June 10, 2017

Conservative David Rivkin, former counsel to Donald Rumsfeld, told CNN's Brooke Baldwin that she was getting "obsessed with the facts" over the he said/he said status of Comey and Trump's statements regarding their meetings.

Norman Eisen, President Obama's former Ethics Czar debated Rivkin on the merits of prosecuting Trump for obstruction of justice or for any illegal activity he could possibly take.

Rivkin fells that if the president does it, it can't be illegal, but Eisen had a very different opinion.

(Congress began impeachment proceedings on Nixon and Clinton for obstruction of justice, by the way, so that sort of blows Rivkin's argument out of the water anyway.)

Rivkin started out by arguing that if Trump told Comey it "would be best' if the Flynn investigation went away, "it is not obstruction of justice."

Rivkin made the argument that it's not a case about he said/he said, (Comey was under oath, Trump was not) but how it is perceived.

He even went as far as saying "even a direct order to cease an investigation is not an obstruction of justice."

He continued, "The whole obsession of obstruction is with respect, utterly ridiculous."

"If you assume that President Trump ordered directly for Comey to cease this particular investigation, he had full authority to do so. Absolutely true - it cannot be an obstruction of justice," Rivkin said,

Eisen replied, "It's going to be a he said/he said situation."

He continued, "The obstruction statute provides that if you act with corrupt intent, you can be prosecuted."

Eisen said Trump could not take a bribe from Putin to fire Comey without breaking the law.

"He can't corruptly order Comey to cease and desist from an investigation in order to benefit a friend or himself and there's plenty of case law to that effect," Eisen said.

Then it got a bit bizarre.

Host Brooke Baldwin joined the discussion, "But the president says he will testify in front of that special counsel and we just got a preview of what he's going to say. There is a clear dispute over what the president says he's going to say and what we heard from Mr. Comey yesterday."

Rivkin said it's not about he said/he said because the president can "no more commit obstruction than he can conspire against himself."

Baldwin jumped back in, "How is it not he said/he said when Jim Comey testified under oath one thing and we would have ultimately the president testifying under oath saying something totally separate?"

Rivkin, "Listen to me."

"I am listening to you, sir."

Rivkin said, "There's no legal cause of action here." "I know you're obsessing about he said/he said. It's not about the facts, it's about the law. Mr. Eisen is utterly wrong."

Baldwin astonishingly said, "Sir, I'm obsessed with the facts. I'm obsessed with the facts that's where I am."

Baldwin then shifted to Eisen and he said, "The majority of legal experts agree that the president has the authority to act but not corruptly, not in violation of the criminal law. Those are limits on his behavior. It is an extraordinary assertion that the president could behave corruptly in office..."

At least a Trump surrogate was willing to argue that the facts in evidence don't matter.

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