It looks like Donald Trump has put himself into possibly the most interesting predicament possible in the ongoing Russia probe by Robert Mueller’s special counsel team. In what may be the most ironic twist in the story so far, it seems that nobody on Trump’s legal team has the security clearance necessary to even discuss the case with Mueller’s squad.
It turns out that the only one Trump’s ever had who could represent him personally before Mueller or in a negotiation over whether or not he would sit down for an interview with Mueller’s team is John Dowd, who dumped Trump in March over arguments regarding their legal strategy.
The White House lawyer, Ty Cobb, has a security clearance as well — but technically he doesn’t represent Trump, he represents “the office of the presidency,” which legally precludes him from negotiating over civil matters or the personal decisions required to either send Trump in for an interview or not. Perhaps that’s why even HE is leaving Trump’s legal team.
It’s that specific decision, too, that will end up haunting Trump and his team after the departure of Dowd.
There are essentially two avenues that the investigation could lead down when it comes to Trump talking to the special counsel — and make no mistake, Mueller will compel it one way or another. He could elect to sit down for an interview, or he could wait for Mueller to subpoena him and face a grand jury.
Those options are stark for Trump: In an interview, he can bring lawyers — provided they can get the necessary clearance required to discuss the materials that Mueller would be reviewing with Trump. No matter who Trump brings on the team at this point, they will be required to obtain clearance in order to accompany him to an interview.
Conversely, if Trump waits for a subpoena, the circumstances are far less friendly — he can’t bring any lawyers, and anything he’s found later to have lied about to a grand jury could result not just in obstruction charges, but possibly treason, depending on what questions he lied about or refused to answer.
His best bet is to agree to Mueller’s interview, then cross his fingers that his lawyers can get a security clearance in time to shield him while he gets grilled.
Featured image via New Century Times Gallery