Sarah Sanders says Trump ‘is not obstructing, he’s fighting back.’ There’s just one problem.

File under "arguments you will not hear in a court of law."


On the heels of President Trump’s unhinged string of tweets about the Mueller investigation on Wednesday morning — including one in which the president said Attorney General Jeff Sessions “should stop this Rigged Witch Hunt right now” — Trump’s attorneys and Press Secretary Sarah Sanders tried to do some damage control.

During Wednesday’s White House press briefing, Press Secretary Sarah Sanders downplayed Trump’s tweet, describing it as “not an order” but “the president’s opinion.”

Later, echoing a tweet Trump posted in May, Sanders said, “The president is not obstructing, he’s fighting back.”

Suffice it to say there is no “fighting back” exception to obstruction of justice charges, which were part of the articles of impeachment against Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton.

Meanwhile, on the heels of days in which they went on TV and argued that “collusion is not a crime,” Trump’s attorneys — Rudy Giuliani and Jay Sekulow — both did interviews with the Washington Post in which they downplayed Trump’s tweet using language similar to Sanders’. From the Post:

“The president has issued no order or direction to the Department of Justice on this,” Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow said, adding that the president is allowed to express his opinion on Twitter.

“I think it’s very well-established the president uses tweets to express his opinion,” added Trump lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani. “He very carefully used the word ‘should.’”

Giuliani and Sekulow’s talking point would be more convincing if Trump weren’t in the habit of using Twitter to issue military orders.

And to conduct foreign policy.

But Giuliani and Sekulow are trying to make the best out of a bad hand of cards. Part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation pertains to whether Trump obstructed justice with his repeated attempt to meddle in the active criminal investigation of his campaign, including firing then-FBI Director James Comey in May 2016. News recently emerged that Mueller is scrutinizing Trump’s tweets as part of that investigation.


Trump’s tweet calling for action from Sessions — who recused himself from the Russia investigation after it emerged that he lied about his contacts with Russians while serving as a Trump campaign surrogate — could be interpreted as his latest attempt to obstruct the Russia investigation.