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The Guardians of Democracy

Nixon White House Lawyer: Trump Officials May Have Committed Obstruction If They Leaked Mueller Questions


Nixon White House Lawyer: Trump Officials May Have Committed Obstruction If They Leaked Mueller Questions

President Nixon’s White House counsel John Dean said that if members of Trump administration are found to have leaked the list of questions that special counsel Robert Mueller wants to ask President Trump, it could qualify as obstruction of justice.

The New York Times reported Monday that it had obtained a list of nearly 50 questions Mueller was said to be interested in asking Trump as part of the Russia probe and possible attempts to obstruct the inquiry.

Dean said the leak appears to have come from the Trump administration.

“The very fact that the questions are out there, my first reaction, suggesting it could be an act of obstruction to just have released these questions,” Dean said.

When pressed on how it would be considered obstruction, Dean said leaking the questions could be an attempt to “try to disrupt the flow of information” or tip off a witness.

Dean added on Twitter: “I have little doubt these questions were drafted by Trump’s attorney(s) based on conversations with the special counsel’s ofc (SCO) and should not be read as the questions the SCO has prepared for, and passed to, Trump’s attys. There is a big difference.”

The Times reported that the questions were relayed to Trump’s attorneys as part of negotiations over the terms of a potential interview with Trump. The list was then provided to the Times by a person outside Trump’s legal team, the paper said.

Trump took to Twitter on Tuesday to blast the release of the list.

“So disgraceful that the questions concerning the Russian Witch Hunt were ‘leaked’ to the media,” Trump said.

“No questions on Collusion,” Trump falsely asserted.

The Washington Post reports that the list includes 13 related to possible cooperation between the Trump campaign and Russia.

“Oh, I see…you have a made up, phony crime, Collusion, that never existed, and an investigation begun with illegally leaked classified information. Nice!”

In a later tweet Tuesday morning, Trump wrote that it “would seem very hard to obstruct justice for a crime that never happened!”

Legal experts contacted by the Post say his tweet shows a complete misunderstanding of the law.

“This is flat wrong,” said Randall D. Eliason, a former assistant U.S. attorney who teaches white-collar criminal law at George Washington University Law School.

“The purpose of the investigation is to determine whether a crime was committed, and, regardless of the ultimate answer to that question, it is a separate crime to attempt to obstruct that inquiry,” Eliason said. “It’s also true, of course, that we don’t yet know that the underlying crime ‘never happened.’ ”


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