Quick Takes: Trump Admits to Obstruction of Justice (Again)

A roundup of news that caught my eye today.

* This tweet from Trump on Saturday set off a firestorm of activity.

If the president knew that Flynn lied to the FBI when he asked Comey to drop the investigation into his national security advisor, he obstructed justice.

That’s why Trump’s lawyer, John Dowd, stepped in to say that he had crafted the tweet. Given that the White House has claimed that the president’s tweets are official statements, I’m not sure how that helps.

When asked for specifics, Dowd gave this explanation to NBC News:

Dowd told NBC News that he drafted the tweet and then sent it to White House Social Media Director Dan Scavino to publish. When asked for the original email he sent to Scavino, Dowd said he dictated it orally.

I’m not familiar with orally dictated tweets, but does that mean that there is no record of it?

Next up came the suggestion that the president cannot obstruct justice.

John Dowd, President Trump’s outside lawyer, outlined to me a new and highly controversial defense/theory in the Russia probe: A president cannot be guilty of obstruction of justice.

The “President cannot obstruct justice because he is the chief law enforcement officer under [the Constitution’s Article II] and has every right to express his view of any case,” Dowd claims.

The trouble is, the current attorney general has argued the opposite in the past.

Fans of Watergate analogies jumped right in on this one.

So what you have is that Trump didn’t really say that he obstructed justice, his lawyer did. And even if he admitted it, he can’t obstruct justice because he’s president, even if the attorney general said the opposite in the past.

To all that, Trump later added: “she did it too.”

“Well, I feel badly for General Flynn. I feel very badly. He’s led a very strong life, and I feel very badly, John.

“I will say this: Hillary Clinton lied many times to the FBI and nothing happened to her. Flynn lied and they destroyed his life. I think it’s a shame. Hillary Clinton, on the Fourth of July weekend, went to the FBI, not under oath – it was the most incredible thing anyone has ever seen. She lied many times. Nothing happened to her. Flynn lied, and it’s like they ruined his life. It’s very unfair.”

* Brian Beutler argues that the case for collusion has already been made.

There is more than enough evidence to say definitively that the Trump administration colluded with Russia, and there is every reason to believe the plot encompassed criminal activity, even if that activity remains invisible for now.

…Collusion is a lay term describing a pattern of political misconduct that may include several different crimes. The extent of collusion that has been uncovered and made public thus far does not include any obvious crimes. But there should be no conceptual confusion about what the scandal means, and why it’s a scandal even if it entailed no criminal activity at all.

* Here is a great video explaining how Roy Moore’s story about sexually assaulting teenage girls has been totally inconsistent.

* The news from the Supreme Court today was terrible.

The Supreme Court is allowing the Trump administration to fully enforce a ban on travel to the United States by residents of six mostly Muslim countries.

The justices say in an order Monday that the policy can take full effect even as legal challenges against it make their way through the courts…

Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor would have left the lower court orders in place.

* No one does a better job of twisting a narrative in order to make a contrived conservative point than Peggy Noonan. She celebrated that women are standing up to stop sexual harassment and abuse, but then writes this nonsense:

An aging Catholic priest suggested to a friend that all this was inevitable. “Contraception degenerates men,” he said, as does abortion. Once you separate sex from its seriousness, once you separate it from its life-changing, life-giving potential, men will come to see it as just another want, a desire like any other. Once they think that, then they’ll see sexual violations as less serious, less charged, less full of weight. They’ll be more able to rationalize. It’s only petty theft, a pack of chewing gum on the counter, and I took it.

The idea that men have only started to sexually harass and abuse women since contraception became available would be laughable if these idiots weren’t so damn serious about their lies.

* Lance Mannion has written a must-read piece about the persecution complex of white evangelicals.

The Religious Right knows what’s going on.

They feel persecuted and under attack, because they are under attack. They feel their religion threatened and along with it not only the way of life but their sense of identity and self-worth…by us!

The know what we’re after. The eradication of Christianity as they see it and believe in it and practice it, that is, as the one and only true religion, the one and only way to heaven, and the thing that gives them claim of ownership of this “Christian” nation, or as we see it, their supposedly “scripture-based” justification for hectoring, bullying, scolding, and denying rights and freedoms to anyone who isn’t their brand of Christian.

They know what we’re up to even if we sometimes don’t seem to know it ourselves. Or pretend not to know it.

Our agenda really is to wipe out what they believe in, which is not God but an authoritarian, patriarchal, superstitious—they call it faith-based—social order…

But here’s their secret.

They like feeling persecuted. They need to feel persecuted. It’s how they know they’re good Christians…it feeds their self-pity and sense of entitlement, and it gives them their excuse.

It’s how they turn offense into defense, how repression and oppression become liberty.

If they are under attack, then they’re free to fight back.

* Finally, the people described above should never be confused with these folks.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.