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Alan Dershowitz: Trump Should Answer FBI's Mueller in Writing

(Newsmax's TV "America Talks Live")

By    |   Tuesday, 09 January 2018 05:09 PM

President Donald Trump should agree to answer questions from FBI special counsel Robert Mueller in writing – but not in person, famed civil-rights lawyer Alan Dershowitz told Newsmax TV on Tuesday.

"The best approach the president could take through this lawyers would be to respond to written questions or to be allowed to submit a written statement," Dershowitz, a Harvard Law Professor Emeritus, told host Miranda Khan on Tuesday's "America Talks Live."

"It doesn't matter whether it's under oath or not under oath. It is just as much a felony to lie not under oath to law enforcement officials as it is under oath. So, the oath thing is not the issue. The issue is the structure and the control.

"If you're the president's lawyer, you don't want him to be asked open-ended questions without his lawyer present in front of a grand jury where he can go on and on and on and say things. What you want to do is be able to control the situation."

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Still, Dershowitz told Khan, Mueller – who is probing Russia's interference with the 2016 presidential election and whether the Trump campaign was involved – is in total control.

"In the end, Mueller has the leverage because he can simply issue a subpoena to the president and make him appear in front of a grand jury and make him respond to questions without his lawyer being present," he said.

"The president could object to that politically and perhaps legally, but he'd lose the legal claim and so, in the end, Mueller has the leverage. But they may be able to negotiate a resolution. The best resolution would be in writing."

If Trump is forced to give his answers in person, Dershowitz said it would be better for the president if it were done informally in his office with the president's lawyers there and able to object to questions and call time outs to advise him.

"Although it's not easy to call a time out with President Trump and advise him, he's going to decide how to answer the questions because he's his own person," Dershowitz said.

Dershowitz's comments come a day after The Washington Post reported Trump might be interviewed by Mueller within the next few weeks.

The newspaper, quoting an unnamed source close to the president, said Mueller has raised the likelihood with Trump's legal team that his office will seek an interview with the commander in chief.

Dershowitz says he expects more indictments in Mueller's ongoing probe into Russia's interference with the 2016 presidential election and whether the Trump campaign was involved.

"I think we'll see some low-hanging fruit indictments, the equivalent politically of jaywalking – nothing I think that will get close to the Oval Office," Dershowitz said.

“The path of obstruction of justice is blocked by the Constitution. There is no such crime as collaboration with the Russians or coordination with the Russians. There would only be a crime if somebody at the White House advised the Russians to do something illegal and there's no evidence that that happened.

So I don't think we're going to see significant indictments, but we may see some of the kind that we've already seen based on financial disclosure and other forms, maybe some financial irregularities, but nothing that gets close I think to the presidency.”

Dershowitz also scoffed at the lawsuit filed by former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort against Mueller and the Justice Department. Manafort, who’s been indicted on money laundering and other charges, is challenging Mueller’s broad authority and alleging the Justice Department violated the law in appointing him.

“It's going to lose. Legally, there's no real basis for it because the Justice Department can open an investigation about anything it wants,” Dershowitz said.

The veteran lawyer said he does not believe – as some Republicans do – Mueller is politically biased.

"I don't think he cares whether he helps the Republicans or the Democrats. That's not his issue. He's a zealous – some have said overzealous – prosecutor, and he uses every tactic available to a prosecutor," Dershowitz said.

"And if you're in his sights, and you're a Republican, you're going to think he's biased against Republicans – and if you're in his sight and you're a Democrat, you're going to think he's biased against Democrats . . .

"I've known Mueller mostly by reputation, but I've met him on a number of occasions, had meetings with him professionally. I don't think he cares one bit about whether the Democrats or the Republicans win."

Dershowitz also believes Mueller's probe is winding down and will not stretch all the way into 2019 as some suggest.

"My gut says that once you interview the president, you have to have pretty much interviewed everybody else because you go after the president . . . only after you've exhausted all other investigative leads . . ." he said.

"You're not going to be able to call the president back twice, so they're going to wait until they're pretty much finished with their investigation, if they're smart, to question the president. That would seem to suggest that once they question the president the investigation is coming to an end.

"Of course, it depends what the president tells them . . . When you're investigating the president or the White House, there are no rules, and you can't make predictions that are based on sound information; it necessarily has to be somewhat speculative."

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President Donald Trump should answer FBI special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation questions in writing, not in person, famed civil-rights lawyer Alan Dershowitz told Newsmax TV on Tuesday.
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2018-09-09
Tuesday, 09 January 2018 05:09 PM
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