Professors Challenge Trump’s Claim about Obstruction of Justice Via Letter to White House


Professors Andrew Kent, Ethan Leib, and Jed Shugerman helped write a letter challenging Donald Trump’s claim that he did not obstruct justice in the Russia investigation. Professor Abner Greene and Visiting Professor Corey Brettschneider are additional signatories.

Politico and Newsweek are among the media outlets that have picked up the story.

From Politico:

“Indeed, our country’s Founders made it clear in the Declaration of Independence that they did not believe that even a king had such powers; they specifically cited King George’s obstruction of justice as among the ‘injuries and usurpations’ that justified independence. Our Founders would not have created — and did not create — a Constitution that would permit the President to use his powers to violate the laws for corrupt and self-interested reasons.”

The letter was coordinated by Protect Democracy, a watchdog group.

The scholars’ letter argues that the Constitution’s requirement that presidents “take care that the Laws be faithfully executed” precludes the kind of sweeping arguments Trump private lawyers John Dowd and Jay Sekulow made in a 20-page January letter to special counsel Robert Mueller.

From Newsweek:

“The Office of the President is not a get-out-of-jail-free card for lawless behavior,” the letter read.

“The federal obstruction laws, with their bar on corruptly-motivated actions, apply whether the president obstructs an investigation through firing officials leading it, shutting down the investigation, ordering the destruction of documents, or dangling or issuing pardons to induce witnesses to impede the investigation,” read the letter. “Just as the President could not use otherwise lawful firing powers in exchange for a bribe without running afoul of federal bribery laws, he is not free to exempt himself from the application of the obstruction of justice laws.”

Read the letter.

Read the Politico article.

Read the Newsweek article.


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