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Christie: 'Outrageous claim' Trump can't obstruct justice

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie knocked the claim from Donald Trump's legal team that, by nature of his office, the President cannot obstruct justice and could simply shut down the Russia investigation altogether.

Posted: Jun 4, 2018 1:16 PM
Updated: Jun 4, 2018 1:19 PM

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie knocked the claim from Donald Trump's legal team that, by nature of his office, the President cannot obstruct justice and could simply shut down the Russia investigation altogether.

"It's an outrageous claim, it's wrong," the former Republican governor said on ABC News' "This Week."

Christie, who was a former federal prosecutor before becoming governor, added that Trump's legal team "was trying to make a broad argument."

The argument from the President's lawyers, Jay Sekulow and then-Trump attorney John Dowd, came in a confidential January letter to special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 election, including a related question of whether Trump has obstructed justice with regard to that probe.

The lawyers wrote in the 20-page letter that the President cannot illegally obstruct the Russia probe because he, as the top law enforcement officer, has authority over all federal investigations.

"It remains our position that the President's actions here, by virtue of his position as the chief law enforcement officer, could neither constitutionally nor legally constitute obstruction because that would amount to him obstructing himself, and that he could, if he wished, terminate the inquiry, or even exercise his power to pardon if he so desired," they wrote in the letter, which The New York Times published Saturday.

The two argued that "no President has ever faced charges of obstruction merely for exercising his constitutional authority" and that a president can "order the termination" of a Justice Department or FBI investigation "at any time and for any reason."

On Sunday, Christie pointed to Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani's comments earlier Sunday on ABC's "This Week," in which Giuliani appeared to downplay the argument from Sekulow and Dowd, who resigned in March, that Trump could shut down the Russia probe if he so chooses. Giuliani was not part of Trump's counsel when Dowd and Sekulow sent the letter to Mueller.

"You'd have to ask John exactly what he's relying on for that," Giuliani told ABC News. "I would not go that far."

Giuliani added that Trump has no plans to pardon himself, but that he probably could.

"He has no intention of pardoning himself," Giuliani said. He added, "It would be an open question. I think it would probably get answered by gosh, that's what the Constitution says, and if you want to change it, change it. But yes."

Giuliani also said on NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday that Trump pardoning himself is "unthinkable" and "would lead to probably an immediate impeachment."

Former US attorney Preet Bharara said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union" that it "would be outrageous" for a sitting president to pardon himself.

"I think (if) the President decided he was going to pardon himself, I think that's almost self-executing impeachment," Bharara, a CNN legal analyst, said. "Whether or not there is a minor legal argument that some law professor somewhere in a legal journal can make that the President can pardon, that's not what the framers could have intended. That's not what the American people, I think, would be able to stand for."

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 941120

Reported Deaths: 15315
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1282511983
Lake633041097
Allen53609758
Hamilton43827447
St. Joseph41906590
Elkhart33545490
Vanderburgh30383448
Tippecanoe26820249
Johnson23609417
Hendricks22250341
Porter21737346
Clark17409229
Madison17366384
Vigo16108281
Monroe14466191
LaPorte14311239
Delaware14070221
Howard13865272
Kosciusko11418135
Hancock10841165
Warrick10674177
Bartholomew10542168
Floyd10430205
Wayne9959226
Grant9130204
Morgan8865160
Boone8389111
Dubois7710123
Dearborn762289
Henry7608130
Noble7413101
Marshall7362128
Cass7176117
Lawrence6957153
Shelby6584111
Jackson656785
Gibson6156107
Harrison603786
Huntington600195
Montgomery5805105
DeKalb574291
Knox5494104
Miami542488
Putnam536768
Clinton533665
Whitley524953
Steuben497268
Wabash483592
Jasper479160
Jefferson470092
Ripley454277
Adams444068
Daviess4169108
Scott405865
White391857
Clay390857
Greene388392
Decatur385296
Wells384983
Fayette374278
Posey359941
Jennings353156
Washington332047
LaGrange321375
Spencer317835
Fountain316555
Randolph312888
Sullivan307449
Owen283863
Starke280064
Fulton277553
Orange275859
Jay254837
Perry251652
Carroll243729
Franklin239338
Rush234130
Vermillion233250
Parke219820
Tipton209655
Pike207639
Blackford168334
Pulaski163551
Crawford146018
Newton144345
Benton142516
Brown135346
Martin128217
Switzerland125810
Warren114616
Union96911
Ohio79711
Unassigned0479

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1365800

Reported Deaths: 21596
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1522221560
Cuyahoga1344852327
Hamilton976051320
Montgomery670271141
Summit562091047
Lucas50900863
Butler47417655
Stark41580976
Lorain31567532
Warren30001331
Mahoning26963639
Clermont25628292
Lake24585417
Delaware22313145
Licking20487241
Fairfield20420221
Greene20309272
Trumbull19866509
Medina19796287
Clark17879328
Richland16314234
Portage16130229
Wood15681208
Allen14115256
Miami13786253
Muskingum12641152
Wayne11946238
Columbiana11708241
Tuscarawas10953269
Marion10725148
Pickaway10465129
Scioto10324127
Erie9747171
Ross9436176
Lawrence8755125
Hancock8458141
Ashtabula8317185
Geauga8173156
Belmont8140187
Jefferson7527172
Huron7423128
Union731851
Washington7183120
Athens697165
Sandusky6848134
Darke6756136
Knox6671122
Seneca6358137
Ashland5948113
Auglaize587188
Shelby5727101
Brown564171
Mercer557890
Defiance5483101
Madison543371
Crawford5425114
Highland541581
Fulton530683
Clinton525580
Logan512182
Preble4994110
Putnam4833106
Guernsey470364
Williams459282
Perry449852
Champaign445964
Ottawa436884
Jackson425362
Pike388843
Morrow383851
Fayette375853
Coshocton374766
Adams360675
Hardin359069
Gallia347356
Holmes3259108
Henry324668
Van Wert314670
Hocking301769
Wyandot280658
Carroll262652
Paulding242243
Meigs213942
Monroe189749
Noble169340
Morgan165829
Harrison157940
Vinton138118
Unassigned05
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