Depending on Who You Ask, Yes, the President CAN Obstruct Justice
We’ve all heard the back and forth over the weekend about whether Trump’s tweets are proof of obstruction in the ongoing Russia probe. Unless you’re a Constitutional and/or legal scholar, however, you might be a bit confused.
Trump’s outside lawyer, John Dowd,’ has suggested that Trump, as the nation’s chief law enforcement officer, he can’t obstruct justice, because he has the power to question or comment on any investigation he wants.
That doesn’t sound the same as saying the president can’t obstruct. I think some grey area is left in there, somewhere.
Now does that mean Trump’s weekend tweets prove obstruction? Yeah, I don’t know. If there’s anything there, I’ll leave it up to the legal minds already involved to make their case.
But the notion that a president can’t obstruct? I’m really hoping that’s not what Dowd, or any of Trump’s defenders are hoping to prove.
If it is, they may need to take it up with Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who feels differently.
Sessions took that point of view and expressed it quite elegantly, when it came to the impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton in the late 90s.
Axios pointed out earlier that during that trial, then-Senator Sessions was all in to remove Clinton, due to what he called a “pattern” of lying and obstructing justice.
Said Sessions at the time:
“… the Constitution of the United States requires the Senate to convict and remove the President of the United States if it is proven that he has committed high crimes while in office. It has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt and to a moral certainty that President William Jefferson Clinton has persisted in a continuous pattern to lie and obstruct justice. The chief law officer of the land, whose oath of office calls on him to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution, crossed the line and failed to protect the law, and, in fact, attacked the law and the rights of a fellow citizen. Under our Constitution, such acts are high crimes and equal justice requires that he forfeit his office. For these reasons, I felt compelled to vote to convict and remove the President from office.”
I don’t disagree with him.
So has anybody asked him his views on how things are shaking out with President Trump?