Former attorney general Eric Holder weighed in on the Mueller investigation and, not suprisingly, came to the conclusion that Donald Trump had already committed the crime of obstruction of justice and Mueller would eventually charge him with it.
“You technically have an obstruction of justice case that already exists,” Holder, who served under then-President Obama, said on HBO’s "Real Time with Bill Maher." "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.”
Trump’s critics have speculated about an obstruction charge ever since he fired FBI Director James Comey in the midst of an investigation into potential ties between the Trump campaign and Russia. The president said he was frustrated that Russia-related allegations had become “an excuse for having lost an election,” and he was also apparently annoyed that Comey refused to say publicly that Trump himself was not under investigation, although Comey had made such comments in private.
“I have absolute right to do what I want to do with the Justice Department,” Trump told the New York Times in December 2017.
It’s not the first time that Holder has suggested that an obstruction case could be made, though has stopped short previously of predicting Mueller would bring the charge. But Trump’s defenders maintain that he has the authority to dismiss the FBI director at any time.
This is nothing less than an attempt to criminalize executive branch perogatives and perhaps permanently cripple the power of the presidency. The FBI director is an employee of the executive branch and if a president can't control his personnel, then he is no longer in charge of his presidency.
Alan Dershowitz agreed back in December:
"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 in December. “That’s what Thomas Jefferson did, that's what Lincoln did, that's what Roosevelt did. We have precedents that clearly establish that.”
Obviously, Democrats don't care whether the constitutional authority of the president is trashed, even if it means a future Democratic president would be under similar threat. The goal is to get Trump at any cost. Mueller, who knows that his constituency lies with the Democrats also knows exactly what's expected of him. Democrats and the media will settle for nothing less than Mueller finding something - anything - to make a case to impeach Trump. Holder is concerned it must be credible - not necessarily that it could ever hold up in court. Indeed, since an "impeachable offense" is so broadly drawn, an obstruction charge doesn't even have to meet a legal requirement for prosecution.
Firing Mueller and perhaps even Session would bring about a slam dunk case for impeachment. Since both are investigating the president and his people, the clear supposition would be that he is trying to impede or scotch the investigation entirely. That would even meet the legal definition of obstruction.
So Trump must tread carefully, but will he? Unpredictable though he may be, I can't believe that he would deliberately engineer a constitutional crisis by firing Mueller. But if Mueller is going to give the Democrats all the fodder they need to impeach him anyway, the president may decide to hell with it and go down fighting.