President Donald Trump speaks during a ceremonial swearing in for Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the State Department, Wednesday, May 2, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Can Trump be forced to testify? Legal precedents suggest yes

May 02, 2018 - 2:19 pm

WASHINGTON (AP) — Legal precedents suggest President Donald Trump could be forced to testify.

The question was tested during Watergate, when Supreme Court justices held unanimously that a president could be compelled to comply with a subpoena for tapes and documents. After the ruling, President Richard Nixon turned the materials over to prosecutors and then resigned.

Twenty-three years later, in allowing Paula Jones' sexual harassment lawsuit to proceed against President Bill Clinton, Justice John Paul Stevens wrote that "fair administration of criminal justice" requires evidence be given under appropriate circumstances or the judicial system would be eroded.

In 1998, independent prosecutor Ken Starr served Clinton with a subpoena to testify about his relationship with intern Monica Lewinsky. Clinton later agreed to testify voluntarily.

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