Reporter's Notebook

Mueller’s Options As He Mulls A Presidential Subpoena

President Barack Obama and FBI Director James Comey xxx at an installation ceremony at FBI Headquarters in Washington, Monday, Oct. 28, 2013. Comey, a former Bush administration official who defiantly refused to go along with White House demands on warrantless wiretapping nearly a decade ago, took over last month for Robert Mueller, who stepped down after 12 years as agency director. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
Former FBI Director Robert Mueller is seated before President Barack Obama and FBI Director James Comey arrive at an installation ceremony at FBI Headquarters in Washington, Monday, Oct. 28, 2013. Comey, a former Bus... Former FBI Director Robert Mueller is seated before President Barack Obama and FBI Director James Comey arrive at an installation ceremony at FBI Headquarters in Washington, Monday, Oct. 28, 2013. Comey, a former Bush administration official who defiantly refused to go along with White House demands on warrantless wiretapping nearly a decade ago, took over last month for Robert Mueller, who stepped down after 12 years as agency director. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak) MORE LESS
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May 4, 2018 2:40 pm

For my feature this morning, I spoke with former prosecutors, ex-White House attorneys and legal scholars about the options facing Trump’s lawyers as they seek to escalate their battle with Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

One of the experts I talked to, Paul Rosenzweig, worked on the Whitewater investigation, and laid out an interesting calculus that Mueller might face if he cannot come to an agreement with Trump’s team for a sit-down interview and has to consider serving Trump a subpoena.

“Mueller has only two choices: to issue a subpoena or not. Whether he chooses to or not is really dependent on the state of his evidence, what he thinks is his end game. If he thinks that he is not going to be able to indict the President, because of Justice Department policy, then his end game is very different than if his end game is to bring a charge. If he thinks he’s got a criminal case that he’s going to be allowed to prosecute then he has all sorts of incentives not to mess it up with a big fight. If he thinks his job is to write a report that Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein is then going to send to Congress, in terms of possible impeachment, then he might think this fight is worth having to present a full case for Congress to make a determination.”

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