Is President Trump's Legal Team Preparing For An Imminent "Obstruction Of Justice" Charge?

President Trump set off a new wave of mainstream media outrage over the weekend when he publicly admitted that he was aware that Flynn had lied to the FBI and Vice President when he made the decision to fire him.  Not surprisingly, the Left has used the admission to once again suggest that Trump obstructed justice by firing Comey for simply pursuing charges against someone who Trump himself already knew to be guilty.

Of course, we know from Comey's own testimony that he was fired by Trump for repeatedly refusing to announce publicly that the President was not under investigation, a courtesy that he provided Hillary numerous times during the campaign.

Be that as it may, comments from Trump's legal team this morning to Axios seem to imply that the White House may be preparing a preemptive defense for an obstruction of justice charge... 

Why it matters: Trump's legal team is clearly setting the stage to say the president cannot be charged with any of the core crimes discussed in the Russia probe: collusion and obstruction. Presumably, you wouldn't preemptively make these arguments unless you felt there was a chance charges are coming.

 

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," Dowd claims.

 

Dowd: "The tweet did not admit obstruction. That is an ignorant and arrogant assertion."

...a defense which Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz has offered at least a hundred times over the past year with the latest coming this morning on Fox News.

"You cannot charge a president with obstruction of justice for exercising his constitutional power to fire Comey and his constitutional authority to tell the Justice Department who to investigate, who not to investigate. That's what Thomas Jefferson did, that's what Lincoln did, that's what Roosevelt did. We have precedents that clearly establish that."

Not surprisingly, other left-leaning lawyers (you know, because the application of law was always intended to be political) tend to disagree with Trump's legal team and the famed Harvard law professor.

One top D.C. lawyer told me that obstruction is usually an ancillary charge rather than a principal one, such as aquid pro quo between the Trump campaign and Russians.

 

But Dems will fight the Dowd theory. Bob Bauer, an NYU law professor and former White House counsel to President Obama, told me: "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."

 

Remember: The Articles of Impeachment against Nixon began by saying he "obstructed, and impeded the administration of justice."

Of course, if the FBI truly is concerned about people in positions of power admitting to obstructing justice via twitter then perhaps they should take a look at James Comey's latest tweets which could easily be interpreted as the former FBI director admitting some political bias and a personal vendetta against the current administration...

Comments

Pandelis Mon, 12/04/2017 - 09:13 Permalink

i thought that was fake news ... are we back to square one with stwaks dropping 300 points and then rebouncing ... trump tweeting and retweeting while he bombs north korea

Gap Admirer BullyBearish Mon, 12/04/2017 - 10:26 Permalink

First, and most importantly, congratulations ZH on being linked to by Drudge as a news source. YUGE hits coming and a bump up in the reliable news rankings.

Second, bullshit. The president can not obstruct justice by firing his underling FBI director who OBSTRUCTED Hillary(!) justice.

When will the Special Council be appointed to investigate Hillary(!) and Comey? Without that, justice truly is being "obstructed."

In reply to by BullyBearish

Gap Admirer Big Twinkie Mon, 12/04/2017 - 10:55 Permalink

Completely agree. It is the impact on the dolts of the country that the Special Council has that is important. It is a political, not legal, position now but the dolts don't get that. Simply assigning a Special Council makes the big Tee Vee watchers think that the "target" is guilty.

But, yes, the DOJ should do its job and prosecute.

In reply to by Big Twinkie

NoDebt Gap Admirer Mon, 12/04/2017 - 11:17 Permalink

The "obstruction of justice" thing is just going to be used as the pretext for articles of impeachment against Trump, should the Ds take the House in 2018.  The legal side, as has been AMPLY pointed out already, is a non-issue for a President who has the right to direct the FBI and DOJ in whatever manner he sees fit.This is the prelude to impeachment, not a legal jeopardy for President Trump.Anyone tells you otherwise has no fucking clue what they're talking about. 

In reply to by Gap Admirer

jeff montanye bamawatson Mon, 12/04/2017 - 14:21 Permalink

thanks.  good work.  i expect we will be getting to know more about michael horowitz, obama appointee (could be crucial for public acceptance if further indictments, broadly defined, of mueller's or other fbi baddies come out) and doj inspector general:  https://oig.justice.gov/about/meet-ig.htmis anyone more smarmy than eric holder?  anyone at all?https://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=smarmy&ie=UTF-8&oe…

In reply to by bamawatson

JSBach1 jeff montanye Mon, 12/04/2017 - 14:49 Permalink

Recall that on November 14, 2008 the then:"President-elect Obama and Vice President-elect Biden announced that former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and former Republican Congressman Jim Leach would be available to meet with delegations at the G-20 summit on their behalf.Thursday, November 13, 2008: Russia: Arkady Dvorkovich, Senior Economic Advisor to the President, G8 Sherpa, and Ambassador Kislyak India: Dr. Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Ambassador Sen (India), Ambassador Arun K. Singh, Deputy Chief of Mission Australia: Prime Minister Kevin Rudd..."http://p2008.org/chrntran08/obamag20summit.html

In reply to by jeff montanye

z530 JSBach1 Mon, 12/04/2017 - 15:55 Permalink

Great find. It's nice that Obama found it important enough to investigate Trump for the same shit his cabinet did before he came into office. Maybe if Trump had cleaned house with Comey, Rosenstein and McCabe from the very beginning...as well as having an Attorney General that wasn't a complete pussy, he could nail some of the Obama administration lackeys. Trump is getting "5D, fucked in the ass" at every turn.  

In reply to by JSBach1

eatthebanksters NoDebt Mon, 12/04/2017 - 11:30 Permalink

Well someone is really fuckered up.  Either Trump's legal team is a joke, putting out a tweet that Dems are using as evidence of obstruction of justice, and Ty Cobb has his head up his ass for saying the investigation wold be over by Thanksgiving and now January......or this opinon piece is an utter waste of time.  Which is it?

In reply to by NoDebt

Beam Me Up Scotty Gap Admirer Mon, 12/04/2017 - 10:51 Permalink

"One top D.C. lawyer told me that obstruction is usually an ancillary charge rather than a principal one, such as aquid pro quo between the Trump campaign and Russians."How about the Quid Pro Quo between the Russians, Uranium One, and the Clinton Foundation?  How about that one?  Where they gave the Clinton Foundation 100 MILLION DOLLARS.  You think that was to save starving children?????  LOL@YOU!! 

In reply to by Gap Admirer

GUS100CORRINA Beam Me Up Scotty Mon, 12/04/2017 - 13:33 Permalink

Is President Trump's Legal Team Preparing For An Imminent "Obstruction Of Justice" Charge?My response: The MARXIST PROGRESSIVE LIBERALs and NEOCON RHINOS will stop at nothing to destroy the republic. The CLINTON CRIME SYNDICATE and the DNC are synonymous with the term "OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE". They are the POSTER CHILDREN for the crime OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE.Drain the Swamp ... FEINSTEIN, LINDSEY GRAHAM, MCCAIN and many others.By the way, every time President TRUMP is attacked, market volatility goes up 15% plus. Someone should follow the money when these attacks on the POTUS occur and see who bought what before the announced news event.

In reply to by Beam Me Up Scotty

Slammofandango caconhma Mon, 12/04/2017 - 11:05 Permalink

Thank you oh so very much for sharing your entirely subjective opinion with us. Of course your opinion isn't supported by any legal a authority and there is no constitutional structure from which to enforce your opinion. So at this point, you  are free to disagree but there isn't anything you can do until 2020 which might at all in any way cause for Donald Trump to not be president. In the more likely event of Trump being reelected, I hope you do not again completely lose your mind and can instead ease your hysteria in being faced with the opinion of the constituency by telling yourself, 'the voters have the right to be wrong. In fact, say that to yourself now; it's so much more calming than screaming at the sky...

In reply to by caconhma

MoreFreedom Pandelis Mon, 12/04/2017 - 10:57 Permalink

Trump's lawer clearly said that Trump learned Flynn lied to the FBI when Flynn was indicted.  The poorly worded tweet, was intended to buttress the fact that Flynn lied to the VP and that was unsatisfactory, which Trump earlier said was the reason he fired him at a long press conference.  That Flynn was indicted for lying to the FBI and plead guilty, just is more evidence that Flynn (a Democrat that Obama promoted to head the DIA) isn't trustworthy and for that reason doesn't belong in a Trump administration.   He was fine and dandy for Obama though.Still, I wonder what Flynn knew that he said he would testify about, given that he'd be granted immunity (which I'd also like to know).  That offer also is yet another reason Flynn isn't fit for duty. 

In reply to by Pandelis

HRClinton Pandelis Mon, 12/04/2017 - 11:36 Permalink

"It is a shame because his actions during the transition were lawful. There was nothing to hide!"All the more bizarre, that he did lie. WTF was he thinking?  Unless, as some have suggested here, the FBI was recording him when they interviewed him about his meeting with the Russian Ambassador (Kisliyak), they already had a Transcript of that conversation, and he was "careless and reckless" with the language of his responses. In which case... Entrapment!In any case, for all his smarts, he seems woefully unsophisticated in legal matters -- something that you cannot afford to be in DC or his position. As to why he "lied to Pence", is beyond me.

In reply to by Pandelis

Bill of Rights Mon, 12/04/2017 - 09:12 Permalink

Robert Mueller, the same person who ran the investigation on the BCCI scandal, the Iran-Contra criminal investigation, and the Noriega-CIA drug investigation as well as 911....Nothing to see here folks. Trump ...take him down.

JRobby Bill of Rights Mon, 12/04/2017 - 11:00 Permalink

Mueller has nothing to lose at this point as his laundry is out in the yard for all to see. Indicting Trump in December would be a very risky event considering what has come to light recently. But these "people", so used to having their criminal ways unchallenged, are now desperate as Trump's agenda is gaining momentum and results. It would be madness.

In reply to by Bill of Rights

Bank_sters Mon, 12/04/2017 - 09:16 Permalink

James COmey quoting scripture is rich.  Oh, what happened to seth  by the way?   The truth is that the FBI is acting like a wing of the clinton crime syndicate.  I guess that shouldn't surprise anyone.