There are multiple reports out there that Trump berated Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker after Michael Cohen’s guilty plea implicated him in campaign finance violations for paying off mistresses to prevent their stories from affecting his presidential campaign. This is yet another attempt to obstruct justice and interfere with the Mueller investigation.
CNN noted that the reporting didn’t suggest that Trump directed Whitaker to quash the charges — but according to Elie Honig, a former assistant US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, just the pressure could spell trouble for him.
“It doesn’t matter if the president lashed out or if he asked really nicely,” Honig said. “The bottom line is: it’s patently obvious what his message was to Matthew Whitaker, which was, ‘Get the Southern District off my back, you need to make sure the Southern District doesn’t do things in the future that reflect poorly on me.’”“Maybe he didn’t say, ‘Make sure they don’t,’ but if he said, ‘I’m angry that this happened,’ any boss giving any subordinate that message is entirely clear what he means,” the former prosecutor said. “He means, ‘don’t let this happen again.’”
Of course it means that. Who could possibly doubt that? Why would he scream at Whitaker over it in the first place? Because Whitaker oversees all federal prosecutors and could, if he chose, tell the Southern District of New York to back off on this. But doing so would be an obvious case of obstruction of justice. Remember, Trump is on record many times saying that the job of the attorney general is to protect him legally, not to make sure justice is done. Trump’s purpose was unmistakable to all but the most delusional.