Trump: “You Fight Back, Oh, It’s Obstruction.”

donald_trump_president-elect_portrait_croppedPresident Donald Trump made an interesting comment yesterday that both highlighted how he got into this mess and, ironically, the best defense to get out of it.  Trump complained that “You fight back, oh, it’s obstruction.”  That sums up so much about the past controversy and where it might end.

 

The fact is that Trump should never have viewed his role as fighting back in the midst of an FBI investigation.  His inclination to react and to move aggressively has resulted in the loss of a year of his Administration and could result in the loss of one or two houses of Congress for the GOP.  You do not “fight back” under you are under possible investigation because it means interfering or trying to influence an investigation. That is problematic even for a private citizens. It is exponentially more problematic when you are the head of the Executive Branch.  “Fighting back” when you have the power to fire people can easily cross the line from being aggressive to being obstructive.

 

However, it also shows Trump’s best and perhaps only defense” He was not trying to obstruct the investigation but defend himself.  It is often missed in coverage that Trump was pushing Comey not to scuttle the investigation but to say publicly what he had said privately to Congress.  While Comey cleared Hillary Clinton publicly, he had not confirmed what he told Trump and others — that Trump was not under investigation.

In his comments yesterday, Trump said that he believes that the investigation “puts the country in a very bad position.” He can argue that he was doing what he has always done: push back on attacks and defend himself (and his Administration).  He continued his signature approach without thinking about the change in his status from businessman to president.

Trump added that he would speak under oath.  Much is being made of this statement, but Trump could still be prosecuted (or impeached) for false statements to federal investigators regardless of whether the statements were made under oath.  That can be done under 18 U.S.C. 1001.  Thus, the oath does not radically alter that situation. Nevertheless, Trump’s attorneys appeared to immediately contradict him and say that he is only agreeing to speak with the Special Counsel.

However, the statement is a positive development because it shows a more constructive posture, even an eagerness, to cooperate.  Trump has been hurt by the constant image of someone trying to undermine and belittle the investigation.  This is an improvement both politically and legally.

120 thoughts on “Trump: “You Fight Back, Oh, It’s Obstruction.””

  1. To understand Trump, one must understand the “Integration Clause” (IC) in contract law. As a real estate developer, Trump knows all too well about contracts which is indispensable in the real estate business. Every contract contains an IC which states that this document is the complete and entite agreement between the parties AND all written and oral statements made by Trump prior to this agreement are NOT a part of this contract. Such prior statements have no legal effect. This unaccountability explains why Trump is so indifferent to making hyperbolic assurances and empty promises as a matter of course because he knows they will not be a part of his standard real estate contract! Indeed, the more ludicrous his statements, the less a party can arguably rely upon them in good faith in being induced to enter into an agreement. It is not unlike the schtick one hears from a used car salesman. The blather goes in one ear and out the other- it is often comical! It is somewhat of a game to be expected. Unless Trump commits a fraud by deliberately misrepresenting a provable fact (as opposed to offering his preposterous opinions), the IC absolves him of all responsibility for his deliberately obfuscating spiel. By now, his B*llsh*t is second nature and people understand that he is more of a circus barker than a man whose word is his bond. When you want to get down to business, the details will be worked out by his cadre of lawyers. Trump is the “big picture” frontman who enjoys being in the limelight- not sweating the details.

    1. Fascinating, Jeff Silberman. It’s hard to believe that I agree with andrewworkshop on anything. But stranger things have happened. So you may be right.

  2. I am just an average person, but, even I know what he did and said as President is obstruction of justice. I would never have gone done that path, and I am not a genius. Trump says he is a genius, very very smart person, know many words. I do not understand how a very smart person does not understand a President obstructing justice.

    1. Patricia,
      Where does an average person such as yourself receive your information to draw that conclusion? What do you believe President Trump said or did that meets the definition of obstruction of justice?

  3. The “free market” commenters will be interested in information from the Open Markets Institute.
    Their researchers examine how to curtail monopolies like those preferred by Trump’s head of the FCC.

    If a fresh lake tsunami could be hailed, it should be directed at the Chicago school economists, who support oligarchy.

    1. Yay an oligarchs comment from Linda. At my count this is the 278th Linda post that refers to oligarches. Zero of Linda’s responses to me include a definition of ochlocrat. Linda, you are losing 278 to 0.

          1. Brava, Linda. I do love puns. I had been thinking of telling pet-shop-boy that an ochlocracy was government by Phil Ochs. Do you think he’d fall for it?

  4. My Brain Injury Made Me Forget, but My Health Is Not an Issue!

    Hillary Clinton told the FBI that a blood clot in her brain made her forget crucial info and allowed her to work only a few hours a day. Today, let’s talk about Hillary’s health. Specifically, let’s talk about how she made it an issue when she apparently used it as a convenient excuse for memory loss — as a shield against criminal liability. But first, let’s establish some basic understandings. In watching her day to day, we see no visible evidence she can’t handle the rigors of the job. However, there is the matter of her testimony to the FBI. The Bureau interviewed her for more than three hours, and during the course of that testimony, she “cited more than three-dozen things that she could not recall.” The Washington Post has a fascinating breakdown of the information she said he couldn’t remember, including any “briefing or training” she received on “the retention of federal records or handling of classified information” or “any specific process for nominating a drone strike.”

    by David French September 6, 2016 1:55 PM

    1. George,
      issac offered up a possible explanation for politicians such as Hillary Clinton.

      the politician is aware of this problem [lying] and constantly designs its responses to avoid appearing to be speaking out of both sides of its mouth, getting caught in a contradiction or lie, and to some degree feels itself responsible to the public.

      So Clinton is apparently being responsible to the public. She’s just being considerate of the greater good. Anything less than three dozen times and she’d be suspect; not to be trusted Got it?

    2. Thanks Ivan for that report, coming up next….Secret societies and why Obama and Hillary are still running the world from their undisclosed locations.

    3. “Our boy [Trump] can become president of the USA and we can engineer it,” wrote Sater. “I will get all of [Vladimir] Putins [sic] team to buy in on this, I will manage this process.… I will get Putin on this program and we will get Donald elected.” Echoing a line that would later become Trump’s own description of why he and Putin might get along, Sater wrote that the Russian leader “only wants to deal with a pragmatic leader, and a successful business man is a good candidate for someone who knows how to deal.”

      This Russian mafioso flipped months ago aka Trump’s right hand confidant: Felix Sater

  5. The point of the piece is simply that Mr. Trump is usually his own worst enemy. A rational person who learns that he is under investigation will retain counsel to “fight back” using the legitimate tools of the legal trade. Trump’s tendency is usually to strike wildly and without deliberation at anything or anyone he perceives as a threat, a symptom of emotional immaturity.

    With respect to the upcoming meeting with Mr. Mueller, forget any possibility of testimony under oath, despite Mr. Trump’s expressed willingness to the contrary. Although, as Professor Turley notes, false statements to federal investigators are criminal offenses even if they are not sworn, Mr. Trump’s lawyers will wisely negotiate a meeting in which they will be present and their client’s statements will be carefully couched, and coached, to account for uncertain knowledge and memory lapses.

    Finally, I expect the Nunes memo, should he determine to release it over DOJ opposition, will prove useless. Rep. Nunes has already demonstrated that he lacks the competence to investigate his shoelaces without tripping over them.

    1. I agree that Trump’s often impulsive when a more measured approach would work better for him in the longer term. I disagree that the Nunes memo is a nothingburger – after all, the left is already developing a Russian bots story to explain it all away.

      Here’s what will happen: Trump made his statement about being willing to meet with Mueller. Next, the memo comes out and it’s damning. Based on that memo, Trump will elect not to meet with Mueller and then we’ll see where things go from there.

  6. Trump was within the scope of his office and authority to fire Comey. Were Strzok, McCabe, Page, Ohr, et al within the scope and authority of theirs? That said, what choice but to fight back?

  7. Most of the republican party is complicit with obstruction when it comes to any investigation of Trump. Holding on to power is the only thing they have left. If Trump goes, Pence is in, either way they win.

    1. Hey a liberal that finally found it interesting to study what would happen if Trump were removed from office.

      Speaking of obstruction, how come the Democrats are openly trying to obstruct release of the memo?

      What do Comey, McCabe, Ohr, Mueller, Strzok, Lisa P, all have in common? Hint, refer back to sentence #2 of your statement.

      1. Do you jump thru every hoop that the republicans hold out there? Or are you to busy watching and listening to Alex and Rush.

        1. If you were keeping up you note that I – unlike you – do not follow in lock-step with either political party. I don’t know who Alex is. Alex Keaton? Or Alex Van Halen? (I do love me some Van Halen, pre-Sammy ideally). I do enjoy Rush. Did you know many of their songs are pro-conservative and libertarian?

      2. Looks like you’ll believe anything. Nunes has no credibility. He’s been caught lying, obstructing and defending the traitor in the White House.

        The (R) party can declassify the memo any time. (R) is for Republican, likely Russian as well.

        But it is easier to lie about phantoms of conspiracy and excesses to smear the investigators at the FBI.

        Didn’t you have enough of this Nunes clown with the Unmasking fiasco? How about the wiretapping fiasco?

        No? Like some degenerate gambler, you keep laying a bet on a loser. Learn from this and serve your country instead of undermining its conservative institutions.

    2. Most of the republican party is complicit with obstruction when it comes to any investigation of Trump…If Trump goes, Pence is in, either way they win.

      How is that a logical conclusion? If the Republican party has nothing to lose, then your alleged obstruction would be unnecessary. That being said, holding onto power (or gaining power) would be reasonable goal for ANY political party.

      1. The republicans have every thing to lose, If they haven’t lost it already. Can you say this is the same party that it was 20 years ago? I know people that vote republican every time, but with Trump they have seen the end of the party’s ideas and values.

        1. Huh? So they win either way means they lose or have already lost?

          Neither party is the same as it was 20 years ago; consistent with the fact the electorate is not the same. I suspect everyone can provide anecdotes describing once party faithfuls leaving for greener pastures. I was a loyal Republican voter and now have no party affiliation. It’s way too early to project the mid-term, especially without some measurable data following the tax cuts. There are way too many moving parts right now, but that won’t stop the pundits from providing the opinions.

  8. Rosenstein and Obergruppenfuhrer Mueller have engaged in a conspiracy to falsely implicate the President through the appointment of a special prosecutor with no crime having been committed. That is the text of one of Strzok’s many texts. That is the crime in this scenario. The conspirators have changed the accusations from non-existent “Russian Collusion” to obstruction of justice by a President who was engaging in freedom of speech as conversation. President Trump had “no intent”. Where have we heard that before? Obergruppenfuhrer Mueller removed Strzok from the prosecution. Given his history as a member of the “deep state” at the FBI – Coups “R” Us – he should have removed himself and the entire corrupt team. Ultimately, this investigation is going to change course and lead through the Justice Dept. to the White House of 2016.

    1. “Our boy [Trump] can become president of the USA and we can engineer it,” wrote Sater. “I will get all of [Vladimir] Putins [sic] team to buy in on this, I will manage this process.… I will get Putin on this program and we will get Donald elected.” Echoing a line that would later become Trump’s own description of why he and Putin might get along, Sater wrote that the Russian leader “only wants to deal with a pragmatic leader, and a successful business man is a good candidate for someone who knows how to deal.”

      This russian mafioso flipped months ago aka Trump’s right hand confidant: Felix Sater

    2. Wow! I never imagined such a development. It seems that your tireless investigative ability has allowed you to discover a nefarious cabal of ne’er-do-wells seemingly hell-bent to bring down a duly-elected president and destroy the “Merican way of life; or maybe to fluoridate our precious bodily fluids. That these sordid individuals are deeply burrowed in the the very sinews of our foremost crime fighting organization should be a wake-up call for all those god-fearing patriots who cherish their right to wear ill-fitting tinfoil hats.

      this is to “inspector clouseau” georgie – paulie

      1. Marky Mark Mark – nice film references to films you have probably not seen. Making fun of the crisis does not make it go away. The crisis still remains. A lot of stuff is bubbling to the surface daily and you need to keep on top of it from your basement lair.

  9. Let’s have ’em all testify under oath – Trump, Obama, Lynch, McCabe, Mueller, Wray, Comey, Strozak – on C-Span live so the American public can actually hear what’s going on rather than being fed partisan nonsense / speculations from the MSM

    Let’s also see the memo and all the rest of the FISA related evidence

    As the Pope recently tweeted:

    Pope Francis‏ @Pontifex

    There is no such thing as harmless disinformation; trusting in falsehood can have dire consequences.

      1. Not my Trumpie. As you know I voted for Bernie and Jill. Guess hanging out with the globalists has turned him into . Mitch’s bitch on Steroids – wonder how his base will take this. The circus continues

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