White House: Trump Not Guilty of Obstruction, He’s Just “Fighting Back”

“The president is stating his opinion, he’s stating it clearly.”

Michael Brochstein/ZUMA

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White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders dismissed mounting concern that President Donald Trump is attempting to obstruct justice with his direct appeal earlier on Wednesday for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to end the special counsel’s investigation into Russian interference. 

“The president is not obstructing, he’s fighting back,” Sanders said during an afternoon press briefing filled with questions over a series of morning tweets by the president that marked the first time he has publicly called on Sessions to reclaim oversight of the investigation and get rid of special counsel Robert Mueller.

Echoing the president’s legal team, Sanders repeatedly sought to downplay the tweets as mere “opinions”—not official presidential orders.

“The president is stating his opinion, he’s stating it clearly,” Sanders said. “He’s certainly expressing the frustration that he has with the level of corruption that we’ve seen from people like Jim Comey, Peter Strzok, Andrew McCabe.” 

Democrats on Wednesday seized upon Trump’s latest Twitter outburst, calling it a clear example of his attempt to intervene in the special counsel’s ongoing investigation. The New York Times reported last week that Mueller is paying close attention to Trump’s Twitter account in order to determine whether his social media activities classify as efforts to apply pressure to potential witnesses and law enforcement officials.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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