Thursday, December 07, 2017

The President Can/ Cannot Be Charged With Obstruction

Here's a first: A blogger debate. 
Millennial Me will defend the position the president  committed obstruction of justice. Rumpole, as an intellectual exercise will take the other side. 
Rumpole goes first*:
R: The President is the chief law enforcement officer of the United States. Therefore, what he tells the FBI to do or not do, must be legal. Lincoln suspended the right of habeas corpus. When Trump fired Comey, he was within his rights to do so for reasons he does not need to explain since as President he is vested with power and knowledge of events that others do not have. As such, the courts cannot sit in judgment of his actions. 

MM: Nixon was going to be impeached for obstruction of justice based on his actions with the tapes and the firing of the special prosecutor. A president is not above the law. If he violates the law and then tries to hide his violation, he commits a crime. 

R: MM, being young and inexperienced has made my point. Nixon was going to be impeached- which is something that the Constitution provides for. Nixon was not going to be indicted for his actions in Wategate, which occurred before MM was born. Indeed, in the indictments that were issued in Watergate, Nixon was referred to as an "Unindicted co-conspirator".  Article I, section three of the  constitution specifically provides for removal of a President. Removal is by  impeachment, not indictment. The lack of direction by the Constitution provides, within the penumbra if you will- an implicit grant of immunity to a president for a criminal prosecution.  This is confirmed because Article I, section three goes on to state that the president, once impeached "shall be liable and subject to indictment, trial judgement, and punishment, according to law." This of course means that unless impeached, a President cannot be charged with a crime. 
If a President was indicted, and a Judge found that by virtue of Air Force One he was a risk of flight, and denied bail, then the President might have to run a war from a jail cell if we were attacked. This is ridiculous proposition. 
MM should try reading the Constitution instead of watching a video on Netflix or You Tube. 

MM: I get the last word. Rumpole is a bit old and perhaps his better days are behind him. The Constitution does not provide the President with immunity for crimes. Which is why the Constitution provides for removal for office for committing a crime, because a criminal prosecution or conviction doesn't otherwise provide for removal. And how could a president be investigated and removed for committing a crime if he can obstruct justice willy-nilly and stop the investigation? Just because the prosecutor didn't indict Nixon doesn't mean he couldn't have.  Under Rumpole's view the President could shoot someone in broad daylight, and unless he was impeached he could not be charged with a crime. And if the president had a large political majority, it is possible his party would not impeach him. We have a president, not a an emperor or king. The president in a democratic county cannot be above the law. End of discussion. 

Rumpole inquires: Who won? Take our poll. 

*Emails were exchanged between the bloggers so each blogger had the ability to review and respond to the other's argument. 


Anonymous said...

Rumpole 1
Millennial CryBaby 0

Anonymous said...

Our entire system of government is predicated on the idea that its chief is not a King. Nevertheless, the President is the head of the executive. I agree that Trump could have fired Comey for any reason, even that he was investigating a buddy or potential co-conspirator. That action cannot be obstruction.

However, the President can be held to account if he otherwise breaks the law - for example, he conspires with others to lie to the FBI, conspires with foreign agents to break the law, participates in conspiracies to burgle, etc. I just think that in carrying out his executive function (hiring and firing), he cannot be held to account. I also believe that he can direct the FBI who to investigate and who not to investigate - but at some peril that those actions (as they will be in this case) can be used as evidence of other crimes.

Simple enough for your two?

Anonymous said...

Rump is 100% correct. Taken to its logical extreme, the executive branch, though the FBI and US Attorneys, makes decisions every day of when to start and terminate investigations based on a myriad of factors, some political and some not. Bill Clinton terminated the US Attorney's prosecution of Marc Rich in 2000 by pardoning him. Did that obstruct an investigation? Absolutely. Ditto George HW Bush's pardon of Caspar Weinberger. In fact, the purpose of both pardons was exactly that: to put an end to prosecutorial efforts once and for all. These actions were taken on the last day of their presidencies because they then would not be subject to impeachment, the only remedy. This girl MM needs to spend less time shopping for new shoes and more time reading quality history books.

Anonymous said...

Everybody lost because millennial me is a moron and I wasted minutes of my day reading this slop


R: The President is the chief law enforcement officer of the United States.

I thought that the AG was the Chief Law Enforcement Officer of the US:

The Judiciary Act of 1789 created the Office of the Attorney General which evolved over the years into the head of the Department of Justice and chief law enforcement officer of the Federal Government

The United States Attorney General (A.G.) is the head of the United States Department of Justice per 28 U.S.C. § 503, concerned with legal affairs, and is the chief law enforcement officer and chief lawyer of the United States government

Anonymous said...

Rumpole wins by a landslide. MM sounds like a college student. The idea that she would equate obstruction to murder sorta makes that point. Here, The debate is if trump can be charged with onbstruxtion for his acts. He is above the ag (captain) which is so obvious as he sits atop the executive branch. Therefore, in this case he is above the law. Prosecutors (and the president) have broad charging discretion. Crooks are known to prosecutors and avoid charges because of this rule, nalmost daily. And here we go a step further because trump could pardon everyone. This is not a close legal call. However, this is politics and egos and political ideology. Politics is a contact sport.

Anonymous said...

3years one month and 14 days left. Suck it up, pinkos

Anonymous said...

Captain Justice,

You can cite any statute you want, but they are all subservient to Article II, Section I of the Constitution, which explains “[t]he executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America.”

Or check out Myers v. United States.

I'm not a lawyer, but I once played one in school.. said...

Rump takes it with his strict interpretation of Article 1 Sec 3. I think today's Supremes would uphold that view. As to MM's "the Perez is not above the law"...that's for Congress to decide. Impeachment is political, not criminal. Nixon wasn't indicted b/c Ford's first act as Prez was to give him a blanket pardon. He prolly would have been, post resignation/impeachment.

Anonymous said...


What are the new judicial assignments? Some people got motions to set for hearing.

Anonymous said...

It is lawful for the President to appoint the FBI Director. It is lawful for the Senate to give advise and consent for the appointee. The FBI Director takes an oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution when he/she assumes office. His/her loyalty to the constitution is superior to his/her loyalty to the President, even though the FBI Director serves at the pleasure of the President, and legally can be fired by the President at any time. As well, the President serves at the pleasure of the Senate, for he can be removed by impeachment. "High crimes and misdemeanors" is scantly defined. It basically means that the President has crossed the line. Impeachment is usually more political than criminal. Therefore, it does not matter so much whether what the President does is criminal for impeachment purposes. What matters is whether what he does is politically tolerable.

Manchurian Candidate turned out to be Moscow's candidate, and the President does not like the FBI investigating the legitimacy of the election. The Constitution demands that the President be elected by the People of the United States. Not Russia. Even if the allegations are a "Nothing Burger," the people deserve an investigation.

Anonymous said...

refrain from argument ad feminam, a logical fallacy

Anonymous said...

We know the democrats PAID actual Russians for dirt (in Russia), which was false, all the while the democrats pretended they had no idea where the dirt came from, then peddled it to and had it published by the media, and possibly it became the basis for a democratic administration to spy on a trump campaign official during a freaking campaign, then Americans whose communications were incidentally collected were unmasked, and then the communications were leaked to the media to embarrass trump.

If we think the trump campaign just agreeing to take a meeting with a Russian lawyer in New York is evidence of collusion, what do you call the above?

Anonymous said...

Jerri Beth Cohen is a target for the next election cycle. What the JQC did not do voters will. She can then praise and lobby for her friends to other judges openly but not in the corridors of the Justice Building. No secret remains unearthed in this Town. When you advance any agenda you better know who your friends adversaries allies are and who will respond.