As special counsel Robert Mueller reportedly examines President Trump’s tweets for evidence of obstruction of justice, Trump began his first morning back at work in nearly three weeks with a string of tweets approvingly quoting a right-wing commentator who wrote that the firing of FBI agent Peter Strzok “is as much about the Mueller investigation as anything else.”
There’s just one problem — by admitting Strzok’s firing is “as much about the Mueller operation as anything else,” Trump is providing Mueller with more evidence that he’s still trying to meddle in the Department of Justice in an effort to protect himself from an active criminal investigation.
Trump posted another tweet just over an hour later criticizing Attorney General Jeff Sessions for not stopping the Mueller investigation before it began.
“If we had a real Attorney General, this Witch Hunt would never have been started!” Trump tweeted, quoting a Fox News commentator.
But Sessions didn’t recuse himself from the Russia investigation merely because he felt like it — he did so because he got caught misleading senators during sworn testimony about his own contacts with Russian officials.
Trump has oscillated between bemoaning Sessions’ recusal and asking him to do something about it. On August 1, Trump posted a desperate tweet begging Sessions to bring the ongoing criminal investigation of his campaign to an abrupt end.
That tweet was widely interpreted as Trump calling upon his attorney general to take unusual steps to unrecuse himself and end the Russia probe. In an effort to do damage control later that day, Trump’s legal team and press secretary insisted that Trump’s tweet did not constitute a directive to Sessions to interfere in the Russia investigation, but merely represented his “opinion.”
Later Tuesday morning, Trump posted a tweet in which he blatantly lied about the origin of the Russia investigation by claiming “Strzok started” it.
In fact, the investigation started after a Trump campaign foreign policy adviser, George Papadopoulos, bragged to an Australian diplomat in the spring of 2016 about having inside knowledge of Russian hacking. After WikiLeaks in July published Democratic National Committee emails stolen by Russian hackers, the diplomat informed the FBI about his conversation with Papadopoulos, and the bureau opened a counterintelligence investigation.
On Monday, Trump reacted to Strzok’s firing by tweeting “No Collusion, No Obstruction — I just fight 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.
During a Fox & Friends interview on Monday, Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, came close to arguing that the president is constitutionally incapable of obstructing justice. Giuliani’s comments came days after another Trump attorney, Jay Sekulow, argued on the same show that the president should be immune from any and all questioning by investigators. Last week, Giuliani and Sekulow indicated that questions about obstruction of justice are off the table if Trump ever sits for an interview with special Mueller.