The Trump legal team's letter to Mueller

Trump speaks to the media as he departs the Oval Office for New York City May 23,2018. Trump answered questions about his upcoming summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as well as about the Robert Mueller investigation

He made it clear Trump's legal team would combat any effort to force the president to testify in front of a grand jury.

In all, the letter presents a broad view of presidential authority - and one the Times says could be challenged in court if Mueller does issue a subpoena to Trump.

Trump said in early May that he would "love to" speak with Mueller "because we've done nothing wrong", but said his lawyers were advising him not to do so. Mueller has requested an interview with the president to determine whether he had criminal intent to obstruct the investigation into his associates' possible links to Russia's election interference.

The US Justice Department has spent more than $17 million on its Russian Federation investigation since special counsel Robert Mueller was appointment in May 2017, according to a government report.

The possibility of a self-pardon appeared to be raised in a January 29 letter from Trump's lawyers to Mueller, published by the New York Times on Saturday, arguing that the president could not have obstructed the probe given the powers granted to him by the Constitution.

The two argued that "no President has ever faced charges of obstruction merely for exercising his constitutional authority" and that a President can "order the termination" of a Justice Department or FBI investigation "at any time and for any reason".

Trump tweeted 40 minutes before the New York Times broke the news, questioning whether Mueller's team or the Department of Justice was responsible for leaking the letter. "Mueller is creating his own problems", Giuliani said.

Editor's Note: For more about the special counsel and how the office operates, please see's "Special Counsel Q&A'".

But President Trump has branded the investigation a "witch hunt".

May 20, 2018 - Giuliani tells CNN that according to a timeline the special counsel's office shared with him about a month before, Mueller is aiming to wrap up his investigation by September 1.

Flynn, one of Trump's most vocal campaign surrogates, also agreed to cooperate withe Mueller's investigators. Kasowitz also references how both Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein had advised Trump that the FBI's integrity would remain compromised under Comey. Mueller has already raised the possibility with Trump's lawyers, according to The Washington Post. But in recent weeks, Mr. Giuliani has pointed to those memos as part of a broader argument that, by extension, Mr. Trump also can not be subpoenaed.

Mueller's direct spending during the time period was about 4.5 million dollars. Trump told Holt that he had the Russian investigation on his mind when he fired Comey, but Trump's lawyers argue that has been taken out of context.

A 1974 opinion from the Justice Department's Office of Legal Opinion maintains that presidents can not pardon themselves "under the fundamental rule that no one may be a judge in his own case", though that question has never been tested before the country's highest court. "If there is collusion with a guy 50 rungs down, if it did, I don't know what that means", he added.

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