The New York Times has published an article about a memo by Donald Trump’s lawyers that asserts essentially that the President is above the law. The memo asserts that the Constitution empowers Trump to terminate any inquiry and, therefore, makes him immune to prosecution or even questioning by legal authorities.
That, of course is nonsense and has no legal foundation. Nevertheless, the Times’ article states that:
“President Trump’s lawyers have for months quietly waged a campaign to keep the special counsel from trying to force him to answer questions in the investigation into whether he obstructed justice, asserting that he cannot be compelled to testify and arguing in a confidential letter that he could not possibly have committed obstruction because he has unfettered authority over all federal investigations.”
This is the sort of unfounded logic that has been promulgated by Rudy Giuliani and the Trump-fluffers on Fox News. There is no legal precedent for that conclusion, and the memo doesn’t even cite any. But what makes this even more interesting is that Trump blasted the release of the memo before it was actually released. He tweeted:
There was No Collusion with Russia (except by the Democrats). When will this very expensive Witch Hunt Hoax ever end? So bad for our Country. Is the Special Counsel/Justice Department leaking my lawyers letters to the Fake News Media? Should be looking at Dems corruption instead?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 2, 2018
First of all, the special counsel investigation is a bargain compared to previous investigations, and it has already produced dozens of indictments and five guilty pleas. But more to the point, where did Trump get the idea that the memo was leaked? The story had not yet been published. Potential leakers might include the Times, or someone interviewed by the Times. But in order to figure out who was most likely to leak this information, you have to ask the old conspiracy question: Who benefits?
There is very little to suggest that any opponents of Trump would benefit from the disclosure of a legal position that Trump is above the law. The most likely beneficiary would be Trump himself, as he and his legal team seek to make that theory mainstream. It’s a theory that has already been advanced by his legal representatives and his supporters on Fox News.
If Trump wanted to push the notion that he cannot be questioned or indicted, then a good way to do that would be to get the New York Times to publish his own lawyers’ interpretation of the law. But he couldn’t allow it to be known that the leak came from his team. So he would then post a tweet pointing the finger of blame to the Justice Department or the special counsel, who he has already sought to discredit.
However, by posting the tweet before the article was published, he reveals that he was already aware of the article. How did that happen? Perhaps because it was him or his people who leaked the memo in the first place. The Times reporter, Michael Schmidt, was concerned about the President’s tweet and posted a tweet of his own:
The president tried to preempt us .. SCOOP: Trump’s lawyers hand delivered a 20 page confidential letter to Mueller in January. We have obtained it and here is our story: w/@maggieNYT @charlie_savage @mattapuzzo https://t.co/1SqsoV8SoA https://t.co/7N4kwsvSJd
— Michael S. Schmidt (@nytmike) June 2, 2018
If Trump or his team were responsible for the leak, Schmidt could not say so without violating an agreement with his anonymous source. But his tweet suggests that Trump’s involvement was more than a little suspicious. So that puts Trump in an advantageous position. He can say what he wants about the article, the memo and how it all became public, without having to worry about being exposed as the source. That is, unless Schmidt were to regard Trump’s dishonesty about the leak as a de facto breach of the agreement that would free him to acknowledge the identity of the source.
How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.
All of this is highly speculative at this time, but it’s worth considering. Particularly in light of Trump’s penchant for gaslighting America. He is a known liar who will use any and every tactic for obfuscation and deceit. Which makes the probability of him leaking this memo and them blaming it on a Justice Department he despises pretty damn high.