The president CAN'T obstruct justice –because he's the president: Trump lawyer unveils possible Nixon-like defense against Mueller probe (if the president says it's legal, it's legal)
- Donald Trump's lawyer says the president 'cannot obstruct justice'
- John Dowd said it was an impossibility 'because he is the chief law enforcement'
- Special prosecutor Robert Mueller is probing possible obstruction
- Trump fired FBI director James Comey and according to Comey asked him to let an investigation of former security advisor Mike Flynn go
- Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI on Friday
- Dowd wrote a tweet by Trump saying 'I had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI'
- The tweet implied Trump knew Flynn had lied to investigators
- Dowd told ABC he was being 'sloppy' when he wrote it and did not admit obstruction?
President Donald Trump's lawyer has rolled out a new defense that his client couldn't have committed obstruction of justice because he's the president.?
The legal argument by Trump lawyer John Dowd comes amid an ongoing probe of Russian election interference where possible obstruction could feature prominently.?
The president 'cannot obstruct justice because he is the chief law enforcement officer under [the Constitution's Article II] and has every right to express his view of any case,' Trump's lawyer, John Dowd, told Axios.?
Dowd's claim follows a Trump tweet on Saturday about former national security advisor Mike Flynn, using language that some legal observers say amounted to an acknowledgement that he committed obstruction.
The tweet – which Dowd on Sunday says he wrote – contained language saying Trump knew Flynn had lied to the FBI when he fired him in February.?
Trump's personal lawyer, John Dowd has admitted that he crafted a controversial tweet that appeared on the President's personal account on Saturday. He said the president 'cannot obstruct justice'?
In another key event in special counsel Robert Mueller's probe, former FBI Director James Comey testified that Trump pressured him to back off a probe of Flynn, asking him to 'see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go.' Flynn pleaded guilty Friday to lying to the FBI.
Dowd's?statement immediately brought comparisons to Watergate, where Nixon was in fact facing an article of impeachment based on obstruction.
Trump tweeted on Saturday: 'I had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI. He has pled guilty to those lies. It is a shame because his actions during the transition were lawful. There was nothing to hide!' Trump wrote.
After the tweet drew immediate controversy, Dowd said it was in fact he who composed it.?
MY LAWYER WROTE THIS: This tweet by Donald Trump led to accusations that the president had obstructed justice after allegedly telling James Comey to back off Michael Flynn while also knowing that Flynn lied to the FBI. But now the White House says his personal lawyer made the tweet
Dowd argued that the president cannot commit obstruction because he is the nation's chief law enforcement officer under the Constitution
John Dowd is part of President Trump's legal team, and says he wrote the president's recent tweet about Mike Flynn, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI?
Speaking to ABC News, the lawyer said the social media post was 'my mistake' and that he had not intended 'to break news' in writing it. He said he used 'sloppy' language.?
Dowd's admission did not clarify if Trump actually knew about Flynn's deception when he dismissed him in February or whether the President knew the tweet had been published on Saturday.
He hadn't meant to say Trump had advance knowledge of Flynn lying to the FBI, but had only learned of it recently.??
The claim brought comparisons to President Richard Nixon's claim that 'when the president does it, that means it is not illegal'
'The tweet did not admit obstruction. That is an ignorant and arrogant assertion,' Dowd told Axios.
The tweet got sent while Trump's motorcade was stuck in traffic as it left a Republican fundraising event in New York City.
Flynn was fired on February 13. At the time, the President said the decision was based on him misleading Vice President Mike Pence about his interaction with Russian ambassador Sergei Kislyak on December 22, 2016.?
Former Obama White House counsel Bob Bauer told Axios: 'It is certainly possible for a president to obstruct justice. The case for immunity has its adherents, but they based their position largely on the consideration that a president subject to prosecution would be unable to perform the duties of the office, a result that they see as constitutionally intolerable.'
Dowd's statement evoked claims by President Nixon about presidential prerogatives following his decision to resign while facing possible impeachment including on an obstruction charge.
'Well, when the president does it, that means it is not illegal,' he told David Frost in one their one-on-one interviews.
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