In the latest example of Bizarro World logic from President Trump and his legal team, we now learn that an American head of state cannot possibly obstruct justice because he’s the president and that’s impossible.
Trump’s lead attorney, John Dowd, was asked about this tweet sent out on Trump’ Twitter account. It appears to prove that Trump did indeed obstruct justice when he asked FBI Director James Comey to end an investigation of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn:
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
Dowd later said he had sent the controversial tweet, but on Monday he had this to say about Trump even being able to obstruct justice:
“The tweet did not admit obstruction. That is an ignorant and arrogant assertion.
“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.”
True or bullshit? Bob Bauer, a New York University law professor and former White House counsel to President Barack Obama disagreed with Dowd:
“It is certainly possible for a president to obstruct justice. The case for immunity has its adherents, but they based their position largely on the consideration that a president subject to prosecution would be unable to perform the duties of the office, a result that they see as constitutionally intolerable.”
But Harvard Law Professor Emeritus Alan Dershowitz said Trump could not be charged with obstruction, arguing:
“You cannot charge a president with obstruction of justice for exercising his constitutional right to fire Comey and his constitutional authority to tell the Justice Department who to investigate, who not to investigate. For obstruction of justice by the president, you need clearly illegal acts.”
Historical precedent, however, does suggest that obstruction of justice can indeed be one of the charges if and when articles of impeachment are drawn up against Trump. Obstruction was one of several charges against both Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton.
Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), who sits on the Judiciary Committee, told NBC News:
“If you take the president’s own statement, his tweet that he knew Michael Flynn was lying to the FBI when he fired him, which means that he knew Michael Flynn committed a felony when he asked Comey to stop the investigation of him, and when he fired Comey when he refused to do so, and when he fired Sally Yates and when he called Michael Flynn in April to tell him to stay strong, all of these acts are to impede and obstruct justice.”
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