Harry Litman, a former United States attorney and deputy assistant attorney general, recently wrote an opinion piece for the New York Times about Trump’s belief that he is above the law. Litman states that the 20-page memo Trump’s lawyers sent to the special counsel pretty much sums up what Trump is thinking.
According to the memo, Trump and his crew wholly believe that Trump cannot possibly be charged with obstruction because they think Trump’s constitutional powers include the ability to terminate the investigation, and if for some reason that fails, he can just pardon himself of the crime.
As Litman points out:
“This understanding of presidential power is radical and absolutist.”
The memo basically says three things:
1. Trump, as president, cannot obstruct justice, “no matter his motivation.” However, that sentiment is proven incorrect by the fact that Richard Nixon’s articles of impeachment included obstruction of justice!
2. Trump, as president, cannot sit for an interview because he’s too busy and it “demeans the office of the president before the world.” Nope. Clinton tried that one to but the Supreme Court unanimously said that excuse was a no go and Clinton had to testify.
3. Trump, as president, cannot be guilty of obstruction because he didn’t know he was obstructing. Well, that one might be the closest to an actual argument, but even if it is true it doesn’t mean Trump can totally avoid an obstruction charge.
According to Litman, “all three of Mr. Trump’s pillars of defense support no weight.” Mueller may not push for charging Trump, but if he doesn’t, it isn’t because of these three sorry excuses.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer isn't having it, and he said as much on the senate floor this morning:
“Despite what the president and his allies may feel about his authority or his absolution from legal repercussions, the Constitution and the founding principles of our country tell us he’s dead wrong. Mr. President, President Trump — we are not a monarchy. You are not a king. We are a constitutional democracy, so act like it.”
Watch Chuck Schumer tell it like it is in the video above.
Read Litman’s entire piece, “President Trump Thinks He Is a King” written by Harry Litman and posted by The New York Times on June 3, 2018.