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Saturday, March 17, 2018

“Donald Trump insists he is willing — eager, even — to sit down for a tough interview with Robert Mueller. His lawyers have other ideas, and hope to strictly limit any questioning of the president under oath or prevent it from happening altogether. Whether they can pull this off is a legal and constitutional question for which the precedents do not look good.

“As they consider the options, they and and their boss would do well to learn from Bill Clinton, who was asked to testify on four separate occasions while under investigation during his presidency.

“On three of those occasions, Clinton and his lawyers readily agreed to the requests, without the issuance of a subpoena. It was only when independent counsel Kenneth Starr sought Clinton’s testimony again, more than three years later, that his defense attorneys strenuously objected. They managed to stall for almost six months before Starr finally sent over a subpoena, and the battle over that demand ended up before a federal judge in Washington in July 1998.

Why was Clinton initially so willing to testify, and then so hesitant?…”

My new post on Buzzfeed News looks back at the last presidential probe that led to impeachment — and what Clinton’s prosecution by the Office of Independent Counsel may mean for Trump. It includes excerpts from a previously sealed court hearing on the subpoena that the OIC issued to Clinton after his lawyers stalled his grand jury appearance in the Lewinsky case for six months.

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