Former Attorney General Eric Holder believes that Special Counsel Robert Mueller already has a case for obstruction of justice against Donald Trump and is just gathering more information to make it ironclad.
Mueller is holding back on charging Trump until he can make sure he has the president dead-to-rights, Holder, who served under former President Barack Obama, said Friday night on HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher.” He has made similar arguments in the past regarding Trump’s behavior.
“I’ve known Bob Mueller for 20, 30 years; my guess is he’s just trying to make the case as good as he possibly can. So, I think that we have to be patient in that regard,” Holder said. He has long-suggested that Trump should be held criminally liable for ousting former FBI Director James Comey during the midst of an investigation into Russian meddling.
This has been part of the narrative from the very beginning of Mueller’s investigation: Trump obstructed justice by firing former FBI director James Comey.
In fact, there is a substantial body of opinion among constitutional experts that the president was acting well within his authority to fire Comey for any reason.
Some of Trump’s supporters argue that the U.S. Constitution gives the president authority to fire the FBI director at any time and for any reason.
“You cannot charge a president with obstruction of justice for exercising his constitutional power to fire Comey and his constitutional authority to tell the Justice Department who to investigate, who not to investigate,” Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz said last year.
If Mueller accuses the president of obstruction simply for exercising his constitutional authority, it will permanently weaken the executive branch. Is the FBI director the only executive branch employee immune from executive oversight? It just doesn’t make any sense.
Holder also said something giggleworthy:
Trump has recently chided Attorney General Jeff Sessions for going out of his way to ensure the investigation into collusion lingered in the public. The president even suggested at one time that Holder defended Obama from accusations of wrong-doing.
Holder pushed back against Trump’s characterization of his role as AG. “The difference between me and Jeff Sessions is that I had a president I didn’t have to protect,” he told Maher, adding that Sessions should consider stepping down to avoid taking any more barbs from his boss.
The one thing Holder was best at during his tenure was running interference for his boss, Barack Obama, with Congress and the media. In fact, Congress charged Holder with contempt for his failure to turn over relevant documents.
But is Holder right? Does Mueller have an obstruction case? Mueller’s job is to find an impeachable offense for his clients, the Democrats and the media. He will never find enough evidence to charge Trump in a court of law with obstruction. But he doesn’t need to meet that standard. All he needs is to suggest “high crimes and misdemeanors” for the impeachment machinery to get started in Congress.
That may happen. And if Democrats get control of the House, it will. Even though there isn’t a ghost of a chance that Trump would be convicted in a Senate trial, the impeachment in the House would fatally damage his re-election efforts.
And that’s all the Democrats really want.