Andrew Napolitano: Let's face it, Trump obstructed justice

I feel like that Supreme Court appointment for Judge Nap might not be happening.

Annnnd I’m thinking the frostiness from the White House towards Fox News lately is probably going to freeze over before it starts to thaw.

Note his emphasis here on ways in which Trump allegedly attempted to mislead investigators. There’s been bickering from the start among law nerds about whether Trump could commit obstruction by lawfully exercising a presidential power. He was entitled to fire Comey, but if his motive in firing him was to impede the investigation of “this Russia thing” then arguably he’s committed obstruction even though handing Comey his pink slip was perfectly legal. (And even though he didn’t succeed in thwarting the investigation.) What’s less arguable as an example of obstruction is attempting to mislead investigators — like, say, by getting K.T. McFarland to write a memo about Mike Flynn’s conversations with the Russian ambassador stating facts which she had no knowledge of. Essentially that’s tampering with evidence. And as Napolitano notes, just because Flynn ultimately would have benefited rather than Trump doesn’t make it less of a crime. The point of criminalizing obstruction is to protect the integrity of DOJ investigations. You don’t want charging decisions being made on the basis of fabricated evidence, regardless of whether it was the defendant who fabricated it or a friend of his.

But then this is why Trump is so hot to have the DOJ probe the origins of Russiagate despite the fact that the report cleared him on collusion and Bill Barr cleared him on obstruction. His grand answer to the claim that he tried to corrupt the investigation is that it was corrupted from the start by the other party. Obama’s administration obstructed justice by launching this thing in the first place, he’ll say. Even if that turns out not to be true, a long investigation that keeps Democrats on defense will serve his purposes. He’s going to try to run out the clock until Election Day on various House subpoenas and he’ll try to run it out on the Real Obstruction Of Justice until then too.