Attorneys for President Trump have repeatedly met with Special Counsel Robert Mueller and submitted memos arguing that Trump did not obstruct justice when he fired FBI Director James Comey earlier this year, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.
According to the Journal, the president's legal team has also warned Mueller that Comey is an unsuitable witness. In a memo submitted in June, Trump's lawyers described Comey as prone to exaggeration and the source of multiple leaks to the news media.
The Jounal report, which cited "people familiar with the matter," said that Trump's attorneys gave their memos to Mueller in an effort to close the investigation of the president for allegations of obstruction of justice.
One memo, also submitted to Mueller in June, claimed that Trump has the constitutional authority to hire and fire Executive Branch officials as he sees fit and Comey's dismissal on May 9 fell within that purview.
The report stated that Mueller had expressed a willingness to receive legal submissions from Trump's lawyers, but did not respond once he had received them. The report also gave no indication that Mueller had dropped or otherwise altered his inquiries.
John Dowd, the head of the president's outside legal team, told the Journal: "I just don’t think it’s appropriate to discuss my communications with Special Counsel Mueller. Why should I rupture a relationship with the special counsel?"
A spokesman for Mueller declined to comment.
Mueller, himself a former director of the FBI, has been overseeing the bureau's investigation into possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russian officials during the 2016 presidential election. Comey was leading the probe before Trump fired him.
Following Comey's dismissal, the Justice Department to investigate the possible collusion between Trump's campaign and Moscow, as well as "any matters" arising from the initial investigation.