Paul Revere by Cyrus Dallin, North End, Boston

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Saturday, January 27, 2018

WHY DID TRUMP WANT TO FIRE MUELLER?


If it looks like obstruction of justice; if it acts like obstruction of justice; if it sounds like obstruction of justice, it probably IS obstruction of justice.

Legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin:


McGahn recognized the key fact—that Trump wanted to fire Mueller for the wrong reasons. Trump wanted to fire Mueller because his investigation was threatening to him. This, of course, also illuminates the reasons behind Trump’s firing of Comey, which took place just a month before the President’s confrontation with McGahn regarding Mueller. Trump and his advisers have offered various tortured rationalizations for the firing of Comey—initially, for example, on the ground that Comey had been unfair to Hillary Clinton during the 2016 campaign. 

Trump himself came clean in an interview with NBC’s Lester Holt and in a meeting with Russia’s foreign minister. In both, Trump acknowledged that he fired Comey to stall or stop the Russia investigation—that is, the investigation of Trump himself and his campaign. This was an improper purpose, and McGahn clearly saw that the same improper purpose underlay Trump’s determination to fire Mueller. So McGahn issued the ultimatum that prompted the President to back down. 

Mueller and his team surely have evidence on obstruction of justice that has not yet been made public. But even on the available evidence, Trump’s position looks perilous indeed. The portrait is of a President using every resource at his disposal to shut down an investigation—of Trump himself. And now it has become clear that Trump’s own White House counsel rebelled at the President’s rationale for his actions.

8 comments:

Jerry Critter said...

It is important to remember that:

The fact that the president has lawful authority to take a particular course of action does not immunize him if he takes that action with the unlawful intent of obstructing a proceeding for an improper purpose.

Note, it is the intent of the action, not the result of the action that results in Obstruction of Justice.

Shaw Kenawe said...

Jerry, the link is broken. But, yes, I've read the importance of "unlawful intent" in Jeffrey Toobin's piece linked in my current post:

The issue of whether President Trump obstructed justice centers on his decision to fire James Comey, the F.B.I. director, last May. This is a classic intent case. The President clearly had the right to fire Comey, but he did not have the right to do so with improper intent. Specifically, the relevant obstruction-of-justice statute holds that any individual who “corruptly . . . influences, obstructs, or impedes, or endeavors to influence, obstruct, or impede, the due administration of justice” is guilty of the crime. “Corruptly” is the key word. Did Trump act “corruptly” in firing Comey?

It is this question of corrupt intent that makes the Times’s recent blockbuster scoop so important.

Jerry Critter said...

Let’s see If this link works.
https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/presidential-obstruction-of-justice-the-case-of-donald-j-trump-final.pdf

Rational Nation USA said...

It now is evident that Trump, at the very least, actively suggested firing Mueller based on phoney conflict of interest concerns. Were there actually any conflict of interest (there wasn't) it would have been in favor of Trump. These new developments, combined with the firing of Comey, paint a pretty clear picture of Trump attempting to obstruct the special counsels investigation.

There is no question but what Trump is feeling the heat. As Mueller turns up the heat we may just see Presnit Stable Genius start to come apart at the seams.

This is getting very interesting. We know Fox and Friends will go down with the Titanic. How long before Trump's supportors in the GOP congress start to abandon ship?

Dave Miller said...

It now seems likely that there is something behind all the obfuscations people in the Trump Admin and circle are responsible for.

Multiple times, when asked the question, either in person, or on a form or application, ppl in DJT's orbit have stated, under penalty of perjury, that they had no meetings with, or any recollections of meetings with Russian officials. We of course know at best, these statements were mistaken, at worst lies designed to cover something up.

We know, and even the feckless GOP accepts that Russia tried to meddle in a corrupt our elections.

We know DJT, in his own words, fired Comey to end an investigation into these things. We also know that DJT personally intervened to dictate a false memo in hopes of saving his son from his lies.

How any sane person could look at all this, and not be concerned, is beyond me.

Unless of course, you are just a hapless, hopeless person who will ignore your past held principles just to have your guy in the Oval Office.

It's going to get worse before it gets better. Much worse...

Anonymous said...

"Blockbuster scoop"....Yikes!!!

Shaw Kenawe said...

Jerry, RN, Dave, Anon,

Did you see this: Hometown newspaper editorial board: Nunes 'doing dirty work' to protect Trump

The Fresno Bee, the newspaper of the largest city in Rep. Devin Nunes’s California district, ripped the Republican lawmaker in a scathing editorial this week.

In the piece, the Bee’s editorial board refers to Nunes as President Trump’s “stooge” and criticizes him for prompting GOP attacks on the FBI with a classified memo that Republicans have latched onto as potential proof of political bias in the FBI.

“[Nunes] certainly isn’t representing his Central Valley constituents or Californians, who care much more about health care, jobs and, yes, protecting Dreamers than about the latest conspiracy theory,” the editorial board wrote. “Instead, he’s doing dirty work for House Republican leaders trying to protect President Donald Trump in the Russia investigation.”

Shaw Kenawe said...

Jerry, that link works. Thanks.

For those who are interested, here it is.