‘That’s how Russia works’: MSNBC legal analyst schools Trump on illegal prosecution of political opponents
MSNBC chief legal correspondent and anchor Ari Melber warmed President Donald Trump may be breaking the law with the president’s calls for his Justice Department to investigate former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
“President Trump’s first reaction to the indictment of his former aides was to downplay their links to him,” said Melber. “Now he is doing in public what Richard Nixon would only do in secret: he is openly musing about pushing the DOJ to investigate or prosecute political opponents.”
Melber then played a clip of President Trump both denying involvement while clearly advising the Department of Justice investigate Hillary Clinton.
“I am really not involved with the Justice Department. I would like to let it run itself,” Trump claimed. “But honestly, they should be looking at the Democrats. They should be looking at Podesta and all that dishonesty. They should be looking at a lot of things and a lot of people are disappointed in the Justice Department, including me.”
“The president is not supposed to be involved in the Justice Department and presidents don’t have the power to individually prosecute — for good reason,” Melber reminded.
“That is really what authoritarian regimes do. That’s say, how Russia works. Not how the American constitution works,” Melber explained. “While President Trump is saying today that he can’t be involved with how the DOJ and the FBI build cases, he is also going on to do the opposite, to publicly advocate that they build cases against his opponent. He said he hopes they will and maybe he’ll have it out with them in that process.”
Such actions would be illegal, the legal analyst charged.
“This is not normal. And if it is a part of an actual attempt to target opponents or obstruct justice, this is not legal,” Melber suggested.
“This is not a drill. This is not mere talk. We are now living through a test,” Melber concluded.
“There are republican lawmakers now pushing a new bill to ice out Bob Mueller. It is explicitly based on a conspiracy theory from Sean Hannity, that argues because Bob Mueller served as an FBI Director, he can not be a prosecutor now.”
“Let me be clear: that theory has no basis in recusal law,” the attorney explained to MSNBC viewers. “We are reporting it for you tonight to note that it is a political response to this week’s indictments, not to suggest that it has any legitimacy as a legal recusal argument. ”
“All this comes as we are witnessing a president under investigation this week, resisting and braying against laws that have always been bigger than any one person,” Melber concluded.