President Donald Trump's repeated attempts to get former White House counsel to declare he didn't obstruct justice were crimes of obstruction of justice themselves, a former prosecutor explained on MSNBC.
"We have breaking news this Friday night. It turns out that even the Mueller report itself didn’t stop Donald Trump from obstructing justice. He continued his efforts to cover up wrong-doing by pressuring aides to deny any intentional illegality," Chris Matthews reported.
"In the explosive, breaking story tonight, The Wall Street Journal reports that within a day of the release of the Mueller report last month, President Trump sought to have former White House counsel Don McGahn declare he didn’t consider the president’s 2017 directive he seek Robert Mueller’s dismissal to be obstruction of justice. But he rebuffed that request," Matthews said. "The New York Times reports on that story that White House officials asked at least twice in the past month for McGahn to say publicly he never believed the president obstructed justice ever."
"Trump seems to be trying, trying, trying to exonerate himself," Matthews noted. "He had to go keep going back to the scene of the crime and saying there was nothing wrong with what I did when I obstructed justice."
"Which is crazy," replied former federal prosecutor Glenn Kirschner.
Kirschner offered his summary of the sequence of events.
"McGahn, who is basically a witness to the obstruction in the first instance, when the president said I want the man investigating me and my family and my associates and my campaign fired," he reminded.
"McGahn is like I’m not going to do that. So then he takes it one step further, then I want you to lie about the fact that I just asked to you do it," he continued.
"Now he reaches out to McGahn again and said, 'Hey, buddy, you can vouch for me?' And of course, when he won’t vouch for him -- as McGahn continues to be the principled person he is -- he then lays into him again and said to everybody he has been lying along," he explained.
"This is theater of the absurd -- it's theater of the obstruction," he declared.
Special counsel Robert Mueller "set out the evidence that satisfies every element of the crime of obstruction of justice several times over. The only remaining question is what does Congress do about it?" Kirschner concluded.