Trump Attorney: The President Can't Obstruct Justice

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Chief Legal Correspondent and host of The Beat, Ari Melber, examined Tuesday the public feud between Donald Trump lawyers Ty Cobb and John Dowd over whether it is possible for the president to commit obstruction of justice. FBI Director James Comey was sacked in May, and testified to Congress that Trump asked him to go easy on Flynn.

"You can not charge a president with obstruction of justice for exercising his constitutional power to fire Comey and to tell the Justice Department who to investigate and who not to investigate".

It was a whirlwind weekend for President Donald Trump's legal team, from Michael Flynn's guilty plea to Trump's problematic tweet to new reports that fill out the picture of a broadening Russian Federation investigation.

But there was never a broader discussion early on about whether the president could obstruct justice in any matter, the person said.

The president's detractors are once more attempting to pin him with the charges after a Saturday tweet about his former national security advisor Mike Flynn, who pleaded guilty to lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation on Friday. Since the attorney general reports to the president, an argument can be made that he is "the prosecutor in chief" and can decide what the Justice Department considers legal.

Russian Federation has denied meddling in the 2016 USA election, and Trump has denied any collusion took place between Russian Federation and his election campaign. Trump had previously blamed the February 13 firing on the fact that Flynn misled Vice President Mike Pence about his conversations with ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the presidential transition.

On Sunday, Trump lawyer John Dowd told ABC News that he was actually responsible for the "sloppy" post.

Even so, while Congress has other ways to punish a president for trying to obstruct justice through impeachment, it remains an open question whether he could be prosecuted.

Dowd also said that the tweet Trump sent over the weekend "did not admit obstruction", in reference to what some had argued helped Special Counsel Robert Mueller's case.

As the Congressional Research Service explains: "Obstruction of justice is the frustration of governmental purposes by violence, corruption, destruction of evidence, or deceit".

"Many people say this situation can't get worse".

"You can't have obstruction of justice by each party exercising their authority", said Dershowitz.

And some federal courts have suggested that obstruction laws are meant to stop a broad array of tampering.

Even if the law applies, though, it remains unclear whether a president could ever face criminal charges for breaking it.

Whether or not a president can be charged with the crime of obstruction of justice is a more controversial matter that has no historical precedent, though many experts argue that previous investigations of presidents for impeachment proceedings have proceeded with the assumption that a president can be indicted.

"The articles of impeachment against Nixon mention obstruction of justice". Nixon resigned in August 1974, before he could be impeached or removed from office.

Turley said he disagrees with Dowd but that it is a "perfectly reasonable argument".

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