“Dowd’s argument is the last refuge of a scoundrel, and it would lead us down a path to despotism.”

A bombshell New York Times report suggests that President Donald Trump ordered the White House counsel to try to prevent Attorney General Jeff Sessions from recusing himself from special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.

The report is the latest indication that the president might have obstructed justice in Mueller’s ongoing probe.

Last month, however, President Trump’s lawyer, John Dowd, argued that the president cannot be guilty of obstruction of justice because he’s the president. 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 told Axios’s Mike Allen.

But is that true? To find out, I reached out to 13 legal experts and asked them a single question: Can the president commit obstruction of justice?

Their full responses, edited for clarity and style, are below.


Asha Rangappa, former FBI agent and senior lecturer, Yale University

The days of crazy King George III ended with the Battle of Yorktown in 1781. We now have a nation of laws, not men. While the president is the head of the executive branch, there are provisions in the Constitution that constrain the president’s ability to interfere with investigations or shut them down (or start them) at will.

For one thing, Article II, which outlines the president’s powers, requires that he “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.” This means that his official actions taken with regard to the administration of justice must be made in good faith. In addition, the Fifth and 14th Amendments require that he ensure that all persons enjoy “equal protection of the laws.”

In short, the president is not above the law, and Read More Here