Trump can fire Mueller for 'any reason,' former independent counsel says

Dan Abrams and Ken Starr discuss the obstruction of justice investigation following reports that Trump attempted to fire special counsel Robert Mueller last June.
7:43 | 01/28/18

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Transcript for Trump can fire Mueller for 'any reason,' former independent counsel says
Thank you. Now back to the Mueller investigation and bring in Ken Starr. Who serves as the independent counsel investigating bill Clinton and analyst Dan Abrams. Do these allegations make an obstruction of justice charge more likely? I don't think so. The president has every -- senator graham said it well. He can fire Jim Comey or Mueller to be fired for any reason. The president's power is extremely broad. As long as he's not engaged in discrimition. Or accepting bribes and the like. I have a very different perspective. A much more robust view of presidential power than many of the folks who have been speaking to this. But, that having been said, it would have been extremely unwise and senator graham hit the nail on the head. It would have been armageddon. I'm glad that the president took don mcgahn's -- if the story is true, took the advice. The president is not just frustrated. As senator graham said. He's a fighter. His instinct is to fight. If you're an enemy, I'm afraid that's the way he tends to ewe Mr. Mueller or some of the people around Mr. Mueller, then he's going to fight. He's going to lash out. The question is, does that really constitute a crime? I don't think so. I know they would have to show corrupt intent. So why doesn't this show that? Explain that. He's very open about it. I don't like this guy. It may very well be, look, he's tried to ruin my presidency. I have the right to engage in self-defense. I don't see that as corrupt. I just don't. Krupgs, in fact, no one suggested to my knowledge that Richard Nixon engaged in a crime by firing Archibald cox. He did engage in crimes. The hush money and the like. There's no suggestion of that. We just have a trump tower set of ethics here and that is what we're seeing in the president. I hope that he will control that more. In the remaining years of his term. I think we're seeing business tacti tactics. Not corruption. He's a thorn in my flesh. Dan, I know you're shaking your head. I tend to think you don't agree with that. The question isn't, does firing Robert Mueller, would firing Robert Mueller be a crime? That's not the question. The question is, would firing Robert Mueller, does trying to fire Robert Mueller potentially become a piece in an obstruction case? You put that together, potentially, with the firing of James Comey. Why? The conversations that he had with the director of the CIA. The director of national intelligence. At the time, the director of the FBI. And if the goal in all of those cases was simply to end the investigation on him and his campaign, that's a different issue. So I think to just say in a vacuum, the president can fire or order the firing of Robert Mueller if he sho chooses, that's not a crime. That's true. But it's also not the relevant question here. Mr. Starr? What about that pattern of behavior? We have been talking about that all morning. I think the pattern is totally consistent with I don't like the guy. He's if my face. And I just don't see that as krup corruption. I don't think that those who have been saying this is obstruction of justice have come forward with persuasive authority and have not arded what I view as a fundamental question. The power of the presidency. The power of the presidency has a huge check. I don't think it should be the criminal law unless there is bribery and that sort of thing. It should be the congress of the United States. We wildly overcriminalize. I have great respect for Dan. I disagree with the approach of let's criminalize everything. It's the same thing you did when you were the independent counsel, right? You created articles of impeachment based on law. I'm not saying that should happen here. Right? We have to wait and see. You basically created a series of articles of impreachment, based on legal standards. You said, this is where I think the law was violated. It's inevident pli combined when you're talking about what the legal standard is and what the potential impact would be. I think to suggest that the president can fire these people for whatever reason he wants, is not a standard that you yourself would apply. Dan, with all due respect, reread the referral. I draft nod articles of impeachment, for starters. But the referral that we made with respect to president Clinton had to do with perjury. And intimidating witnesses or encouraging witnesses to lie. Now, we're talking about encouraging withins to lie, then we have in a lawsuit, there's been no lawsuit that I know about. This was an interference with exactly what senator graham was talking about. Namely, the rule of law. I think what we're talking about here is something entirely different. I want to jump in here. I want to ask you about, you talked about lying. You talked about president Clinton. I want to ask you about president trump's public denial that he had thought of firing Robert Mueller. One of the reasons you cited as grounds for impeachment against president Clinton was Clinton's public denils of having sexual relations with Monica Lewinsky. You wrote, the president made and caused to be made false statements to the American people about his relationship with Ms. Lewinsky. By publicly and emphatically stating in January 1998 that I did not have sexual relations with that woman and these allegations are false. He delayed a possible congressional ING writerry. This represents substantial and credible information that may constitute grounds for an impeachment. If the reports are correct that president trump sought to have Mueller fired, then his public denial would be false. So would that be grounds for impeachment? I think lying to the American people is a serious issue that has to be explored. I take lying to the American people very, very seriously. So, absolutely. I think -- what Dan was talking about was this effect to get rid of the investigation. You're talking about something called lying to the American people. I think that is something that Bob Mueller should look at. Dan, a final thought? Yeah, I mean, I just can't imagine that Mr. Starr doesn't believe that there is some sort of investigation on a president that if that president wanted to end it, just for that reason, that he wouldn't say, that's a potential legal/potential impeachment problem. There has to be a level which it can reach where you say, the president is not allowed to just end investigations into him just because that's the presidential power. We have to leave it there. Quickly. Dan's made my point. We're talking about impeachment. Not talking about the courthouse. That's my distinction. Okay. Tanks very much to both of you. The power house "Roundtable" is

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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