Is President Trump Above the Law? His Lawyer Seems to Think So
President Donald Trump has known for months that his former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn lied to the FBI but his lawyer thinks that does not amount to obstruction of justice.
His attorney, John Dowd told The Washington Post over the weekend that even though Trump knew of Flynn’s lies to the FBI about his conversation with Russians close to The Kremlin months before he fired the former adviser, that knowledge does not constitute obstuction of justice when Trump later fired former FBI director James Comey for failing to drop the case against Flynn.
Trump was aware of the discrepancies for weeks before he asked then FBI director James Comey to drop the case against Flynn.
According to Comey’s notes of his meeting with President Trump, the president asked him if he could see “his way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go.” Comey refused to obey Trump and was fired in May.
Speaking to the media, Dowd said 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.”
According to Dowd’s argument, President Trump is above the law, therefore, cannot obstruct justice. U.S. Legal expects say that is hogwash.
“Just because he is the President of United States does not mean he is above the law. That makes absolutely no sense,” a Washington, DC based legal expert told The Liberal Advocate this morning.
“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.”
In 1977, another president made a similar claim. Richard Nixon said during an interview with David Frost that the president can do as he pleases – just because he is the president.
“Well, when the president does it, that means that it is not illegal,” Nixon said at the time, in a TV interview with David Frost. Nixon later resigned instead of facing impeachment.
Over the weekend, the president gave ammunition to his enemies by raising questions about when he knew about Flynn’s lies about his conversations with Russian government officials.
“I had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI. He has pled guilty to those lies,” Trump tweeted. That raised alarm bells in Washington, DC because if Trump knew about Flynn’s lies to the FBI and then asked Comey to drop his probe, that is a criminal act – a felony.
The White House’s earlier rationale for Flynn’s dismissal was that he lied to Vice President Mike Pence.
Trump fired James Comey weeks after the former FBI director said the president asked him to “see his way” to let Flynn off the hook. If Trump fired Comey for refusing to backing off his Flynn investigations, that is against the law and could help build obstruction of justice case against him.
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