President Donald Trump’s outside lawyer wants you to know that Trump cannot be guilty of obstruction of justice, because he’s POTUS.
“I had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI,” “@realDonaldTrump tweeted. “He has pled guilty to those lies. It’s a shame because his actions during the transition were lawful. There was nothing to hide!”
Political and legal punditry exploded over that one, arguing that if Trump knew Flynn had lied to the FBI when Flynn was fired, it makes the case Trump attempted to obstruct justice with his subsequent firing of FBI director James Comey.
Dowd jumped in to take the fall, saying he dictated that tweet to Trump’s social guru Dan Scavino. Dowd declined to say whether Trump signed off on it. Dowd said it was the first – and last – tweet he created for Trump.
Much eye rolling ensued across the political landscape.
So, this morning, Dowd tried another approach.
“The tweet did not admit obstruction. That is an ignorant and arrogant assertion,” Dowd argued, spreading the word morning via political website Axios.
“The President cannot obstruct justice because he is the chief law enforcement officer under [the Constitution’s Article II] and has ever right to express his view of any case,” Dowd insisted.
Morning Joe masticated on that development, comparing the move to O.J. Simpson’s infamous “If I Did It” book (and aborted Fox TV special) in which O.J. insisted that while he did not murder his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman, if he had, here is how he would have pulled it off.
Co-host Joe Scarborough, however, went with another TV reference, saying, “This is not too far from the final scene in every Perry Mason episode you’ve ever seen, where the person on the stand breaks down crying, and says, ‘I did it!’
Zippy stuff, but Trump instead directed his Twitter followers to his pals at Fox News Channel’s Fox & Friends where, he said, Alan Dershowitz had just explained “what is going on with respect to the greatest Witch Hunt in U.S. political history. Enjoy!”
On F&F, Dershowitz argued that it would be a “constitutional crisis” should Congress charge Trump with obstruction of justice for “exercising his constitutional authority under Article II.”
“You cannot charge a President with obstruction of justice for exercising his constitutional power to fire Comey and his constitutional authority to tell the Justice Department who to investigate, who not to investigate,” Dershowitz insisted.
Until that tweet, Trump had confined his Monday morning Twitter activity to endorsig Roy Moore: