New York University School of Law professor Bob Bauer thinks that President Donald Trump’s shamelessness in publicly attacking investigators may have saved him from being charged with obstructing justice by special counsel Robert Mueller.
Writing in the New York Times, Bauer argues that Trump has now made it completely acceptable for a president to spout baseless conspiracy theories about law enforcement officials investigating him, while paying no price among his core voters.
“The Mueller report marked a low point for more substantive norms of presidential conduct,” he said. “It shows that a demagogic president like Donald Trump can devalue or even depart radically from key norms, just short of committing chargeable crimes, so long as he operates mostly and brazenly in full public view. For a demagogue, shamelessness is its own reward.”
In particular, Bauer notes that Trump’s team knew about Russia’s efforts to help him win by hacking his opponents’ emails — and they cheered them on the entire time.
“Such a president can have openly, actively encouraged and welcomed foreign government support for his political campaigns, and his campaign can reinforce the point in direct communications with that government’s representatives,” he writes. “The Barr summary reveals that the special counsel uncovered not just a couple but ‘multiple offers’ of support from the Russians, and yet neither Mr. Trump nor his campaign reported them to counterintelligence or law enforcement authorities.”