During special coverage on MSNBC Sunday, Ari Melber and the former Solicitor General for Barack Obama walked through five examples of where an average person would be prosecuted for obstruction of justice. President Donald Trump, on the other hand, has the benefit of being the president.
First, according to Melber, was that there was substantial evidence of obstruction in Trump’s involvement with trying to save former Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn. The former Obama administration lawyer, Neal Katyal, cited the common idiom “where there’s smoke there’s fire.” The “fire” for him is Michael Flynn.
“The allegations that the Mueller report lays out are really quite devastating,” he explained. “That shows that Trump went and said to Jim Comey in the Oval Office, ‘Hey, you should really let Michael Flynn go.’ And Trump even denied to Mueller a lot about that and about why he said it. And Mueller’s report finds that Trump’s explanations were not as credible as Jim Comey’s who was consistent throughout his stories and had contemporaneous evidence about it. So, there would be an obstructive act there.”
When it comes to the corrupt intent, Katyal said that “it sure smells really bad.”
“After all, you know, Mueller even lays out evidence that Trump thought that Flynn was lying about what he told the investigators about this gets technical,” he continued. It is about sanctions with Russia and the like.”
The second point is that Trump tried to get rid of the special counsel to protect himself and third that he tried to get his aides to lie for him.
“The obstructed acts there are really going through a long discussion of how the White House counsel, that’s the president’s top lawyer, who is not exactly known for being a stickler about the law, but McGahan was asked by the president to fire Mueller during Mueller’s investigation, and McGahan basically uses a bunch of expletives and says he’s going to resign,” Katyal said. “He then decides to basically not actually implement the order and stay in his job for a little bit longer. But, boy, it is the most dysfunctional scary portrait of a White House counsel who won’t even obey the orders of his client because he thinks they’re fundamentally illegal.”
Melber agreed, saying that one major part of the report that gave him “chills” was when McGahn got off the phone with Trump, the first call he made was to his own personal lawyer.
The fourth point, Melber said, is that Trump tried to quash the Russia probe at all cost. He made a special relationship with Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) who met with the president about the investigation on multiple occasions and ultimately shut down the investigation before any damning information could be uncovered.
Finally, Trump tried to have his former Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, attempt to un-recuse himself from the investigation.
“There is no such thing as unrecusing an Attorney general,” Katyal said. “The United States has important ethics rules for a reason, which is if someone has a conflict of interest, then they can’t serve. All of us when we go into the Justice Department, we have former clients or whatever, and we just can’t work on those things.”
Sessions was no exception.
“Here you have a president, who faced, because he was scared about the Mueller investigation, tried to get rid of it by forcing Sessions, his own attorney general, to unrecuse,” he continued. “I mean, it is astounding. It is conduct unbecoming of anyone in government, let alone the president.”
The host explained that if it were anyone else in this situation, they’d be in jail. Trump may very well get away scot-free.
“If a normal citizen did any one of those let alone five things, they could be charged and convicted. That’s what Michael Cohen and Mike Flynn learned. In the case of the president, Mueller notes it does present indictments,” Melber noted.
Trump turns bizarre handwritten notes into all-caps Twitter rage spasm: ‘I WANT NOTHING! I WANT NO QUID PRO QUO!’
President Donald Trump on Wednesday wrote down his impeachment inquiry talking points in sharpie marker.
While leaving the White House for a visit to Texas, Trump read his notes to reporters, but refused to take questions.
During the flight, Trump then tweeted out his notes to his 66.9 million Twitter followers.
....”I WANT NOTHING! I WANT NOTHING! I WANT NO QUID PRO QUO! TELL PRESIDENT ZELENSKY TO DO THE RIGHT THING!” Later, Ambassador Sondland said that I told him, “Good, go tell the truth!” This Witch Hunt must end NOW. So bad for our Country!
John Dean says Gordon Sondland just had his ‘John Dean moment’ by flipping on Trump: ‘The truth has come out’
Former White House aide John Dean on Wednesday compared his testimony against President Richard Nixon to the testimony of European Union Ambassador Gordon Sondland.
"This has been called by some commentators a John Dean moment," CNN host Jake Tapper noted during a break in the testimony. "And there is no person I can think of who is better qualified to weigh in on that than John Dean."
"Is he the John Dean of this impeachment inquiry?" Tapper wondered.
"His statement certainly caught the Republicans off guard," Dean replied. "They didn't pick away -- just a few little picky points."
‘The worst day with the most damning evidence’: CNN’s Tapper explains how Sondland was very bad for Trump
European Union ambassador Gordon Sondland's testimony before the House of Representatives' impeachment inquiry on Wednesday generated several startling revelations, including confirmation of an explicit quid-pro-quo deal involving investigations into former Vice President Joe Biden.
CNN's Jake Tapper described Sondland's testimony as "a monumental and historic moment on what may turn out to be the worst day with the most damning evidence for President Trump in the impeachment inquiry."
He then laid out all the ways that Sondland has been very bad news for the president.
"Sondland directly implicated the president in directing the operation to pressure Ukraine," Tapper explained. "Sondland is testifying that there very clearly was a quid pro quo -- this was for a White House visit for the Ukrainians in exchange for an announcement about an investigation into the company Burisma and the Bidens. Now, Sondland later said it became clear to him that the quid pro quo also, he presumed, was tied to the holdup of hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid that Ukraine desperately needed."