Executive Branch

Trump's lawyers argue in memos to Mueller that firing Comey wasn't obstruction, sources say

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Lawyers for President Donald Trump have reportedly met with special counsel Robert Mueller and submitted memos with legal arguments regarding former FBI director James Comey.

One memo argues Trump has inherent authority to hire and fire, and he could not have obstructed justice by firing Comey, anonymous sources tell the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.). The memo also cites case law to establish that Trump’s action did not amount to obstruction.

A second memo argues that Comey is a poor witness because he tends to exaggerate, was the source of news media leaks, and was unreliable in congressional testimony, the sources tell the newspaper.

Mueller reportedly indicated he was willing to receive the legal arguments, but he didn’t respond to their substance, the sources said.

Ty Cobb, special counsel for the president, told the newspaper: “We have great respect for the special counsel. Out of respect for his process we will not be discussing incremental responses.”

John Dowd, who leads Trump’s outside legal team, also declined to comment, saying he didn’t think it was appropriate to discuss communications with Mueller. “Why should I rupture a relationship with the special counsel?” Dowd asked the Wall Street Journal.

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