A leaked letter from Trump’s criminal defense lawyers just provided the first public confirmation that the President dictated his son’s wildly misleading statement about the Trump Tower meeting with Russian agents. In defending Trump from criminal charges, his lawyers conceded that he committed an impeachable offense.
Last summer, the president’s lawyer Jay Sekulow lied to the public about Trump’s participation in drafting Don Jr.’s statement to the Times, and White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders lied when she said that Trump didn’t “dictate” his son’s response, among other instances.
In a letter to Mueller, Trump's lawyers said he "dictated a short but accurate response to the New York Times" about the infamous Trump Tower meeting with Russians. But here are FIVE TIMES @JaySekulow and @PressSec previously denied Trump's role in the misleading statement. pic.twitter.com/DINgjFdKvL
— Marshall Cohen (@MarshallCohen) June 2, 2018
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The New York Times reported on the contents of a secret letter from former Trump criminal defenses attorney John Dowd to Special Counsel Robert Mueller claiming that obstruction laws basically do not exist. Trump’s flawed arguments fly in the face of legal precedent going all the way back to the Declaration of Independence saying that laws should restrict the head of state from interfering in legal proceedings.
But Trump’s intervention into his eldest son’s public explanation has become a central point in Mueller’s obstruction case because that misleading statement to the Times is the lynchpin of their efforts to charge the President with witness tampering, a grave charge which hasn’t been previously reported as imminent. The NY Times reports:
The lawyers acknowledged that Mr. Trump dictated a statement to The Times about the 2016 Trump Tower meeting between some of his top advisers and Russians who were said to have damaging information about Hillary Clinton. Though the statement is misleading — in it, the president’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., said he met with Russians “primarily” to discuss adoption issues — the lawyers call it “short but accurate.”
Mr. Mueller is investigating whether Mr. Trump, by dictating the comment, revealed that he was trying to cover up proof of the campaign’s ties to Russia — evidence that could go to whether he had the same intention when he took other actions.
President Trump’s criminal defense lawyers argued that lying to the Times is Trump’s prerogative, but their acknowledgment of his involvement in Trump Jr.’s statement leads to a slippery slope towards criminality.
That line of argument totally concedes facts entirely similar to one of the Articles Of Impeachment against disgraced former President Nixon.
But even worse, the Times noted that Dowd chose to cite an older federal obstruction statute in his letter to Mueller, one that doesn’t apply to his client’s case, but does pertain to witness tampering. According to the Times:
Samuel W. Buell, a Duke Law School professor and white-collar criminal law specialist who was a lead prosecutor for the Justice Department’s Enron task force, said the real issue was whether Mr. Trump obstructed a potential grand jury investigation or trial — which do count as proceedings — even if the F.B.I. investigation had not yet developed into one of those.
He called it inexplicable why the president’s legal team was making arguments that were focused on the wrong obstruction-of-justice statute.
The best explanation is that Trump’s criminal defense lawyers wanted to avoid pointing out just how guilty of witness tampering their client appears to be.
Trump’s lawyers had to write the extensive negotiation letter to Mueller with the idea in mind that it could one day become a public matter.
While conservative lawyers have spent the last five decades trying to excuse Nixon’s crimes of offices, Trump’s lawyers must’ve known how impossible it is to claim that the Constitution delivers the President a right to tamper with witnesses in criminal matters like a Mafia Boss in Chief.
Now, the Trump Presidency looks like it is teetering on the brink of total collapse in the face a grand jury subpoena for what will almost certainly be a damning report of his impeachable offenses from Special Counsel Mueller to Congress.
Watch one of the Times’ reporters explain how Trump’s criminal defense lawyers admitted to an impeachable offense:
— Sarah Reese Jones (@PoliticusSarah) June 2, 2018