Over the weekend, Trump’s outside lawyer John Dowd found himself in a rather awkward position.
With the Twitter clock ticking and Trump’s 44 million followers wondering why the President hadn’t yet taken to his favorite unfiltered social media forum to defend associate-turned-rat Michael Flynn, the commander in chief finally regaled the world with this opening salvo:
That was a mistake. Pretty much immediately, lawmakers, legal experts and pundits lit up the internet, noting that the President had just admitted to obstructing justice. See the thing is, if Trump knew Flynn had lied to the FBI when he pressured James Comey to drop the investigation into the disgraced former national security adviser on February 14, well then that’s obstruction. You can read our original post on that complete with all of the commentary here.
In a half-hearted effort to clean up the mess, John Dowd told ABC that he in fact wrote the tweet, a contention that raised more questions than it answered not the least of which is this: why would a lawyer put his client in legal jeopardy?
Well now, apparently realizing that this has opened new doors for Mueller, Dowd is trying something else. Specifically, he’s contending that it is impossible for Trump to obstruct justice. To wit, from Axios’ Mike Allen:
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,” Dowd claims.
Dowd: “The tweet did not admit obstruction. That is an ignorant and arrogant assertion.”
Forgive me John, but the “ignorant and arrogant assertion” here is the one you just made. The President is not above the law. That’s not how things work in America.
This would appear to indicate that Trump’s legal team is digging in their heels after the Saturday boondoggle which, again, dozens of legal experts and multiple lawmakers still contend may amount to a tacit admission of obstruction.
“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,” Axios goes on to note, adding that “presumably, you wouldn’t preemptively make these arguments unless you felt there was a chance charges are coming.”
Oh, and Dowd might want to rethink his “defense”, because after all…