An attempt to defend President Donald Trump from claims that he obstructed justice quickly fell apart Monday morning during a Fox News panel.
Fox News contributor Lisa Boothe, a frequent defender of the president, insisted that Trump had relied on a memo written by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein when he fired former FBI director James Comey.
But her fellow panelist quickly pointed out that Trump told NBC’s Lester Holt that he was going to fire Comey regardless of the memo because he was frustrated by the ongoing Russia investigation.
“Rod Rosenstein was the one who laid out the memo for firing James Comey,” Boothe said. “He listed the reasons why President Trump could move forward with firing James Comey, and then President Trump does what was outlined in the memo, or at least outlining the case for firing James Comey. You had every Democrat calling for Comey to be fired.”
“What did he say to Lester Holt?” Fox News politics editor Chris Stirewalt interjected.
“And then President Trump did it and then Rod Rosenstein appoints a special counsel,” Boothe continued, before being cut off. “How does that not strike anyone as –”
“Lisa, what did the president say to Lester Holt?” Stirewalt asked again. “He said [the Russia investigation is] why he fired him.”
“I’m not saying it constitutes obstruction, but I’m saying when Ron Rosenstein crafted a memo — if the president of the United States had terminated the employment of the FBI director under those terms in a normal fashion it would have raised no eyebrows because he has no friends in the Democratic Party, either,” Stirewalt added.
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Here’s how a new study implies the Supreme Court has killed 16,000 people since 2012
A new paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research looked into the effects of the Affordable Care Act's Medicaid expansion to people below 138 percent of the poverty line, which has seen nearly 15 million people enrolled in participating states. The results were encouraging: the mortality rate for near-elderly adults has dropped over 9 percent in the four years for which data is available.
But while this is cause for celebration, The Atlantic staff writer Annie Lowrey offered a darker take on the implications of these numbers:
Trump lashes out at media for not pretending he has built a wall on the southern border
President Donald Trump lashed out at the media on Monday, complaining about a lack of coverage of the wall he claims he's building.
"When we rip down and totally replace a badly broken and dilapidated barrier on the southern border, something which cannot do the job, the fake news media gives us zero credit for building a new wall," Trump said.
"We have replaced many miles of old barrier with powerful new walls," Trump argued.
He did not mention the fact he had promised that Mexico would pay for the wall. Mexico is not footing the bill for Trump's project.
‘They’re trying to gag Mueller’: Ex-White House attorney worries Bill Barr’s scheme will work
Attorney General Bill Barr is trying to "gag" special counsel Robert Mueller before his public testimony before Congress on Wednesday, former acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal worried on MSNBC on Monday.
"When you see these new reports that the Barr Justice Department continues to try to narrow what will come out of this hearing, what does that say to you?" MSNBC anchor Ari Melber asked.
"I’m extremely concerned. I don’t think it’s narrow. I think it looks like they’re trying to gag Mueller and trying to say anything not in the report is presumptively privileged," Katyal explained.