Watergate prosecutor Nick Akerman and Georgetown Law School professor Paul Butler joined Brian Williams for a segment on MSNBC discussing Trump’s behavior and his hints he may fireAttorey General Jeff Sessions and/or special counsel Robert Mueller. Akerman said “Everything this president has done cries out guilt’,”and then made the case for the apparently coordinated effort to let Don Jr. take the fall for it all. From the transcript (video below):
BRIAN WILLIAMS: Nick, what do you think is going on in the office or the head of Mr. Mueller? Do you think he is accelerating work at all because of any outside forces he may be witnessing? Do you think he is witnessing the behavior of an innocent man.
NICK AKERMAN: He certainly isn’t witnessing the behavior of an innocent man. Everything this president has done cries out guilt.
I don’t think he is doing anything more than he has been doing all along.
BRIAN WILLIAMS: Slow and steady.
NICK AKERMAN: Slow and steady wins the race. He is investigating. There are lots of computers to be examined. This whole Kushner statement raises zillions of questions to be tracked down lots of leads to be tracked down. You have to put this in context. This is no different than what happened in Watergate. The whole investigation and what’s going on here and the statements being made by the White House people, Kushner, Don Junior, the president–it’s all being orchestrated by the president. It’s not driven by the lawyers. This is different than a Normal criminal investigation.
When I come in and I advise a client not to talk to the authorities, assert the Fifth Amendment privilege, at least I know what’s going on. It’s done in the context of you know that nothing helpful can come out by talking to the authorities. Here these people are caught between a rock and a hard place in the sense that if they come out and tell the truth and say actually what happened they’re going to lose their positions of power and influence.
This is the same thing that happened with the Nixon White House and the people on top. Exactly the same way.
That despite what advice they got from lawyers they all went into grand juries, testified in grand juries, testified before Congress. And if you look at the statements that Kushner made and the statement that Don Jr. made what you can see is a very clever setup. Whereby Don Jr. is taking the fall. He had no choice because he was the one on the emails. He loved it when he heard about all the information coming in on Hillary Clinton. But yet he says nothing happened out of that. Then you’ve got Jared Kushner who minimize attention his involvement by saying he came in after they were talking about the incriminating documents and left before anything else was said even though he knew he was in a meeting with a bunch of people speaking Russian with a Russian interpreter.
BRIAN WILLIAMS: You put it that way.
NICK AKERMAN: On top of that you’ve got to look at what happened before and after. It doesn’t make sense.
Brian Williams also asked Professor Butler to explain why he believes Trump’s recent statements are more of a message and trial balloon to Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell, testing their appetite for impeachment, and why their responses are troubling.
BRIAN WILLIAMS: Paul Butler, I know you’re of the belief that the whole notion of maybe firing Jeff sessions is a trial balloon on the part of the president. Can you explain to our audience how that might be.
PAUL BUTLER: I think he is sending this message explicitly to Senate and House Republicans because they control the impeachment process. So if the result of his threats to fire Sessions were from the Republicans, over my dead body, then that would mean he won’t do it. But we’re not hearing that from people like Paul Ryan and the Majority Leader McConnell. Their response has been muted, which suggests Trump might take that as a sign that it’s okay to go forward. That wouldn’t be grounds for impeachment. And Brian, frankly if that’s not ground for impeachment, obstruction of justice and abuse of office I don’t know what is.
See Akerman’s comments in the video below: