Chuck Todd Confronts Giuliani on Letter to Mueller: ‘Echoes of Nixon’s Argument’ About Presidential Powers
Rudy Giuliani‘s defense of President Donald Trump from claims he obstructed justice struck MSNBC’s Chuck Todd as similar to a Nixon era claim.
Speaking with Todd Sunday morning, Giuliani offered support for a carefully-worded letter sent in January by Trump’s lawyers to Special Counsel Robert Mueller arguing it is legally impossible for the president to obstruct the Russia investigation by virtue of the fact that it is a federal investigation over which he holds authority.
“It has echoes of Richard Nixon’s infamous argument that he said that when the president does it, it is not illegal,” Todd said.
In response, Giuliani contended that the president wasn’t guilty, and that’s a fact.
“First of all, I didn’t make the argument but I agree with most of it as any lawyer, I probably would have organized it differently,” Giuliani said. “I look to the obstruction part of it differently, he didn’t obstruct, and we can word it on the facts.”
According to Giuliani, there are numerous innocuous reasons for Trump’s decision to fire former FBI Director James Comey, and an obstruction case isn’t worth pursuing because it would be too difficult to prove.
“If a prosecutor is looking at an act such as, let’s say firing Comey, and there are five explanations for it, four of which are innocent and the president has asserted each one of those positions and one is obstructing the investigation, although he contradicted that and made clear he didn’t in an interview with Lester Holt which is unfortunately seized on by the special counsel selectively,” Giuliani told Todd. “We don’t have to get to the whole big constitution law which would take a year to resolve, so I would prefer to put emphasis on the fact he didn’t do anything wrong.”
Giuliani also said he and Trump are willing discuss the issue further with Mueller.
The letter, which was obtained by The New York Times, claims that the president “could neither constitutionally nor legally constitute obstruction because that would amount to him obstructing himself, and that he could, if he wished, terminate the inquiry and exercise his power to pardon if so desired.”
The letter has raised serious concerns for its suggestion that the president is entitled to unchecked power, but Giuliani says he wouldn’t even need to push the argument that far to shield Trump from any blame.
“You don’t have to get to that argument,” Giuliani said. “I don’t know exactly how the court would resolve that. You never want to say he can’t ever [obstruct justice] because you open too wide a floodgate. You might want to say he has very broad powers and someone who wants to question that under Article 2 has a big, big burden of showing there is no innocent explanation for what he did. They just can’t do that.”
Watch the clip above, via MSNBC.
[Image via screengrab]
Have a tip we should know? firstname.lastname@example.org