Trump’s Long Pattern of Obstruction
The report that Donald Trump personally directed his longtime lawyer Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about efforts to develop Trump Tower Moscow during the 2016 campaign is the clearest evidence yet that the president obstructed justice to cover up the evidence of his collusion with Russia.
It’s not just us saying that. William Barr, Trump’s own nominee for Attorney General, confirmed to Senator Amy Klobuchar in his confirmation hearings earlier this week that “a president persuading a person to commit perjury would be obstruction.”
Of course, this just adds to a long list of examples of the president obstructing justice, including:
- Firing FBI Director James Comey: Trump repeatedly pressured Comey to tell the public Trump wasn’t under investigation and to go easy on Michael Flynn. When Comey wouldn’t, Trump fired him—then bragged on national television and to Russian officials that he’d done it to stop the Russia investigation.
- Dangling pardons: Trump has publicly alluded to the possibility of pardoning campaign officials indicted of collusion-related crimes, and his lawyers reportedly suggested it to theirs behind closed doors. That wouldn’t just be obstruction of justice—it would also be furthering the initial conspiracy to collude with Russia.
- Tampering with witnesses: Key witnesses—and even indicted campaign officials like campaign chairman Paul Manafort—were reportedly in contact with the White House before and after they testified to Special Counsel Robert Mueller or Congress. Trump has also praised witnesses like Roger Stone who refused to testify against Trump and called Cohen a “rat” for cooperating with investigators.
- Forcing out Attorney General Jeff Sessions: Trump’s only criticism of Sessions was that he had recused himself from overseeing Mueller’s investigation rather than run interference for Trump. When Sessions finally stepped down, Trump went outside the Justice Department’s explicit chain of command to illegally appoint an acting attorney general who’d openly attacked Mueller and even outlined how Trump could sideline the special counsel.
- Trying to fire Mueller and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein: Along with his running commentary bashing Mueller’s investigation, Trump has reportedly tried to fire Mueller at least twice. He also reportedly considered forcing out Rosenstein, who has overseen the investigation since Sessions’s recusal in early 2017.
- Directing the coverup of the June 9 meeting: When The New York Times first reported that Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, and Manafort met with suspected Russian operatives in Trump Tower, the president personally dictated his son’s misleading response. That response just so happened to dismiss the June 9 meeting as having been about adoptions—a topic Trump said he had recently discussed with Russian President Vladimir Putin at G20.
There is no question that Trump obstructed justice. It’s time for the American public to learn just how deep the wrongdoing he has tried to cover up truly goes—and whether he’s once again coordinating his illegal behavior with Putin and the Kremlin.