Brookings Institution senior fellow Benjamin Wittes, who is also a longtime friend of former FBI Director James Comey, has written a lengthy analysis of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election — and he says it leaves no doubt that Trump is a crook.
“The president committed crimes,” Wittes argues. “There is no way around it. The attorney general’s efforts to clear the president, both in his original letter and in his press conference the morning of the report’s release, are wholly unpersuasive when you actually spend time with the document itself.”
He then dives into two specific examples of Trump’s criminality documented in the report: Trump ordering ally Corey Lewandowski to get former Attorney General Jeff Sessions to un-recuse himself from overseeing the Russia probe and pressuring former White House counsel Don McGahn to deny that he’d been ordered by Trump to fire Mueller.
After thoroughly dissecting both incidents, Wittes concludes that it’s very hard to see how Trump would not face criminal charges if Department of Justice policy did not allow for the indictment of a sitting president.
“As a criminal matter, this fact pattern seems to me uncomplicated: If true and provable beyond a reasonable doubt, it is unlawful obstruction of justice,” he writes. “Full stop.”