Trump attorney Jay Sekulow had a heated exchange with host Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday while discussing the President’s June 16th tweet about being under investigation for firing former FBI Director James Comey.
I am being investigated for firing the FBI Director by the man who told me to fire the FBI Director! Witch Hunt
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 16, 2017
When Wallace asked whether or not Trump was under investigation, Sekulow responded that the President had not been notified of any, and that his tweet was in response to a Washington Post article based on five anonymous sources who allegedly leaked to the paper.
Sekulow: Nothing’s changed since James Comey said the President was not a target or a subject of investigation.
Wallace: Well, but, you don’t know that he isn’t under investigation now, do you.
Sekulow: No one’s notified us that he is, so I can’t read people’s minds, but I can tell you this – we have not been notified that there is an investigation of the President of the United States.
Wallace then pushed Sekulow over why the President’s tweet targeted deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein for ‘telling him to fire’ Comey, when Trump said in an NBC interview that he had planned to fire Comey well before meeting with the Deputy AG.
Sekulow: There is a constitutional issue when you have this scenario. The President made a determination based on consulted advice he decided ultimately he’s the commander in chief – he gets to make that decision that James Comey had to go.
Here’s where it gets spicy
In answering Wallace’s question, Sekulow prefaced his response with “Here’s the constitutional threshold question,” which Wallace interpreted as an admission of an investigation:
Here’s the constitutional threshold question Chris – the President takes action based on numerous events, including recommendations from his Attorney General and the deputy Attorney General’s office. He takes the action that they recommended, and now he’s being investigated by the Department of Justice… So he’s being investigated for taking the action that the AG and deputy AG recommended him to take, by the agency who recommended the termination. So that’s the constitutional threshold question here.
Wallace jumped on Sekulow like a bespectacled vulture:
Wallace: You just said that he’s being investigated.
Sekulow: No, Chris… Let me be crystal clear so you completely understand. We have not received nor are we aware of any investigation of the President of the United States. Period.
Wallace: Sir you just said two times that he’s being investigated!
Sekulow: No… I just gave you the legal theory, Chris, of how the constitution works. If in fact it was correct that the President was being investigated, he would be investigated for taking action that an agency told him to take. So that is protected under the constitution as his article 1 power. That’s all I said, so I appreciate you trying to re-phrase it.
Wallace: Jay, the tape will speak for itself. You said that he is being investigated. And its’ not just being investigated for firing Comey, there’s also the question of what he said to Comey when Comey was still the FBI Director.
Sekulow: Chris, let me be clear. You asked me a question about what the President’s tweet was… that’s what you asked me. And I responded to what that legal theory would be. So I do not appreciate you putting words in my mouth when I’ve been crystal clear that the President is not and has not been under investigation. I don’t think I could be any clearer than that.
Wallace and Sekulow then sparred over whether or not Assistant AG Rod Rosenstein should recuse himself based on “constitutional theory.”
Does the President think that Rosenstein – because you talked about this ‘constitutional theory’ that he took action on the advice of Rosenstein. Does he think that Rosenstein should recuse himself? And is he laying the groundwork to fire Rosenstein and Mueller?
Sekulow: Chris – let me tell you one thing about the ‘Constitutional Theroy” as you call it. It’s actually called the Constitution.
Wallace: You do call it Constitutional Theory sir.
Sekulow: Yeah, it is a Constitutional theory based on the Constitution. Not ‘so-called’… it’s part of the Constitution. Here’s what you’re trying to do Chris…
Wallace: Now you’re reading minds again! …don’t tell me what I’m trying to do because you don’t know what I’m trying to do. Actually what I’m trying to get is a straight answer out of you.
Wallace then shifts the conversation to indictment, asking Sekulow whether or not the President thinks he can be indicted.
Wallace: As a matter of law, does the President think he can be indicted?
Sekulow: The President can’t be indicted under the Constitution for the activities alleged in something like this. Of course not.
Wallace: Why is that?
Sekulow: Because there’s not an investigation!
Wallace: Oh boy. This is weird. You don’t know if there’s an investigation.
Wallace: Do you think he should stop tweeting about this case?
Sekulow: The President has changed the way in which engagement goes on. You’ve got great ratings, no doubt about it Chris – but let’s face it; the President speaks to 107 million people through social media platforms. He revolutionized the election process by utilizing media in a different way.
Nothing that he’s tweeted is causing me any issues whatsoever at his point – nothing.
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