Sessions argued presidents can obstruct justice in Clinton impeachment trial

Sessions argued presidents can obstruct justice in Clinton impeachment trial
© Camille Fine

Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsGOP strategist donates to Alabama Democrat House passes concealed carry gun bill Rosenstein to testify before House Judiciary Committee next week MORE argued in 1999 as an Alabama senator that then-President Clinton could be removed from office for obstructing justice amid an investigation into his relationship with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

The Justice Department head's argument during the Clinton impeachment trial more than two decades ago contradicts the claim of President Trump's personal lawyer that the president cannot legally obstruct justice

“The chief law officer of the land, whose oath of office calls on him to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution, crossed the line and failed to defend the law, and, in fact, attacked the law and the rights of a fellow citizen,” Sessions said during Clinton’s trial in the Senate, according to his remarks archived in the congressional record.

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“Under our Constitution, equal justice requires that he forfeit his office,” the Alabama senator continued.

Politico first reported Sessions's impassioned case on Monday.

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," Trump attorney John Dowd told Axios.

Dowd also claimed that he mistakenly crafted a tweet sent from the president's twitter account over the weekend that appeared to suggest the president knew in January that Michael Flynn, his former national security adviser, had lied to the FBI as well as Vice President Pence.

Last week, Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to federal investigators about his conversations with a top Kremlin official.

Politico also noted that 17 current senators also supported the obstruction of justice charge against Clinton, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGOP strategist donates to Alabama Democrat McConnell names Senate GOP tax conferees Brent Budowsky: A plea to Alabama voters MORE (R-Ky.), Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyGrassley blasts Democrats over unwillingness to probe Clinton GOP and Dems bitterly divided by immigration Thanks to the farm lobby, the US is stuck with a broken ethanol policy MORE (R-Iowa) as well as Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrSessions argued presidents can obstruct justice in Clinton impeachment trial Trump Jr. to meet with Senate panel amid Russia probe Trump’s Russian winter grows colder with Flynn plea deal MORE (R-N.C.), who served in the House at that time.