- Rosenstein Defends Mueller In Judiciary Testimony
- Fox News Host Says Mueller Should be ‘Handcuffed’
- Flynn Could be Key to Mueller’s Obstruction Investigation
- FBI Director Defends Agency Against Trump Criticism
- Rushed GOP Tax Bill Has Big Problems
- Grassley: Poor Waste Money On ‘Booze Or Women’
- Trump May Have Implicated Himself In Tweet About Flynn
- Kushner Implicated in Flynn Guilty Plea
- Michael Flynn Pleads Guilty, Will Cooperate With Investigation
- Tax Cut Bill Won’t Flow Funds Into Job Creation And Higher Wages, CEOs Say
Lawyer Wrongly Claims Trump Cannot Obstruct Justice Because He’s The President
There are many reasons why President Donald Trump should be worried about the ongoing Russia investigation headed by special counsel Robert Mueller — and not all of those reasons involve Russia.
Trump may have obstructed justice when he tried to pressure former FBI Director James Comey into dropping the investigation looking into his former National Security Adviser, Michael Flynn. Trump had told Comey, “I hope you can let this go,” according to Comey’s very detailed notes about the meeting that took place last February.
In a tweet made last week from Trump’s Twitter account, Trump seemingly admitted that he knew Flynn had lied to FBI investigators, before telling Comey to drop the case against him. If that were true, then Trump had knowingly told Comey to back off of Flynn while aware that Flynn had committed a crime — and thus obstructing the investigation into him.
I had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI. He has pled guilty to those lies. It is a shame because his actions during the transition were lawful. There was nothing to hide!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 2, 2017
Then word came out that it was Trump’s lawyer, John Dowd, who had authored the tweet. There is no proof provided for that, and in the past we’ve been told that Trump’s tweets should be treated as if they were official statements from the president himself.
This opens a huge issue that has rarely been discussed: when can we take Trump’s Twitter account at its word, and when can the administration dismiss it as not reflective of Trump’s opinions? That is a topic that needs serious consideration, and the White House needs to clear it up pronto.
But Dowd made a different point, one that must be rejected soundly, after the blowup from the tweets. He argued, that the “President cannot obstruct justice because he is the chief law enforcement officer under [the Constitution’s Article II] and has every right to express his view of any case,” Axios reported.
In other words, Trump has the executive authority to comment on — and place pressure on — any official investigating any federal crime in the United States.
That sort of executive privilege is far-reaching, and must be rejected outright. Indeed, one only has to wonder what sort of reaction would be created by Trump’s most ardent supporters had President Barack Obama tried to use similar tactics with then-FBI Director Comey, to recognize the absurdity of Dowd’s statement.
No, the president certainly can be charged with obstruction under these circumstances. It’s clear that Dowd and the rest of Trump’s team are merely trying to make the argument ahead of time, before they might have make the same arguments during impeachment hearings.