Press: No one is above law, despite lawyer’s arguments

Press: No one is above law, despite lawyer’s arguments
© Greg Nash

How times have changed. There was a time, not so long ago, when all Americans agreed on one basic principle. Young or old, gay or straight, male or female, liberal or conservative, everybody agreed: “No person is above the law.”

On that point, there was no debate. That was, after all, one of the principal reasons the colonies broke from England and formed a new country: to reject the notion that the monarch ruled by divine right and could do no wrong because – only because he was king.


Well, that was then. Now, Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpFive takeaways from Cruz, O'Rourke's debate showdown Arpaio files libel suit against New York Times IMF's Christine Lagarde delays trip to Middle East MORE’s lawyers argue that the quaint notion that “no person is above the law” no longer applies. In a stunning 20-page memo they sent to special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE in January and just leaked to the media, Jay Sekulow and John Dowd, who resigned in March, argue that Trump does not have to answer a subpoena from Mueller. Why? Simply because he is president of the United States and, therefore, above the law.

In that same memo, for the first time, they acknowledge that Trump himself dictated a memo to The New York Times that deliberately misstated the purpose of the infamous June 9, 2016, meeting at Trump Tower between his campaign team and Russian operatives as dealing with adoption and not what it was really all about: getting dirt on presidential candidate  Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonBudowsky: Closing message for Democrats Election Countdown: Dems outraise GOP in final stretch | 2018 midterms already most expensive in history | What to watch in second Cruz-O'Rourke debate | Trump raises 0M for reelection | Why Dems fear Avenatti's approach GOP mocks Clinton after minor vehicle collision outside Mendendez campaign event MORE. Still, his lawyers argue, for that or any other reason, Trump cannot be charged with obstruction of justice. Why? Again, simply because he is president of the United States and, therefore, above the law.

As if that’s not crazy enough, Rudy Giuliani asserted on Sunday that Trump, as president, also has the power to pardon himself — a point asserted by Trump himself in a Monday morning tweet. But, Giuliani quickly added, he probably would never do so because it would lead to “immediate impeachment.”

Then Giuliani went even further, advancing the fundamentally un-American argument that the president can commit any crime, even murder, and get away with it. Giuliani told HuffPost that if he shot James ComeyJames Brien ComeyComey donates maximum amount to Democratic challenger in Virginia House race FBI investigated media leak of McCabe comment about Flynn and Trump House Judiciary chairman threatens to subpoena Rosenstein MORE, instead of firing him, Trump could be impeached, but, until actually impeached and no longer in office, he could not be charged with a crime.

That’s the most outrageous assertion of absolute power since Louis XIV declared “L’etat, c’est moi.” Or, closer to home, since Richard Nixon told David Frost in that still chilling interview, “I’m saying that when the president does it, that means it’s not illegal.”

Saving his wildest shot until last, Trump followed up with another Monday morning tweet declaring that the very appointment of a special counsel by the Justice Department was “totally UNCONSTITUTIONAL,” and that he was just playing along because he’d done nothing wrong.

Fortunately, this increasingly desperate attempt to undermine the credibility of the FBI investigation fools nobody but loyal Trump supporters. But it does raise two interesting questions. One, what are the chances these same lawyers — Rudy Giuliani, Jay Sekulow, and John Dowd — would have argued that Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaGOP group makes late play in Iowa seat once seen as lost Chance the Rapper works as Lyft driver to raise money for Chicago schools Americans are safer from terrorism, but new threats are arising MORE or Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonCybersecurity for national defense: How many 'wake-up calls' does it take? Who's in control alters our opinion of how things are Obama adviser jabs Hillary Clinton over Monica Lewinsky comments MORE were above the law? Zero.

Two, if Trump has done nothing illegal, as his lawyers insist, why are they so opposed to his meeting with Robert Mueller? “If you have nothing to hide, sit down … tell him what you know,” advised Rep. Trey GowdyHarold (Trey) Watson GowdyHouse GOP sets deposition deadline for Fusion GPS co-founder Collusion bombshell: DNC lawyers met with FBI on Russia allegations before surveillance warrant Comey rejects request for closed-door interview with House Republicans MORE (R-S.C.), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Gowdy’s right. If he’s really innocent, Trump should stop acting so guilty.

Press is host of “The Bill Press Show” on Free Speech TV and author of “From the Left: Life in the Crossfire.”