December 24, 2018

CNN's New Day looked at the news that sort of slipped under the radar recently:

"Elie, let's start with you. This news, the big news we have got has not gotten a lot of attention, but many were furious Loretta Lynch met with Bill Clinton," John Avlon said.

"This is worse. You have the president of the United States telling the acting attorney general, 'Keep the Southern District off my back.' With Loretta Lynch, Bill Clinton, I think there were problems with that, but at the time, Clinton was the spouse of a candidate. He had no say, or even indirect say, over what Loretta Lynch did," Elie Honig said.

"The president's message to Whitaker was quite clear, which is, 'I am furious that the Southern District named me in connection with the campaign finance.' When your boss tells you I am furious x happened, it's the same thing as saying 'Don't let x happen again,' and it gets back to his fundamental misunderstanding of the Department of Justice, how it works. The Department of Justice serves the American people and justice. This is what got him in trouble in the first place. The meeting with Comey where he said, 'Hey, lay off on Flynn.' This is no different than that," Honig said.

"Could it amount to obstruction?" Avlon said.

"I think it's the exact same idea. The bar of obstruction of justice is quite low. I have prosecuted obstruction of justice witnesses was trying to change one element of their story. I don't see an argument against it being obstruction," Honig said.

"And Phil, you look at this, and a lot of people would take issue with that and say we think there could have been influence, if nothing else the optics were bad for that. Even just from an optics perspective, Phil, even if somebody does not fully agree with Elie this could be an obstruction of justice, this does not look good for the president," Erica Hill said.

"Yeah, you would say the acting attorney general is in the office with the president and must feel pressure to intervene in the case," Philip Mudd said.

"Let's take that one step forward and move out of checkers into chess. Before last week, Whitaker thought he would pick up the phone and would talk to the Southern District of New York and say, 'I have something I want to talk about.' And now regardless of the facts of the case, if Whitaker says something now, what are the optics going to look like? Well, you did that because the president teed you up in the Oval Office. I think the president vented thinking maybe he could pressure Whitaker, I think quite the opposite. Now he limits, he almost ties Whitaker's hands because Whitaker can't do anything without appearing to act at the behest of the president."

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