Law prof explains legal reasoning why Trump’s new memo puts Mike Pence ‘in legal jeopardy’ for impeachment
Fordham University Law professor Jed Shugerman made one of the most damning case against Vice President Mike Pence for being involved in obstruction of justice.
Shugerman told MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell that the biggest name that has been associated with this memo and this conversation is Pence.
“Let me explain why this timeline puts him in legal jeopardy,” Shugerman began. “So, we know that this letter was drafted on one day, and then after Steven Miller came back with that draft, it was read in a room of people, including Vice President Pence. And when that letter was read, it had, quote, The New York Times talks about a screed, and it identified all of these other connections to the Russian probe for why Trump had decided to fire Jim Comey. Then after this letter is edited, Mike Pence then tells the media that the Comey firing was not connected to the Russian probe, and he said it was due to Rod Rosenstein’s recommendation. Those statements are untrue.”
He explained that because Pence heard the first letter and the second letter and lied about it, it now “implicates Mike Pence now in a combination of conspiracy to commit obstruction of justice, aiding and abetting obstruction of justice, and also a relatively less known felony called misprision of a felony.”
Shugerman said that misprision of a felony is when a person like Pence “has knowledge of a felony” and then “conceals and does not make it known to the legal authorities,” he can be found guilty.
“Let’s keep in mind that the [President Richard] Nixon articles of impeachment included a provision blaming Nixon for misleading or false statements to the public,” Shugerman continued. “Now, that’s not a felony, but it was grounds for impeaching President Nixon.”
He went on to say that another major thing that is part of this controversy was the news that broke Thursday saying Trump’s attorneys met with special counselor Robert Mueller to make the argument Trump has the power to fire Comey, therefore it can’t be obstruction of justice. That’s not true.
“That basic argument is so wrong that it shows why there’s so little that the Trump lawyers have to argue,” Shugerman said. “A president has the power to order a military strike, but if the president is ordering that military strike with the intent of, let’s say, killing someone who slept with his wife, that’s still murder. A president can pardon someone, but if the president pardons someone because he received a million dollar bribe, that’s still a felony of bribery. Just because the president has the power to do something, it doesn’t mean that it excuses any exercise of that power because intent matters.”
There is at least one other cases in which Pence has claimed he knew nothing, only to be found out that it would have been impossible or negligent for him to have not known the facts. Rachel Maddow made the case that Pence had to have known all about former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn sketchy lobbying and concerning conversations with Russians.
Watch the fascinating case below: