President Donald Trump is reportedly furious with Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker because he didn’t protect him from the devastating plea deal made by his former attorney and fixer Michael Cohen that implicates him in two campaign finance felonies.
It’s generally understood that the Attorney General is not the president’s personal lawyer, and can’t just bury legal proceedings at the president’s whim.
But Trump apparently thinks that the top law enforcement officer of the United States is supposed to be his new personal fixer who keeps him out of legal trouble or hides his legal trouble from the public.
According to CNN, which cited multiple sources with knowledge of the outbursts, Trump complained to Whitaker on at least two occasions that he wasn’t doing enough to protect him:
“Trump was frustrated, the sources said, that prosecutors Matt Whitaker oversees filed charges that made Trump look bad,” CNN reports. “None of the sources suggested that the President directed Whitaker to stop the investigation, but rather lashed out at what he felt was an unfair situation.”
The two occasions in question are Cohen’s guilty plea to lying to Congress about a Trump Tower Moscow negotiation between Trump and Russia during the 2016 campaign. Trump thinks Whitaker could have intervened in some way to keep the information Cohen provided from being publicly aired.
The plea has since resulted in Trump and his lawyer Rudy Giuliani denying that any deal for a Trump Tower in Moscow was signed by the president, only to be later exposed by CNN anchor Chris Cuomo, who obtained a copy of a letter of intent signed by Trump himself.
Trump also whined about federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York because Trump believes they are out to get him after Cohen implicated him in coordinating and directing hush money payments to two women to cover up extramarital affairs as Election Day neared in 2016. Trump was hoping Whitaker would “control” the prosecutors and keep them from doing their job.
“The previously unreported discussions between Trump and Whitaker described by multiple sources familiar with the matter underscore the extent to which the President firmly believes the attorney general of the United States should serve as his personal protector,” CNN says. “The episodes also offer a glimpse into the unsettling dynamic of a sitting president talking to his attorney general about investigations he’s potentially implicated in.”
Trump is abusing his power if he is trying to use the Attorney General in a scheme to evade justice. The Attorney General is not loyal to any president, but to the law and the pursuit of justice no matter where it leads, even to the White House.
The fact that Trump is trying to use Whitaker as his own personal protector and attack dog means he’s running scared and knows that he’s in serious trouble of finally answering for his crimes. And that makes it all the more important that Congress pass legislation to protect Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Because if Trump expects the Attorney General to kill or sabotage investigations, it’s only a matter of time before he finds one who will do his bidding.
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