Senator foresees obstruction of justice case


Harvard Law School professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz disagreed with claims that there is an obstruction of justice case building against President Donald Trump, calling it "hope over reality" from some Democrats.

In the face of similar questions of obstruction about Trump, the President's attorney John Dowd said Trump, by the nature of his office, could not obstruct justice.

In December 1998, the House of Representatives passed two counts of impeachment-one for lying under oath (Article I) and another for obstructing justice (Article III).

"You can not charge a president with obstruction of justice for exercising his constitutional power to fire Comey and his constitutional authority to tell the Justice Department who to investigate, who not to investigate", Dershowitz said during the interview. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said Sunday the Senate investigation into alleged Russian Federation meddling in the 2016 presidential election could lead to an obstruction of justice case against President Donald Trump.

Dershowitz buttressed his position with historical examples, going back to President Thomas Jefferson's pursuit of former Vice President Aaron Burr early in the 19th century. He stated, "I think if Congress ever were to charge [Trump] with obstruction of justice for exercising his constitutional authority under Article II, we'd have a constitutional crisis". "Nixon obstructed justice in three ways: one, by telling his subordinates to lie to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, two, by paying hush money to potential witnesses against him, and three, by destroying evidence".

"Even with [Bill] Clinton", the professor recalled, "they said that he tried to influence potential witnesses not to tell the truth". Mr. Dowd, have you heard of Congress's power to impeach a president? Others, like Trump lawyer John Dowd, argued the "president can not obstruct justice because he is the chief law enforcement officer". "But you can be charged with obstruction of justice if you go beyond that and commit other crimes". Trump is focusing renewed attacks on the FBI, and on the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller, two days after ousted national security adviser Michael Flynn agreed to cooperate with the probe as part of a plea agreement. "The president would have had the complete authority to do so and Flynn never would have been indicted, never would have turned as a witness against him", said Dershowitz.