A Fox News legal analyst wrote a blistering op-ed for the news network, concluding that the actions of President Donald Trump, in which he attempted to impede the investigation led by special counsel Robert Mueller, likely amounted to what most would deem as obstruction of justice.
Trump frequently states on Twitter that he’s been exonerated of all wrongdoing due to the findings within the eponymous report produced by Mueller. On Thursday morning, for example, Trump sent a series of tweets deriding the report, but also exalting it for supposedly vindicating him.
…..Despite the fact that the Mueller Report was “composed” by Trump Haters and Angry Democrats, who had unlimited funds and human resources, the end result was No Collusion, No Obstruction. Amazing!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 25, 2019
Many legal experts disagree with the president’s assessments, however, including some from Fox News, the television network Trump finds most favorable to his administration.
A legal analyst for the network, Judge Andrew Napolitano, wrote an op-ed on the subject of Trump’s actions detailed in the Mueller report, specifically paying special attention to the issue of obstruction of justice.
Napolitano noted in his piece that, while Mueller couldn’t find definitive instances of coordination with Russia, committed by Trump or his campaign, he was less sure that the president was exonerated from accusations regarding attempts to obstruct Mueller’s investigation itself. He also pointed out that obstruction of justice doesn’t need to be successful in order to be criminal.
“Obstruction is a rare crime that is rarely completed. Stated differently, the obstructer need not succeed in order to be charged with obstruction,” Napolitano wrote. “That’s because the statute itself prohibits attempting to impede or interfere with any government proceeding for a corrupt or self-serving purpose.”
Did President Trump Obstruct Justice?
Judge Napolitano's Chambershttps://t.co/jx9tMuqmXz
— Judge Napolitano (@Judgenap) April 24, 2019
Napolitano also stated that there were various instances of obstruction by the president noted by Mueller.
“[F]rom asking former Deputy National Security Adviser K.T. McFarland to write an untruthful letter about the reason for Flynn’s chat with Kislyak, to asking Corey Lewandowski and then-former White House Counsel Don McGahn to fire Mueller and McGahn to lie about it, to firing Comey to impede the FBI’s investigations, to dangling a pardon in front of Michael Cohen to stay silent, to ordering his aides to hide and delete records,” Mueller made these observations, and more, about the president’s illicit conduct, Napolitano wrote.
Napolitano said on his corresponding discussion that he had on his show Judge Napolitano’s Chambers, that “The third conclusion that Mueller came to was a little bit more troublesome. That conclusion is that the President of the United States probably committed the crimes of obstruction of justice, but probably should not be charged with them.”
Mueller didn’t charge Trump with obstruction, of course, but as some observers have noted, Mueller probably didn’t do so because he didn’t think he could charge a sitting president, opting instead to write his report as a referral to Congress to determine if Trump should be impeached or not.
Napolitano ended his op-ed by stating that Trump’s actions were concerning, to say the least.
“The president’s job is to enforce federal law,” he wrote in the conclusion to his analysis. “If he had ordered its violation to save innocent life or preserve human freedom, he would have a moral defense. But ordering obstruction to save himself from the consequences of his own behavior is unlawful, defenseless and condemnable.”