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‘That’s the calculation they made’: MSNBC panel says Trump decided obstruction was less incriminating option

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Section Two of the draft impeachment report by the House Intelligence Committee contains 90-pages of evidence that President Donald Trump obstructed Congress.

The executive summary of the report detailed Trump’s actions obstructing the House of Representatives:

  • refusing to produce to the impeachment inquiry’s investigating Committees information and records in the possession of the White House, in defiance of a lawful subpoena;
  • directing Executive Branch agencies to defy lawful subpoenas and withhold the production of all documents and records from the investigating Committees;
  • directing current and former Executive Branch officials not to cooperate with the Committees, including in defiance of lawful subpoenas for testimony; and
  • intimidating, threatening, and tampering with prospective and actual witnesses in the impeachment inquiry in an effort to prevent, delay, or influence the testimony of those witnesses.

For analysis, MSNBC chief legal correspondent Ari Melber interviewed former federal prosecutor Glenn Kirschner and former DOJ spokesperson Matt Miller.

Kirschner likened the difficulty of prosecutions to shooting basketball shots.

“So, Ari, if the abuse of office allegation is a bit of an outside jump shot, then I think the obstruction allegation is going to be a layup,” he explained.

“You have the president, who is often his own worst enemy, who stood up on camera and said I will comply with exactly zero congressional subpoenas,” he explained. “That is a charge, obstructing the congressional inquiry, that I think you can make in your sleep, given the evidence we have.”

Miller agreed.

“There’s a few things that strike me about the obstruction portion of this report,” he said. “Number one, just how far-reaching and wide-ranging the president’s obstruction was. It wasn’t just any one thing, it was withholding documents, blocking witnesses from testifying and when some witnesses came forward, actually trying to attack them on Twitter and keep them from testifying.”

“How much of this comes down to the fact that as bad as defiance looks even to this day, it might be impeachable, cooperating for some of them looked even worse?” Melber asked.

“I think that’s exactly right, I think that’s the calculation that they made,” Miller replied. “That’s why you don’t see Rudy Giuliani or any of these other witnesses from the administration, because if they came forward and testified truthfully, their answers would be incredibly damning to the president.”

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