Former Bush ethics lawyer rails against Trump: ‘I think he picked the wrong country to be the president of’
During a panel discussion with former George W. Bush’s ethics lawyer Richard Painter and former White House counsel under Richard Nixon, John Dean, the two men couldn’t resist mocking President Donald Trump’s 30-minute long babbling interview with the New York Times.
“I think he picked the wrong country to be president of if he thinks he has absolute power to run the Justice Department however he wants,” Painter said. “That may be the way it works in [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s Russia and other places. That’s not the way it works here. There are laws and he has sworn to uphold the law and the Constitution of the United States. He has the power to remove the attorney general. To remove all of his appointees in the Justice Department. To investigate that power. That’s the way do it in the United States.”
Painter went on to say that Trump has no right to pressure Jeff Sessions to fire special counsel Robert Mueller or instruct the Justice Department to cease any investigations into anyone in the White House or on the Trump campaign.
“So, he may not obstruct justice as president of the United States,” Painter continued. “He is not above the law and that’s the bottom line. He is not above the law. He is not a king. He is a president.”
In a tweet, former Attorney General warned that it was both wrong and dangerous for Trump to think he has absolute power over the DOJ.
Dean explained, as a former DOJ employee, that the department is filled with honorable patriots making decisions based on the law rather than politics.
In the interview with the Times, Trump mentioned Holder, saying that he was a loyal attorney general because former President Barack Obama was never indicted.
“What President Trump is doing there is casting dispersions on President Obama without any specifics,” Painter said. “In terms of what they did, there is absolutely no evidence of serious law breaking during the Obama administration. There were one or two scandals that I kept my eye on during those eight years. I was the chief White House ethics lawyer under President Bush. We had our scandals there, but President Obama did not need protection from investigation because President Obama didn’t break the law and have people working for him who were breaking the law and that’s the problem here.”
A Trump biographer explained that from what he knows of Trump, the interview indicated that Trump is afraid of Mueller.
Watch the full exchange below: