Here is the 1997 federal court case that Trump's team may use to deny Mueller's subpoena
Special counsel Bob Mueller (left) and President Donald Trump (right). Images via screengrab.

President Donald Trump's lawyers are reportedly researching a 1997 federal court case whose ruling found that presidents and their advisors are protected from disclosing information about their decisions.


As the Wall Street Journal reported Friday evening, the 1997 case involved then-Agriculture Secretary Michael Espy, who was indicted for taking improper gifts in his official capacity but later acquitted in appeals court. In the case, an independent counsel subpoenaed the White House for records regarding Epsy.

The Epsy ruling became central to then-President Bill Clinton's scandal involving White House intern Monica Lewinsky after he invoked executive privilege to protect a close friend and confidante from having to testify about their discussions involving the matter.

Though Trump volunteered to reporters that he's very willing to testify under oath earlier this week, White House counsel Ty Cobb walked the claim back hours after the impromptu admission. Later, Trump's personal lawyer John Dowd said he would be the one to make the decision about whether the president will speak to Mueller — and as of yesterday, had not yet reached a conclusion.

Todd Presnell, an attorney and expert in executive privilege, told the Journal Trump could potentially use the Fifth Amendment to avoid self-incrimination, but choosing to do so "would be a public-relations nightmare."