'The cover-up is the issue': Law professor says obstruction charges loom over Trump in doc case
Donald Trump (AFP)

Donald Trump is under criminal investigation over his handling of classified documents but it's his alleged obstruction of that investigation that poses the most serious risk to the former president, according to a law professor.

Melissa Murray, a New York University law professor and former clerk of Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, appeared on MSNBC's Deadline Whitehouse with Nicolle Wallace on Thursday. Wallace asked Murray about the significance of documents that CNN reported are going to special counsel Jack Smith, and which might undermine Trump's claims that he doesn't know how to declassify documents. Trump has continually claimed he had the "right" to take and keep the records.

"These documents have the potential to reveal exactly what President Trump knew at the time those documents were taken from the White House and removed to Mar-a-Lago," Murray replied, adding that the documents show Trump was properly advised on the process for declassifying documents. "He has also potentially obstructed the search for them by keeping them there and not revealing what he has known thus far."

The host then asked Murray how she would assess the strength of the government's obstruction case.

Murrah noted that, most of the time with cases like this, "it's not the actual crime or act."

"The cover-up is really the issue," she added. "The obstruction, the sort of corollary efforts that are made to conceal what earlier had been done. I think that's a big part of what's going on. Sort of process crimes that are adjacent to the underlying crimes. So, yes, it is a crime to remove the material from Mar-a-Lago. But refusing to be forthcoming about how much material is at Mar-a-Lago or whether or not you are going to be forthcoming in the future about turning that over, that too becomes part of the criminal activity. And that's usually where they can really get you."

Watch the video below or at this link.