Ex-White House legal advisor: Trump’s ‘hoax’ statements about Russia are an impeachable offense
NYU School of Law professor — and former White House legal counsel to President Barack Obama — Bob Bauer told MSNBC on Wednesday that President Donald Trump’s false statements to the press about the Russian investigation constitute impeachable offenses.
Bauer was elaborating on an essay be wrote for the Lawfare blog titled, “A President’s Words Matter: Deception of the Public and the Impeachable Offense.”
In it, he wrote that when Trump says there’s nothing to the Russia investigation and calls it a “hoax” by Democrats, “He is denying the evidence. He is saying that beliefs about Russia electioneering are untrue. And he is making a still broader claim: that any claim to the contrary is a hoax — a deliberate deception or fraud.”
This is no mere exercise in political posturing, said Bauer’s essay.
“It matters that a president charged with faithfully executing the laws deliberately and continuously misrepresents to the public the grounds for an ongoing criminal investigation,” Bauer wrote. “And it is not a course he can pursue without consequences for his personal exposure in the investigation or in an impeachment proceeding.”
On MSNBC, Bauer pointed to former President Richard Nixon’s contention that he’d done nothing wrong, which he announced in the hours immediately following the discovery of the Watergate break-in. Among the charges in the articles of impeachment against Nixon were statements by himself and the White House press secretary proclaiming that the administration had been cleared of wrongdoing in Watergate.
“A president does have an obligation to speak truthfully to the public about these sorts of matters,” Bauer said. “Lying to the public can be an impeachable offense.”
He went on to explain that these charges would likely be included on top of other accusation in the articles, but would not be sufficient on their own to begin impeachment proceedings.
Watch the video, embedded below: