Opinion: Trump brought this all on himself

(AP)

Special counsel Robert Mueller has sought interviews with three top U.S. intelligence officials regarding requests made by President Trump over the Russia probe, signaling an important new step in his investigation:

Trump is now personally under investigation for attempting to obstruct justice.

Our dear president has responded to the development in his typically restrained, understated fashion:

That theme, depicting Trump as the victim of dark forces attempting to unseat him, has also been picked up by Trump’s defenders. As the dependably fawning Newt Gingrich puts it, “The brazen redefinition of Mueller’s task tells you how arrogant the deep state is and how confident it is it can get away with anything.”

It is true that Mueller’s probe has expanded from its initial focus on Russian intervention and possible collusion, branching now into questions of obstruction of justice. Yet any prosecutor — local, state or federal — who stumbled across evidence of possible obstruction would have done exactly the same thing. He or she would have no choice.

And in this case, the evidence of possible obstruction has been flamboyantly public, coming from Trump himself. Let’s review:

♦ Trump repeatedly, insistently ranted on Twitter and elsewhere that the investigation into possible collusion with Russia must be stopped immediately. Even if nothing else had happened, that alone would have been problematic. It’s pretty basic: A sitting U.S. president should never attempt to undermine an ongoing federal investigation, either publicly or privately. That is especially true when the investigation involves his own associates.

♦ On multiple occasions, Trump also secretly pressured the director of the FBI to stop the investigation, at one point intervening with the director to try to halt a criminal probe of a close Trump associate. (The FBI director documented these efforts extensively, at the time they happened, and shared the content of the conversations with his FBI colleagues, also at the time they happened. That makes them extremely difficult to refute.)

♦ When the FBI director did not stop the investigation, Trump fired him. He also ordered subordinates to concoct an obviously false cover story for the firing. (Seriously: Can anyone argue with a straight face that Trump fired Jim Comey because he had been unfair to Hillary Clinton during the campaign? Even Jeff Sessions has balked at doing so.)

♦ The president then publicly attempted to bully and intimidate the former FBI director into silence, suggesting that tapes of their private conversations might contradict his version of events. However, when challenged to produce these alleged tapes, Trump retreated, and still pettily refuses to confirm or deny their existence.

♦ Finally — and this is the really stupid part — Trump told an interviewer on national TV that he had decided to fire the FBI director because he wouldn’t end the Russian investigation. (“When I decided to just do it, I said to myself, I said you know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story, it’s an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should have won.”)

♦ To compound the stupidity, Trump also invited the Russian ambassador and foreign minister to the Oval Office the day after the firing, where he also confessed his motivation. (“I just fired the head of the FBI. He was crazy, a real nut job. I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off.”)

When the crime was committed in public, when the confession is made in public, it would be an obvious dereliction of duty for Mueller NOT to fully investigate. And by all accounts, duty is very important to Mueller.

Unable to contest the trail of evidence on its merits, Trump defenders are reduced to two secondary lines of argument:

1.) As a newcomer to politics, Trump didn’t know better than to interfere. (We’ll call this “the Ryan defense,” after its most prominent advocate, House Speaker Paul Ryan.)

The problems with the Ryan defense are multiple. Most prominently, it accepts Trump’s guilt, but argues that Trump should be judged by a lesser standard and thus be excused.  It is less a defense than an excuse.

Sorry. The 71-year-old Trump may be new to the presidency, but after decades in the real estate and casino industries, he is not new to investigations, attorneys and playing hardball. He certainly knew enough about right and wrong to spot the problem when then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch had an informal encounter with Bill Clinton during the campaign. He complained about that endlessly. His insistence on speaking with Comey in private, with no witnesses, also demonstrates both pre-meditation and a full understanding that what he was doing was wrong.

2.) The president didn’t commit obstruction of justice because he is the president, and presidents can’t commit obstruction of justice. We’ll call this the “Dershowitz defense,” after Alan Dershowitz, the Harvard law professor who endlessly champions it on cable TV.

Again, the problems with the Dershowitz defense are multiple. Again, it accepts Trump’s guilt, but argues that nothing can be done about it. It is less a defense than a “Stay Out of Jail Free” card. And although Dershowitz and others like to glide over the fact, at best it provides protection to Trump against criminal prosecution.  It provides no protection whatsoever against the larger, more pressing danger of impeachment.

Article 1 of the impeachment counts against President Richard Nixon charged that Nixon, “in violation of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, has prevented, obstructed, and impeded the administration of justice.” Article 2 of the impeachment counts against Bill Clinton charged that he “has prevented, obstructed, and impeded the administration of justice.”

Well, Donald Trump has clearly, repeatedly attempted to impede the administration of justice. And the same basic lack of self-control that caused him to commit that act in plain sight also led to his public confessions to doing so. If any “deep state” put him in this predicament, it has been his own deep state of entitlement.

 

 

 

 

Reader Comments 0

2539 comments
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Tom Taylor
Tom Taylor

Trump hasn't brought anything on himself. The far left liberal democrat politicians have nothing on him but they continue to make crap up. They are losers and always will be. They do nothing positive for America or the American citizens.

Kevin Campbell
Kevin Campbell

Laughing at all the people who think if Trump is removed that Clinton or Sanders is the next President. LOL! Read up on the line of succession people since you clearly never paid attention during your government class in school. Same people were going to move to Alaska if Trump won.

Chris Policronis
Chris Policronis

No this is the result of the democrat party, the main stream media and other treasonous sobs trying to undermine the legitimately elected President of this country.

Thomas Bound
Thomas Bound

Do you mean Democratic Party? Or are you referring to something else in your pidgin English?

Chris Policronis
Chris Policronis

Do you have a problem comprehending the English language?

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Jim Rowland
Jim Rowland

AJC - notorious for race baiting and fake "news!"

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

We're not even mentioning the fact that Trump wanted Comey to pledge loyalty to him. Not the law. Not the Constitution. Him


Anyone watching his cabinet meeting the other day where everyone had to take thier turn praising him should believe that.  Trump has surrounded himself with yes men. 

F-15
F-15

@Hedley_Lammar Because no other president has ever surrounded himself with people who support him.  Yes, I remember all those Republicans Obama had on his cabinet.  

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

Major face plant F-15. Jealousy is like cancer it will eat you up inside.

TomGaff
TomGaff

@Hedley_Lammar So I'm assuming you believe everything Comey says? The OBama hiree, knew he was on his way out the door, for the way he handled the Clinton e-mail affair!

TomGaff
TomGaff

@Hedley_Lammar @F-15 You bring that up a lot. I volunteered to serve there in the USAF, so people like me should be the one's to complain. If you served kudos to you? If I remember correctly OBama never volunteered for military service for his country but I do remember him saying he smoked dope in his dorm room and later successfully became a Community Organizer. A CO schedules pick-up basketball games and neighborhood picnics, which apparently qualified him to run for POTUS? 

F-15
F-15

@StraightNoChaser Term has been used before?


Really?


That's it.  That does it for Trump.  The entire Republican Party will now leave DC in shame.  The Democrats get it back.  I'll call all my clients and tell them that we are back to not working again.  

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

Now that's stupid, Obama got the economy back on track so that they can work but have it your way.

TomGaff
TomGaff

@StraightNoChaser OBama never believed in America and it's Citizens should be First! He thought of himself as the World's savior and Czar!

gijoe62
gijoe62

For what is Trump being investigated?  Comey repeatedly told Trump he was not the subject of the Russian election tampering probe.  Comey, under oath also stated that Trump did not ask him to end this investigation, but to continue it.
Its is abundantly clear that there is no reason to investigate Trump.  This is just a desperate attempt to create a reason to impeach Trump.  You may as well have a special investigator to study if cats influenced voters to vote for Trump.  Be big boys and girls and accept the results of the last election and let the will of the people be exercised.  Lord knows I did for the last 8 years.
Yes, Trump has a blunt style that is offensive to many.  Yes, he should probably get off twitter.  But these are not impeachable offenses.  
What is wrong with our country?  A "Comedienne" poses with the severed head of the President.  A "play" somehow based on Julius Caesar has the President assassinated in the role of the dictator.  A liberal news junkie opens fire on Congressmen at a baseball charitable fundraiser   practice, seriously wounding the Majority Whip and injuring others.  And we are worried about terrorism from outside the country?  This is nothing more than those that lost the last election saying:  "Not fair!  We will not play by the rules and if you don't do what we want we will kill you!"  Beyond intimidation!  The wrong people are being investigated.  The FBI needs to investigate who is behind the increasing violence, who is leaking bogus information, ties between the media and Congress, and the former Obama administration's  involvement in all the above.

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@gijoe62 Comey, under oath also stated that Trump did not ask him to end this investigation


No he didnt. He testified under oath that the DOJ did not ask him to stop the investigation.


Not Trump


You guys keep falling for that one. 

F-15
F-15

@gijoe62 Your problem is that you are asking for fairness from Progressives.  That simply doesn't work.  Fairness means that others get to speak.  Other people giving alternate ideas to the constantly failing mantra of the progressive movement negates their ability to advance their cause.  Anger, hate and emotion does not go very well with logic and facts.


But great post.  

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

@gijoe62 People showed up at Obama rallies with assault riffles, Obama was hung in effigy and set on fire at con events, out side of their homes, and in public.  Stop whining and take it just like Obama had too.

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@gijoe62 Yes, Trump has a blunt style that is offensive to many. 


Making fun of the disabled.


That is a bit more than offensive. 

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

@F-15 @gijoe62 There was no fairness with Obama and there was no where near as much beitching and whining as we are seeing from you cons.  Trump led a birther movement to discredit Obama for 8 years, eff him.

F-15
F-15

@Hedley_Lammar @gijoe62 Bad move.  Not as bad as stealing millions from earthquake victims in Haiti or lying to the American people why our ambassador was killed in help in an upcoming election, but bad.  

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@gijoe62 @Hedley_Lammar No it just means you are a scumbag.


An impeachable offense is whatever Congress says it is.


And obstruction of justice has met that standard before. 

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

@F-15 @Hedley_Lammar @StraightNoChaser @gijoe62 You support Trump so you must be.  Respectful cons do not and never will support Trump.  Like FLOTUS Bush, she continues to speak out on Trump's offensive comment about Megyn's menstrual cycle and how disgusting of a person he is.  You on the other hand keep making excuses so yes you are a birther.

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

@Hedley_Lammar @F-15 @gijoe62

Trump HOPED Comey would see fit to let the investigation go.

Comey BELIEVED Trump was attempting to obstruct the investigation.

HOPES and BELIEFS do not constitute obstruction.

Both are a woman's intuitive thingy.

schnirt


F-15
F-15

@Hedley_Lammar @F-15 @gijoe62 I guess that's the heart of the matter.  Comey claimed that any word from Trump should be taken as a direct order, but yet he refused to openly state that trump wasn't under investigation, after Trump had directly asked him to do so. .  Comey seems to lack credibility.  

F-15
F-15

@StraightNoChaser @F-15 @gijoe62 The birther movement came about from the biography on the original printings of his first book.  

Whatever, Ann Dunham, his mom was an American citizen, so it really doesn't matter where he was born.  

F-15
F-15

@Hedley_Lammar @F-15 @gijoe62 Benghazi didn't happen?  the Clintons didn't steal over 90% of the funds that Americans donated to the hHaiti  earthquake victims?  


Really?  

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

@F-15 @StraightNoChaser @gijoe62 Another excuse from F-15 a true Trump humper.  Hopeless like a penny with a hole in it.  What does that have to do with Trump being such a disrespectful person and he's getting his medicine?

F-15
F-15

@Hedley_Lammar @gijoe62 No it hasn't.  In fact, Comey was grilled during his testimony about that exact thing:  He admitted that no one had ever ben even investigated for such statements.  

F-15
F-15

@StraightNoChaser @F-15 @gijoe62 And there it is:  Can't debate so is now making the big announcement to the blog.  

I'll try to remember your limitations the next time I start to answer one of your mindless rants.  

RonMexico
RonMexico

@F-15 @StraightNoChaser @gijoe62 More whataboutism. Avoid addressing the issue at all costs. 

Your president is a boor, a bully, a racist, a liar and a traitorous pig. 

To steal a line from his comrade Giuliani, Trump's time in the barrel is coming. 

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

@F-15 @StraightNoChaser @gijoe62 No need to make any announcements, your post speak for you.  They are full of bloviation and obfuscation.  Since last night you have made up every excuse in the book for why Trump is such an arse hole which is why the majority of American don't like him and make fun of him every day all day.

RonMexico
RonMexico

@F-15 @Hedley_Lammar @gijoe62 That's right. Really. Benghazi happened, but not the way it happened in your Clinton fever dreams. It was a tragic event that was investigated by the GOP for years, yet they found no wrongdoing by Clinton. If anything, it was the GOP's fault for cutting security to save a few bucks.

And how gullible does one have to be to believe that the Clintons could steal funds intended for Haitian victims and get away with it?

Your brain has been turned to mush by Alex Jones and Sean Hannity. Get help.

TomGaff
TomGaff

@Hedley_Lammar @gijoe62 Live and breath on every word he says! Get a real life man, instead of being a whiny loser liberal. Sorry, your free-stuff may be cut back, forcing you to work for a living! Us tax-payers are tired of supporting you moochers/parasites from cradle to grave!

bu22
bu22

@StraightNoChaser @F-15 @gijoe62 It was amazing how disrespectful and offensive  Democrats were about George HW Bush, someone who actually did serve in a war.

bu22
bu22

@Hedley_Lammar @gijoe62 He didn't make fun of the disabled.  That's another lie.  He made the same gestures about Ted Cruz.  He makes fun of everyone, male, female, doesn't matter.  Its another case of the Democrats taking a jerk and trying to turn him into the anti-Christ.  Hence, Alexandria.

bu22
bu22

@RonMexico @F-15 @Hedley_Lammar @gijoe62 Clinton ignored repeated pleas for extra security after bombing Qaddaffi and creating the failed state.  She left her ambassador in an unsafe situation and so allowed him to be murdered by her gross negligence.  And then she and the rest of the Obama administration repeatedly lied about it to the public and even to the victims families.

TomGaff
TomGaff

@StraightNoChaser @F-15 @gijoe62 But 33 States voted for him, with only 17 voting for Hillary. Also 2600 Counties voted for him and 500 voted for Hillary. Looks like the little people(like us), votes count as much as the freebie urban voters?