For many liberals, the only thing keeping them functioning is their desperate hope that President Donald Trump will soon be impeached. Unfortunately for them, the main target of Special Counsel Robert Mueller, Paul Manafort, most likely has no evidence of Trump-Russia collusion as was pointed out by Andrew Prokop in Vox last Thursday.
Okay, so maybe no evidence of collusion but perhaps Plan B which is obstruction of justice for a crime that did not happen will do the trick. And if you think that sounds bizarre, even a few clear-minded liberals acknowledge that obstruction will be almost impossible to prove. Among such liberals is Earl Ofari Hutchinson, a HuffPost contributor. He brings a sad reality check for hopeful liberals with Tough Sell On The Obstruction Of Justice Case Against Trump.
Special counsel Robert Mueller is looking hard at documents on Trump’s firing of former FBI Director James Comey. This touched off endless chatter that Mueller is zeroing in on trying to make a case against Trump for obstruction of justice. That’s a potentially impeachable offense. But it’s a tough sell. The federal statute that governs what is and isn’t an obstruction of justice offense is straightforward. It ticks off the actions required, “threats,” “corrupts,” “impedes,” or “influences,” any action that comes under the explicit proper purview of a government department or Congress. There’s more. It would have to be shown that the person made a false statement, withheld, concealed, altered, or destroyed a document that obstructed the investigation.
Dearest goddess Gaia, please conjure up an obstruction charge! My soul would be shattered by having to endure the Trumpacalypse until January 20, 2025.
The letter Trump sent to Mueller is little more than a rehash of the reasons Trump previously and publicly stated were the reasons that he fired Comey. They boil down to his alleged dissatisfaction with his handling of the Clinton email investigation and the supposed investigation into the alleged Russia presidential election meddling. There is no evidence of any existence, let alone concealment, destruction or tampering, of a document that would show that Trump ordered or demanded that Comey stand down from investigating him. In fact, Trump has waved around the quip he made to Comey about being pleased that he found supposedly nothing to implicate him in any wrongdoing.
Noooo! I placed such faith in that letter! Why are you destroying all my fondest fantasies, you killjoy?
The bigger problem with trying to make an obstruction of justice charge stick is the always thorny matter of trying to prove intent. So, even if Trump desperately wanted Comey to back off from any potential investigation of his Russia tie and did try to undermine such an investigation, a prosecutor would still have to prove that he deliberately and willfully used illegal means to stop Comey from an investigation.
Please stop, Earl.
Trump’s team is well-versed on the rules about what public officials can do when it comes to business and government here. They know that eyes are carefully watching him to catch him in any dirty dealing. So, him doing something that crudely illegal is almost unimaginable.
Another possible charge bandied about is whether his entangled business dealings with the Russians rises to the level of blatant favoritism. Something, of course, could turn up in a deep probe congressional investigation of his supposed tie with the Russians.
The two problems with this is that the likelihood of a GOP congressional committee taking on such a probe is slim to none. The election tampering angle is near impossible to prove. It would take smoking gun proof that Trump directed Putin and his cronies to cook the election books for him.
So, for now we’re back to square one. Lots of talk, speculation and hope that Trump can be tripped up enough to bring a strong case for his removal. But to make that case it’s going to take solid evidence of wrongdoing that meets the high Constitutional bar to oust a president.
What will liberals do when they hear this?