Special counsel Robert Mueller's decision to subpoena records from the Trump Organization was a strong message that means he's "ratcheting up the pressure," Harvard Law professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz said Friday.
"Normally, in a situation like that, you just ask the company lawyers for the documents and they turn them over," Dershowitz told Fox News' "Fox & Friends."
"You don't generally need to subpoena them. The other thing it may be is sending a message to the company, 'don't you dare destroy any records because now that there is a subpoena, destroying becomes a crime.'"
At any rate, the subpoena means Mueller's investigators "are ratcheting up the pressure and moving beyond his presidency to look at matters that seem beyond the scope of what his original mandate was," said Dershowitz.
The move also shows that Mueller's investigation has not been able to build a case based on obstruction of justice, because "all the president did was engage in constitutionally authorized acts under the Constitution."
"They are trying to go beyond his presidency and go back to the time when he was a private citizen," said Dershowitz. "The link they are trying to create is by mentioning the Russia connection, funding from foreign countries.
"They are trying to bring it within the parameters of the mandate that they were originally given. But it seems like a stretch to me."
Meanwhile, Dershowitz pointed out that Trump has established red lines in the case, and that he would not cooperate if the probe reached into one about his personal family finances.
"This is not a publicly held corporation," said Dershowitz. "You do have to have a basis for asking for private documents from a private company. So, I don't know whether that red line has been reached, but if it is, we will see some litigation, probably, and some responses to these demands for documents."
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