Did Trump Obstruct Justice? He Certainly Tried To

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

A redacted version of the 400-page Mueller report was released to the public this afternoon and while it includes countless details that we'll have to digest in the coming days and weeks, one of the key questions of the entire investigation is whether or not Trump conspired to obstruct justice.

So, did he?

This is what the Mueller report says:

The President's efforts to influence the investigation were mostly unsuccessful, but that is largely because the persons who surrounded the President declined to carry out orders or accede to his requests. Comey did not end the investigation of Flynn, which ultimately resulted in Flynn's prosecution and conviction for lying to the FBI. McGahn did not tell the Acting Attorney General that the special counsel must be removed, but was instead prepared to resign over the President's order. Lewandowski and Dearborn did not deliver the President 's message to Sessions that he should confine the Russia investigation to future election meddling only. And McGahn refused to recede from his recollections about events surrounding the President's direction to have the special counsel removed, despite the President's multiple demands that he do so. Consistent with that pattern, the evidence we obtained would not support potential obstruction charges against the President's aides and associates beyond those already filed.

In short, Trump ordered his subordinates to obstruct justice they ignored him until he forgot about it.

I would say this is clearly an impeachable offense, but whether or not impeachment is feasible or politically practical is not something I can credibly answer and I'm glad I'm not in the shoes of House leadership who have to make that call.

  • Christopher Foxx

    I’m glad I’m not in the shoes of House leadership who have to make that call.

    I’d happily be in the shoes of House leadership if it meant I could make that call. I worry, no, am all but certain that those who are will once again show their political cowardice. They’ll repeat their pattern of being too scared to stand up to the bully because they’re afraid the bully or his friends will pick on them in the future if they do. And thereby absolutely guaranteeing that what they’re hoping to prevent with their cowardice is exactly what will happen because of their cowardice.

  • I think we have to impeach both Barr and Trump, if only for the sake of standing up for our democracy. Whether the Dem leadership will come to the same conclusion is another matter. I remain cynical….

    • mnpollio

      ^^ This, most definitely.

      Right now we are only getting tons of investigations that inform us that wrongdoings occurred, but then fall on their faces when it comes to holding the perpetrators to any sort of accountability. Expect lots of hand-wringing, talk of more investigations to tell us that even more laws were broken or circumvented without any sort of concluding accountability, lots of posing and big statements about how the country could not withstand an impeachment process (something that the GOP certainly had no problem with to expose Clinton’s peccadillos), so we must do “what is best for the country,” “look forward and not backwards,” and give lots of time and money so that the Dems can win in 2020 because that is “the only thing that will save us.” But truthfully, that is not the only thing that can save us. In my limited thinking, impeachment was included in our government precisely so that when confronted with something like the corruption of this criminal regime that there would be a process to stop it and reign in Trump and his enablers in government. I will grant you that it is nothing to take lightly (as the GOP do when bandying impeachment around non-stop), but at this point Trump and his enablers have passed the point where even the most centrist person can rationally defend keeping them in positions of power with the unlimited opportunities to destroy even more in their grasp. I understand the establishment Dems being cautious, but is anyone really under the mistaken notion that had Mrs. Clinton won office that we would not have already been mired for over a year in various impeachment proceedings to halt her presidency in its tracks? The GOP had already signaled that was their plan if she won the election. Even if they do not successfully impeach Trump, it may well distract him enough to halt or slow the non-stop barrage of criminalities, corruption and destruction he is leaving in his wake.

  • Username1016

    I’m reading through the report and I’m only on like page 65, but one thing is absolutely glaring, and that’s that Russia put Trump in the White House. That will send our mad emperor completely around the twist — he HAAAATES it when anybody suggests that he didn’t win the office fair and square because he’s so fucking awesome.

    • Draxiar

      I hope so. I hope he locks himself in a room and drinks his own pee and eats Hershey bars for sustenance.

  • Username1016

    DO IT! Impeach the mofo.

  • muselet

    Robert Mueller concluded taht Donald Trump wanted to obstruct justice but simply didn’t surround himself with the right yes-men to do so. What a ringing, total exoneration.

    Also too, Josh Marshall is unimpressed by William Barr’s … erm … creative editing of the Mueller report to create that nothing-to-see-here-move-along letter. Barr is a weasel who shouldn’t be trusted to run a lemonade stand, let alone the Department of Justice.


  • Badgerite

    Attempted murder is a crime as well as murder. Attempted obstruction of justice is a crime and it is most certainly an impeachable offense. This is the executive who must take an oath to “faithfully execute the laws of the United States”
    actually trying to thwart the very thing he swore to uphold because he didn’t want the public to be aware of the fact that he colluded with a hostile foreign power to win the electoral college. If that isn’t impeachable, what is?
    Oh, and he attacked out law enforcement and intelligence community in order to thwart that investigation thus putting the country and its citizenry at risk.
    Add Barr to the impeachment list as well.

  • simpfan

    You don’t get a free pass just because you’re an idiot and didn’t succeed in what you set out to do. Attempted obstruction is illegal in the same way that attempted murder is illegal.

    • But Trump was angry and frustrated!! That’s a clear legal defense for attempted murder!