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Guilt Feelings: Why Trump (Like Clinton) Will Require A Subpoena

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Guilt Feelings: Why Trump (Like Clinton) Will Require A Subpoena

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“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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Joe Conason

A highly experienced journalist, author and editor, Joe Conason is the editor-in-chief of The National Memo, founded in July 2011. He was formerly the executive editor of the New York Observer, where he wrote a popular political column for many years. His columns are distributed by Creators Syndicate and his reporting and writing have appeared in many publications around the world, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, The New Yorker, The New Republic, The Nation, and Harpers.

Since November 2006, he has served as editor of The Investigative Fund, a nonprofit journalism center, where he has assigned and edited dozens of award-winning articles and broadcasts. He is also the author of two New York Times bestselling books, The Hunting of the President (St. Martins Press, 2000) and Big Lies: The Right-Wing Propaganda Machine and How It Distorts the Truth (St. Martins Press, 2003).

Currently he is working on a new book about former President Bill Clinton's life and work since leaving the White House in 2001. He is a frequent guest on radio and television, including MSNBC's Morning Joe, and lives in New York City with his wife and two children.

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