Robert Ray Quoted in Talking Points Memo on Russia Investigation

“Lawyered Up! Trump’s Russia Scandal Enters Whole New Chapter”

Both camps, however, can mount a vigorous defense and make it extremely difficult for the FBI or congressional investigators to obtain documents and testimony. Robert Ray, who succeeded Ken Starr as special independent counsel from 1999-2002 in the protracted investigation of various Clinton scandals, from Whitewater to Monica Lewinsky, explained to TPM what a president’s team can legally do to drag its feet.

“Short of potential obstruction of justice, [Bill Clinton’s attorneys] were inclined to set up every roadblock possible to make the independent counsel’s job difficult and drag out the investigation,” he said. “Practically every subpoena that was issued was challenged on grounds of jurisdiction, and every one of those motions had to be litigated.”

Ray said Trump’s counsel can employ this and other tactics to drag out the inquiry for months or even years.

“They can assert their Fifth Amendment privilege, which in many cases is appropriate to do,” he said. “And when document requests are made, they have to decide whether to assert executive privilege or attorney-client privilege, which then has to be litigated before a court.”