May 24, 2018

The comparisons to Nixon continue, and they just get worse. Former Federal Prosecutor, John Flannery appeared on Ari Melber's The Beat tonight to try to impress upon viewers just how out of control the level of corruption and abuse is in the Trump administration. This gets harder and harder to do, because after an 18-month campaign and nearly 18 months in the White House, it's hard to be shocked anymore.

And yet...

Trump's real-life criminal attorney crashed the Gang of Eight meeting today, and so, apparently did his Chief of Staff, John Kelly. WHAT? Yes. They were busted attending the meeting to which they were not officially invited, where they would undoubtedly be able to collect information for their client/boss respectively about evidence in the Mueller probe that might be helpful to Trump - who has multiple connections to - the target of the investigation.

This is not something ANY client would be allowed to do, not info to which ANY client would have access. It looks to all like interference with a federal investigation, which is, OF COURSE, illegal. It continues to astonish how shamelessly corrupt and potentially criminal the Republicans in Congress and Trump are.

Transcript of prosecutor John Flannery's remarks below:

ARI MELBER: John, I put the question to you, how unusual is this, and does it track with concerns about how Nixon comported himself towards the Justice Department?

JOHN FLANNERY: It makes Nixon look like a minor player as compared to what these guys are prepared to do. You have them -- basically the Gang of Eight or Nunes, the compromised individual, who pretended to run an independent investigation, who seemed to be just a delivery boy for the White House. But we have rules against disclosing these things in an investigation. There's an exception, number seven, in the FOIA rules that should have prevented this. They should have never complied. They should have gone to court about it. It also strikes me that it's a pretty clear indication of corruption when they have allied themselves with the White House in this way to get evidence that nobody else, as you suggested in your opening, could get in any other investigation. It's an abuse of power. I think it exceeds even what happened in John Mitchell's Department of Justice when he was the Attorney General. So I just can't imagine how far we've gone and how little the resistance was. The people in the Justice Department should have said, "Take us to court." Absolutely.

ARI MELBER: You're saying -- you're saying, and we're looking at these images again and we'll put them back up on the screen, because these are the images that got them busted today. The man you're seeing there, Emmet Flood, is not the TV lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, he is the actual day-to-day criminal defense attorney for the president, and he is not on the list tonight. This is very important. He was basically hidden from view. But because we do have still an open society and open press, he was caught by these photographs, tonight in your view, John, that this is part of what you view as meddling that is worse than Nixon?

JOHN FLANNERY: Yes, I do think so. And I understand it from the reports, and you correct me if I'm wrong, the Chief of Staff for the president was also present. What is that about? I think that the combination, the role Nunes has played and the way that they demanded to see this, and they made this sound political and partisan, when in fact I believe it's interference with an investigation with only one possible reason. They seek to discredit every element of this investigation in the final hours before the charges are filed in a report, in an indictment, in an unindicted co-conspirator charge, however it comes out, so that they have created doubt about the credibility of the major players in this investigation. That is an outrage. It's a shame and a disgrace. I think it's unethical and I think it may be criminal.

Ed. Note: Sarah Huckabee Sanders had an odd reaction to questions about Flood's presence in the room. She actually told reporters Flood was there "to represent the president and the administration against the Russia witch hunt.”

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