On Thursday, news outlets reported that President Trump launched inquiries to his legal team about his executive powers. The inquiries referred to the possibility of granting pardons to family members, aides and even himself as the Russia investigation continues.
Trump Team Set to Undermine Mueller’s Investigation
As special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Russia probe continues, Trump’s legal team is seeking to build up a case against Mueller for what is allegedly a conflict of interests. Moreover, it looks like the president himself consulted with his legal advisers about his authority to grant pardons. This might come as a way to undermine the Russia investigation.
Trump aides reported that the lawyers were discussing among themselves with regards to the president’s pardoning powers. One Trump adviser declared that the president was simply curious in understanding his authority and the privileges that come with it.
A Conflict of Interests as Legal Ground to Remove the Special Counsel
Meanwhile, Trump’s lawyers are looking into questioning Mueller’s impartiality regarding the Russia investigation. This might be a way to remove him from office. Trump had previously suggested that Mueller’s team is impartial due to past political contributions and clients. As a result, the legal team is looking at Mueller’s previous political relationships, as well as his relationship with former FBI Director James Comey. According to the DOJ’s regulations, a conflict of interest is one of the possible grounds that an attorney general can cite to remove a special counsel from office.
The inquiries also come after Trump learned that Mueller’s probe could lead him to investigate his financial situation. Mueller would be able to look into several years of his tax returns which irritates the president. As of now, Trump refused to release his tax returns repeatedly claiming he was under an IRS audit. A close adviser to the president added that looking at the tax returns does not come under the investigation. Therefore, Mueller needs to stay within his boundaries.
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