President Trump submitted responses to special counsel Robert Mueller about Russian hacking during the 2016 election. The question now is what Mueller will do about his obstruction of justice investigation.
President Trump has submitted a set of written responses to Robert Mueller, signaling that he was done for good with the special counsel’s questions. Mueller is far from done with him, reports Politico. The special counsel still wants to question the president over his actions while in the White House. The answers submitted on Tuesday covered only Russian hacking during the 2016 election. The fight could result in a historic subpoena and eventual Supreme Court ruling, pulling a defiant Trump into a legal squabble that could set precedent for presidential investigations for years to come. Depending on how the battle plays out, House Democrats may try to launch impeachment proceedings.
Next comes a perilous round of negotiations between Trump’s lawyers and Mueller’s prosecutors covering topics like Trump’s intentions when firing FBI Director James Comey in May 2017. That line of questioning — which Trump says he shouldn’t have to answer — is tied to Mueller’s ongoing obstruction of justice investigation. “These are very deep waters and complicated questions,” said John Barrett, a St. John’s University law professor who worked under independent counsel Lawrence Walsh during the Reagan-era investigation into secret U.S. arms sales to Iran. If Mueller can’t get the answers he wants, he will have to decide whether he’s ready to test his power to issue a subpoena for the president’s testimony. That could prompt a Justice Department riff with his new supervisor, acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, who has been critical of the special counsel’s investigation. Or Mueller might have enough information from documents, presidential tweets and witnesses to wrap up the obstruction of justice portion of his investigation and file a report to his DOJ supervisors without forcing a court showdown to nail down an interview with the president.