When we look back years from now, the evening of Thursday, January 25, 2018, may wind up being the beginning of the end for Donald Trump as president.
Thanks to The New York Times, we now know that in June of 2017, Trump told White House counsel Don McGahn to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller. McGahn refused and threatened to resign.
But as former U.S. Attorney Renato Mariotti writes today for Politico, the very suggestion that Trump wanted to get rid of Mueller means the president has sealed his own fate and will be impeached:
“It should be easy for Mueller to prove that Trump read or viewed legal analysis discussing the possibility that Trump obstructed justice by firing Comey. Trump’s desire to fire Mueller despite knowing that firing a law enforcement official overseeing the Russia investigation could raise obstruction concerns is strong evidence that Trump’s intent was to obstruct the investigation.”
The key to any obstruction of justice case is establishing “corrupt intent,” and Mariotti notes that Trump has already shown he wanted to end the investigation when he fired Comey and again when he tried to get rid of Mueller:
“Thursday’s news made impeachment proceedings against Trump more likely. Ultimately the president’s performance in his upcoming interview with Mueller could prove decisive. Trump has repeatedly demonstrated a lack of discipline when questioned, and Mueller has a lot to work with. If Trump provides the special counsel with direct evidence of his intent when firing Comey, he could ensure that Mueller will conclude he obstructed justice, leaving his fate to Congress.”
Sooner or later, and one way or another — voluntary interview or grand jury — Trump will have to give his side of the story to Mueller. If he lies (and when doesn’t he?), the charge of perjury will be added to obstruction of justice. As a result of the indictments of Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, Mueller’s team may also have evidence that Trump laundered money for various entities and persons in Russia. If those three charges — money laundering, obstruction of justice, and perjury — don’t constitute evidence of “high crimes and misdemeanors,” then nothing does.
Donald Trump is in the final days of his run as president. The Constitution will destroy what’s left of him.