That Huge, Impeachable Mistake Trump Can’t Cover-up
Looking Past Yet Another One of Trump’s Childish Twitter Insults — this time directed at Diane Feinstein — his calls for Republicans to ‘Take Control’ could be viewed as attempted Obstruction
You don’t have to be Charlie Cook or Carl Bernstein to know that for Donald Trump, when the going gets tough for President Donald Trump, Trump gets tweeting. So it should come as no surprise that, in the wake of Senator Diane Feinstein’s release of Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson’s closed-door testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday, that a ferocious tweetstorm would soon follow. What resulted, however, could be yet another potentially impeachable offense.
The president interrupted his Wednesday morning by tweeting:
The fact that Sneaky Dianne Feinstein, who has on numerous occasions stated that collusion between Trump/Russia has not been found, would release testimony in such an underhanded and possibly illegal way, totally without authorization, is a disgrace. Must have tough Primary!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 10, 2018
And followed that up fourteen minutes later with:
The single greatest Witch Hunt in American history continues. There was no collusion, everybody including the Dems knows there was no collusion, & yet on and on it goes. Russia & the world is laughing at the stupidity they are witnessing. Republicans should finally take control!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 10, 2018
No, calling Senator Feinstein “Sneaky” is not an impeachable offense. Sadly, it’s become expected from this president who thinks every one of his self-perceived enemies needs a sophomoric adjective to prefix their names on twitter and in speeches. From “Lying Ted” to “Crooked Hillary” to “Sloppy Steve“, it’s become tragically anticipated.
Nor could the president find articles of impeachment drawn over grossly lying about Feinstein in a tweet. His claim that Feinstein “has on numerous occasions stated that collusion between Trump/Russia has not been found” has been soundly debunked. The independent fact-checking service PolitiFact recently examined this claim, rating it as “FALSE”:
President Trump recently claimed Sen. Feinstein said “there is no collusion,” between the Trump campaign and Russia.
He apparently based his statement on responses Feinstein gave in a November 2017 CNN interview about the Russia probe. While Feinstein said she had “not so far” seen specific evidence about one portion of the investigation, that’s far from declaring there was no collusion. Speaking more broadly about whether collusion took place, Feinstein said in an October 2017 interview that it’s “an open question.” The president’s claim distorted the senator’s words and gave the wrong impression.
We rate Trump’s claim False.
And while Senator Feinstein is indeed facing a primary from California State Senator Kevin de León, it’s hardly considered “tough” given the fact that the incumbent maintained a double-digit lead BEFORE allegations of sexual harassment derailed the de León campaign.
So What Was Potentially Impeachable?
It’s no secret that Trump is already under investigation by Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller. Furthermore, it’s looking more likely that the reason Trump is in serious jeopardy has more to do with his possible obstruction of justice in the Russia investigation than the legally ambiguous allegations of collusion. Enter Tweet Number 2 from this morning’s Fusion GPS tweetstorm. More specifically, the final sentence:
Republicans should finally take control!
What is the President asking for? Take control of what? Control of the investigation in terms of freezing Democrats out? The mere hint from the executive branch that the legislative branch’s majority prohibits its minority from upholding their elected duties is fundamentally antithetical to American democracy at face value. However, when the president is suggesting this action take place during the course of a Senate investigation — when he himself, or his associates, are almost certainly targets — goes beyond a philosophical disagreement about constitutional checks and balances. If indeed Trump was saying “Republicans should finally take control” of the investigation, that would fall squarely into the category of Obstruction of Justice.
And if the President wasn’t asking Republicans, who have already been trying to misdirect and stymie the investigations into Russian interference in our election, and any related crimes, to outright take control of those investigations – thereby derailing the wheels of non-partisan justice… Well, then the possibilities get even more drastic. Because the alternative possibility is that they should take control of the government itself – which would be a coup, which would be treason.
So, remarkably, it’s giving the President the benefit of the doubt to assume that he likely calling for obstruction of justice when it comes to the investigations which deal with potential treason, as opposed to calling for members of his party to commit even more treason. Which is stunning.
And, of course, as most Americans know, this isn’t the first time that Trump tried to stifle the investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 Presidential Election. He admitted as much on national television to NBC’s Lester Holt last spring. But with the Fusion GPS transcript release effectively slaughtering the GOP narrative that the investigation is a “witch hunt”, the president is clearly feeling the walls closing in around him. And that pressure just might be forcing Trump to make fatal errors like this.
Maybe his own former Chief Strategist, ousted Breitbart Editor Steve Bannon, who is now on record saying there was collusion with Russia by the Trump campaign, and it was “treasonous”, isn’t the one he should be calling “sloppy”.
Photo Credit: Drew Angerer/Getty Images News
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