Jay Sekulow is Chief Counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice. Sekulow is a longtime legal expert who is known for protecting religious freedom and constitutional rights. He has argued before the U.S. Supreme Court, some of the most groundbreaking First Amendment cases in the last quarter century. Sekulow is also a member of President Trump’s legal team.
On Father’s Day, on “Fox News Sunday,” host Chris Wallace ended up in a heated exchange with Sekulow. Wallace seemed to grill Sekulow over the Russian investigation and the president’s seeming acknowledgement that he was under investigation for potential obstruction of justice by firing former FBI Director James Comey.
The intervew became very heated as Trump’s attorney Sekulow insisted that the president was NOT under criminal investigation, despite reporting from the Washington Post. Here’s the exchange:
Wallace: Well, but, you don’t know that he isn’t under investigation now, do you.
Sekulow: No one’s notified us that he is, so I can’t read people’s minds, but I can tell you this – we have not been notified that there is an investigation of the President of the United States.
Wallace then pushed Sekulow over why the President’s tweet targeted deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein for ‘telling him to fire’ Comey, when Trump said in an NBC interview that he had planned to fire Comey well before meeting with the Deputy AG.
Here’s where it gets spicy…
In answering Wallace’s question, Sekulow prefaced his response with “Here’s the constitutional threshold question,” which Wallace interpreted as an admission of an investigation:
Sekulow: “Here’s the constitutional threshold question Chris – the President takes action based on numerous events, including recommendations from his Attorney General and the deputy Attorney General’s office. He takes the action that they recommended, and now he’s being investigated by the Department of Justice... So he’s being investigated for taking the action that the AG and deputy AG recommended him to take, by the agency who recommended the termination. So that’s the constitutional threshold question here.”
Sekulow: No, Chris… Let me be crystal clear so you completely understand. We have not received nor are we aware of any investigation of the President of the United States. Period.
Wallace: Sir you just said two times that he’s being investigated!
Sekulow: No…I just gave you the legal theory, Chris, of how the constitution works. If in fact it was correct that the President was being investigated, he would be investigated for taking action that an agency told him to take. So that is protected under the Constitution as his Article 1 power. That’s all I said, so I appreciate you trying to re-phrase it.
Wallace: Jay, the tape will speak for itself.You said that he is being investigated. And its’ not just being investigated for firing Comey, there’s also the question of what he said to Comey when Comey was still the FBI Director.
Sekulow: Chris, let me be clear. You asked me a question about what the President’s tweet was… that’s what you asked me. And I responded to what that legal theory would be. So I do not appreciate you putting words in my mouth when I’ve been crystal clear that the President is not and has not been under investigation. I don’t think I could be any clearer than that.
Wallace and Sekulow then sparred over whether or not Assistant AG Rod Rosenstein should recuse himself based on “constitutional theory.”
Does the President think that Rosenstein – because you talked about this ‘constitutional theory’ that he took action on the advice of Rosenstein. Does he think that Rosenstein should recuse himself? And is he laying the groundwork to fire Rosenstein and Mueller?
Wallace: You do call it Constitutional Theory sir.
Sekulow: Yeah, it is a Constitutional theory based on the Constitution. Not ‘so-called’… it’s part of the Constitution. Here’s what you’re trying to do Chris…
Wallace: Now you’re reading minds again! …don’t tell me what I’m trying to do because you don’t know what I’m trying to do. Actually what I’m trying to get is a straight answer out of you.
The interviews continues on with the discussion of the President’s tweets.