The Republican response to reports of an investigation into Trump, annotated – Washington Post

This post was originally published on this site


President Donald Trump speaks about health care in front of Air Force One, Tuesday, June 13, 2017, at General Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

On Wednesday night, The Post reported that special counsel Robert Mueller, appointed to investigate attempts by Russia to meddle in the 2016 election, had expanded that investigation to include possible obstruction of justice by President Trump.

“The move by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III to investigate Trump’s conduct,” we wrote, “marks a major turning point in the nearly year-old FBI investigation, which until recently focused on Russian meddling during the presidential campaign and on whether there was any coordination between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin. Investigators have also been looking for any evidence of possible financial crimes among Trump associates, officials said.”

In response to that report, the Republican Party issued a set of “talking points,” meant to guide allies of Trump’s in rebutting the claims made in our article. Those talking points are below, annotated by The Post with notes clarifying or correcting the arguments being made.


Top Takeaways

  • There is no case for obstruction of justice. This point has been made by legal scholars from both sides of the aisle over and over again.
  • This story is nothing more than an example of even more leaks coming out of the FBI and special counsel’s office in an effort to undermine the President. These leaks are inexcusable, outrageous, and illegal. The leaks are the only crime here.
  • Why is no one investigating Attorney General Lynch’s Department of Justice for obstruction of justice in the Clinton email investigation? The reality is former Director Comey suggests the president tried to influence the FBI. But, he openly admitted that Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch successfully influenced him. There is compelling evidence to back up the claim that AG Lynch engaged in obstruction of justice, but none to show that President Trump did so.
  • President Trump stated in an interview with NBC’s Lester Holt that he knew firing Comey might lengthen the Russia investigation, but he did it anyway because it was the right thing to do. It was no way an effort to interfere.
  • How much longer is this investigation/fishing expedition going to go on?

If This Leaked Account Is True, It Means The Special Counsel Has Struck Out On Trying To Prove Collusion, And Is Shifting To Obstruction In An Effort To Save Face

  • After months of investigations, there is no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
  • According to Senator Risch, the Senate Committee has gone through thousands of documents and found no evidence of collusion.
  • Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle involved in the investigation have all said there is zero evidence of any collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
  • This apparent pivot by the investigative team shows that they have struck out on trying to prove collusion and are now trying to switch to another baseless charge.

This Story Is Just Another Examples Of More Illegal Leaks Coming Out Of The FBI And The Investigative Process

  • There continues to be a appalling amount of illegal leaks coming out of the investigative committees.
  • The actions of these leakers are obvious examples of how members of the investigative teams are trying to undermine the President.
  • If they had a real case, they wouldn’t be leaking information.
  • In November 2016, President Obama warned against FBI “leaks” And “innuendo,” in the investigative process.
  • In 2016, Rep. Pelosi stated, “The public interest would be served by the FBI providing the facts, rather than allowing republicans to stoke innuendo and falsehoods …”
  • These leaks are inexcusable, outrageous, and illegal — and need to stop.

There Is No Case For Obstruction Of Justice

  • FBI Director Comey confirmed multiple times that President Trump or White House staff did not ask him to stop the Russia investigation in his hearing last week.
  • Legal scholars from across the spectrum, including Alan Dershowitz, Elizabeth Price Foley, and Andrew McCarthy have all stated there is no case for obstruction of justice.
  • The firing of former Director Comey did nothing to change the course of the investigation. Even if President Trump had wanted to impede in the case, firing the FBI Director would in no way accomplish that.
  • Attorney General Sessions in his testimony this week stated that firing the FBI Director would in no way affect the investigation as all the same personnel is still in place.

Why Is No One Investigation The Obvious Case Of Obstruction Of Justice By Former Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch And The Clinton Campaign?

  • Director Comey confirmed he was very concerned about the Obama administration’s interference in the Clinton email investigation, including interference by Obama Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch.
  • During the pendency of the FBI server investigation, President Obama’s administration publicly stated[click1.comms.gop.com] in January 2016, that Secretary Clinton “is not the target of the investigation” and “it doesn’t seem to be headed in th[e] direction” of an indictment; and in April 2016, President Obama said that Secretary Clinton “has not jeopardized America’s national security” and “would never intentionally put America in any kind of jeopardy.”
  • These unprecedented comments unequivocally signaled to his subordinate officers President Obama’s conclusions regarding Secretary Clinton’s conduct.
  • Of course, a short time after President Obama’s April comments[click1.comms.gop.com] about the lack of intent, Director Comey used that exact basis for unilaterally announcing that “no reasonable prosecutor” would charge Secretary Clinton even though the relevant statute did not even require intent.
  • Former Director Comey admitted last week that Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch instructed FBI Director Comey to stop calling his investigation an “investigation” and instead call it a “matter,” which he immediately began doing.
  • In this context, and in any context, it is obvious that none of President Trump’s purported statements constituted obstruction alone, and especially, in the context of President Obama’s far more extensive comments about the Clinton investigation that were never investigated as obstructive.
  • Clinton’s team even destroyed electronic devices with hammers and bleach. Comey and the FBI turned a blind eye to this fact. How is this not obstruction!?

Conclusion

  • The illegal leaks are the only crime here.
  • The investigative committees have clearly struck out on the collusion charge and are now shifting to baseless obstruction of justice charges.
  • There is absolutely no case for obstruction of justice.
  • When is this fishing expedition going to end so we can get back to the real issues that matter to Americans?