Comments that the President made Saturday have many Democrats clamoring for an investigation into an obstruction of justice. When President Trump tweeted about former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn’s guilty plea, he implied he knew Flynn had lied to the FBI. In an odd twist, the President’s lawyer now claims that a president can’t obstruct justice.
The “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.
“I had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI. He has pleaded guilty to those lies,” Trump tweeted Saturday.
“It is a shame because his actions during the transition were lawful. There was nothing to hide!”
The tweet is causing controversy becasue of a conversation that President Trump had with then FBI director James Comey. Trump asked Comey to show leniency on Flynn. If he knew that Flynn had lied to the FBI, the request could be construed as an obstruction of justice.
In February, Trump said he fired Flynn after he found that Flynn he lied to the vice president. He made no mention of Flynn lying to the FBI at the time.
The tweet Saturday, though, has Democrats fuming. Dowd, though, claims it was a “mistake.”
This is a matter open to interpretation. Bob Bauer, former White House counsel to President Obama, told Axios: “It is certainly possible for a president to obstruct justice. The case for immunity has its adherents, but they based their position largely on the consideration that a president subject to prosecution would be unable to perform the duties of the office, a result that they see as constitutionally intolerable.”
There’s no way, Dowd insists, that the tweet was anything more than a mistake, and it certainly wasn’t an acknowledgement of obstruction of justice. “That is an ignorant and arrogant assertion,” he told Axios.
Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to federal investigators Friday. He claims he was ordered by senior Trump administration officials to smooth over relations with the Russians during the transition.
The plea appears to many to be an indication of Flynn’s cooperation with Special Council Mueller’s investigation into Russian involvement in the 2016 Presidential election.