Pragmatist

Austin, TX 3 hours ago

The Times reasoning is impeccable from a legal perspective. However, I would caution people about equating the Nixon, Clinton, and Trump obstruction cases.

Clinton’s obstruction was related to a frankly spurious investigation. There were no consequences to the United States or its citizens in what was being investigated as there was no case (and no necessary pardons to end it).

Nixon and Trump’s cases differ meaningfully as the obstruction was to get around uncovering potential information that they acted illegally in getting elected to the very office of the Presidency. The sanctioned break-in of Democratic HQ was serious relative to whether Nixon was fit to be President.

Trump’s case is the worst of all as there is some chance he or his team may have colluded with a foreign power to tip the election in his favor. That is both treason and tampering with the fabric of our civilization through the election process. An election he won only in the Electoral College and by a slim number of voters (<100,000) in 3 states after decisively losing the common vote.

So, while there seems to be a potential prima facie case, the context makes getting an answer crucial to our continuation as a democratic nation of laws.

RW

Seattle 3 hours ago

And let’s just mention all the tweets that are themselves acts of intimidation. They are not mere opinions or individual defenses but part of the overall behavior that repeatedly, consistently seeks to stop the investigation in anything Russia.

LK

New York, NY 3 hours ago

“Mr. Dershowitz is wrong.”

Thank you for this. He’s been everywhere lately spouting these specious arguments about obstruction. Thank you for dismantling them so thoroughly.

Larry Figdill

Charlottesville 3 hours ago

I don’t understand why the firing of Comey and Trump’s admission on TV that he did it due to the Russia investigation is not sufficient and obvious evidence for obstruction.

Alan

Long Beach, NY 3 hours ago

Trump to Lavrov and Kislyak:
“I fired Comey, pressure is off”
If this conversation can be verified it’s open and shut.
If Hillary Clinton did same thing in same circumstance Senate trial would already be underway…

Guitar Man

New York, NY 3 hours ago

“How can a prosecutor’s boss be guilty of obstruction by telling the prosecutor to stop?”

Simple: when it’s the prosecutor’s boss himself who is the potential target of the investigation that said boss is trying to stop.

A extraordinary conflict of interest.

James

St. Paul, MN. 3 hours ago

It would appear that our so-called President has tweeted himself into a corner. While the legal case has yet to be made, there is no question whatsoever that Donald Trump’s intention was to obstruct justice.

Jeoffrey

Arlington, MA 3 hours ago

“we know of no one who believes that the president can simply sell pardons for cash”

Why even give him the idea?

jwp-nyc

New York 2 hours ago

As is so often the case, Trump’s defenders ignore, distort, or misrepresent the president’s own statements and actions that have incriminated him in this matter.

Trump contradicted his own reasons given for discharging Comey, tweeting furiously that it was over the Russia investigation. Trump’s preemptive attacks on Mueller himself through close proxies one step removed form part of a pattern of attempts to intimidate and suborn investigation into his conduct and actions of his underlings.

Trump’s devotees can well believe that his motives are pure and innocent. But, that belief would not exempt this president from being investigated for attempts to obstruct the investigation into Russian interference with out elections. Such an investigation would still have to find material proof in its findings to bring charges that would still have to be proven. So the argument that this 70 year old veteran of more lawsuits than all our presidents combined in his checkered business history is “naive” also fails as an argument against investigating him in the first place for actions and circumstances that appear to meet every test of “suspicious.”

Trump clearly lied about his pursuit of Comey in at least some of his initial statements which he later softened that subsequently he doubled down on them. And, indeed, part of the problem in Trump’s promiscuous ‘tweets’ is that he contradicts himself so often on so many subjects he is at least lying as often as not.

David

California 3 hours ago

Another indication that Professor Dershowitz is wrong about the President being immune to charges of obstruction is the plain fact that, despite the (unusual) appearance of loyalty in President Trump’s repeated efforts to stop investigation of Mr. Flynn, he has declined to do the single, unqualified action within his power that would accomplish his purported objective: grant Flynn a pardon.

Which begs the question: Why hasn’t the President pardoned Mr. Flynn? The simplest explanation is that Flynn would then be free to testify about his past actions without fear of prosecution.

pintoks

austin 3 hours ago

This isn’t an investigation of Comey’s conduct.

rollie

west village, nyc 2 hours ago

As someone who feels he is very knowledgeable about the workings of our government, I am very surprised to find out how little I knew regarding a president of the USA’s ability to do bad things and get away with it, and just how difficult it is to stop them. If we can overcome this unseemly group currently heading our government, we need to get serious about putting some more stringent checks and controls on the future executive. While we’re at it , We should seriously get into eliminating the electoral college, and possibly consider a parliamentary form of government. If Trump was found to be obstructing or colluding in a parliamentary government, there would be a vote of no confidence and that would be it. Here, it is virtually impossible to remove the executive. Which is why it’s never happened, although we started down that road a few times. The result was no removal or in one case, a resignation.

DTOM

CA 3 hours ago

After reading this article, my day has noticeably brightened. The clear possibility that Trump will be forced out of the Presidency is cause for elation.

Mac

Oregon 3 hours ago

Trump did promise during his campaign that there would be a special prosecutor under his presidency. It’s nice to see how his promise is being fulfilled.

Bruce Rozenblit

is a trusted commenter Kansas City, MO 3 hours ago

We are a nation of laws and no president is above the law. Trump thinks he is above everything. Trump thinks since he is the boss, he can do anything he wants. Trump is completely ignorant of the rules and responsibilities of occupying the White House. He never parked his gargantuan ego outside the front door.

Other so called legal experts have argued on the news shows that basically the president can’t be convicted of obstruction because he is the president. This is a similar argument to the one being made by Dershowitz. It is circular and therefore not a valid argument and it places the president above the law. It basically is saying, I make the law by the power of my office so I can’t break the law. Even the loone from Infowars could see through that one.

The public isn’t buying it either. When Trump was elected, my sales tanked. The more trouble he gets into, the better my sales become. The last two weeks have been outstanding and summer is a slow season for me. It appears that the public is beginning to relax with the realization that Trump’s days in office are numbered. Everyone can see his ship is taking on water and sinking. That is, everyone but Trump. When this investigation is over, he will be able to play golf with Putin as much as he wants.

JS

Portland, Or 3 hours ago

Any one of Trump’s actions alone would probably not raise suspicion but he keeps doubling down. And I just can’t get past the fact that he has shown no interest whatsoever in finding out about the investigations into Russian hacking of our elections institutions.

rosemary

new jersey 2 hours ago

The Groper in chief is about the most despicable person that has had power over United States citizens in a long, long time. I don’t really care how this “person” is taken out of office, I just need him to be taken out of office, by any legal means possible. This sub – human being is wrecking havoc on this country, and anyone who believes themselves to be a patriot, should be doing everything in their power to get rid of this person and right the ship.

He not only has obstructed justice, but he has decimated the will of the people, has caused a divide in our country that will go down in history as one of the worst situations that we have ever seen in America. I really would love to see him indicted and go to jail, even as I know that is virtually impossible and will not happen. However, just making him have to resign or be impeached will be enough for me. It would be great if his “great Empire” collapsed under the weight of his lies, his terrible treatment of employees and contractors, but I guess I’m asking for too much right now. I just really want to see our country back to the country that I loved so much. I want to see the country that cares about other human beings, not only in the United States but all over the world. I want the country back that allowed people from all over the world to come here because they saw our country as a beacon of light and hope. Please let it happen soon. RESIST!

Tom

Darien CT 3 hours ago

Even if this obstruction of Justice case only forces Trump to release his tax returns, it will be worth the effort.

Susan Piper

Portland, OR 3 hours ago

The column points out that attempted obstruction is enough to find obstruction. There would have been no question Trump attempted to obstruct justice had this happened in the Nixon era. Republicans in Congress were outraged by Nixon’s conduct. You would think they would be equally outraged by Trump’s, but they seem to have lost their moral compass.

Allen82

Mississippi 3 hours ago

This is what happens when one allows an individual to think he is unaccountable. The Republican Leadership, such as it is, needs to take control of this individual and let him know that it will do what is necessary (including over-ride vetos) to restore order and certainty. We have already ceded leadership of the World Economy to others and that is bad enough. We cannot cede the Rule of Law to this despot.

Technic Ally

Toronto 3 hours ago

If only Trump could choose between his friendship with Russians and his duties to the country.

Mueller has no reason to step aside. He is seeking the truth.

Max

San Francisco, CA 3 hours ago

Save the Farms: Mueller is not going to choose between the two. His choice is already made: the truth. Your line of thinking is what got Trump and his associates into trouble in the first place.

Sam I Am

Windsor, CT 3 hours ago

When we ultimately realize that our legal institutions are powerless to remove Mr. Trump from power despite his disdain and disregard for the rule of law, it should become inescapable to conclude that we no longer live in a democracy.

Nations rise, and nations fall. Sometimes with a bang, often with a whimper.

P. Auerbach

Ottawa, ON 3 hours ago

Whether Trump’s conduct can provide the foundation for obstruction charges or articles of impeachment is obviously important, but the question at the bottom of all this is whether Republicans care more about their agenda and their team than they do about the rule of law and what is left of a constitutional democracy already under assault by legal and illegal corruption.

Bill M

California 2 hours ago

Why is it not obstruction of justice to enact provisions that deny citizens the justice of abortion rights or family planning. Why should the religious dogmas of some backward biblical sects be allowed to deny millions of citizens the freedom to utilize modern medical procedures according to their different views of the Almighty’s gift of intelligent freedom and beliefs. In other words, why is ancient ignorance allowed to deny justice to modern intelligence by Trump and Reagan when they add to the world’s population suffering by denial of much needed aid for family planning?

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/15/opinion/the-case-for-obstruction-charges.html?ribbon-ad-idx=8&rref=opinion&module=Ribbon&version=origin&region=Header&action=click&contentCollection=Opinion&pgtype=article