Donald Trump is guilty of obstruction of justice for attempting to thwart the investigation of Russian collusion with his 2016 election campaign. In fact, the case is almost a mirror of obstruction charges faced by disgraced President Richard Nixon, says Robert Reich.
The issue has dogged Trump since the investigation began by the FBI before the election. But the charge is taking on new meaning now.
The lastest reports say Special Counsel Robert Mueller has asked Trump to meet with him to answer questions.
Trump boldly–and many say recklessly–declared that he would testify under oath.
Such a move would put him in immediate legal jeopardy, and his lawyers are walking back his comments.
Mueller wants to hear Trump explain his decisions to fire national security adviser Michael Flynn and FBI director James Comey.
If Trump fired them to protect himself from the Russia investigation, it would be a clear case of obstruction of justice, an impeachable offense, says Reich, who served in the Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter and Clinton administrations.
In fact, Trump’s actions are almost exactly like the steps taken against both Nixon and President Clinton. Both were charged with obstruction of justice, Reich noted.
Nixon resigned in the face of a pending vote on impeachment, and Clinton went through a full-blown trial in the Senate before being acquitted.
Nixon tried to take to block the Watergate investigation, by ordering Attorney General Elliott Richardson to fire Watergate Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox.
Richardson refused and resigned in protest. Nixon then gave the same order to Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus, who also refused and resigned.
Solicitor General of the United States, Robert Bork was sworn in to take their place and fired Cox. The incident became known as the “Saturday Night Massacre.”
Trump, you may recall, fired FBI Director James Comey, after Comey refused Trump’s demand for loyalty and request to “go easy” on disgraced National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.
Trump then when on national television and admitted he fired Comey because of the Russia investigation.
The law on obstruction of justice is pretty clear.
“Whoever corruptly, or by threats of force, or be any threatening letter or connunication influences, obstructs, or impedes the endeavors to influence, obstruct, or impede the due and proper administration of law…”
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