The country has waited with baited breath for the next move in Mueller’s investigation and, according to sources, it’s the one most likely to take Trump down in flames. It’s also the biggest indication yet of exactly where the investigation is leading.
A professor of journalism and legal advocacy, who also happens to be an attorney, wrote a startling thread about Donald Trump. In it, he discussed Mueller’s next move and how it could be the last in the Trump/Russia investigation.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller has been in talks about how his interview with President Trump should take place. Seth Abramson says that this interview will be the “single most consequential interview of our lifetimes.”
This former criminal defense attorney has broken down how the news about the interview plays out in easy to understand language:
‘BREAKING: NBC reports that Mueller plans to interview Trump about his ties to Russia. This threat – by a former a (sic) criminal defense attorney – breaks down this major news. I hope you’ll read and share, as this could be the single most consequential interview of our lifetimes.’
Abramson continues his tweet with a link to NBC’s “breaking news report.” He referred to news about the president’s attorneys looking for ways Trump can meet with Mueller. These include written responses instead of a face-to-face interview with the special counsel.
The professor continued his tweet with startling information about Vice President Mike Pence:
‘Contrary to what you may have seen on Law & Order, prosecutors almost never get to speak to defendants directly, as no criminal defense attorney would be stupid enough to allow that. An exception is if both attorney and client are absolutely certain the client is not a target.
‘In this case whatever Trump’s public statements on the matter, and whatever Comey may have told him many months ago, and whatever Trump’s lawyers may be saying and however silent Mueller may have been on the issue – President Trump is definitely a target of the Russia probe.
‘We know Mueller is looking at referring an indictment against Trump on Obstruction because that’s been leaked. We know Mueller thinks he may be able to refer an indictment related to Russia against Trump, Pence, or both because he wouldn’t have offered Flynn a deal, otherwise.
‘I say “refer” an indictment because if Mueller wants to indict Trump, he can’t – he must refer that recommendation to Rosenstein at DOJ (Department of Justice), who then refers it to Congress for possible impeachment proceedings. Trump can only be indicted after he is impeached and removed from office.
‘Pence or others can be indicted by Mueller whenever he wants – if Rosenstein agrees, which is why Trump has considered firing him instead of Mueller. In any case, Trump’s attorneys don’t distinguish between impeachment and indictment for the purposes of considering an interview:’
Abramson explains why Trump does not have to talk to Mueller, especially as that relates to the Fifth Amendment, and why the president cannot use it:
‘So normally, Trump’s lawyers would refuse any interview request from Mueller and inform him that if called to testify before a grand jury, Trump would – on the grounds of Mueller having targeted him for indictment – assert his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination.
‘Asserting your Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination – which is functionally a “right” in the first instance – is not an admission of guilt. It merely acknowledges that you have reasonable basis to believe answering questions could expose you to criminal liability.
‘This is a key distinction, as in “theory” it lets Trump refuse to answer any questions in an interview or before a grand jury while maintaining his innocence. Essentially, the mere fact of Mueller having targeted him could give him reasonable basis to fear self-incrimination.
‘This is why prosecutors don’t want targets to know they’re targets until they’ve interviewed them – and why the don’t always send “target letters” (and almost never do at the state level). But here, leaks and media coverage have let Trump know in advance that he “is” a target.
‘Everything I’ve said is just the “theory of the situation. The “reality” is that – from the standpoint of being the most powerful politician in America – you can’t’ loudly declare your innocence while saying your direct answers to questions asked by Mueller could incriminate you:
The former attorney continued in his easily to understand overview of the Trump interview. He wrote that this put the man in the Oval Office in a “terrible situation.” In addition, the president is not a good witness, because he typically talks too much:
Abramson then delved into the documents the president produced:
So why did Trump’s attorneys give Mueller such ridiculous offers? Abramson said there were several reasons:
Abramson said no attorney would let his “target” swear an affidavit. Instead, the president can decide which questions to select:
Here is why an interview would give Mueller the advantage:
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