The White House resorts to political defense above the law



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First, comments by Trump attorney John Dowd in an interview with Axios raise whether Trump's legal team has already accepted that special lawyer Robert Mueller has reason to conclude that Trump effectively obstructed justice by dismissing FBI director James Comey. [19659002] If that's the case, Dowd's interview, after a weekend of Trump and advisors following the announcement of a plea agreement for former national security adviser Michael Flynn, leads to another profound issue.

Has the White House already embarked? a public relations strategy designed to diminish the chances that the Republican House wrote articles of impeachment against the President based on any recommendation from Mueller?

Dowd's claims did not come in isolation. They followed the President's attacks on the FBI and his doubts about justice serving Mueller's investigation over the weekend. "His reputation is in the rags, the worst in history!" Trump tweeted.

On Monday, the president told reporters at the White House that he feels "very bad for Flynn" and then made an unsubstantiated claim against an objective he often uses to distract himself from his own legal and political vulnerabilities. [19659003] "Hillary Clinton lied to the FBI many times, nothing happened to her, Flynn lied and they destroyed her life," Trump said. "It is very unfair"

Orchestrated offensive

Taken together, the comments of Dowd and Trump had the feeling of an orchestrated offensive to repair the damage caused over the weekend, to discredit the Mueller's findings. of time and to offer ammunition for the pro-Trump media.

Behind the controversial controversy on Monday there is a third problem: whether Dowd's position has any legal basis in itself, and whether it would stand as a defense of the president. action if Mueller finds against him in an investigation that was originally created to investigate whether there was collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during last year's elections.

Dowd's interview resonated in Washington a day after veteran Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein said NBC's "Meet the Press" saw the outlines of a case of obstruction of justice against Trump.

Follow a series of tweets emitted by the President's Twitter During the weekend, the weekend changed the notion of obstruction of justice from a talking point around the Mueller probe to an apparently active possibility.

Dowd told Axios: "(The) president can not obstruct justice because he is the boss (19659003)." The motivation for Dowd to present his point of view at this time, long before Mueller has concluded his investigation, it's just as important as the fact that Dowdle has concluded his investigation, interesting as the legal point he makes to himself.

"He tells him that the President's legal team is concerned that the president has obstructed justice," Renato Mariotti, a former federal prosecutor, told CNN's Kate Bolduan on Monday.

"There is absolutely no reason for the President's legal team to come out and state that the president can not obstruct justice, unless they worry that I can take responsibility for that, "he said.

What did he do? Trump knows?

The new debate about the obstruction broke out after the Trump account tweeted during the weekend he had to fire Fl And because he lied to Vice President Mike Pence and the FBI about his conversations with Russian officials.

Trump knew that Flynn had lied to the agency when he asked Comey about the former FBI director's own account in February that did not bother his fired national security adviser, he was seen advocating the cover-up of a crime.

Dowd finally insisted that he, and not Trump, had written the tweet.

If Trump repeated the statement in the tweet under oath to Mueller's team, a direct clash would be established with the sworn public testimony of Comey, who said, with the support of contemporary notes, that Trump effectively asked him to end the investigation of Flynn.

If the President repudiates his position, he would effectively admit that he intends to interfere in a federal investigation. Any of these scenarios could pose serious legal and political risks for Trump and his presidency.

While the shocking implications of Dowd's comments were taking place in Washington, there was also intense interest in the substance of his comment.

Dowd was effectively arguing that Trump as chief of police can direct the Department of Justice on the use of federal resources.

But CNN legal badyst Paul Callan disputed that argument.

"I do not agree with that theory and I think most legal scholars would not agree that the president could obstruct an investigation of his own office," Callan said. "Because it's personal, it's not just he who does the work to help the country, but it's obstructing justice directly."

Legal Argument

  Attorney WH told Trump that Flynn cheated the FBI and Pence

The idea that a president can not obstruct justice can be a viable legal argument for dealing with any future criminal action against Trump. Legal scholars have yet to resolve a constitutional dispute over whether a current president can be indicted. But it may not politically protect the president.

After all, Richard Nixon once claimed, after his resignation, that "when the president does, that means it's not illegal."

But the indictment articles by the House of Representatives that helped force his resignation included one accusing Nixon of obstructing justice.

Similarly, the articles of the indictment against Bill Clinton included an accusation that it had "impeded, obstructed and impeded the administration of justice." [19659003] In his interview with Axios, Dowd contested the widespread claims that the tweet from the Trump account when firing Flynn admitted obstruction.

"That is an ignorant and arrogant statement," he said

Laura Jarrett of CNN contributed to this report.

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