(National Sentinel) Executive Branch: President Donald J. Trump’s private lawyer said Monday as Democrats and liberal pundits claimed he obstructed justice in his handling of the James Comey firing that it isn’t possible for a president to do such a thing.
A “president cannot obstruct justice because he is the chief law enforcement officer under [the Constitution’s Article II] and has every right to express his view of any case,” attorney John Dowd told Axios in an exclusive exchange.
That, the web site noted, is “a new and highly controversial defense/theory” as the Russia probe continues.
Down went on to say that he was the one who actually drafted a Trump tweet this weekend some pundits believe strengthened the case for obstruction. The tweet appeared to suggest that Trump knew his former national security advisor, Michael Flynn, lied to the FBI when he was fired, which raised new questions regarding Trump’s firing of Comey.
Dowd, however, dismissed the notion. “The tweet did not admit obstruction. That is an ignorant and arrogant assertion,” he told Axios.
The site noted further:
Trump’s legal team is clearly setting the stage to say the president cannot be charged with any of the core crimes discussed in the Russia probe: collusion and obstruction. Presumably, you wouldn’t preemptively make these arguments unless you felt there was a chance charges are coming.
Some lawmakers and other pundits have suggested that Trump’s actions are indicative of obstruction of justice, including Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee.
She told “Meet the Press” over the weekend that the she could see “the putting together of a case of obstruction of justice” by the panel against the president.
She said she believed Trump’s firing of Comey came “directly because he did not agree to lift the cloud of the Russia investigation,” added, “That’s obstruction of justice.”
Other legal experts don’t see it that way, including former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy. While he believes special counsel Robert Mueller is ultimately aiming to produce a report recommending Congress impeach Trump, he wrote in National Review on Monday that president’s have carte blanche power to fire Executive Branch employees.
“…[T]he president had undeniable power to fire the FBI director. You can argue that his reason was corrupt, but the truth is that he didn’t need a reason at all — he could have done it because it was Tuesday and he felt like firing someone; he could have done it because he figured that the Justice Department’s criticism of Comey’s handling of the Clinton emails investigation gave him the political cover he needed to dispense with a subordinate he found nettlesome,” he wrote.
“The point is that even if the president hoped that cashiering Comey would derail an investigation he was addled by, it was wholly in Trump’s discretion to fire the director,” he added.
“The president may not be prosecuted in a criminal judicial proceeding for exercising his discretion, however objectionably, in executive matters over which the courts have no power of review. If Mueller tried to indict him, Trump would have unfettered discretion to fire Mueller and to direct the Justice Department to drop the case.
“You may not like that, but that’s the way it is,” he wrote, adding that Congress could still consider the matter for impeachment.
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