recent letter, they sent us a proposal, we responded to their proposal, they took about 10 days, and yesterday we got a letter back from them. And now we’re in the process of responding to their proposal.”

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