Over the weekend, President Donald Trump opened himself to accusations that he admitted to obstructing justice with a tweet about firing his former national security adviser, Michael Flynn.
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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 2, 2017
The argument posits that because Trump tweeted he knew Flynn had committed a crime in lying to the FBI, by asking former FBI Director James Comey, he was obstructing justice.
One of Trump’s lawyers in the Russia probe, however, said that was an impossible for the president to have committed such a crime.
According to Axios, John Dowd said there was no basis for any charge.
The “president cannot obstruct justice because he is the chief law enforcement officer under Art II and has every right to express his view of any case.” Dowd said.
After the uproar over the tweet, the White House said that it was Dowd who had crafted it, attempting to inoculate the president from criticism that he incriminated himself. Dowd confirmed to ABC that he had sent the tweet.
“The tweet did not admit obstruction. That is an ignorant and arrogant assertion,” Dowd said.
Whether Dowd’s claim is legitimate is up for debate. It is extremely unlikely that a sitting president could be charged with obstruction of justice by federal law enforcement officials, but Congress has charged presidents before with interfering with the administration of justice, most notably Bill Clinton and Richard Nixon.